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16 August 2006


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Marcello thanks for the response. So the next question is what is 4 km in regards to the accuracy of a katyusha?


There was a post a few days ago about what would have been the impact of cheap SAMs on the war. In previous wars, accuracy in bombing was achieved through low-level sorties. With dumb bombs, the greater the altitude, the greater the inaccuracy. With the arrival of smart bombs that no longer applies, so the impact of man-portable SAMs has declined as the planes now operate above their effective ceiling.

However, I came across an article (admittedly on NewsMax) that suggested that China has developed a low-cost air defence system. They have licenced the Russian S-300PMU system and have now started serial production of the HQ-15 system. The Chinese have reduced the cost to themselves from $300M to $30M.

Soviet/Russian air defences got a bad press because of the IAFs destruction of the Syrian air defences in the Bekaa Valley in 1982. This article suggests that it was due more to Syrian incompetence. The Israelis certainly had a different view after 1973 when they lost 14% of their frontline strength to Soviet SAMs.

Should the Israelis I be worried if Hezbollah were folded into the Lebanese Army and Iran offered funding to the Lebanese government for HQ-15 air defence systems. There is nothing in UNSC1701 to stop that. It is certain that Hezbollah would not make the same mistakes as the Egyptians in 1973 and the Syrians in 1982.

BTW, the Iranian have already purchased several S-300PMU systems from the Russians. With China having agreed to invested $100 billion in Iran's oil and gas, you have to suspect that they will protect their investment with further HQ-15 systems.



Here is Olmert, speaking on Wednesday, August 2:

Israel's offensive in Lebanon has "entirely destroyed" the infrastructure of the Hezbollah guerilla group, Olmert said Wednesday.

"I think Hezbollah has been disarmed by the military operation of Israel to a large degree," he said.

"The infrastructure of Hezbollah has been entirely destroyed. More than 700... command positions of Hezbollah were entirely wiped out by the Israeli army. All the population which is the power base of the Hezbollah in Lebanon was displaced," he said.

Olmert is saying that the emptying of South Lebanon is an achievement, and after that it is hard to argue that it wasn't a goal.


Regarding SAM's, HA is largely restricted to man-portable devices for logistical reasons. There are no man-portable SAM's that are any good against high-altitude bombing with smart weapons, all you have to do is fly at 15,000 feet and that's that. However, they do serve to eliminate direct helicopter fire support and impair mobility of the opposing force to prevent them from bypassing you via helicopter cavalry, assuming that you have a defense in depth rather than a shallow defense.

SAM's were fairly effective against the IAF in 1973, but those mobility issues insured that Syrian and Egyptian forces could not exploit their early victories, because their SAM batteries were too bulky to be easily moved as the front moved. The Syrians outran their SAM coverage and got plastered, while the Egyptians lingered befuddled at the edge of their SAM coverage, unable to exploit their early gains, until the Israelis figured out a way to spike their SAM's. That is because SAM's capable of countering fast high-altitude jets were large and difficult to move, and neither the Syrians nor Egyptians had a plan for how to accomplish that as the front moved.

These mobility issues still remain due to simple physics -- if you have a jet flying at 15,000 feet, either you fire a small missile from another jet flying at 15,000 feet, or you fire a really big missile from the ground, a really big missile with a really big rocket motor because it has to boost itself to faster than the jet while working against gravity all the way in a time short enough that the enemy jet hasn't flown out of range by the time the missile gets to altitude. And a really big missile is hard to move and hard to hide. Until some sort of cheap portable lightweight drone is created to allow hoisting small missiles high into the air, a light force is not going to have the ability to counter high altitude bombing. That's just the nature of physics here -- the law of gravity cares not for the laws of man, it simply is.

In short: If HA gets folded into the Lebanese Army (as an official "division" under independent command, same guys, different uniform), they might get real SAM's (after they change into their spiffy new Lebanese Army uniforms). As long as they are a semi-guerilla light force, though, it's unlikely they'll do so, because logistically speaking it's just not compatible with their modus operandi of high mobility small team operations.


Lee A. Arnold

One wonders whether the Bush Administration has the moral ability to make "immoral equivalence" into a rational basis for moving forward, to peace. The argument should be a no-brainer. But you have to reveal the skeletons in your own closet too, while maneuvering the other side to a capitulation. This is a lot of moral ability! Given the evidence of the Bush Administration's conduct in domestic matters, the outlook may not be so good.


Abu Sinan : I've seen a reference to a ruling that talked about the legality of besieging a city which contained Muslim hostages. I'm trying to track it down more precicely but the gist of it was that when you're in a just war, the deaths of Muslims living in enemy territory are permissable so long as you make every effort to prevent them. The reasoning being that if the prohibition was absolute, the enemies of Islam would be able to immunize themselves from any responce by holding Muslim hostages.


In the 21st century there are no large unpopulated land areas where armies can clash away from civilians, unless of course you wage war in Antartica. Civilian casualties should be minimized by every means possible but they are going to happen regardless. Perhaps we should follow the practices of a more chivalrous and genteel era and let battles be decided by a champion from each side.

Babak Makkinejad

The Mongol invasion of Central Asia and the Iranian Plateau, the sack of Constantinopole, the massacares of teh Thrity-Year War, the bombings of cities in the American Civil War and WWII leads to believe that there are no differences between military and civilian targets. All those historical stuations that made such distinctions, in my opinion, were exceptions rather than the rule.

I have been told that the kill ratio for un-conditional surrender is 5 to 7 % of the enemy population. It is 20% for an insurgency.

Without using nuclear weapons states that do not have the man-power cannot achieve victory; it seems to me then. The reason being that it takes a long time to kill that many people without nuclear weapons.

Is this then not a dead-end?


blowback: "I suspect the German FM might be a budding Neo-con. What if he tries to order the German military attached to UNIFIL+ to disarm Hezbollah. I hope the German military are not stupid and will tell him where to shove it."

He is a neo-lib not a neo-con but under a lot of US influence. The traditional conservatives are very much against any German land deployment in ME. So he will not be able to order the military to disarm Hisbullah.

Also he does need a majority in parliament to give any such order and at least currently there isn´t one.


"Anyone know how accurate a Katyusha normally is? What sort of sized target can they hit? And since they are so inaccurate what are they normally used for in conventional military operations ? I had the impression they were almost random, but the comments above have got me wondering."

Normal modus operandi in conventional armies is firing them en masse against area targets, such as systems of trenches or armored formations on the march, in the latter case typically using cluster munitions.Accuracy is improved somewhat by better processes and compensated by mass use.

"Marcello thanks for the response. So the next question is what is 4 km in regards to the accuracy of a katyusha?"

Since the Hizballah have many different models with vastly different ranges and characteristics it is very difficult to say.And beyond the rockets themselves there is the matter of deployment:how much accurate is the aiming etc.


Here is a list with what may be in the Hizballah inventory.


Each of these rockets will have its own accuracy.Except for some russian or chinese clones, where data may be theoretically available but would be hard to find only some guys at DIO can comment on their theoretically accuracy.


I learnt a Hebrew word today: "mechdal" - meaning something like "culpable failure resulting from inadequate preparation and inaction".
In the unfortunate circumstances it is perhaps a useful word to have in ones vocabulary.


Finally GPS guided missiles
would be certainly possible, well within the capabilities of a skilled and imaginative home builder.The problem is that the GPS signal available in an area to non military users can be downgraded at US discretion, limiting the effectiviness of such weapon.

Duncan Kinder

This discussion of hand held missiles vs. air power has not discussed the cost benefits involved.

Hand held missiles are far less expensive than high tech airplanes. On the order of tens of thousands of dollars vs. tens of millions of dollars, I believe.

Simply put, if, by purchasing a hand held missile, I can thereby compel you to purchase a high tech airplane, then - all other things being equal - I am $9,900,000 ahead.

So the real target of my hand held missile system is not your airplane, but rather your bank account.

If I buy enough of these missiles and spread them around, I stand good chances of bankrupting you without firing a shot.


The hand-held missile vs airplane may not be as financially one-sided as Duncan Kinder estimates.
If the airplane stays above 15,000ft it is invulnerable to hand-held missiles. And then, as we have just seen, the airplane can destroy billions of dollars of infrastructure with guided bombs.

Duncan Kinder

Freeman's airplane certainly could inflict serious damage on my infrastructure.

For purposes of discussion, we are going to presume that our economies are so disconnected that this damage does not adversely affect his as well. E.g., the infrastructure in question is not oil wells or something else that he needs.

Nevertheless, unless I provoke him directly, he probably has business elsewhere that will distract him from launching that airplane attack.

In the meantime, I can continue to distribute my handheld missiles, to Somalia, to the Nigerian Delta, to Columbia, and points elsewhere.

Freeman can keep on top of this situation by purchasing many airplanes and deploying them worldwide.

But this costs money - and I note that Freeman already is running up massive deficits.

Sooner or later, the IMF will step in and order Freeman to stop.

The more hand held missiles I distribute, the sooner this will be.

still working it out

Thanx heaps Marcello


Thank you very much, Col. Lang.

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