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Thread: The effectiveness of Eastern airforces

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    General PanzerMan7's Avatar
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    The effectiveness of Eastern airforces

    Why is it that they are/were so ineffective. I dont expect them to be on par with Western standards, but in the 6 Day War, Yom Kippur War, Gulf War, Balkans Wars, ect, theyve been so ineffective they may as well not exist. The Iraqis only got one air to air kill in the gulf war, for example, and in the Yom Kippur War, once the Egyptians left their SAM cover and used fighters instead, they were decimated.

    Also, Im curious how effective the north vietnamese airforce was along with the North Korean/Chinese/Russian volunteer airforce was. From what I understand, the 10:1 kill ratio with Sabres and MiGs is heavily skewed.

    Also, how effective do you think Iran's airforce would be against the Israelis and possibly americans
    I wanna be Korean or Japanese.



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    Absolutely heretical chepaeff's Avatar
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    There was a thread on OT about arab effectiveness, somebody posted this article. I think partly it explains it.
    The MiG-Sabre ratio is yeah, skewed. MiGs and Sabres weren't the only aircraft and they weren't attacking each other only. Found good link on Korea war aircraft losses - http://korean-war.com/AirWar/AircraftType-LossList.html
    Last edited by chepaeff; 02-04-2012 at 15:09.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerMan7 View Post
    Why is it that they are/were so ineffective. I dont expect them to be on par with Western standards, but in the 6 Day War, Yom Kippur War, Gulf War, Balkans Wars, ect, theyve been so ineffective they may as well not exist. The Iraqis only got one air to air kill in the gulf war, for example, and in the Yom Kippur War, once the Egyptians left their SAM cover and used fighters instead, they were decimated.

    Also, Im curious how effective the north vietnamese airforce was along with the North Korean/Chinese/Russian volunteer airforce was. From what I understand, the 10:1 kill ratio with Sabres and MiGs is heavily skewed.

    Also, how effective do you think Iran's airforce would be against the Israelis and possibly americans
    Air warfare is not like WW2 ground warfare where the air is full of lead and thousands die on both sides even when one side is winning the battle. Modern air war is a low-density, high-tech war where if you play your cars right you can use even small advantages to totally sweep the enemy aside. Both sides try to leverage the available assets as much as possible to avoid WW2-style dogfights, that means they use missiles that find their targets autonomously, fire them at the maximum distance, using ground-based or airborne radar to extend the sensor ranges or their aircraft way beyond visual range.

    In WW2 pilot skills and the capabilities of their airframes were the most important things. A bit like with the knights of old - a pilot was supposed to be a warrior skilled at handling his "horse" (=the airplane) and his "lance" (=the guns, and brave enough to remember his training when the enemy appeared on the horizon or jumped at him with the sun in his back. A good pilot knew his "horse" and his "lance" and worked in a good team with his fellow pilots. His general told him when to take off and where to engage the enemy, and that was basically it.

    Modern air combat is nothing like that. Today, a combat pilot is a man who can "drive" his plane to the right place, point the nose in the right direction and fire his missiles at some target that neither he nor his sensors can see. He needs to know his horrendously complex aircraft inside out so he has several years of technical training, almost on par with a bachelor degree in aeronautical engineering. He must be able to interpret confusing data within seconds and follow orders without hesitation because he's part of a team of men and complex machines. He also needs to be brave to the point of insanity, and have nerves of steel, because no matter how good he is at his job, if any part of the team fails him the enemy will blot him and all his colleagues out of the sky within seconds, before any of them even know the enemy is there.

    The Iraqi pilots in the gulf wars were all good men and might have been supreme pilots and unflinching warriors, and their planes top-modern fighter aircraft, but that helped them not one bit when their team lost all its advantages on day zero of the war. In the air they were hopelessly outmatched, both in numbers and in the weapons arrayed against them. All that was left to them was to die so their country could boast of at least having tried to fight the enemy.

    Basically to fight a successful high-tech air war, you need to be good at half a dozen things, and if any of them fails you, you lose everything.

    Iran against the US would depend a lot on how and when this war is fought. Against a Desert Storm type of air offensive, staged from ground bases right on their border, Iran would be powerless. They'd have to hide their planes in caves and try to lure Americans into flying low so their plentiful AA can hit them. However in a stand-up war, where the US has maybe just one carrier task force near by and the Iranians have their entire air force arrayed against whatever the target is (Iraq? Azerbaijan? Afghanistan?), the Iranians might be able to intimidate the USAF into standing off for a week or so (until the rest of the USN /USAF arrives) and in that week they could bomb/attack their targets with some effectiveness.

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    Right but I would like the Iraqis would at least do something. The coalition was predicting 36 air to air losses on the first night

    Unlike Iraq, Iran's primary fighter force is domestically produced (and hence, not reliant on monkey models) and its anti air defense system is half domestic. Coupled with a larger population and hence, brighter pilots, wouldnt they fare much better?

    Also, why wasnt the Iraqi air force and anti air defense grid ready to go on the night of the invasion? They had to have known it was coming.
    I wanna be Korean or Japanese.



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    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerMan7 View Post
    Right but I would like the Iraqis would at least do something. The coalition was predicting 36 air to air losses on the first night
    I think the Coalition was also predicting tens of thousands of casualties in the ground campaign. Perhaps they were just being conservative about Iraqi capabilities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nasrallah View Post
    I think the Coalition was also predicting tens of thousands of casualties in the ground campaign. Perhaps they were just being conservative about Iraqi capabilities.
    indeed. im quite surprised how ineffective the iraqi military was.

    would iran be the same? remember, bigger population (similar size army though, which means higher quality soldiers usually), domestic weapon production (no monkey models), and a closer technological gap (of course, we still have a pretty good upperhand. im not quite sure about israel though)
    I wanna be Korean or Japanese.



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    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerMan7 View Post
    Right but I would like the Iraqis would at least do something. The coalition was predicting 36 air to air losses on the first night

    Unlike Iraq, Iran's primary fighter force is domestically produced (and hence, not reliant on monkey models) and its anti air defense system is half domestic. Coupled with a larger population and hence, brighter pilots, wouldnt they fare much better?

    Also, why wasnt the Iraqi air force and anti air defense grid ready to go on the night of the invasion? They had to have known it was coming.
    Those predictions may have been partially for public consumption. From a military stand point it's wise to assume the worst, i.e. make sure you have enough medevac capacities, hospital beds, blood reserves etc for the worst possible case, even if the worst possible case is not the most likely case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerMan7 View Post
    indeed. im quite surprised how ineffective the iraqi military was.

    would iran be the same? remember, bigger population (similar size army though, which means higher quality soldiers usually), domestic weapon production (no monkey models), and a closer technological gap (of course, we still have a pretty good upperhand. im not quite sure about israel though)
    Depends on circumstances. If the US manage to catch Iranians unaware, and knock their radar sites out on day zero with a missile barrage, then you won't see much resistance.

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    Im also quite curious how 2 roughly equal modern air forces would fight each other. say a massive bombing raid on Moscow. theres no way it wouldnt be intercepted but how would it unfold likely? the slashing attacks on bombers and furballs of escorts and interceptors are likely a thing of the past, or are they?

    wouldnt radar jamming neutralize long range anti air missiles, forcing dogfights?
    I wanna be Korean or Japanese.



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    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerMan7 View Post
    Im also quite curious how 2 roughly equal modern air forces would fight each other. say a massive bombing raid on Moscow. theres no way it wouldnt be intercepted but how would it unfold likely? the slashing attacks on bombers and furballs of escorts and interceptors are likely a thing of the past, or are they?

    wouldnt radar jamming neutralize long range anti air missiles, forcing dogfights?
    Moscow is out of range for all but the strategic air forces. So the raid would be done by B-52 bombers and the like.

    Against an alert Soviet air force (i.e. any time between 1946/47 and the late 1980s) it would probably have ended in disaster. Some might have reached the target, dodging interceptors and missiles on the way, but the toll would be immense.

    Then again, if they were carrying nuclear payloads, they would only have to do the raid once??

    Radar jamming is not something that neutralizes all radar. There are countermeasures against this, such as shifting your radar emitter(s) to use other frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum. Also since "jamming" means you direct a strong beam in the direction of the enemy's receiver devices, you need to pick a direction, you cannot just jam in all directions. Jamming is like using a megaphone to yell at someone, hoping the noise will drown out anything else he may hear. With electromagnetic radiation you need A LOT of power to effectively jam anything, and that power needs to be focused on one direction and one (or a few) frequencies. It's not such a powerful device, if the enemy has time to react to it.
    Last edited by Leviathan07; 09-04-2012 at 21:10.

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    Bah, nowadays thanks to aerial refueling and such, effective range of airplanes is practically unlimited...and you greatly exagerate the level of readiness of soviet forces. It was mostly based on bluff really, in case of a real emergency they wouldn't have been able to pull up an effective response. The incidents with Powers and Mathias Rust show it well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amallric View Post
    Bah, nowadays thanks to aerial refueling and such, effective range of airplanes is practically unlimited...and you greatly exagerate the level of readiness of soviet forces. It was mostly based on bluff really, in case of a real emergency they wouldn't have been able to pull up an effective response. The incidents with Powers and Mathias Rust show it well.
    That was in the late 1980s when the whole system had decayed. And Rust was flying a small prop aircraft. Hardly the same as a fleet of stratobombers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amallric View Post
    Bah, nowadays thanks to aerial refueling and such, effective range of airplanes is practically unlimited...and you greatly exagerate the level of readiness of soviet forces. It was mostly based on bluff really, in case of a real emergency they wouldn't have been able to pull up an effective response. The incidents with Powers and Mathias Rust show it well.
    Yes, provided your refuellers can cruise indefinitely in perfect conditions in friendly airspace. Not really a thing if you are not curbstomping third world countries that lack SATNAV/AWACS
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    That was in the late 1980s when the whole system had decayed. And Rust was flying a small prop aircraft. Hardly the same as a fleet of stratobombers
    Given Powers' plane was shot down in 1960, this "decay" must have started right after the beginning of the cold war, then...and while a larger number of planes is easier to detect, those will also be able to strike back, unlike Rust.

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    But wasn't Rust detected several times? They just assumed he was a Soviet plane or something.
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    It reveals the level of incompetency, ineffectiveness and disorganization that characterised the soviet AA defence system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amallric View Post
    Given Powers' plane was shot down in 1960, this "decay" must have started right after the beginning of the cold war, then...and while a larger number of planes is easier to detect, those will also be able to strike back, unlike Rust.
    Oh you mean THAT incident? The U2 spy plane incident? I thought you were talking about something that happened much later.

    I wonder, though, what does the U2 incident have to do with the efficiency of the Soviet air force? They shot it down. If you cared to read anything at all about the U2 incident you'd notice that it was actually a testimony to the ability of the Soviets to protect their own airspace quite well. Powers' flight was only the second such flight over the USSR, and the Soviets were already on high alert because they had detected and tracked the first U2 overflight. The U2 was the highest flying plane in the world at the time and yet they shot it down. So again what was your point about the ineffectiveness of the Soviet air force?

  18. #18
    Oh you mean THAT incident? The U2 spy plane incident? I thought you were talking about something that happened much later.
    I was talking about both, as they show that the level of preparedness was abysmal in the sixties and this didn't really improve later.

    I wonder, though, what does the U2 incident have to do with the efficiency of the Soviet air force? They shot it down. If you cared to read anything at all about the U2 incident you'd notice that it was actually a testimony to the ability of the Soviets to protect their own airspace quite well. Powers' flight was only the second such flight over the USSR, and the Soviets were already on high alert because they had detected and tracked the first U2 overflight. The U2 was the highest flying plane in the world at the time and yet they shot it down. So again what was your point about the ineffectiveness of the Soviet air force?
    Well I would prefer to avoid getting personal, but if you really consider the U2 accident as a success of the soviet air defence, then chances are YOU don't know much about it.

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    Absolutely heretical chepaeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amallric View Post
    Well I would prefer to avoid getting personal, but if you really consider the U2 accident as a success of the soviet air defence, then chances are YOU don't know much about it.
    Well yeah the performance was crappy, so what? The soviet AA history isn't limited to one U2 shot down
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    Want to see what soviet AA does to western planes when used right?

    Look up the aircraft losses/hits in Vietnam due to AA. They have a very, very nice hit/launch ratio.
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