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SEAD - hit EW or SAM sites first?

 
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SEAD - hit EW or SAM sites first? - 5/15/2021 11:42:13 AM   
pacman14k

 

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I'm just embarking on the Shamal 1991 mission where you have to take out an Iraqi chemical site and two air bases. I kind of understand the concept of SEAD but not enough when it comes to specifics of what to try and kill first. Wondering if anyone knows of reading material to teach me how to do SEAD the proper way?

My ideas on this are all a bit confused, example, are you supposed to take out the EW radars with HARMs first, or target the SAMs straight away (if you know where they are) and leave yourself visible to the EW radars - which could still serve to notify nearby airbases and have them scramble aircraft?

In the Shamal 1991 mission, if I was to kill the EW radars with HARMs then that would allow my strike aircraft to fly much further into the Iraqi airspace without being seen then take out the SAMs. But how can I guarantee a strike on the EW radars when they are protected by SAMs that can shoot down my HARMs in the first place? But if I tried to take out the SAMs first they would be ready and waiting for me since the EW radars would have given them plenty of warning. It's all a bit chicken and egg.

Any advice or reading material on this would be really appreciated!
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RE: SEAD - hit EW or SAM sites first? - 5/15/2021 12:04:48 PM   
Eboreg

 

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My advice: avoid targeting the EW Radars unless taking them out is absolutely mission critical.

Also, in the Shamal 1991 scenario, the Iraqis are too smart to blast their SAMs radars all the time so you might have to use ARMS that can BOL to bait them and even try to get them to shoot at an Electronic Warfare aircraft (although you're going to have to let the Iraqis visually identify your electronic warfare aircraft so they know they're hostile).

(in reply to pacman14k)
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RE: SEAD - hit EW or SAM sites first? - 5/15/2021 12:33:29 PM   
alphali

 

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If you have to take down a SAM site then the easiest way is to destroy the radars with HARMS because the SAM batteries are much more numerous than the radars, especially true for legacy systems, as SA5 for example could have 6 launchers (hint: you can see the unit count in the database or the number next to the unit after its identified). So it's very difficult to bomb the site to take down all the launchers, as you are likely to hit other elements like AAA vehicles and such. A good tutorial on this is P Gatcombs SEAD Video

(in reply to pacman14k)
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RE: SEAD - hit EW or SAM sites first? - 5/15/2021 12:48:03 PM   
Dragon029


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It depends on the adversary's tactics and setup - for example, if the enemy's IADS isn't particularly deep you're likely better off going after radar or systems, because they're more limited in quantity, are critical for their SAMs to function (aside from SHORADs engaging low altitude targets), and can potentially be harder for the enemy to defend (SAMs and AAA have the greatest kinematic probability of intercept if the incoming munition is headed directly towards the launcher).

However, if the enemy's IADS is deeper, with radars operating from the rear and SAMs and SHORADs hiding between you and them, then you may need to carve your way through, taking SAM sites as they appear (this is where ISR, EW, etc comes into play).

(in reply to Eboreg)
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RE: SEAD - hit EW or SAM sites first? - 5/26/2021 2:20:25 AM   
SeaQueen


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quote:

ORIGINAL: pacman14k
I'm just embarking on the Shamal 1991 mission where you have to take out an Iraqi chemical site and two air bases. I kind of understand the concept of SEAD but not enough when it comes to specifics of what to try and kill first.


It depends.

If the IADS is well constructed there shouldn't be any holes. Everything worth defending ought to be covered by an overlapping series of WEZs of various ranges capable of mutually defending one another. You never do SEAD for its own sake. SEAD is done in support of some other mission that is supposed to hit something you REALLY care about. Given the fundamental task of striking some other target you actually care about, the name of the game with SEAD is to make that strike possible.

In order for the SEAD mission to be successful, you need to interrupt the enemy kill chain against your strikers. To do that you might use a variety destructive or non-destructive methods in complimentary ways. You might not need to kill everything (or even anything). By interrupting the kill chain, you make a hole big enough to get your strike mission in and out. Anything more than that is wasted effort and unneeded risk.

quote:


Wondering if anyone knows of reading material to teach me how to do SEAD the proper way?


There's some good books out there on the history of SEAD. My favorite is called Iron Hand: Smashing the Enemy's Air Defenses by Thornborough. It'll go through the history of the weasel mission, as well as SEAD alternatives (e.g. the Israelis used artillery to defeat SAMs).

quote:


My ideas on this are all a bit confused, example, are you supposed to take out the EW radars with HARMs first, or target the SAMs straight away (if you know where they are) and leave yourself visible to the EW radars - which could still serve to notify nearby airbases and have them scramble aircraft?


It depends on everything from the properties of your strikers, the frequencies of the radars in question and the SAMs defending your target. SEAD is done in support of some other follow on strike(s?). If you don't need to tangle with SAMs, then don't. Just go for the ones you need to kill to get your strikers to the target. It also depends on the enemy's tactics. EW radars might be a good way to interrupt the kill chain IF the SAMs are not emitting their acquisition radars at all. If they can't see with the EW radars then nothing will stimulate them to emit their tracking radars (which they need to fire). If they are emitting their acquisition radars, then just killing the EW radars won't work.

quote:


In the Shamal 1991 mission, if I was to kill the EW radars with HARMs then that would allow my strike aircraft to fly much further into the Iraqi airspace without being seen then take out the SAMs. But how can I guarantee a strike on the EW radars when they are protected by SAMs that can shoot down my HARMs in the first place? But if I tried to take out the SAMs first they would be ready and waiting for me since the EW radars would have given them plenty of warning. It's all a bit chicken and egg.


That's the intent. If I found that both were emitting, then taking out the EW radars wouldn't really do me any good because the SAM acquisition radars would still be there, which suggests the best thing to do is go straight for the SAMs. Striking the EW radars won't interrupt the kill chain. Instead, I'd focus on using a combination of electronic warfare, drones (as decoys?), HARM and other weapons to strike the SAMs.

(in reply to pacman14k)
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