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Operator-induced variability

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Operator-induced variability - 10/21/2021 11:36:26 AM   


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In the book Libyan Air Wars in the Africa@War series, a Libyan Mig 23 pilot mentions the range for their main radar was very dependent on the skill of the operator. Is this reflected in CMO? Is it maybe reflected in proficiency-based OODA in some form? My experience is that the detection ranges have very little variability in the same repeatable environment.

"Former LAAF MiG-23 pilot Ali Thani described the two new variants introduced into service with No 1023 Squadron (MiG-23ML, based at Mitiga) and No. 1050 Squadron (which flew MiG-23MFs based at the newly-constructed al-Bumbah AB, west of Tobruq) and their new armament as follows:

Soviets were full of praise for their new R-23R missile [ASCC-code AA-7 Apex; authors’ note], especially its infra-red homing variant, which was said to possess advanced capabilities of countering infrared decoys. Actually, this weapon proved a big failure and we replaced it as soon as the R-24 arrived, together with MiG-23MLs, in 1985. The R-24 missile was a major improvement in comparison to [the] R-23. It was much more reliable and had a higher probability of [a] hit. Still, the best weapon of both [the] MiG-23MF and MiG-23ML was the R-60MK [ASCC-code AA-8 Aphid; authors’ note], which had a very wide engagement envelope and was simple to deploy, even if its range was quite limited.

Our MiG-23MFs were equipped with S-23E radar and TP-26 infra-red search and track system (IRST). [The] Soviets told us the radar could detect targets out to 60km away but we could seldom detect American fighters at further than 40-45km. Detection range very much depended on good work of electronics-specialists in our squadron: the S-23E required lots of expert tuning. Some specialists were better, others not, and thus detection ranges often varied from aircraft to aircraft, sometimes by up to 10km. In engagements with Americans, the S-23E proved capable of detecting targets at longer ranges than Cyrano radars of our Mirages, but [was] also severely vulnerable to electronic countermeasures. Foremost, it proved prone to malfunctions. We tried to work with the TP-26 and tested it extensively, but never detected anything beyond the range of 15km – slightly more in clear weather and at high altitude."


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