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LolaCocaCola
05-30-2002, 05:21 PM
What's the dealio with these things?

Are they smart-bombs or do you need REALLY good aim?

Also, what's their range? Can they strike an aircraft at cruising altitude (30,000+ feet), or would they be used during take-offs and landings?

buckgully
05-30-2002, 05:49 PM
It depends on the type of missile.

Most of them are guided missiles, usually using either radar or infrared seekers, so they can track moving targets.

Small, portable, shoulder fired missiles such as the Stinger have an effective ceiling of about 10,000 feet (according to http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/stinger.htm ). Bigger systems, like the Patriot, can hit things at much higher altitude.

tomndebb
05-30-2002, 05:51 PM
To use your analogy, they are smart bombs.

As to how they work: there are dozens of them and include very short-range rockets with sensors and a small computer that allow them to follow a heat source until they catch it or run out of fuel all the way up to long-range missiles that have their own internal radar that allows them to select a target from miles away and attempt to get to it despite electronic jamming or evasive maneuvers.

Search the web for "AAM Weapon" (air-to-air missile) or "SAM weapon" (surface-to-air missile) for various bits of information.

The hand-held missiles like the Stinger tend to have much shorter range than a platform-launched missile, of course.

LolaCocaCola
05-30-2002, 06:02 PM
Thanks for the responses.

Since they're claiming that Al Queda has their grubby little paws on these bad-boys, I was wondering how they intended on using them on our shores.

Bastards.

Incubus
05-30-2002, 06:06 PM
The problem with heat-seeking missiles, or so I've heard, is that they are only effective is the aircraft is moving away from the missile in order for it to follow the exhaust trail. Unless most heat-seeking missiles are fast enough to do a 180 once they catch the heat 'scent'.

SAM's often follow a radar beam to their target; HARM missiles uses this same radar beam to home in on the source. So, launcher fires SAM, aircraft fires HARM, launcher goes bye-bye.

Squink
05-30-2002, 06:49 PM
Since they're claiming that Al Queda has their grubby little paws on these bad-boys
They were claiming that back in October, before the US invaded Afghanistan. The US sold them to the Mujahideen back in the 80's. Everyone knows that they're out there. What's the big deal about it now ?

friedo
05-30-2002, 07:14 PM
What's the big deal about it now ?


The big deal is the latest "threat warning" is about Al-Qaeda types using RPGs and SAMs on homeland US targets.

FBI Warns of shoulder-fired missile threat (http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/05/30/missile.threat/index.html)

Tranquilis
05-30-2002, 09:39 PM
As discussed in a number of past threads, if al Queda is planning on using 80's vintage Stingers, well, you'd be at greater risk of being shot-down by a stray bullet from a gang war.

The Stinger has a shelf-life of seven years, and after that it requires depot-level maintenance. If you'll recall, about week five or six of the war against the Taliban, several Stingers were fired simultaneously at one aircraft. They may as well have been so many bottle rockets for all the effect they had.

Now, if al Queda has found a new source of fresh missiles, well, that's an entirely different story...

Reeder
05-30-2002, 10:31 PM
China

Ringo
05-30-2002, 11:00 PM
Doesn't the Stinger have an IFF feature that, unless disabled, prevents it from pursuing U.S. aircraft?

Ringo
05-30-2002, 11:04 PM
Well, I suppose that would be if the U.S. or coalition craft had its IFF turned on.

Cap'n Crude
05-30-2002, 11:29 PM
The problem with heat-seeking missiles, or so I've heard, is that they are only effective is the aircraft is moving away from the missile in order for it to follow the exhaust trail. Unless most heat-seeking missiles are fast enough to do a 180 once they catch the heat 'scent'.Incubus, this hasn't been the case for many years. Early heatseekers weren't sensitive enough to track an aircraft except from the rear quarter. Modern versions can home in on the heat coming off an aircraft's skin, and may engage from any angle.

ski
05-31-2002, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by Cap'n Crude
Incubus, this hasn't been the case for many years. Early heatseekers weren't sensitive enough to track an aircraft except from the rear quarter. Modern versions can home in on the heat coming off an aircraft's skin, and may engage from any angle.

Plus, even if the skin isn't hot enough, the front of the engines certainly is. I had the opportunity once to watch a 747 land through a thermal imager. The whole plane was light white, but even from the front, the engines created 4 LARGE BRIGHT white spots on the imager.

If a terrorist was standing where I had been, I can't imagine it would have been very hard to take out that plane with just about any SAM.

Phoenix Dragon
05-31-2002, 05:11 AM
Originally posted by Ringo
Doesn't the Stinger have an IFF feature that, unless disabled, prevents it from pursuing U.S. aircraft?

I strongly doubt it. Stingers are passive-seeking missiles, while IFF generally relies on an active contact with the target, with the active sensor giving a request to the targeted aircraft, and that aircraft either sending back the right signal (If it's got the correct IFF set for the unit -- I'm pretty sure this changes regularly to prevent someone else from programing their planes with that same IFF), or no/wrong signal, indicating an enemy.

Since IFF is usually a function of the firing platform and target, not involving the missile, I doubt there are any missiles with IFF ability built into them. And in any case, you don't want to be telling your target "Hey, are you a friend or an enemy?" right before you shoot your otherwise undetected attack (Undetected as far as the aircraft's warning systems are concerned. Someone might see the missile itself).

UncleBill
05-31-2002, 07:18 AM
Phoenix Dragon You are correct. The IFF is not a part of the physical firing sequence of the Stinger. The enemy pilots would shut down their transponders over enemy territiory and be safe if that were the case. They shut it off ANYWAY, but not for heat seeking missile evasion.

Three homing systems. Passive, Active, Semi-Active.

Passive is like the Stinger, no emissions from the missile or launch platform, it just has a seeker head that can see the IR signature, from all aspects, and makes an intercept course.

Active is when the missile emits a signal (radar) and also has a receiver, it paints the target and seeks it's own radar reflection.

Semi-Active is when there is a platform mounted radar (ground, ship, plane) and the missile seeks the reflection of the radar energy. (HAWK Missile, Patriot (I think)).

A Stinger at the end of a runway is a very bad thing. The Stingers from the Russian-Afghanistan conflict are VERY VERY old, and prolly three out of four don't work in some way or another.

UncleBill
Major, USMCR
7204 (Air Defense Officer)

Coil
05-31-2002, 08:23 AM
There are also semi-active missiles that rely on laser guidance (like the RBS-70/90) (http://www.lv6.mil.se/article.php?id=308). These are unlike the radarguided systems undetectable and virtually unjammable. The pilot in the target aricraft will not get a warning that a radar has locked on to his aircraft. The operator has to paint the target with the laser for the missile to hit (about 20 seconds to reach max range of 5 kilometers). Hitting a fast moving attack aircraft requires a trained shot but a big airliner close to the ground would be very easy to hit.

The RBS 70 system is a bit bigger than the Stinger (the missile alone weighs 18 kilos). The sight weighs another 35 and the stand about 20 kilos. The box below the sight in front of the operatorīs knees is the IFF-module which will block the trigger if there is a friendly aircraft in the front radius. The IFF can be turned off if necessary.

The RBS 70 system is mainly used by the swedish army but it has been sold to a bunch of other countries both in Europe and elsewhere. But it would require a bit more training for would be terrorists to use and the total system is a bit heavier than the Stinger.

Most missiles have some sort of proximity fuse too. This fuse detonates the missile if it passes within a few meters of the target. For big (transport aircraft) or armoured (attack helicopters) targets the proximity fuse can often be turned of so that the missile will slam into the target before exploding (at about mach 2).

Coil
Radar Platoon Commander
Swedish Army

UncleBill
05-31-2002, 08:36 AM
Cool! Hadn't heard about those!

Whack-a-Mole
05-31-2002, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by Coil
The operator has to paint the target with the laser for the missile to hit (about 20 seconds to reach max range of 5 kilometers). Hitting a fast moving attack aircraft requires a trained shot but a big airliner close to the ground would be very easy to hit.

The RBS 70 system is a bit bigger than the Stinger (the missile alone weighs 18 kilos). The sight weighs another 35 and the stand about 20 kilos. The box below the sight in front of the operatorīs knees is the IFF-module which will block the trigger if there is a friendly aircraft in the front radius. The IFF can be turned off if necessary.

Maybe it's just me but this missile system seems of dubious use to me. Its too big to be easily transportable ala the Stinger and the need to maintain a laser on the targeted plane seems needlessly difficult. I guess the upside is the plane doesn't know it's been targeted (although I don't understand laser targeting systems as I thought you could buy laser-radar detectors to foil police laser speed guns). If it is possible the plane knows it's been targeted than a fighter (or any plane) could likely evade the targeting by flying up in the clouds or dive for the ground to break line-of-sight with the laser. As for a big airliner close to the ground the missile is likely devastating but so is a Stinger which is cheaper and easier to use.

Am I missing something? This system while technologically cool doesn't seem all that practical (does fog/rain defeat or reduce the system's capabilities?).

Tranquilis
05-31-2002, 09:45 AM
To be fair, adverse weather will interfere with the Stinger, too, I suspect.

Milton De La Warre
05-31-2002, 11:28 AM
Whack-a-mole: There isn't any system available that will actually defeat police laser speed guns, especially by somehow detecting and then jamming the beam Theoretically, you could cover your car with laser energy detectors, but by the time you realized you'd been painted by a beam, it'd be too late to slow down. And it would cost a fortune.

Probably the most credible/likely shoulder-fired missile threat from terrorists comes not from Stingers and other purpose-designed SAMs, but from the RPGs with proximity fuzes. These were first used in the later part of the Vietnam War rather effectively against US helicopters. They are relatively inexpensive and low maintenance when compared to real SAMs like the Stinger or RBS systems. The RPG (compared to SAMs) has a shorter range and is unguided, but for taking a pot-shot at a heavily laden airliner coming off a runway, you don't need something that can turn, chase, and defeat countermeasures.

...And of Coil only mentioned his system to descirbe its workings as a portable (at least in a pickup truck) semi-active system, not to suggest that it is ideal for terrorism. The RBS wouldn't be likely to have been available to the "bad guys" at any point. Unlike France, Sweden is pretty choosy about who it sells weapons to.

Whack-a-Mole
05-31-2002, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by JCHeckler
Theoretically, you could cover your car with laser energy detectors, but by the time you realized you'd been painted by a beam, it'd be too late to slow down. And it would cost a fortune.

True but the point here is that it is possible to detect laser energy directed at you. Even if it is expensive that probably wouldn't stop the US from providing it to its planes if they thought the threat warranted it.

As for jamming the laser that isn't really necessary as regards the plane. Once they know they're being painted they can make for the clouds, dive for the ground, fly behind a mountain if available or whatever. They probably don't have to break the lock for too long before the missile is no longer a threat even if the laser re-acquires them.

In short hitting stationary or slow moving targets (such as tanks) with a laser may make sense but I think it is of dubious use for an AA missile. If you say that a laser guided AA missile is deadly to low flying, slow moving aircraft that's fine but so are a lot of other, cheaper and easier to use missiles in those situations.

World Eater
05-31-2002, 11:49 AM
<side question>
I noticed in the pictures of the soldier shooting a stinger, that there is no shield or even face protection. Does the missle eject out then fire? What prevents them from a crispy demise?
</sq>

UncleBill
05-31-2002, 12:00 PM
There are two motors, one like a shotgun shell, called the Eject Motor, which burns out before the missile leaves the launch tube. Then the missile coasts for a little while (20 feet or something) when the Flight Motor kicks in. The gunner is not hit with much of the blast from the Flight Motor, but you are supposed to hold your breath. These is a max elevation angle you should respect so the Eject Motor does not fry the backs of your legs, too.

As for adverse weather, for the ones given/sold to the Afghans in the early 80's, they are only IR seekers, and HIGH background IR (i.e. the sun) can screw it, but not a cloud. The target is visually acquired and engaged, so if you can't see it, it is VERY tough to get a lock. There are now Stinger Night Sights, and Ultra Violet seeker modes for those missiles in the US inventory, to get through the previous engagement and tracking problems.

Tranquilis
05-31-2002, 03:04 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of heavy fog and/or rain, in terms of adverse weather.