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USAF to halve B-52 and eliminate U2 and F117 fleets by 2011

Good2Golf

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http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,84991,00.html?ESRC=airforce-a.nl

Even the largest Air Force in the world is cutting back...in this case to make more room for F-22A acquisition.

B-52 SOJ to be eliminated as a capability from the remaining fleet.  U-2s considered too expensive for what they bring to the fight, and F-117s are now nearing 25 years of service.

Interesting to wonder what other caps are out there.  Notwithstanding other capabilities, there is definitely a culling going on within DoD...

Cheers,
Duey
 

Sf2

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That's amazing about the F117's.

Seems like yesterday those things were introduced.
 

h3tacco

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Yeah its funny to see the F-117 retired but they entered service in the early 80s. I think they operated somewhere around seven years before they were made public. (ie entered service around 1983 and made public either 1989 or 1990)
 

Michael Dorosh

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h3tacco said:
Yeah its funny to see the F-117 retired but they entered service in the early 80s. I think they operated somewhere around seven years before they were made public. (ie entered service around 1983 and made public either 1989 or 1990)

Microprose was onto them; F-19 was just as much fun as F-117....
 

Sheerin

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Hey out of curosity, did the USAF ever release the cause of the crash of that F-117 in Kosovo back in '99?
Was it actually shot down or was it a technical problem? 

 

Blue Max

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It has been reported by other sources (not US) that a combination of factores allowed a very switched on Serb battery commander to get a lucky SAM shot:
- Serbs had spy's outside Italian airbases immediately reporting when and what type of aircraft were leaving.
- US airforce made cardinal sin of repeating ingress routes for air assets day in and day out.
- The switched on Serb battery commander was able to apparently tweaked his ground based air search for max effect, and somehow was able to turn on at last minute for max effect, thus also avoid AMRAAM attack. The story I read would not go into detail as what the ground based radar tweaks were.

I will try to find link for story and forward later if you like. Of course this is somewhat hearsay and I have not heard of an official US reason for downing.
 
A

aesop081

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Blue Max said:
thus also avoid AMRAAM attack.

AMRAAM (aka AIM-120) is "advanced medium range air to air missle"........you must have meant HARM "High-speed anti-radiation missle" (aka AGM-88).  AMRAAM is not a threat to ground based radar wheras HARM is specificaly designed to home on the emissions from groud/sea based radars. 
 

Blue Max

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aesop081 said:
"........you must have meant HARM "High-speed anti-radiation missle" (aka AGM-88).   

My misstep, posted too quickly at work, I stand corrected sir. :salute:
 

Sheerin

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Thanks i always wondered about that.

Hell I remember the night it happened when some guy on CNN was saying that it was a Canadian fighter that had been shot down.

 
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aesop081

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As an off-topic anecdote to the whole HARM missile, 

The prvious incarnation of the anti-radar missle, the AGM-45 Shrike, lost its lock when the target radar was turned off.  The AGM-88 "remembers" where the target emiter was located and continues with the attack.  This negates the tactic of turning the radar on momentarily to aquire the target and then turning it back off.  Comparatively, the british system, ALARM (Air launched antiradation missile) homes the target emitter and if the target emiter is lost, climbs to altitude.  Once at max altitude, the warhead section of the missile separates and falls back to earth under parachute.  If the target emiter re-apears, a rocket activates and the warhead section shoot towards the target.  If the emiter does not reapear, the warhead continues its decent under parachute until it hit  the ground without detonating.

{end hijack}
 

Blue Max

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How to Take Down an F-117 by James Dunnigan
December 4, 2005

http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/2005124224417.asp

The Serbian battery commander, whose missiles downed an American F-16, and, most impressively, an F-117, in 1999, has retired, as a colonel, and revealed many of the techniques he used to achieve all this. Colonel Dani Zoltan, in 1999, commanded the 3rd battery of the 250th Missile Brigade. He had search and control radars, as well as a TV tracking unit. The battery had four quad launchers for the 21 foot long, 880 pound SA-3 missiles. The SA-3 entered service in 1961 and, while it had undergone some upgrades, was considered a minor threat to NATO aircraft. Zoltan was an example of how an imaginative and energetic leader can make a big difference. While Zoltan’s peers and superiors were pretty demoralized with the electronic countermeasures NATO (especially American) aircraft used to support their bombing missions, he believed he could still turn his ancient missiles into lethal weapons. The list of measures he took, and the results he got, should be warning to any who believe that superior technology alone will provide a decisive edge in combat. People still make a big difference. In addition to shooting down two aircraft, Zoltan’s battery caused dozens of others to abort their bombing missions to escape his unexpectedly accurate missiles. This is how he did it.

Zoltan had about 200 troops under his command. He got to know them well, trained hard and made sure everyone could do what was expected of them. This level of quality leadership was essential, for Zoltan's achievements were a group effort.

Zoltan used a lot of effective techniques that American air defense experts expected, but did not expect to encounter because of poor leadership by the enemy. For example, Zoltan knew that his major foe was HARM (anti-radar) missiles and electronic detection systems used by the Americans, as well as smart bombs from aircraft who had spotted him. To get around this, he used landlines for all his communications (no cell phones or radio). This was more of a hassle, often requiring him to use messengers on foot or in cars. But it meant the American intel people overhead were never sure where he was.

His radars and missile launchers were moved frequently, meaning that some of his people were always busy looking for new sites to set up in, or setting up or taking down the equipment. His battery traveled over 100,000 kilometers during the 78 day NATO bombing campaign, just to avoid getting hit. They did, and his troops knew all that effort was worth the effort.
The Serbs had spies outside the Italian airbase most of the bombers operated from. When the bombers took off, the information on what aircraft they, and how many, quickly made it to Zoltan and the other battery commanders.

Zoltan studied all the information he could get on American stealth technology, and the F-117. There was a lot of unclassified data, and speculation, out there. He developed some ideas on how to beat stealth, based on the fact that the technology didn’t make the F-117 invisible to radar, just very to get, and keep, a good idea of exactly where the aircraft was. Zoltan figured out how to tweak his radars to get a better lock on stealth type targets. This has not been discussed openly.

The Serbs also set up a system of human observers, who would report on sightings of bombers entering Serbia, and track their progress.

The spies and observers enabled Zoltan to keep his radars on for a minimal amount of time. This made it difficult for the American SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) to use their HARM missiles (that homed in on radar transmissions.) Zoltan never lost a radar to a HARM missile.

Zoltan used the human spotters and brief use of radar, with short range shots at American bombers. The SA-3 was guided from the ground, so you had to use surprise to get an accurate shot in before the target used jamming and evasive maneuvers to make the missile miss. The F-117 he shot down was only 13 kilometers away.

Zoltan got some help from his enemies. The NATO commanders often sent their bombers in along the same routes, and didn’t make a big effort to find out if hotshots like Zoltan were down there, and do something about it. Never underestimate your enemy.
 

FoverF

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[re-hijack]

The AGM-88 "remembers" where the target emiter was located and continues with the attack.

Kind of, but not quite.
The HARM can be used in three different operational modes, known as Pre-Briefed (PB), Target Of Opportunity (TOO), and Self-Protect (SP). In PB mode, the long range (up to 150 km (80 nm)) of the AGM-88 is used to launch the missile on a lofted trajectory toward a known threat... If the target radar has been switched off before any lock could be acquired, the missile destroys itself to avoid possible friendly casualties by the impact of the now unguided missile... In SP mode, the aircraft's radar warning receiver is used to detect enemy emissions. The CP-1001B/AWG HARM Command Launch Computer (CLC) then decides which target to attack, transmits the data to the missile, and launches the AGM-88. TOO mode means that the seeker of the AGM-88 itself has detected a target, and the missile can be fired manually if the radar emission is identified as a threat...The AGM-88 missile has an inbuilt inertial system, so that whenever it has acquired a lock once [in SP or TOO mode, -me], it will continue towards the target even if the emitter is shut down (although the CEP is larger in this case).

It doesn't so much 'remember ' where the launcher is, as it just keeps flying in a straight line. I don't know if there are any recorded instances of a radar being destroyed in this way (although that could be wrong). Certainly the fact that many Serbian search radars survived OAF, despite more than a THOUSAND HARMs being fired (at a VERY limited number of radars), supports the idea that the HARM is not very smart.

The Block VI HARM is expected to have a GPS receiver, and so may actually be able to deliver on the promise.

[re-hijack/]
 
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