Ground Based Air Defence

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
RunningStrong
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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by RunningStrong »

Timmymagic wrote: 20 Apr 2024, 10:21 It wouldn't be the first time that a naming convention goes awry...

MBDA Spear being called Spear 3 is the most obvious example...
It's just a yet to be named missile system that currently rests on the programme name. Just like FC/ASW will probably get a catchy name when it enters service, but was Spear 5.
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Poiuytrewq
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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Poiuytrewq »

If the U.K. needs a £10bn Iron Done system with ABM capability the 6x missing Type 45 should the main component of it.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/20 ... ing-boost/.

Penny Mordaunt calls for an Iron Dome over Britain….House of Commons Leader urges PM to increase security spending as former ministers warn UK is not capable of protecting itself from attack

Penny Mordaunt has broken ranks to call for an Israeli-style “Iron Dome” missile defence system for Britain.

In a highly unusual intervention, the Leader of the House of Commons has publicly urged Rishi Sunak to increase spending on defence, calling it a “duty to our citizens”.

It comes as former defence secretaries, the former chief of the general staff, a former first sea lord and a former air marshall all call on the Prime Minister to bolster the UK’s air defences, warning that Britain would not be able to protect its citizens from a drone and missile attack of the type launched by Iran against Israel.

The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal that Number 10 and the Treasury previously rebuffed a request from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for funds to build a British “Iron Dome”.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel last week but almost all were intercepted, largely due to Israel’s formidable air defences, which include the short-range “Iron Dome” system.

In a move that will be interpreted by some in the Tory party as a leadership bid, Ms Mordaunt, a former defence secretary, strayed from her brief to urge the Prime Minister to boost military spending.

She told The Sunday Telegraph: “To those that say about our defence ambitions ‘we can’t do, shouldn’t do or can’t afford to do’, I say ‘look to Israel’ – a nation a fraction of our size that has staved off an attack from a nation 10 times its size.

“It has made a choice. It has made it work. We may not have its daily reminders of the threats we face, but we have the same duty to our citizens.

“Israel’s defence is our defence, and we must be ready to defend our allies the same way that we would defend ourselves, as we did last weekend.”

Writing on the issue of defence for The Telegraph, Ms Mordaunt also claimed that Labour cannot be trusted with the nation’s defence and the Conservatives “must demonstrate that we can be”.

Ms Mordaunt failed to mention Grant Shapps, the current Defence Secretary, but heaped praise on his predecessor, Liam Fox, for his “heroic efforts” to “retain and regenerate” the UK’s capabilities.

It is her second intervention on defence spending, which is likely to be a key battleground for a future Tory leadership campaign.

Earlier this year, Ms Mordaunt announced that she had met with the Chancellor to remind him that the Government’s “first duty” is to protect Britain, amid a backlash over the lack of extra funding for the MoD in the Budget.

Last night her calls were echoed by three former defence chiefs. Greg Bagwell, a former UK air defence commander, said Britain’s defences had been “shrink-wrapped” around “very specific, limited and bounded tasks”.

He said we now had a force that could professionally “police” an Olympics or deal with “a 9/11 scenario and even the odd Russian itinerant aircraft” but “not a concerted, conventional attack”.

Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, said: “The bottom line is that if we had 300 missiles fired at us, we wouldn’t be able to repel them in the way that Israel did, albeit with help from the US, the Jordanians and so on. We have nothing like the Iron Dome and I think there is a need for us to ensure we have that.”

Lord Dannatt, who was Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009, added: “The only real air defence systems we have are the sort of air defence systems we would use to protect forces on operations overseas.

“We don’t have a comprehensive air defence system in the same way that we did in World War Two, in the same way that we did in the Cold War – that has largely been dismantled. On that sort of basis, we are not terribly well prepared. The wider argument is that we should be investing more deeply in our defence budget overall.”

Commitment for integrated defence system
The Telegraph understands that, in the run-up to last July’s Defence Command Paper, the MoD requested a commitment be made for about £10 billion for an integrated air and missile defence system (IAMDS).

However, No 10 and the Treasury are said to have baulked at the cost, insisting any plans would have to wait for an Integrated Review after the next election.

To signal future intent, a reference was inserted into the Defence Command Paper that the UK would “step up our efforts to deliver an integrated air and missile defence approach”.

On Saturday, a government official insisted that they did not recognise the claim that a request for money had been refused.

Ben Wallace and Sir Gavin Williamson, former defence secretaries, have told The Telegraph that Britain needs to invest more in its defences. Mr Wallace said that extra funding “needs to go on defence from the air, whether that is counter-drone or counter-missile”.

“That is where you see the growth of the enemy capabilities – even simple enemies, like the Houthis, are assembling missiles and firing them from dried-out waddies in the desert and they are going hundreds of miles,” he warned.

Sir Gavin said that the post-war “peace dividend” that governments had relied on “has come to the end” and we cannot rely only on a nuclear deterrent.

James Heappey, a former Armed Forces minister, said a British Iron Dome was “inescapably necessary” and work needed to start urgently on one because it would take five to 10 years to deliver. “With the threat rising daily, we can’t delay any longer,” he said.

MoD asked No 10 to fund upgrades
The UK is currently protected by a combination of Sky Sabre (a medium-range, ground-based air defence system ), Type-45 destroyers and Typhoon jets.

However, one Sky Sabre has been deployed to the Falkland Islands and another to Poland, while Type-45 destroyers are being rotated in and out of the southern Red Sea to deter the Houthis. Quick-reaction Typhoon squadrons have meanwhile been committed to Cyprus and to take part in Nato air policing in Romania.

This has led to concerns about whether the assets could be brought back in time if intelligence suggested Britain faced imminent attack.

Last month, Lieutenant General Sir Rob Magowan, the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, confirmed to MPs that the MoD had asked Number 10 for money to upgrade air defences. He told the Defence Select Committee: “We have been clear that we need to spend more money—above the programme of record—on what we call integrated air and missile defence.”

Mark Francois, a former Armed Forces minister, said: “Russia’s tactics in Ukraine, of launching mass cruise missile strikes from long-range bombers, shows what we could realistically expect in wartime, from attacks coming in over the Northern Atlantic.

“We urgently need to develop a comprehensive defence against both ballistic and cruise missile attacks – an ‘Albion Dome’ if you like – and the Chancellor must ‘courageously’ find the money for it, or leave us operationally deeply vulnerable without it.”
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tomuk
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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by tomuk »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 20 Apr 2024, 23:39 If the U.K. needs a £10bn Iron Done system with ABM capability the 6x missing Type 45 should the main component of it.
Why not ground based?

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by new guy »

tomuk wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 00:18
Poiuytrewq wrote: 20 Apr 2024, 23:39 If the U.K. needs a £10bn Iron Done system with ABM capability the 6x missing Type 45 should the main component of it.
Why not ground based?
Especially when 6 is only enough to cover CSG


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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Poiuytrewq »

tomuk wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 00:18
Poiuytrewq wrote: 20 Apr 2024, 23:39 If the U.K. needs a £10bn Iron Done system with ABM capability the 6x missing Type 45 should the main component of it.
Why not ground based?
It should be partially ground based especially around nationally important sites and large population centres.

£10bn would be a huge amount to spend on GBAD to protect the U.K. for a capability that would most likely be constantly moved abroad to protect other things.

The practicalities of getting RN another 6 Destroyers with ABM within a decade is problematic to say the least.

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by SD67 »

Well we have a £4bn deal to help Poland build its air defence system, surely "backward integrating " that to the UK would be an efficient place to start. If based initially on CAMM-ER then there would be a series of 80-100km "bubbles" around the country. Then add in CAM-MR to double the range.

Surely it should be doable within 2.5% of GDP.

As long as we dont go back to square 1 and turn it into a never ending research project
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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Repulse »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 07:40 The practicalities of getting RN another 6 Destroyers with ABM within a decade is problematic to say the least.
I’ve got an idea to how to get three and how to fund it.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 08:09
Poiuytrewq wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 07:40 The practicalities of getting RN another 6 Destroyers with ABM within a decade is problematic to say the least.
I’ve got an idea to how to get three and how to fund it.
Hypothetically, if BAE was asked to build 5 or 6 Destroyers rapidly to fill a UOR it would cause a crisis in planning and probably lead to a lot of money getting wasted. The capacity at Govan isn’t there and building a T26 based AAW variant alongside the current T26 hulls plus a possible Norway order is unrealistic.

If it had to happen rapidly as a national security priority, constructing the hulls at Rosyth to be fitted out at Scotstoun may be the most efficient way to proceed. Rosyth has the capacity and the infrastructure to achieve it.

A cheap and dirty AAW Frigate design with ABM is exactly what RN need right now. All the technology exists and is both proven and low risk.

It’s just a question of securing the funding and integrating the necessary systems onto a suitable hull within an acceptable timeframe.

It does beg one question: If an urgent £10bn integrated air defence system was deleted from the IR refresh by No10 and HMT what else was deleted before the document was turned into incoherent babble?

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by SW1 »

Does the arrow(missile) and the sensor need to be co-located for ballistic missile defence?

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Repulse »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:25
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 08:09
Poiuytrewq wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 07:40 The practicalities of getting RN another 6 Destroyers with ABM within a decade is problematic to say the least.
I’ve got an idea to how to get three and how to fund it.
Hypothetically, if BAE was asked to build 5 or 6 Destroyers rapidly to fill a UOR it would cause a crisis in planning and probably lead to a lot of money getting wasted. The capacity at Govan isn’t there and building a T26 based AAW variant alongside the current T26 hulls plus a possible Norway order is unrealistic.

If it had to happen rapidly as a national security priority, constructing the hulls at Rosyth to be fitted out at Scotstoun may be the most efficient way to proceed. Rosyth has the capacity and the infrastructure to achieve it.

A cheap and dirty AAW Frigate design with ABM is exactly what RN need right now. All the technology exists and is both proven and low risk.

It’s just a question of securing the funding and integrating the necessary systems onto a suitable hull within an acceptable timeframe.
I agree whilst in the next decade increasing BAE ship building tempo by giving certainty on future orders (and not wasting money on other things) will help fill some of the gap - the gap is big so short term measures are required.

CEC was promised as part of the argument that the numbers of AAW Destroyers could be cut it didn’t happen. Sampson was supposed to be on the carriers, it didn’t happen. We should start here.

Ditching the T31 in its current form and instead converting three back to its IH heritage should be next. There is no new money, so it needs to be self funded IMO.
It does beg one question: If an urgent £10bn integrated air defence system was deleted from the IR refresh by No10 and HMT what else was deleted before the document was turned into incoherent babble.
Good question
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Repulse »

SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:34 Does the arrow(missile) and the sensor need to be co-located for ballistic missile defence?
No, this is where technologies like CEC come into play.

The UK is an island so a base land capability enhanced when needed by a mobile platforms that can also be used in other regions is critical. That’s more tier one AAW destroyers, AEW aircraft, interceptor jets and mobile land based launchers / sensors. This is a priority alongside area denial (especially ASW) capabilities.
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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by SW1 »

Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:58
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:34 Does the arrow(missile) and the sensor need to be co-located for ballistic missile defence?
No, this is where technologies like CEC come into play.

The UK is an island so a base land capability enhanced when needed by a mobile platforms that can also be used in other regions is critical. That’s more tier one AAW destroyers, AEW aircraft, interceptor jets and mobile land based launchers / sensors. This is a priority alongside area denial (especially ASW) capabilities.
So you could have radar sites like say flyingdales on land do the tracking and launcher sites elsewhere on land or sea?

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:49 There is no new money, so it needs to be self funded IMO.
If there is no new money then there will be no IAMDS.

The existing budget can’t cope with the current commitments. Adding more without an injection of new cash is irresponsible.

IAMDS does give RN, RAF and the Army a clear pathway to a lot of what’s needed. A joined up program to procure a variety of capabilities for each of the land, sea and air domains which would ultimately combine to create IAMDS to protect the U.K. seems too good to be true.

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Repulse »

SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:10
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:58
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:34 Does the arrow(missile) and the sensor need to be co-located for ballistic missile defence?
No, this is where technologies like CEC come into play.

The UK is an island so a base land capability enhanced when needed by a mobile platforms that can also be used in other regions is critical. That’s more tier one AAW destroyers, AEW aircraft, interceptor jets and mobile land based launchers / sensors. This is a priority alongside area denial (especially ASW) capabilities.
So you could have radar sites like say flyingdales on land do the tracking and launcher sites elsewhere on land or sea?
I would have a mixture of land and sea based radar sites, though when tensions are high also assume a level of AEW aircraft in the air also. Would assume mobile launcher sites would be the most effective setup.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Repulse »

Poiuytrewq wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:13
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:49 There is no new money, so it needs to be self funded IMO.
If there is no new money then there will be no IAMDS.
Sorry, don’t agree - the is a budget and it needs to be aligned to what is needed. Even if there was new money, a re-prioritisation is still required.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:15 I would have a mixture of land and sea based radar sites, though when tensions are high also assume a level of AEW aircraft in the air also. Would assume mobile launcher sites would be the most effective setup.
Could additional E-7 have been part of the £10bn IAMDS proposal?

Formulated properly IAMDS could close many of the gaps that have appeared through insufficient funding in recent decades.

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by SW1 »

Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:15
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:10
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:58
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:34 Does the arrow(missile) and the sensor need to be co-located for ballistic missile defence?
No, this is where technologies like CEC come into play.

The UK is an island so a base land capability enhanced when needed by a mobile platforms that can also be used in other regions is critical. That’s more tier one AAW destroyers, AEW aircraft, interceptor jets and mobile land based launchers / sensors. This is a priority alongside area denial (especially ASW) capabilities.
So you could have radar sites like say flyingdales on land do the tracking and launcher sites elsewhere on land or sea?
I would have a mixture of land and sea based radar sites, though when tensions are high also assume a level of AEW aircraft in the air also. Would assume mobile launcher sites would be the most effective setup.
So in the context of uk mainland defence if a ship had the ability to simply launch an sm3 type missile then the radar track and command could be done elsewhere and the ship is basically a remote launcher site with a datalink.

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Repulse »

SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:28
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:15
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:10
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:58
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:34 Does the arrow(missile) and the sensor need to be co-located for ballistic missile defence?
No, this is where technologies like CEC come into play.

The UK is an island so a base land capability enhanced when needed by a mobile platforms that can also be used in other regions is critical. That’s more tier one AAW destroyers, AEW aircraft, interceptor jets and mobile land based launchers / sensors. This is a priority alongside area denial (especially ASW) capabilities.
So you could have radar sites like say flyingdales on land do the tracking and launcher sites elsewhere on land or sea?
I would have a mixture of land and sea based radar sites, though when tensions are high also assume a level of AEW aircraft in the air also. Would assume mobile launcher sites would be the most effective setup.
So in the context of uk mainland defence if a ship had the ability to simply launch an sm3 type missile then the radar track and command could be done elsewhere and the ship is basically a remote launcher site with a datalink.
Of course, but this is only one model - we should be looking at mobile radars also. The point being that we can adjust our response to the threat level and location, not only for the UK but BOTs such as Cyprus and also supporting allies. There will be cases where the radar and launcher are most efficiently based on the same platform, hence why the evolution of the T45s and ensuring the T83s are top tier is important.
”We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow." - Lord Palmerston

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by SW1 »

Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:38
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:28
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:15
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:10
Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:58
SW1 wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 09:34 Does the arrow(missile) and the sensor need to be co-located for ballistic missile defence?
No, this is where technologies like CEC come into play.

The UK is an island so a base land capability enhanced when needed by a mobile platforms that can also be used in other regions is critical. That’s more tier one AAW destroyers, AEW aircraft, interceptor jets and mobile land based launchers / sensors. This is a priority alongside area denial (especially ASW) capabilities.
So you could have radar sites like say flyingdales on land do the tracking and launcher sites elsewhere on land or sea?
I would have a mixture of land and sea based radar sites, though when tensions are high also assume a level of AEW aircraft in the air also. Would assume mobile launcher sites would be the most effective setup.
So in the context of uk mainland defence if a ship had the ability to simply launch an sm3 type missile then the radar track and command could be done elsewhere and the ship is basically a remote launcher site with a datalink.
Of course, but this is only one model - we should be looking at mobile radars also. The point being that we can adjust our response to the threat level and location, not only for the UK but BOTs such as Cyprus and also supporting allies. There will be cases where the radar and launcher are most efficiently based on the same platform, hence why the evolution of the T45s and ensuring the T83s are top tier is important.
Is that not why the RAF bought the LTR-25 radar a couple of years ago to be deployable in support of uk ground forces?

The type 101 radar was sent to Cyprus in 2013 and is permanently in the Falklands

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Caribbean »

We are supposed to be part of the European Sky Sheild initiative, based on
  • Medium range: primarily IRIS-T SLM
    Long range: MIM-104 Patriot
    Very long range (exoatmospheric): Arrow 3
Though presumably, we might opt for SAMP-T (Aster 30) or CAMM-MR in place of Patriot and CAMM/CAMM-ER in place of IRIS-T SLM

We did get authorisation from the US to purchase a Ballistic Missile Radar & Control system a couple of years ago, for around $700m. I don't know whether it went ahead, but the planned in-service date was 2029
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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Timmymagic »

RunningStrong wrote: 20 Apr 2024, 20:41
Timmymagic wrote: 20 Apr 2024, 10:21 It wouldn't be the first time that a naming convention goes awry...

MBDA Spear being called Spear 3 is the most obvious example...
It's just a yet to be named missile system that currently rests on the programme name. Just like FC/ASW will probably get a catchy name when it enters service, but was Spear 5.
It has a name...its MBDA Spear...

Has done for years...since it won the competition...

https://www.mbda-systems.com/product/spear/

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Timmymagic »

Repulse wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 10:15 I would have a mixture of land and sea based radar sites, though when tensions are high also assume a level of AEW aircraft in the air also. Would assume mobile launcher sites would be the most effective setup.
Here's your first site...

The MISC, a landbased T45 with all the systems located on Portsdown Hill above Portsmouth...all you'd need to do is install some Sylver...

https://maps.app.goo.gl/ThDAsJiXBAz6jKNB7

https://www.baesystems.com/en/article/b ... ort-centre

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Timmymagic »

Caribbean wrote: 21 Apr 2024, 12:46 We are supposed to be part of the European Sky Sheild initiative, based on
  • Medium range: primarily IRIS-T SLM
    Long range: MIM-104 Patriot
    Very long range (exoatmospheric): Arrow 3
Though presumably, we might opt for SAMP-T (Aster 30) or CAMM-MR in place of Patriot and CAMM/CAMM-ER in place of IRIS-T SLM

We did get authorisation from the US to purchase a Ballistic Missile Radar & Control system a couple of years ago, for around $700m. I don't know whether it went ahead, but the planned in-service date was 2029
Although we're a founding member we're definitely there more to encourage others, particularly in the Baltics and High North to co-operate as it benefits us indirectly.

The French, Italians, Spanish and Polish have chosen not to join for a variety of reasons, primarily because of their own direction of travel, an over-reliance on German or non-European kit. And they're absolutely right on that...SAMP/T should be the basis of the higher end system, but with wider particpation (France and Italy have not played a good hand in that regard) with the likes of IRIS-T AND Land Ceptor occupying the mid tier. When it comes to the exo and endo atmospheric interception capability it needs to be a European initiative. Relying on the US or Israel is not a good long term prospect.
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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Timmymagic »

A demonstration of Asraam's manoeuverability ...

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Re: Ground Based Air Defence

Post by Poiuytrewq »

Pretty clear that it’s another case of “when economic conditions allow”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/20 ... an-israel/.

A British ‘Iron Dome’ would need to be even more sophisticated than Israel’s
We must be clear-eyed about how we can defend the country’s airspace if find ourselves at war


The Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system intercepts rockets fired by Hamas
Soon after construction began at Hinkley Point C, I stood in a massive hole on the Somerset coast watching millions of tons of concrete being poured all around me while EDF’s public affairs team assured me, on behalf of my constituents living a few miles downwind, that the nuclear reactors that would fill that hole would be protected by a dome so strong it would withstand earthquakes and even a direct hit from a commercial airliner.

With 9/11 and Fukushima both in the not-too-distant past, this was reassuring but I didn’t give it another thought until sat in the Ministry of Defence seven years later fretting over the air defence and ballistic hardening of the Zaporizhzhia power plant in eastern Ukraine.

The grim reality is that in war, centres of industry, political decision making, financial markets and critical infrastructure all make appealing targets for an adversary with little regard for the Geneva Convention and, sadly, we’ve seen that repeatedly demonstrated in the way Russia and, most recently, Iran have launched complex airborne attacks against centres of population and key civilian infrastructure.

This forces us to be clear-eyed about the degree to which we can secure the UK’s airspace and defend against the sort of attacks we’ve seen on Kyiv and Jerusalem if – as is no longer improbable – we were to find ourselves at war.

The answer is that we do have a set of capabilities that together allow us to thwart most threats although, as RUSI’s Jack Watling and Sidharth Kaushal set out in their paper published this week, there is a great deal to do to develop the command and control that fuses fixed radar with other sensors and matches them to disparate systems that exist on warships, Typhoon fighter jets and on the back of trucks.

Nobody in the MoD would disagree too much with their analysis; indeed, as you’d expect, the Chief of the Defence Staff had reflected on our homeland defence months ago and ordered a review of our systems and how they can be integrated to give the best possible protection.

It’s the first time that had been looked at in a very long time and while it shows that we’ve got enough to guard against a one-off attack with enough notice to put ships, planes and trucks in the right place – as we did for the London Olympics with a Type 45 destroyer on the Thames, Typhoon fighters at RAF Northolt, and Army air defence batteries across east London – we don’t have the fully integrated air and missile defence system that the UK urgently needs in order to be confident of a secure homeland if under sustained attack and while our Armed Forces were needed elsewhere as part of a Nato military response.

In those circumstances, the air defence batteries would be protecting our troops on the frontline, our destroyers would be protecting aircraft carriers or shipping on key sea lanes, and our fighter jets would be shooting down the enemy and bombing targets on the ground.

They simply can’t be in two places at once and even if we had twice as many of all of them, such is the complexity of the modern air threat with suicide drones, bombs dropped from planes, as well as cruise and ballistic missiles, it really would be much more effective to invest in a fully integrated system to defend us.

Such systems are incredibly expensive and with many more centres of population across a much bigger territory, a British “Iron Dome” would need to be even more sophisticated and capable than Israel’s. That’s why, in the end, we’ll need to strike a balance between building more of our critical national infrastructure to a standard where it’s hardened against air attack, as I saw at Hinkley C, alongside an air defence system that protects our key military, industrial, financial and political centres.

Within the system we do build, will be electronic counter-drone technologies on which the UK is already a world leader – indeed the MoD announced this week that we’ll be deploying some of those capabilities this summer to assist our French friends in protecting the Paris Olympics. I’d expect that also within the system we develop will be newly emerging directed energy weapons (lasers), where again the UK is leading following the successful demonstration of “Dragon Fire” earlier in the year.

Beyond that, it all looks very much like Tom Cruise’s bombing run at the end of the Top Gun sequel, where missile batteries connected to myriad sensors with a lightning-fast command and control system protect us from the more conventional missile and aircraft threat.

The first priority of government is the defence and security of the homeland. IAMDS is inescapably necessary for achieving that against the complex air threats we may well face but it will take at least five years, perhaps 10, for the system to be fully delivered. With the threat rising daily, we can’t delay any longer before investing.

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