B-21 Raider tailor made for the Syria scenario

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PhillyGuy

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 07:30

How badly we need the B-21 to enter service and the F-35 to join the Raptor and deploy in numbers.

Now that that the Syrians have moved their aircraft adjacent to the Russian bases on their soil along the Mediterranean coast, our options for striking them are limited from both political and tactical reasons. This highlights the limitations of non stealthy aircraft to hold highly defended targets at risk and engage them at will.

Especially when the element of surprise and surgical precision is still needed. Hard to acheive surprise with cruise missiles again if the Russians are on full alert mode. Conventional aircraft would be detected far out even if they launch their ordinance from outside the SAM bubble, thus spoiling the surprise.

The Russian warships off the coast screen the sea approach, their land based surveillance and fighter aircraft monitor and patrol the airspce from above, and on the ground of course is deployed an array of S400 and Pantsir units surrounding their forces.

I personally think our options right now are basically a B-2 strike supported by F-22s.
But even this does not make me feel too assured, and it's only 2017. In the 2020s we would be screwed with our current assets and are definitely going to need the B-21, F-22 and F-35 and more advanced stand off munitions for precisely situations like this.

A stealthy electronic attack drone would be nice too, so it can go in deep with the strike package and not reveal itself or start jamming until it has to. It is good to be able to do things unseen and without notice at a time and place of your choosing. We see how information and media/politics dictate the nature of the strike as much as hardware are enemy order of battle does.
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arian

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 07:59

PhillyGuy wrote:Hard to acheive surprise with cruise missiles again if the Russians are on full alert mode.


Maybe. Maybe not. Given the terrain there, they may get 20-30km of warning time at best. 24km to be exact from the airbase to where the mountain crests to the East. 4,500 feet mountain range so they'll have no warning time beforehand.

If anything, the terrain the airbase is in is tailor-made for complicating the defender's task by making them virtually blind to low-altitude attack.

PhillyGuy wrote: Conventional aircraft would be detected far out even if they launch their ordinance from outside the SAM bubble, thus spoiling the surprise.


There is a large mountain range east of Latakia, blocking the view from medium altitude down. They wouldn't be able to see much of anything coming from that direction. To the south there is another mountain range complicating things. I wouldn't count on radars picking up airplanes, depending from where they attack.

PhillyGuy wrote:and on the ground of course is deployed an array of S400 and Pantsir units surrounding their forces


"Array" consisting of 1 S-400 battery (which actually appears more to be S-400 radars and S-300PMU missiles, rather than an actual S-400 battery, according to pictures), and a couple of Patsitrs? Quite easily overwhelmed by stand-off missiles especially if coming from multiple directions.

PhillyGuy wrote:I personally think our options right now are basically a B-2 strike supported by F-22s.


I think you're under-estimating current assets and over-estimating the capabilities of these Russian defenses. But I could be wrong too.

In either case, we wouldn't attack a Russian airbase in Syria under any circumstance.
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jessmo111

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 10:32

It Might be easier, to Have F-22s and F-35s flying nearly 24 hour caps over Syria. when we get any Intel of a poison gas attack just splash the Syrian planes right away. F-35s would be perfect for this. They could easily determine if there is Syrian, or Russian mig flying, and what they are dropping.
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arian

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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 22:27

jessmo111 wrote:It Might be easier, to Have F-22s and F-35s flying nearly 24 hour caps over Syria. when we get any Intel of a poison gas attack just splash the Syrian planes right away. F-35s would be perfect for this. They could easily determine if there is Syrian, or Russian mig flying, and what they are dropping.


How would we get intelligence if they are flying with chemical weapons or not? We don't know much of what happens there, lest of all getting real-time information on every Syrian flight. (as in, we probably track them as those radar maps show, but we probably don't know what they're carrying)

But as far as flying constant CAP over Syria, that would probably be an unnecessary provocation to the Russians. Their Su-30/35s are already flying with AAM missiles constantly, just in case, especially when they approach Turkish or Israeli borders. There's probably constant CAPs in Turkey and Jordan and Israel keeping an eye out.

But to the larger issue of AD in Syria, the Russians supposedly have an S-300 site east of Aleppo at this time, in addition to the S-400 site in Latakia. US planes routinely fly and bomb targets west of Aleppo despite this, so clearly the two sides are not actively trying to deter each other here. Despite talk to the contrary.
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PhillyGuy

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Unread post22 Apr 2017, 08:34

arian wrote:In either case, we wouldn't attack a Russian airbase in Syria under any circumstance.


I don't know about any circumstance. If they launch SAMs at our birds conducting operations in Syria, I'm not so sure we would not respond to the threat. Or if Syrian/Russian AF operating out of one of these joint bases "accidentally" kills US ground forces deployed within Syria via airstrikes. The public outrage in the US would be significant.

Also yes, their limited pocket and terrain are not favorable, and so is the lack of true AWACS on behalf of the Russians. They do have quite capable SIGINT/ELINT aircraft in country conducting operations but I am not sure that would be enough to pick up a carefully conducted and surprise missile strike, even if it is a repeat performance.

It's actually quite shocking the Russians do not have a modern AWACS fleet. I guess expeditionary operations this far from the motherland are new and far between. They are used to living in their formidable SAM/radar bubble where airborne surveillance is not as paramount, especially from a defensive approach, ie. someone attacking Russia.
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arian

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Unread post22 Apr 2017, 23:45

PhillyGuy wrote:It's actually quite shocking the Russians do not have a modern AWACS fleet. I guess expeditionary operations this far from the motherland are new and far between. They are used to living in their formidable SAM/radar bubble where airborne surveillance is not as paramount, especially from a defensive approach, ie. someone attacking Russia.


Developing an AWACS plane capable of detecting small low-flying cruise missiles was a paramount concern for the Soviets in the 1980s. Their existing air defense network was insufficient against such a threat (as is any ground-based defense). And they did build a relatively large number of A-50s. The radar it used, however, seems to have been compromised by Tolkachev early on, and apparently not quite that capable in the first place according to his intel. But things have changed since then, one would imagine.

Actually being able to keep them flying round the clock and integrate them with the rest of the AD network the same way NATO countries seem to be able to do? That's another story.
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citanon

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Unread post23 Apr 2017, 02:13

arian wrote:
jessmo111 wrote:It Might be easier, to Have F-22s and F-35s flying nearly 24 hour caps over Syria. when we get any Intel of a poison gas attack just splash the Syrian planes right away. F-35s would be perfect for this. They could easily determine if there is Syrian, or Russian mig flying, and what they are dropping.


How would we get intelligence if they are flying with chemical weapons or not? We don't know much of what happens there, lest of all getting real-time information on every Syrian flight. (as in, we probably track them as those radar maps show, but we probably don't know what they're carrying)

But as far as flying constant CAP over Syria, that would probably be an unnecessary provocation to the Russians. Their Su-30/35s are already flying with AAM missiles constantly, just in case, especially when they approach Turkish or Israeli borders. There's probably constant CAPs in Turkey and Jordan and Israel keeping an eye out.

But to the larger issue of AD in Syria, the Russians supposedly have an S-300 site east of Aleppo at this time, in addition to the S-400 site in Latakia. US planes routinely fly and bomb targets west of Aleppo despite this, so clearly the two sides are not actively trying to deter each other here. Despite talk to the contrary.


Judging by our news releases characterizing the operations of Syrian and Russian forces, we probably know a stunning amount about every part of Syrian and Russian operations in Syria.

Remember back to the first Russian cruise missile strike last year, the Obama administration accounted for where each and every Russian cruise missiles went and their flight paths, including those that went off target.

When the Su35s flew into Syria last year, they knew exactly how many, where they were flying in from, and the sneaky tactics they tried to pull using close formation flying.

On the latest chemical weapons attack there were reports talking not just about where the plane came from, but exactly where it dropped its bomb and where the bomb hit.

Could a combination of AWACS and F22s get all this information over a geographical area the size of Syria? Could you see all this using just radar waveforms?

I think the better explanation is that there are other undeclared eyes watching Syria, and what ever they are, they can see A LOT.
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count_to_10

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Unread post23 Apr 2017, 02:32

Don't forget signals intelligence.
Einstein got it backward: one cannot prevent a war without preparing for it.

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arian

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Unread post23 Apr 2017, 06:48

citanon wrote:
arian wrote:
jessmo111 wrote:It Might be easier, to Have F-22s and F-35s flying nearly 24 hour caps over Syria. when we get any Intel of a poison gas attack just splash the Syrian planes right away. F-35s would be perfect for this. They could easily determine if there is Syrian, or Russian mig flying, and what they are dropping.


How would we get intelligence if they are flying with chemical weapons or not? We don't know much of what happens there, lest of all getting real-time information on every Syrian flight. (as in, we probably track them as those radar maps show, but we probably don't know what they're carrying)

But as far as flying constant CAP over Syria, that would probably be an unnecessary provocation to the Russians. Their Su-30/35s are already flying with AAM missiles constantly, just in case, especially when they approach Turkish or Israeli borders. There's probably constant CAPs in Turkey and Jordan and Israel keeping an eye out.

But to the larger issue of AD in Syria, the Russians supposedly have an S-300 site east of Aleppo at this time, in addition to the S-400 site in Latakia. US planes routinely fly and bomb targets west of Aleppo despite this, so clearly the two sides are not actively trying to deter each other here. Despite talk to the contrary.


Judging by our news releases characterizing the operations of Syrian and Russian forces, we probably know a stunning amount about every part of Syrian and Russian operations in Syria.

Remember back to the first Russian cruise missile strike last year, the Obama administration accounted for where each and every Russian cruise missiles went and their flight paths, including those that went off target.

When the Su35s flew into Syria last year, they knew exactly how many, where they were flying in from, and the sneaky tactics they tried to pull using close formation flying.

On the latest chemical weapons attack there were reports talking not just about where the plane came from, but exactly where it dropped its bomb and where the bomb hit.

Could a combination of AWACS and F22s get all this information over a geographical area the size of Syria? Could you see all this using just radar waveforms?

I think the better explanation is that there are other undeclared eyes watching Syria, and what ever they are, they can see A LOT.


I agree that there's a lot of eyes watching, and probably a lot of those are from US or other NATO sources. But as far as the examples you gave, I think a lot of that was open source observations from people on the ground. As in civilians reporting stuff on places like twitter.

I don't think the US military can know all that much of what goes on in Syria at the ground level, given the dismal record of supporting various questionable and very obviously "very bad guys" in Syria. That is of course different from tracking Russian or Syrian aircraft activity over Syria which is a technological intel collection rather than human intelligence.

How we would know, I don't know. But it probably isn't all that complicated: Turkish AWACs fly round the clock off Syria and from their locations over Incirlik they can probably see all the way to Damascus. Plus likely there is Israeli AWACs with similar insight deep into Syria. US has its own E-3s over Syria as well: http://isis.liveuamap.com/en/2015/24-oc ... r-deirezor

But it seems pretty "regular" assets rather than anything special would be needed in that theater. Syria isn't that big that it can't be covered by a couple of AWACs.

count_to_10 wrote:Don't forget signals intelligence.



Yes. That's what those USN EP-3s are there for.
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Unread post26 Apr 2017, 16:54

I don't think the issues involved are the technical ones you mention, it's the political ones. We're not attacking a Russian Airbase unless we decide we're willing to kill Russians. Before we do that a number of political lines would have to be crossed. The first step would be a no fly zone over Syria. Only if Russia defied that, and engaged in air to air combat, or started firing SAMs at coalition aircraft would we consider taking out their airbase. The decision to take out the base would be go hand in hand with taking out the SAMs. In that case your talking a about a lot of dead Russians.

Considering the attitude of the Trump administration it's highly unlikely we will ever impose a no fly zone. Trump has talked about safe zones, but it seems the moment someone told him we'd have to protect them he dropped the idea. Syria isn't the place to rack up quick easy wins, and the problems of the region just don't engage his interest. Yesterday Turkey bombed Kurdish coalition forces. As things get more complicated in Syria I suspect Trump will lose even more interest in the problem. Besides as he said himself there are two Trump Towers in Istanbul.

The tragedy is until the United States gets deeply involved in imposing a solution to the Syrian war it will only drag on.
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arian

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Unread post27 Apr 2017, 02:33

tincansailor wrote:The tragedy is until the United States gets deeply involved in imposing a solution to the Syrian war it will only drag on.


I doubt it. Looks like it will be resolved soon enough. The "rebels" are pretty much finished. Only a matter of time for them to either be wiped out or Assad will give them a safe-haven in Idlib and isolate them there. ISIS will be done shortly (but will continue as a terrorist organization. Either way, the time is running out on this conflict. Finally.

But overall I agree with you that a strike by the US on Russians in Syria is a political impossibility in the first place.

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