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(Wired)   Huh...turns out it's pretty easy to shoot down a passenger jet   (wired.com ) divider line
    More: Scary, passenger jet, heavy vehicle, feature vector, civil aviation, airspeeds, Anthony Cordesman, fighter aircrafts  
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6115 clicks; posted to Geek » on 22 Jul 2014 at 11:50 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-22 08:20:03 PM  
Photo of SAM control panel

img.fark.net

A system designed to down fighters should be able to down a lumbering skybus with no countermeasures.
 
2014-07-22 08:25:48 PM  
It's pretty easy when Russians give you their equipment, their missiles, their trained Russian pilots and then tell the local Cossacks to stay away. When things go south the Russians high tail it over the border.
 
2014-07-22 08:38:16 PM  

Delay: It's pretty easy when Russians give you their equipment, their missiles, their trained Russian pilots and then tell the local Cossacks to stay away. When things go south the Russians high tail it over the border.


At least it's an ethos.
 
2014-07-22 09:06:17 PM  
Well, yeah. That system was designed to be used by poorly trained conscript soldiers working in highly stressful environments. Point and shoot if you ignore safety or procedures. Most manuals for these things are written as two sections: 1) How to kill something now 2) How to safely operate and maintain the system.
 
2014-07-22 09:13:16 PM  

Tr0mBoNe: Well, yeah. That system was designed to be used by poorly trained conscript soldiers working in highly stressful environments. Point and shoot if you ignore safety or procedures. Most manuals for these things are written as two sections: 1) How to kill something now 2) How to safely operate and maintain the system.


roommini.com
 
2014-07-22 09:15:27 PM  
"highly trained" and "soldier" aren't really the same thing.

You know who is highly trained? Doctors. The average age for a doctor graduating medical school is around 28 according to google. Medical school is an extra 4 years on top of college. All pure training. (let's not even talk about all the post graduation training here)

Meanwhile basic training for the world is an average of 12 weeks. So these militants, even if they're fully trained by the Russian military at twice the average for a total of 24 weeks, they're still 184 weeks behind.
 
2014-07-22 09:19:36 PM  
Easy... You just don't lead 'em as much
 
2014-07-22 09:27:16 PM  

doglover: "highly trained" and "soldier" aren't really the same thing.

You know who is highly trained? Doctors. The average age for a doctor graduating medical school is around 28 according to google. Medical school is an extra 4 years on top of college. All pure training. (let's not even talk about all the post graduation training here)

Meanwhile basic training for the world is an average of 12 weeks. So these militants, even if they're fully trained by the Russian military at twice the average for a total of 24 weeks, they're still 184 weeks behind.


It not like the militants in Ukraine need to be rocket surgeons.
 
2014-07-22 10:02:50 PM  
"it is certainly possible for someone with no training to read through the checklist and successfully engage a target."

It's not rocket appliance.
 
2014-07-22 11:02:24 PM  
No shiat...if that group of jacklegs that Putin hired to destabilize the region could manage to bring down a passenger jet, it's not really like the Dukes of Hazzard attempting a lunar landing.
 
2014-07-22 11:20:35 PM  
Like shooting a sleeping man in the back.

/in more ways than one.
 
2014-07-22 11:31:06 PM  
Like killing innocent children with a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S rifle.

/Farkin' Russian bastards.
 
2014-07-23 12:01:19 AM  
The SU-15 that shot down KAL 007 had to do two passes as an altitude change by the airliner threw off his approach.
 
2014-07-23 12:03:17 AM  
You know what would happen if we gave the Bundy ranch teabaggers a big ol' anti-aircraft missile and told them everything flying is a Messican gummint drone stealing yer jobs?

Yep. That's what happens.
 
2014-07-23 12:03:47 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: Delay: It's pretty easy when Russians give you their equipment, their missiles, their trained Russian pilots and then tell the local Cossacks to stay away. When things go south the Russians high tail it over the border.

At least it's an ethos.


Maybe but that 'ethos' deserves to be dragged out behind the sauna and double-tapped.
 
2014-07-23 12:20:09 AM  
 
2014-07-23 12:23:12 AM  
Of course, designing a point-and-shoot weapon that can track and reach something moving at 30,000 feet, and then utterly destroy it, is a work of brilliant engineering. And then you give it to hillbillies.
 
2014-07-23 12:26:23 AM  
So, we're basically left with two scenarios, neither of which favor Russia:

1. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then handed it over to pro-Russian rebels, gave them just enough training to fire the damned thing, and watched as these morons blew up a civilian aircraft, or;
2. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then blew up a civilian aircraft and left the pro-Russian rebels to be blamed for it.

Heckuva job, Russia.
 
2014-07-23 12:38:50 AM  

FormlessOne: So, we're basically left with two scenarios, neither of which favor Russia:

1. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then handed it over to pro-Russian rebels, gave them just enough training to fire the damned thing, and watched as these morons blew up a civilian aircraft, or;
2. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then blew up a civilian aircraft and left the pro-Russian rebels to be blamed for it.

Heckuva job, Russia.


So, you are saying that they are either inherently evil...

OR

They are grossly incompetent...


\I am going to put my money on the second one
\\based off of the history of the post-USSR Russian military
 
2014-07-23 12:42:44 AM  
The War Thunder ad on the side is a nice touch to this story :P

i1024.photobucket.com
 
2014-07-23 12:43:34 AM  

gozar_the_destroyer: FormlessOne: So, we're basically left with two scenarios, neither of which favor Russia:

1. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then handed it over to pro-Russian rebels, gave them just enough training to fire the damned thing, and watched as these morons blew up a civilian aircraft, or;
2. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then blew up a civilian aircraft and left the pro-Russian rebels to be blamed for it.

Heckuva job, Russia.

So, you are saying that they are either inherently evil...

OR

They are grossly incompetent...


\I am going to put my money on the second one
\\based off of the history of the post-USSR Russian military


Why not both?
 
2014-07-23 12:53:07 AM  

Kittypie070: ecmoRandomNumbers: Delay: It's pretty easy when Russians give you their equipment, their missiles, their trained Russian pilots and then tell the local Cossacks to stay away. When things go south the Russians high tail it over the border.

At least it's an ethos.

Maybe but that 'ethos' deserves to be dragged out behind the sauna and double-tapped.


Oh, you won't get any argument from me on this. Whoever pulled the trigger, all the way up to the Supreme Leader deserve to be cleft in twain on a pike, Catholic-style.
 
2014-07-23 01:16:40 AM  
Huh...turns out it's pretty difficult coming up with an original headline, eh subby?
 
2014-07-23 01:17:10 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: Kittypie070: ecmoRandomNumbers: Delay: It's pretty easy when Russians give you their equipment, their missiles, their trained Russian pilots and then tell the local Cossacks to stay away. When things go south the Russians high tail it over the border.

At least it's an ethos.

Maybe but that 'ethos' deserves to be dragged out behind the sauna and double-tapped.

Oh, you won't get any argument from me on this. Whoever pulled the trigger, all the way up to the Supreme Leader deserve to be cleft in twain on a pike, Catholic-style.


*ahem* Vlad style.
 
2014-07-23 01:38:38 AM  
FTA: "American officials believe the missile that destroyed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was fired by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine..."

Ummm... no. American officials say that they believe that, but they really believe that it was probably the CIA.
 
2014-07-23 01:41:28 AM  

FormlessOne: So, we're basically left with two scenarios, neither of which favor Russia:

1. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then handed it over to pro-Russian rebels, gave them just enough training to fire the damned thing, and watched as these morons blew up a civilian aircraft, or;
2. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then blew up a civilian aircraft and left the pro-Russian rebels to be blamed for it.

Heckuva job, Russia.


There's actually not a lot of setting up or configuring to be done with these things. Soviet weapon systems were designed to be bonehead simple, because their army relied on mass conscription instead of carefully trained volunteers. A lot of the operating instructions for the radars and so on are actually stamped on plaques inside the vehicles as helpful reminders. All you'd need is the launcher vehicle, the missiles (many of which were left behind when the USSR collapsed and others were apparently supplied by Putin's government), and the operator's manual. Basically if you can drive a tractor with a hand-operated choke and tune an old radio, you can fire one of these puppies with a bit of light reading.

Knowing how to use the system well enough to tell a Boeing 777 from a MiG is another story--and it's that obvious lack of expertise that got a bunch of flying Dutchmen blown to Cape Horn and back.
 
2014-07-23 01:57:16 AM  
easy to use? Da

Easy to use and prevent killing civilians or passengers jets? Nyet
 
2014-07-23 01:58:13 AM  
Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy:

Knowing how to use the system well enough to tell a Boeing 777 from a MiG is another story--and it's that obvious lack of expertise that got a bunch of flying Dutchmen blown to Cape Horn and back.

Normally, only one of those is overlying a war zone with active SAM sites.
 
2014-07-23 02:47:13 AM  

StopLurkListen: On opening that link I get a malware warning "Norton is processing security risk Trojan.ADH.2" -- is that part of the Wired.com's SA-11 training, too?


No it's Norton Processing your CC.

/Your running Norton?, what like commander?, if not you get what you paid for.
 
2014-07-23 03:30:40 AM  
FTFA: The problem with the SA-11 is that it's difficult to properly identify and track targets, but easy to fire missiles. "The skill comes in knowing what you want to shoot at," says Cordes. That's because the SA-11's radar system shows the same "blip" for all different targets. The operator sees an aircraft's altitude, air speed, and vector, but not it's size or type, says Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Airliners broadcast a four-digit transponder known as an IFF code that identifies them as civilian aircraft, and the SA-11 system is capable of picking up that information. But the training that goes into properly identifying aircraft takes months, especially since the window for acquiring and firing on targets is just a few minutes.

Mhmmm.

FormlessOne: So, we're basically left with two scenarios, neither of which favor Russia:

1. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then handed it over to pro-Russian rebels, gave them just enough training to fire the damned thing, and watched as these morons blew up a civilian aircraft, or;
2. A Russian crew set up and configured a military anti-aircraft system, then blew up a civilian aircraft and left the pro-Russian rebels to be blamed for it.

Heckuva job, Russia.


Either way Russia is responsible by my lights as well.

So what should the west do here? There's no real consensus beyond "tougher sanctions" at this point.

I say arm the Ukrainians. We convinced them to give up their nukes with the implied idea that we would stop Russia from rolling right over them 10 minutes later.

Too late to stop them now in Crimea but Russia needs to be humbled by the west and soonish.
 
2014-07-23 04:50:30 AM  
If an SU-17 can take down a 747 I guarantee that a SA-17 (or SA-11) can trivially take down a 777.

And "fire" is easier on every SAM system I've ever had the pleasure of examining.
 
2014-07-23 04:51:28 AM  
How much do you want to bet the crew that fired the missile have already been shot and buried some place remote?
 
2014-07-23 05:00:14 AM  

studebaker hoch: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy:

Knowing how to use the system well enough to tell a Boeing 777 from a MiG is another story--and it's that obvious lack of expertise that got a bunch of flying Dutchmen blown to Cape Horn and back.

Normally, only one of those is overlying a war zone with active SAM sites.


This wasn't expected to be a place with active sam sites, maybe just some MANPADS.
 
2014-07-23 05:15:56 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: Delay: It's pretty easy when Russians give you their equipment, their missiles, their trained Russian pilots and then tell the local Cossacks to stay away. When things go south the Russians high tail it over the border.

At least it's an ethos.


Shut up Donnie.
 
2014-07-23 05:31:35 AM  

Delay: It's pretty easy when Russians give you their equipment, their missiles, their trained Russian pilots and then tell the local Cossacks to stay away. When things go south the Russians high tail it over the border.


Citation?
 
2014-07-23 06:15:04 AM  

doglover: "highly trained" and "soldier" aren't really the same thing.

You know who is highly trained? Doctors. The average age for a doctor graduating medical school is around 28 according to google. Medical school is an extra 4 years on top of college. All pure training. (let's not even talk about all the post graduation training here)

Meanwhile basic training for the world is an average of 12 weeks. So these militants, even if they're fully trained by the Russian military at twice the average for a total of 24 weeks, they're still 184 weeks behind.


You wouldn't get out of basic training and just be "put" on a SAM crew without additional training.

Also, doctors fix things. You need less training to break things.
 
2014-07-23 07:03:47 AM  

tinyarena: Of course, designing a point-and-shoot weapon that can track and reach something moving at 30,000 feet, and then utterly destroy it, is a work of brilliant engineering. And then you give it to hillbillies.


Since it is military equipment, part of the brilliant engineering has to be in designing it so that half-educated hillbillies with a little bit of training can use it.
 
2014-07-23 07:36:25 AM  

Lsherm: doglover: "highly trained" and "soldier" aren't really the same thing.

You know who is highly trained? Doctors. The average age for a doctor graduating medical school is around 28 according to google. Medical school is an extra 4 years on top of college. All pure training. (let's not even talk about all the post graduation training here)

Meanwhile basic training for the world is an average of 12 weeks. So these militants, even if they're fully trained by the Russian military at twice the average for a total of 24 weeks, they're still 184 weeks behind.

You wouldn't get out of basic training and just be "put" on a SAM crew without additional training.

Also, doctors fix things. You need less training to break things.


Plus, by the time you've finished all the training to become a doctor, for the most part you aren't still suffering from what I like to call "testosterone poisoning".   That's the natural aggression of a male in his late teens and early twenties, combined with the physical fitness that usually goes along with that.   You think you're invincible, and you're read to kick ass, take names, and take the women of the people whom you've kicked the asses of.

By your late twenties, either you've decided to make the military your career, or you've gone on to more serene pursuits.
 
2014-07-23 07:54:57 AM  

TheOther: tinyarena: Of course, designing a point-and-shoot weapon that can track and reach something moving at 30,000 feet, and then utterly destroy it, is a work of brilliant engineering. And then you give it to hillbillies.

Since it is military equipment, part of the brilliant engineering has to be in designing it so that half-educated hillbillies with a little bit of training can use it.


Not just military equipment, not just Russian military equipment, but *SOVIET* military equipment.

Remember that the Red Army was a rather brutal organization for the typical inductee.  There was a 4-tiered hierarchy based upon how much time you had served, chopped up into 6 month segments (service was for 2 years).  NCO's weren't the professional soldiers they are in the US Army, they were recruits noted for their intelligence or leadership skills who were sent to a different school and they became pretty much instant sergeants.   They didn't really even have the time to become proficient on a more complex system like we would require in the US Army.

Another part of the problem is that the Soviet Union was so huge, you might have conscripts whose language was Ukrainian, Georgian, Azeri, Lithuanian, Latvian, Armenian, Tajik, Moldovan, etc.  There were 120 languages spoken in the former Soviet Union, and they all had to be able to operate the same equipment.

Today, it's a little bit different.  Russia doesn't have quite as many languages because many of the areas that spoke them are now independent nations.  Also, they've tried to move away from having a brutal conscript army, and they've had some successes.  Heck, just moving from portyanki (a traditional foot wrapping) to actual socks has improved the lot of the typical Russian soldier.  And they are trying to foster a professional NCO corps like the US has.

But most of their equipment is legacy stuff from the old Soviet Union, including the SA-11, and quite honestly there is a lot to be said for equipment that is rugged, easy to maintain, and easy to operate.  So it's not hard to see why they retain it, and why it's popular around the World.
 
2014-07-23 08:14:18 AM  
Basically if you can drive a tractor with a hand-operated choke and tune an old radio, you can fire one of these puppies with a bit of light reading.


Pretty much says it all.   dittybopper gets it right too - if you can read, you can fire the damn thing.  Target discrimination, not so much.

Makes one wonder though what the fratricide rate in a shooting war would be.  In 2003, we whacked at least one of our own aircraft over Iraq with a Patriot, and in '73 it's known that the Egyptians had a pretty high blue-on-blue rate with their SAMs.  I'm thinking that a lot of returning Russian pilots would be finding themselves under fire from their own people.
 
2014-07-23 08:43:45 AM  
take a three-day course and go for it easy.

Where exactly do you find a 3 day course on using SAMs? I don't recall seeing Sally Struthers do that commercial.
 
2014-07-23 09:04:23 AM  
Step 1: Acquire functional and loaded SA-11 battery seems to be the most difficult part of the whole thing.

Step 2: Shoot at a giant, slow moving blip on the radar screen appears to be pretty easy as long as you don't particularly care what the blip is.
 
2014-07-23 10:29:00 AM  

Baradium: studebaker hoch: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy:

Knowing how to use the system well enough to tell a Boeing 777 from a MiG is another story--and it's that obvious lack of expertise that got a bunch of flying Dutchmen blown to Cape Horn and back.

Normally, only one of those is overlying a war zone with active SAM sites.

This wasn't expected to be a place with active sam sites, maybe just some MANPADS.


Which can't get that high, and require you to actually look at what you're shooting at.
 
2014-07-23 10:45:03 AM  

quatchi: Either way Russia is responsible by my lights as well.


Even tho there's no evidence that the Russian-backed separatists even have the Buk AA system?
Even tho the US-backed Ukrainians do have the the Buk AA system, and they were known to be deployed in the area despite the separatists' almost total lack of airplanes? It seems odd for Ukraine to have an expensive missile system in an area in which it is of no military use and where the position could be overrun and captured by separatists.

The only thing that there's no doubt about is that the US is lying and that American journalists are, as they always do, repeating the lies. It's the one clear pattern when it comes to foreign policy.

And Assad used poison gas on civilians in Ghouta.
And Iran is developing nukes.
And Saddam has WMDs.

If you think the Ukrainians should be armed, then send them your money. Leave my money out of it.
 
2014-07-23 11:01:30 AM  

AtlanticCoast63: Basically if you can drive a tractor with a hand-operated choke and tune an old radio, you can fire one of these puppies with a bit of light reading.


Pretty much says it all.   dittybopper gets it right too - if you can read, you can fire the damn thing.  Target discrimination, not so much.

Makes one wonder though what the fratricide rate in a shooting war would be.  In 2003, we whacked at least one of our own aircraft over Iraq with a Patriot, and in '73 it's known that the Egyptians had a pretty high blue-on-blue rate with their SAMs.  I'm thinking that a lot of returning Russian pilots would be finding themselves under fire from their own people.


That's one reason why they tended to make more, to account for the inevitable losses.

United States military sees a blue-on-blue incident and it usually takes extraordinary measures to prevent a recurrence.

Soviet military?  Unless there was a huge number of them, it got filed under "acceptable losses".

The two different, competing philosophies are actually intriguing on a wider scale:  US goes for more capable hardware that is operated by fewer people but that is more expensive (and thus when you lose one, it hurts more), whereas traditionally Russia has been oriented to much more hardware, with each piece being less capable but if you lose one it doesn't effect you anywhere near as much.

It even boils down to the individual military personnel.  The typical enlisted soldier in the United States is much more educated and knowledgeable, and in fact is more likely to take the initiative, than the typical Russian conscript.

Heck, you find junior officers in the Russian military doing jobs that are traditionally done by NCO's in the US military.  That should tell you a lot right there.

They're moving in the right direction, though.  Up to 30% of the enlisted are "contract", ei., volunteers or re-enlisted, and that's a start on building a professional NCO corps, which is something that the Russian and Soviet military mostly lacked in the past.
 
2014-07-23 11:09:08 AM  
No, it's actually pretty difficult, but the difficult parts were front-loaded and scientists and engineers already took care of them.
 
2014-07-23 12:00:29 PM  

China White Tea: No, it's actually pretty difficult, but the difficult parts were front-loaded and scientists and engineers already took care of them.


Actually, no, it's not:  The math is pretty simple.  Anyone who remembers high school geometry can effectively target an aircraft flying on a constant heading at a constant speed and altitude.
 
2014-07-23 12:21:24 PM  
No, no and no...

I was repeatedly assured, right here on Fark, that you had to be "highly trained" to operate this system. My response was somewhere along the lines of 'Why? Does the thing make breakfast for you, too?'.

There is absolutely no way a farker would lead me astray.
 
2014-07-23 01:05:32 PM  

doglover: "highly trained" and "soldier" aren't really the same thing.

You know who is highly trained? Doctors. The average age for a doctor graduating medical school is around 28 according to google. Medical school is an extra 4 years on top of college. All pure training. (let's not even talk about all the post graduation training here)

Meanwhile basic training for the world is an average of 12 weeks. So these militants, even if they're fully trained by the Russian military at twice the average for a total of 24 weeks, they're still 184 weeks behind.


While no where near medical school you do over simplify things . According to the US Army  an
PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer (14E)  go3es through 10 weeks of basic and 20 Weeks of AIT-Advanced individual training (nobody comes out of boot camp and goes to top lean their MOS through OJT anymore).  A  PATRIOT Launching Station Enhanced Operator/Maintainer (14T) goes through 10 weeks basic and 13 weeks AIT.  Now I am pretty sure that Joe private fresh from AIT does not make the desicon to fire a Patriot Missile.  The would probably  be made by an Officer (maybe an NCO) in a Fire control Center.  So you can add more years of experience and more training on top of that Advanced and Senior courses for  for NCOs  and training for officers.

Given Russian fondness for centralized control I am willing to bet Private Ivan does not get to make the decision to launch a missile either.  As for the Russian Separatists who knows.
 
2014-07-23 01:34:29 PM  
So how hard would it be to chaff every flight? How much would it cost?

Obviously I don't mean with chaff, that would be a huge environmental complaint. But chaff with drones that fly alongside. Something light so the fuel costs are nothing but with high reflectivity for chaffing. Like paint the lightest drone you can find silver and let two of them fly on either side for every civvy flight in the world.
 
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