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Syrian Air Defense problem, an overlooked aspect.

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stealthflanker

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Well, browsing news on Syria air defense struggles. Most if not all seems to focus on the ground based SAM's, Pantsyrs, Buks and the S-300PMU-2's. But No one seems to ask on whereabouts of Syrian fighter aircrafts e.g MiG-29's.

All Syrian operations so far may have CAS by Su-25, Su-22, L-159 and the Su-24's even helicopters but no CAP no Air policing.

Any working and proper air defense have to have fighter elements as Aircrafts provides the Best vantage point and being able to move fast and cover the area. While SAM's provides cover on ground forces against whatever missed the CAP barrier and anything beyond fighter's Kinematics e.g Ballistic Missiles.

the Syrian Air force supposedly should be able to provide Top cover from Drones. But curiously they are absent.

To Illustrate the problem here is the coverage of possible Pantsyr S-1 Battery in Aleppo.
RadarCoverage-20210327-144337.png

This assume 5 meter height Antenna. The colors indicate target Altitudes. The legends can be seen at the lower right of the image. As seen the Pantsyr at that particular assumed Area can only provide Full 360 degrees coverage on target flying at 2000 m. The lower, the more the Geography punishing the Pantsyrs. Down to the point that anything flying lower than 500 m is essentially undetectable.

We can compare with hyphotetical Aircraft Coverage... 1424 meter altitude.

RadarCoverage-20210327-143501.png

It has better coverage, much better and even at some area it can cover very low altitude target. although not 70 meter.

I am curious however on why Syrian MiG's not flying despite having replacement..instead they or some of them went to Libya.
 

shin_getter

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Air defense is the last problem for a state where enemy infantry overrunning your airfields is a big problem. It is amazing that any sorties could be generated out of the SAAF, maintaining CAP is a dream.

In any case: Two Su-24 shot down by Turkey when SAAF tries fight off drone attacks says it all. Another Su-22 got shot down by Americans. No point in futile attempts against vastly stronger opponents if they are willing to shoot. I mean, Americans actually put F-22 in theater, and Israeli F-35 would welcome realistic live fire training I guess. There isn't really much real capability to stop Turkey from rolling the entire place, only question is in political calculus for Sultan.

The airframe that goes are Libya is likely Russian, and I don't think they want escalation in Syria either.
 

stealthflanker

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Air defense is the last problem for a state where enemy infantry overrunning your airfields is a big problem. It is amazing that any sorties could be generated out of the SAAF, maintaining CAP is a dream.

In any case: Two Su-24 shot down by Turkey when SAAF tries fight off drone attacks says it all. Another Su-22 got shot down by Americans. No point in futile attempts against vastly stronger opponents if they are willing to shoot. I mean, Americans actually put F-22 in theater, and Israeli F-35 would welcome realistic live fire training I guess. There isn't really much real capability to stop Turkey from rolling the entire place, only question is in political calculus for Sultan.

The airframe that goes are Libya is likely Russian, and I don't think they want escalation in Syria either.

Which would mean it is completely irrelevant on the blame being put on Pantsyr.
 

Wyvern

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The war in Syria is mostly a war against infantry and drones, as Syria's internal opponents (i.e. terrorists and armed political factions) lack their own combat aircraft. There wasn't a significant aerial threat that necessitated the Syrian Arab Airforce to use their fighter aircraft, especially after the Russians got involved in the conflict.
 

stealthflanker

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The war in Syria is mostly a war against infantry and drones, as Syria's internal opponents (i.e. terrorists and armed political factions) lack their own combat aircraft. There wasn't a significant aerial threat that necessitated the Syrian Arab Airforce to use their fighter aircraft, especially after the Russians got involved in the conflict.

Yeah, but Fighter aircrafts have much better vantage point against those low flying targets.

And it's not like Russia will shoot other fighter planes anyway.

Clearly Syrian Air Force..if they actually wish for a proper air defense. They have to be more active.
 

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I also guess it could be down to maintenance and availability, I am unsure as to whether their fighter fleet was well maintained and available for combat use.
 

Grey Havoc

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In addition, If I recall correctly, a lot of the pre-war Syrian air force and air defence defence infrastructure was destroyed on the ground by rebels, including military personnel who had turned traitor, at the outset of the war (likely with a fair bit of off the books support from some foreign governments, particularly in the EU).
 

Wyvern

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Sanctions also wreaked havoc on their airforce, from what I can tell, as they couldn't purchase any spares for their military aircraft.

Apart from that, the drones mostly used by the rebels were small, off-the-shelf types one can find on the internet, or hand-held types thrown into the air. I don't think that a fighter like the MiG-29 would be necessary to track and down such targets.
 

stealthflanker

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Sanctions also wreaked havoc on their airforce, from what I can tell, as they couldn't purchase any spares for their military aircraft.

Apart from that, the drones mostly used by the rebels were small, off-the-shelf types one can find on the internet, or hand-held types thrown into the air. I don't think that a fighter like the MiG-29 would be necessary to track and down such targets.
Well something bigger e.g the Bayraktar types even Harop. and the Cruise missiles. The much smaller types are unfortunately just beyond the scope of any SAM's except the most recent "anti drone" system.

The Syrians can more effectively defend their airspace from Israeli cruise missiles or Turkish drones had the MiG's are active.

In addition, If I recall correctly, a lot of the pre-war Syrian air force and air defence defence infrastructure was destroyed on the ground by rebels, including military personnel who had turned traitor, at the outset of the war (likely with a fair bit of off the books support from some foreign governments, particularly in the EU).
They got replacements. Back in 2018's.
 

Wyvern

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It's mainly an issue of spares, availability and maintainability that is behind the lack of action of their fighter aircraft.
 

stealthflanker

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Grey Havoc

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The lost infrastructure and experienced personnel wouldn't be so easy to replace though.
 

Wyvern

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With Syrian Air Defence on the topic, would the Syrian Government consider something more advanced, like the MiG-35 or Su-30. I've read articles from prior to the Syrian Civil War that stated that they showed some interest in these aircraft, with Syria even placing an order for the MiG-31E, but nothing ever came of this. Lack of funds was always an issue.
 

shin_getter

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Which would mean it is completely irrelevant on the blame being put on Pantsyr.
Well, given the absurd resource mismatches, there is no way Syria could actually stop attacks from west aligned neighbors. The best they could do is perhaps to force a the shooter to spend a bit more money and escalate a bit more.

The main thing is that Bayraktar look like toys compared to jets. There wouldn't be much said if Turkey used F-16 with full strike package support to wreck the Syrians, but getting destroyed by Bayrakatars just appears to be beneath what a nominal state actor should be like. That said, Turkey showing that they are willing to escalate to F-16s in the Su-24 shoot downs means that there is no way Syrians could win, they best they could do is to hide assets and lower the inflicted damage while trying for a diplomatic solution. All those talk about military posture and equipment is amusing, but ultimately have little strategic impact.

A sane Syrian polity would focus spending money on actually training the ground force to stop being utterly embarrassing, buying off less committed opponents and rebuilding, not trying to win air wars.
 

Grey Havoc

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On the other hand, it could be said that Turkey has already lost in Syria, and is trying to drag things out in hopes of a post-war situation more favourable to her.
 

Wyvern

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A sane Syrian polity would focus spending money on actually training the ground force to stop being utterly embarrassing, buying off less committed opponents and rebuilding, not trying to win air wars.
Sane being the keyword
 

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Sane...hmmm....nope never heard of it. Is that just a shortened version of insane that teenagers use when they're texting?
 

galgot

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As much as the Russians and the Iranians support bashar , they are not ready to give any MiG-29s to what is left of his AF, cause bashar have nothing to pay for them. The country is a complete ruin. It's not like a few MiG-29s could do something against a Possible Israeli or Turkish attack, it would change nothing anyway.
These "delivered" MiG-29s indeed went to Lybia, there flown by Wagner pilots for haftar . There , they can maybe make a small difference against the GNA forces (which can be doubtful too... but as long as the UAE pays...)
 
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stealthflanker

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Now. For additional summary.

It's clear and bright as day about the inadequancy of the Syrian Air Defense network. However i wonder why media mostly reports on the SAM's without looking at the very element of the Air Defense itself. Particularly on Aircraft.

I found them to be very misleading in this respect.

If the Syrian cannot get their MiG's airborne..why ? They recently got replacement.. if it went to Libya, then why not it better used to defend the Syrian Airspace.

Or maybe as my suspicion... there is backhand agreement or some sort.. that Syrian can only use Ground Based Air Defense and not aircraft for air policing.


This is part of the Webinar i attended sometime... about Air Defense and Radar. This is for Indonesian Air Defense. It shows the "Tiers" based on Range. It shows Aircrafts as the integral elements of the Air defense.

Malang.jpg

The "Hanud Area" is the "Area Air Defense System" Which as seen handled by Aircrafts. Then it's Terminal Air Defense out to 100 km range and then Point Defense.
 

shin_getter

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Or maybe as my suspicion... there is backhand agreement or some sort.. that Syrian can only use Ground Based Air Defense and not aircraft for air policing.
With the number of players in the space, there is probably multiple backhand "agreements" all over the place. After all, there are agreements with islamist rebels with things like "exile on surrendering pockets", "co-operations of critical infrastructure and supplies" (or, how people didn't all starve to death in aleppo) and likes.

The battlespace is pretty damn crowded with Turkish, Israeli, Syrian, Russian, American aircraft and ground forces from even more factions all operating. The players are all entangled with Putin selling hardware to Turkey while opposing Erodgan supported rebels. The alignment of US/Israeli and Gulf states supporting rebellion is also not good, with different US departments, politicians (Obama/Hillary split, not sure what it is now) and media all not unified at all. The whole Turkey in Nato but oppose pan-Kurdish identity thingy that is the main US strategy also complicated. Many backhand agreements must exist otherwise random crapshoot escalation would happen a lot without it, like Wagners finding themselves on the other side of the USAF.

There is suspicion that Syrians are limited from using "newer" SAMs against Israeli strikes, due to "embarrassment to Russia hurting arms export" if used as it'd likely getting DEAD-ed by sophisticated strike packages if they tried. Instead, obsolete junk grade munitions is expended in light shows as a display of "we tried", with targeting so bad the primarily effect is shooting down Russian ISR aircraft and hitting Cypress.

The Syrian conflict is anything but a clear state on state conflict at this point. It is more like interlocking 40 dimension chess bullshit where military force is just a partial factor, a not very important one either for the bigger players.

It should be noted in this environment, the media itself may be the most important part of the conflict. The point of the whole thing for many players is perception shaping. Basically, popular media coverage on the topic is pretty much full bullshit.
 
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tequilashooter

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The main thing is that Bayraktar look like toys compared to jets. There wouldn't be much said if Turkey used F-16 with full strike package support to wreck the Syrians, but getting destroyed by Bayrakatars just appears to be beneath what a nominal state actor should be like. That said, Turkey showing that they are willing to escalate to F-16s in the Su-24 shoot downs means that there is no way Syrians could win, they best they could do is to hide assets and lower the inflicted damage while trying for a diplomatic solution. All those talk about military posture and equipment is amusing, but ultimately have little strategic impact.

As much as everyone goes, Pantsirs bad. There is a lot of images out on the web with syrians taking selfies with destroyed TB2s that I would have to be making multiple upon multiple posts here which I will get accused of double posting or more. S-200 still shot down a F-16I and there is footage of that from the haaretz news agency.


It seems that even Israel immediately acknowledges the threat of S-300s and gave a strict warning to not use those systems against their F-16s if they are striking iranians. Russians are currently working on newer pantsir systems to deal with hypersonic threats and smaller sized drones.

But in the end this is was the result of the last scuffle in which they were the ones that agreed to have the ceasefire signed. If they are that great why not take back what Assads military has gained away from them instead of funding rebels?

catherine statue..jpg
 

stealthflanker

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There is suspicion that Syrians are limited from using "newer" SAMs against Israeli strikes, due to "embarrassment to Russia hurting arms export" if used as it'd likely getting DEAD-ed by sophisticated strike packages if they tried. Instead, obsolete junk grade munitions is expended in light shows as a display of "we tried", with targeting so bad the primarily effect is shooting down Russian ISR aircraft and hitting Cypress.

Anyone willing to invest a bit on Cambridge Pixel's software would acknowledge the limited coverage the Syrian have even with The "New" System. So i doubt that point.

and on the subject of unfortunate case of the IL-18. Despite having beamwidth of 0.7 degrees. The resolution cell of the 5N62 of that S-200 is unfortunately not enough to separate between the F-16's and Il-18;s.
 

stealthflanker

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Guys please. Stay away from the Leadership issues.

Another interesting take would be the Abqaiq attacks. People take cheap shots on Patriots yet... no one seems to ask about the whereabouts of KSA's E-3 AEW.
 

Dilandu

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I am curious however on why Syrian MiG's not flying despite having replacement..instead they or some of them went to Libya.

Because they have Russian fighters in Khmeinim - much more modern and efficient and with much better trained pilots - in case of significant air threat appearing. It's just not practical for Assad to let his best pilots do nothing in cockpits of fighter planes (which have nothing to fight in Syria airspace, and hardly could do anything against Israel or Turkish air intrusions), instead of using them in bombing missions.
 

tequilashooter

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All I know for sure with regards to current short range SAMS in Syria is they cant deal with PGM or PGM sized threats. Based on israel's reports which did not sound bias when they admitted their Delilah missiles were intercepted but that GBU-53s got through and the Russians strongly emphasize that a new pantsir system is needed for smaller sized threats. Long range air defense is another story.
 

Wyvern

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I do believe that this discussion has gotten a bit too political, and I advise that the members taking part in it should shy away from such discussions and return to the topic being discussed, that of Syrian Air Defence.
 

tequilashooter

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Just because someone here through a snowball does mean everyone here including myself should turn it into an avalanche.

For reference.

Guys please. Stay away from the Leadership issues.

Another interesting take would be the Abqaiq attacks. People take cheap shots on Patriots yet... no one seems to ask about the whereabouts of KSA's E-3 AEW.
 

stealthflanker

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I am curious however on why Syrian MiG's not flying despite having replacement..instead they or some of them went to Libya.

Because they have Russian fighters in Khmeinim - much more modern and efficient and with much better trained pilots - in case of significant air threat appearing. It's just not practical for Assad to let his best pilots do nothing in cockpits of fighter planes (which have nothing to fight in Syria airspace, and hardly could do anything against Israel or Turkish air intrusions), instead of using them in bombing missions.

Yeah but did they help in intercepting Israeli cruise missiles ? how far actually Russian authority in conducting air policing.

An absolute disgrace of a topic/ thread.
Clearly intended by specific contributors to “normalise” and defend a mass murdering dictator and push the “official” lines of certain specific countries that support and/ or enable that dictator.

Like ?

I am discussing about the limited scope of Syrian ground based Air defense and why no fighters show up yet nobody really touch into that subject. While in fact for any form of air defense should include fighter aircraft.

There seems to be a big gap on public knowledge on how supposedly air defense should work or tiered. and i would like to know why.

Tools for visualizing Radar coverage is freely available and so is the general method in estimating detection ranges. Yet there seems to be still Gap. Why.

Maybe i should cover Abqaiq instead but. the Syrian is unfortnately very obvious case.


But Well I apologize if in fact it's hard to get into this problem without politics.

Moderator are free to close this topic.
 

shin_getter

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Another interesting take would be the Abqaiq attacks. People take cheap shots on Patriots yet... no one seems to ask about the whereabouts of KSA's E-3 AEW.
The Saudi F-15s have gotten a significant drone kill tally. Abqaiq attack likely came from Iran or some unexpected launch point where sensor coverage is not available. The Saudis probably just have patrols over the Yemei boarder instead of being over their entire territory, AEW aircraft is not cheap to operate. Patroits are hopeless against cruise missiles/drones in this case, with a limited radar arc and positions likely identified beforehand (civilian satellite images) and serves solely as ABM.
 

stealthflanker

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Another interesting take would be the Abqaiq attacks. People take cheap shots on Patriots yet... no one seems to ask about the whereabouts of KSA's E-3 AEW.
The Saudi F-15s have gotten a significant drone kill tally. Abqaiq attack likely came from Iran or some unexpected launch point where sensor coverage is not available. The Saudis probably just have patrols over the Yemei boarder instead of being over their entire territory, AEW aircraft is not cheap to operate. Patroits are hopeless against cruise missiles/drones in this case, with a limited radar arc and positions likely identified beforehand (civilian satellite images) and serves solely as ABM.

Yeah they do. Yet doesnt stop some unfortunate media coverage. This is example of Patriot MPQ-53 coverage at Abqaiq

RadarCoverage-20210327-235714.png

As seen anything flying below 500 m would be very hard to detect.

AEW is indeed expensive to operate. However it provides significant advantage. As it has much wider coverage. and no blind spot for low flying target.
 

shin_getter

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The thing that is surprising to me is that radar blimps and masted radar is not flying off the selves when the low cost cruise missile threat have revealed itself years ago. Even if interception is not possible due to limited defense density, early warning is useful
 

stealthflanker

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The thing that is surprising to me is that radar blimps and masted radar is not flying off the selves when the low cost cruise missile threat have revealed itself years ago. Even if interception is not possible due to limited defense density, early warning is useful
Yes. Would love to see them coming back.

I think i have a Chinese paper comparing the costs and survivability between ground based radars, AEW and Blimps. gonna find it.

The Syrian and Yemeni Wars offers many lessons in air defense. Tho unfortunately due to well media confusion and misleading articles + Politics. Not deeply touched.
 

GARGEAN

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masted radar
Some are, tho. Russians have 40V6 tower which can house few types of radars from S-300/400 family (25 meters original 40V6M, 40 meters in 40V6MD). Plus there are dedicated vehicles with mast mounted radars like 9S36 (this one with 21 meters mast). Not only Russia - Giraffe would be an easy example.
 

Jemiba

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The start of this thread was ok, I think. Maybe an error was, to post in "The Bar", instead of "Military",
as I have the feeling, that this section makes people relaxed, very relaxed, and sometimes a bit too
relaxed. It started technically, about radar coverage and the like, but strayed quite quickly into politics
and wording, that wouldn't be appropriate most bars, but rather in a honky-tonk.
I fully understand, that in political discussions, it's easy to lose one's head, if the other just is unable, or
even unwilling to agree. And I by myself are often giving names to politicians, that shouldn't be heard
by little children. But we should try to contain ourselves and keep a reasonable tone and behaviour here.
Cursing loudly tends to degrade not only own arguments, but the whole discussion !
So I followed the recommendation of the thread starter and locked this topic, sorry.
 
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