Morpheus Eberhardt wrote:On the other hand, in a fire-and-forget missile (third generation), the operator plays the major role in the detection of the target, has the sole responsibility for its identification and acquisition, and has to initiate the lock-on. Only the, the guidance system can track the target.
All right Morpheus, but the debate ,at which i've chosen to participate only because it show some of the most classical factoids widely spread on similar subjects
( and obviously repeated by typical forum troll...) , has turned around some precise metropolitan legends.
The first myth is to represent FGM-148 as the main US Army ATGM
when obviously IT IS NOT
and cannot be for mere parametrical reasons
FGM-148 is a man-portable close range
in ideal conditions -not 2500
) light infantry ATGM successor of M-47
characterized ,in particular ,by an immense cost and complexity of manufacture
(give a look of the total US FGM-148 production at today to get an idea of what we talk
) and a simply ridiculous time for target engagement
totally inconsistent with engagement's dynamics and tempo of a modern ground battle against any serious enemy .
Try to reason in those terms : you have two identical Armies with same resources at theirs disposition
- In the first Army (A) you can acquire ,at X price, a single close range ATGM very difficult to manufacture and to maintain
, requiring a very long training's time
to achieve some proficiency, lacking any anti-material/fortifications or anti-manpower
optimized rounds ,in need to engage relatively modern armored targets only in top-attack profile
for the limited penetration potential of the warhead, relying on a seeker requiring an independent and continual stable IR lock easily breakable
by the most common multispectral obscurants
, and requiring an enormous amount of time to execute focal cooling and target collimation operation before shoot.
-In the second Army(B) you can acquire ,at the same X price, 7-8 close range ATGM very easy and quick to manufacture
, requiring only about 16 hours of training
to achieve proficiency, capable to employ anti-material/fortifications or anti-manpower
optimized rounds, with a warhead with a greater penetration potential
(but lacking top-attack mode), not requiring any type of "lock"
on the target and employing a guidance almost impossible to jam
and capable to engage a target in one third of the time required to the system of Army A to complete focal cooling and collimation .In what Army you would chose to enlist , in the A with that single ATGM or in the B with those 7 ATGM ? Enemy don't care a bit of what you employ in your engagement , what instead your enemy care is only how much vehicles , sniper position, bunkers, building exposed and defilated manpower you can destroy in unitary time at same cost taken into account,
well i would not be an FGM-148's operator neither its supporting vehicles and troop against an enemy armed with 7 Metis-M1
The second myth is represented by the presentation of AGM-114 "Hellfire" as a fire and forget missile, in reality its same acronym is one of the several classical examples of the terribly PR-marketing-oriented western habit to misrepresent its weapon designs
From ,Hellfire Getting the Most from a Lethal Missile System By Captain Adam W. Lange
"The name “Hellfire” is derived from an acronym for Heliborne launched,Fire and Forget, but the name can be misleading.
Fire and forget gives the impression that the missile guides itself to the target autonomously without further input by the air crews after launch.
This, however, is a misconception and only partially true.
The Hellfire missile is a guided munition, much like the older TOW missile. It requires a coded laser beam to be placed on the target, and the missile will actually follow or “ride” the properly coded beam to the point of impact.
Thus, the missile never actually acquires the target in question, but rather acquires the laser beam.
The laser designator or “observer,” either airborne or ground-mounted, must always positively control the missile after it is launched in order to bring it to bear on the target in question."
Practically all version of AGM-114 -except the AGM-114L- employ this kind of missile guidance
(immensely more fragile , easy to detect and easy to break in respect to domestic coded beam riding
) and this bulk of Hellfire was ,incidentally , not only by very far the most employed in pasted conflict by US Army ,including anti-armor operations, but also the unique with still orders by part of US Army up to 2014
Even more also the unique version with limited real "fire and forget" capabilities , the AGM-114-L, would still leave the carrying helicopter equally vulnerable against any relatively well equipped enemy (even only to domestic '80 years !).
The reason is that the unique AGM-114-L's modality of engagement showing a true "fire and forget" capability is the LOBL/LOBL-I
(both representing, by a wide edge, the selection most commonly chosen by AH-64D crew in US Army training against relatively strong OPFOR) which can be realized only at very short range against enemy vehicles
because the missile's MMW seeker for unavoidable power aperture reason has only very limited discriminating range of acquisition of target in high clutter such as mobile APCs, IFVs and MBTs -within 2,7-3 km -The long range fire and forget mode - LOAL -
(up to 7,5-8 km in good environmental scattering conditions) can be realized only against motionless targets
(such as bunkers ,buildings, machine gun nests refueling vehicles etc..) and only after that the AN-APG-78 FCS has transferred to the missile enough data to allow independent acquisition by part of the missile seeker at the intended point and anyhow with markedly reduced Phit even against those motionless targets !
In substance an AH-64D ,even wanting to employ the unique AGM-114's model with some kind of "fire and forget" capabilities ,against an enemy equipped at domestic '80s standard
would be very likely destroyed NOT by S-300V, Tunguska-M1, Thor-M1, IGLA etc... but more simply by 30 mm AP auto-cannon, fuse programmed HE-Frag rounds and gun launched missiles
(all not matching well with integrity of helicopter's hull, cabin and rotor blades
) by part of the same vehicles it would have intended to attack, all enjoying a substantial range of engagement advantage over AGM-114L's LOBL-I engagement mode.
Naturally all what is in need to maintain integer the PR-constructed reputation of similar cursed weapon designs is to continue simply to attack only defenseless enemies lacking entire class of weapons and with MBT's park composed by export T-55, Type-69 and some scaled down T-72Ms
In this way the western PR could continue to praise the virtues of AH-64 and its Hel