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    Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

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    GarryB

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    Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:07 pm

    To be more specific: what I don't understand is why Georgian airfieds, the Georgian Navy, Gerogian supply and fuel dumps, and Georgian radar stations and communication nodes were not destroyed by Fencer strikes in the first 24 hours of the war.
    Did NATO destroy all the targets you listed above in Kosovo and Serbia in the first 24 hours of the war?
    They had aircraft supplied from all of NATO and no shortage of PGMs in stocks.

    The Reality is that the Georgian Air Defence forces had rather more formidible assets than the Serbs ever had.
    The main difference was in aircraft where the Georgians largely had Su-25s and helos, while the Serbs had fighter aircraft... though not in fully operational condition.
    So is the failure of the Russian Air Force to successfully engage Georgian targets throughout the area of operations indicates to me that the servicability of the Fencers and the readiness of the Russian Air Force personnel (outside the high readiness North Caucasus MD) must have been very low.
    I would want to know rather more detail about what actually happened in that 5 day war before I made such assumptions. The numbers on the ground seem rather similar, with about 17,000 Georgians and about 11,000 Russians who arrived a day after the attack started. Russian problems included lack of recon information, and poor communications. The naval landing sounded like it went well and without problems.
    Remember they might have several hundred operational Su-24s, but the Caucaus is hardly the front line so it is not like large forces were sitting waiting to pounce.
    Recon and SEAD missions are specialist jobs and I think if you have a good look through the inventories of many NATO countries you will find that the richer countries have assets in those areas but most countries just have fighters or fighterbombers.
    After a period of no funding such assets will always suffer the most because they are generally the most expensive. In combat however it shows how useful they are in reducing the cost of warfare.

    After Georgia the Russian Armed forces started looking at UAVs... we know know what Georgia was using their UAVs for before the conflict... they wanted to know where to aim their guns.
    I would expect they will also be looking at other things they realise now they need too.
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    Farhad Gulemov

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Farhad Gulemov on Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:13 pm

    GarryB wrote:
    Did NATO destroy all the targets you listed above in Kosovo and Serbia in the first 24 hours of the war? They had aircraft supplied from all of NATO and no shortage of PGMs in stocks. The Reality is that the Georgian Air Defence forces had rather more formidible assets than the Serbs ever had.

    I agree on the latter. However, the Serbs also used a very different defensive technique - they basically did not present NATO with any targets worth engaging. They could do that because they were defending and did not have to move or even challenge NATO forces in the air. This means no need for troop concentrations, no need for airfields, no need for real-time command and control. In a way, what the Serbs did is much closer to what Hezbollah did in 2006. This is why the NATO campaign was such a dismal failure. NATO airforces were designed under an engagement doctrine called FOFA (follow on forces attack) which, among other aspects, stressed the need to destroy 2nd echelon Soviet forces moving West. This is not at all what they saw in Kosovo were the Serbs basically hunkered down and survived the NATO bombing unscathed. As a result, the NATO operation was a dismal failure and this is why NATO had to do resort to basically bomb the civil infrastructure of Serbia and Montenegro: this is also exactly what the Isarelis did in Lebanon. Rather then engaging military targets which they could not find, they began terrorising the population.

    The Russians never did anything like that in Georgia and neither did the Georgians use the kind of strategies the Serbians and Hezbollah did. If only because the Georgians were the agressors, of course.

    GarryB wrote:I would want to know rather more detail about what actually happened in that 5 day war before I made such assumptions. The numbers on the ground seem rather similar, with about 17,000 Georgians and about 11,000 Russians who arrived a day after the attack started. Russian problems included lack of recon information, and poor communications. The naval landing sounded like it went well and without problems.

    Oh but I very much agree here! I was ONLY referring to the Russian Air Forces failure to achieve the kind of results which I think they could have if their readiness had been adequate.

    But the performance of the Russian Army and Navy was nothing short of phenomenal. The speed with which the Russians responded was absolutely stunning and the ability of the Russian military to move through the Roki tunnel in battalion order to then push towards the south and push back the Georgians is nothing short of superb. Considering that the Russian were fighting with 1970s equipment against a numerically superior Georgian force with 21st century gear, the performance of the Russian soliders is absolutely phenomenal. I don't think that there is a military out there who could have done better, or even as well.

    My disappointment and doubts are ONLY about the performance of the Russian Air Force (and GRU strategic intelligence)
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    Vladimir79

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Vladimir79 on Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:23 pm

    GarryB wrote:

    The Reality is that the Georgian Air Defence forces had rather more formidible assets than the Serbs ever had.

    There is no reality in that statement. Serbia had far more air defence systems than Georgia had, not to mention an actual air force.
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    Farhad Gulemov

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Farhad Gulemov on Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:41 am

    Vladimir79 wrote:
    There is no reality in that statement. Serbia had far more air defence systems than Georgia had, not to mention an actual air force.

    As far as I remember, Serbia had no Buks, much less so modernized ones with Ukrainian crews.

    As for the Air Force, the Serbian MiG were in bad shape and, besides, the ratio of Serb to NATO aircraft was far worse than what happened in Georgia. Remember, Serbia was under sanctions while Georgia was pumped full of dollars and high-tech gear
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    Vladimir79

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Vladimir79 on Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:26 am

    Farhad Gulemov wrote:
    Vladimir79 wrote:
    There is no reality in that statement. Serbia had far more air defence systems than Georgia had, not to mention an actual air force.

    As far as I remember, Serbia had no Buks, much less so modernized ones with Ukrainian crews.

    As for the Air Force, the Serbian MiG were in bad shape and, besides, the ratio of Serb to NATO aircraft was far worse than what happened in Georgia. Remember, Serbia was under sanctions while Georgia was pumped full of dollars and high-tech gear

    Georgia had one Buk battery. That hardly constitutes an air defence better than Serbia 10 years ago. The Serbs had a plethora of SAMs from Kub, upgraded Pechoras and Dvinas. In large quantities too. Serbian operators are better than Ukraine, they shot down a stealth fighter. The ratio was so bad for Russian fighters in Georgia compared to NATO because NATO has modern equipment, we don't.
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    Farhad Gulemov

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Farhad Gulemov on Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:39 am

    Vladimir79 wrote:
    Georgia had one Buk battery. That hardly constitutes an air defence better than Serbia 10 years ago. The Serbs had a plethora of SAMs from Kub, upgraded Pechoras and Dvinas. In large quantities too. Serbian operators are better than Ukraine, they shot down a stealth fighter.

    Nonsense. One (upgraded) Buk battery does already make one hell of a difference and, besides, the Georgians had pleny more modern gear (If you want to see what the Georgians had fielded by 08.08.08, check out this story)

    The Serbs only had old gear as they were under sanctions. The only reason why the Serbs shot down the stealth fighter is because the Yanks were dumb enough to fly the very same bombing route over and over again. So the Serbs ambushed them. There are pleny of Serb reports about this, including interviews of the guys who were operating the missile batteries. This had nothing to do with hardware.

    Furthermore, the Serbs were massively jammed, NATO had all the SEAD technology one could dream of, including HARMs, they had saturated Kosovo with cruise missile strikes, they had stealth fighters, etc. etc. etc.

    Compare that with what the Russians had...

    NATO had all the time in the word to preparte and to mass all its forces. The Russians had to scramble and improvise (hence the flights out of Lipetsk).

    Botton line: the Georgians were at a huge advantange over the Serbs in financing, training, and equipment. They were NATO's "golden boys".

    I will grant you one thing that the Serbs had and which the Georgians never did: balls. That, and the sense of defending their own land.

    But that's about it.
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    GarryB

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:50 am

    However, the Serbs also used a very different defensive technique - they basically did not present NATO with any targets worth engaging. They could do that because they were defending and did not have to move or even challenge NATO forces in the air.

    I love the Irony, NATO says you can't compare South Ossetia and Kosovo and they are quite right, but in ways that clearly show their hypocrisy.
    You are right that it was a very different conflict requiring very different strategies, with very different forces involved.
    For the Kosovo conflict to actually be like the SO conflict the Serbs would have had to have flown UAVs over Kosovo for a few months finding peace keeper positions and the disposition of Albanian military forces. Knowing the NATO forces in Kosovo were lightly equipped peacekeepers it made perfect sense to attack with artillery at a standoff distance to prevent their better training being useful and taking advantage of their lack of heavy weapons. I am sure after dozens of NATO soldiers had been killed in deliberate bombing that NATO would merely have bombed an airfield or two in Serbia and perhaps an aircraft factory and there would have been no obliteration of Serbia as a country and no attempt at regime change... NOT.

    Rather then engaging military targets which they could not find, they began terrorising the population.

    Agreed, but this was all largely because they refused to put troops on the ground, which also made it rather different from SO.

    My disappointment and doubts are ONLY about the performance of the Russian Air Force (and GRU strategic intelligence)

    I think the tactics used by the Georgians gave it every chance to succeed but at the end of the day the Georgians didn't want to die for Saakashvili.
    Clearly there were problems with C4I, but that is not new, when funding has stopped for a decade or more such things will suffer, even more so when the former organisation has been fractured between countries. The Caucaus is a military backwater where forces located there are really for internal problems rather than external threats.
    Personally I couldn't believe that Saakashvili could be that stupid... I was clearly wrong.

    There is no reality in that statement. Serbia had far more air defence systems than Georgia had, not to mention an actual air force.

    You are quite right, that was an exaggeration on my part. What I meant was that NATO has long been on the opposite side of the weapons that constituted the Serbian arsenal and they have long ago developed weapons and tactics to use against such systems. Russia was in a very different situation in that it was in a war not of its choosing after a period of stagnation against a foe with largely unknown hardware (in the sense of they didn't know exactly what they did or did not have).

    The main differences were of course that the Serbs knew what they were doing, and NATO had planned and practised what it was about to do, while the Russians were caught out by surprise, most likely without the aircraft and stock of weapons they would have preferred to have used available, certainly lacking Intel and recon capability. The Russian Army, which unlike NATO and the west actually plans to fight alone from the RuAF it seems used ballistic missiles in lieu of precision tactical fighter strikes.

    The only reason why the Serbs shot down the stealth fighter is because the Yanks were dumb enough to fly the very same bombing route over and over again. So the Serbs ambushed them. There are pleny of Serb reports about this, including interviews of the guys who were operating the missile batteries. This had nothing to do with hardware.

    I always find this amusing, claims the Serbs could not detect stealth aircraft at all, yet somehow they found out that the USAF kept flying the same routes... if you can't see a target it doesn't matter how regular its flights are, how do you find out?
    The reality is that stealth aircraft are not invisible and still avoid flying directly over radar sites to avoid being detected at very short range.
    Moving radar sites therefore becomes a good tactic to try... it also prevents the other guy blowing them up as an added bonus.
    If it really was luck rather than planning then why waste money on expensive guided missiles... just fire thousands of Grads.

    I will grant you one thing that the Serbs had and which the Georgians never did: balls. That, and the sense of defending their own land.

    Bravery is part of it, but I think the Serbs used excellent tactics for the equipment they had. All they really needed were missiles that could reach up high.
    The real problem is that up until recently the missile systems that can reach up high are big heavy expensive systems that are easy to spot from the air and too expensive for any but the richest country to buy and put in service in large numbers.
    The solution now is Pantsir-S1 with a ceiling of 10,000m. Newer missiles will hopefully go even higher to plug the gap.
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    Vladimir79

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Vladimir79 on Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:03 pm

    Farhad Gulemov wrote:

    Nonsense. One (upgraded) Buk battery does already make one hell of a difference and, besides, the Georgians had pleny more modern gear (If you want to see what the Georgians had fielded by 08.08.08, check out this story)

    They had one Buk system deployed, we engaged it and captured the rest. It didn't make one hell of a difference except for shooting down one plane which is of little consequence to the war itself.

    The Serbs only had old gear as they were under sanctions. The only reason why the Serbs shot down the stealth fighter is because the Yanks were dumb enough to fly the very same bombing route over and over again. So the Serbs ambushed them. There are pleny of Serb reports about this, including interviews of the guys who were operating the missile batteries. This had nothing to do with hardware.

    Pechora is a radar homing missile, the F-117 is only flown at night. It takes very skilled controllers to be able to identify a target as small as a bird with all the background clutter of an old Soviet radar. It takes even more skill to point missiles at a target they can't get a lock on. It wasn't hardware that shot it down but skill as I already stated. NATO SEAD was unable to destroy the Serbs IADS thanks to their EMCON control and buried communications system. NATO losses were an F-117, 2 F-16s, 1 F-15, 1 AH-64, several damaged fighters and dozens of downed drones. The Serbian air defence survived the war against the most sophisticated SEAD in the world. NATO SEAD assets in 1999 still outclass Russian assets in every catagory to this day. Only reason NATO didn't suffer more casualties was their quality ECM/ELINT systems and training.

    Furthermore, the Serbs were massively jammed, NATO had all the SEAD technology one could dream of, including HARMs, they had saturated Kosovo with cruise missile strikes, they had stealth fighters, etc. etc. etc.

    Yeah, they had all that yet they were unable to shut the Serbian IADS down. The HARM proved ineffective as the Serbs wouldn't leave their radars on long enough to be engaged and the only real way to hunt them down was to physically eyeball the target and cluster bomb or LGB it. They got most of their kills on SAMs transiting on the road as they were too afraid to attack heavily defended emplacements. The Georgians didn't have near the skill as Serb controllers nor did they have the ability to protect their radars. Also they were operating in an uncluttered environment. Nobody was jamming Georgian radars.

    Compare that with what the Russians had...

    NATO had all the time in the word to preparte and to mass all its forces. The Russians had to scramble and improvise (hence the flights out of Lipetsk).

    Botton line: the Georgians were at a huge advantange over the Serbs in financing, training, and equipment. They were NATO's "golden boys".

    I will grant you one thing that the Serbs had and which the Georgians never did: balls. That, and the sense of defending their own land.

    But that's about it.

    To break it down, the Serbs had

    1) better concealment of their IADS
    2) better tactics
    3) far more medium range SAMs
    4) far more radars
    5) far more threats from a superior enemy

    and they still survived, the Serb Army was hardly touched by the end of the war. The Georgians lost a third of their equipment in six days. After 38,000 NATO sorties the Serbs lost less Army equipment than the Georgians did in six days. Don't think for a minute Russian planners didn't have a war-plan drawn up, they not only did but carried it out as effectively as they could with the outdated equipment at their disposal. The simple fact is the Serbs were far more of a match than Georgia 10 years ago then they were in 2008, if Georgia was Serbia 1999 and Russia was trying to invade in 2008, we would have lost so many aircraft we would have to rethink the entire operation. It wasn't that Georgia was NATO's golden boys at all, it was that our SEAD had to resort to visual target confirmation to hit their assets. Much as NATO had to do when their overwhelming advantage was minimised by Serb tactics. The NATO advantage never existed for the VVS because we didn't have those assets to employ. We could have averted most if not all the loss and hit more targets if we had the ELINT, ECM, and standoff capabilities of NATO. Georgian IADs was not that much of a threat to an air force with modern assets.
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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:50 pm

    I have heard, though it is little more than heresay, that the F-117 was shot down because of the tactics of the Serbs.
    The SA-3 system has a ground based (tracking) radar that illuminates the target with a very thin radar beam and the SA-3 missile homes in on the reflections of that beam from the target.
    What I heard was that the tracking radar from another battery was used to illuminate the target so the F-117 shaping that deflects the radar so it doesn't head directly back at the emitting radar worked in the favour of the Serbs.
    The result was the intercepting missile came from a direction that was not head on so it got a stronger signal than it would have if it had been fired from nearby the illuminating radar.
    The other story I heard was that they had been upgraded with alternative optical guidance, which would require less coordination, but I would expect the missile to be more lethal if it didn't need a radar lock to hit the target.

    BTW HARM is not a very good ARM and is really only designed to get a radar painting the aircraft carrying the HARM to turn off and allow the aircraft to escape.
    ALARM on the other hand is a much more capable missile used by the British.
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    Farhad Gulemov

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Farhad Gulemov on Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:54 pm

    Vladimir79 wrote: The Georgians lost a third of their equipment in six days. After 38,000 NATO sorties the Serbs lost less Army equipment than the Georgians did in six days.

    As far as I know, the main reason for the failure of NATO to meaningfully degrade the Serb forces had less to do with the performance of the Serb air defences as with the excellent maskirovka of the Serb forces which basically denied NATO a target to engage.

    Then, let me ask you this: do you have any figures about roughly what percentage of Georgian gear was destroyed by the RuAF and how much was destroyed by the Russian ground offensive? Or, to put it differentely, how many sorties did the RuAF fly in these six days?
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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Vladimir79 on Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:01 am

    Farhad Gulemov wrote:

    As far as I know, the main reason for the failure of NATO to meaningfully degrade the Serb forces had less to do with the performance of the Serb air defences as with the excellent maskirovka of the Serb forces which basically denied NATO a target to engage.

    Serbs wouldn't have been able to use their decoys to any effect if the allies had gotten a good look at them. That is where the air defence came into good use. NATO was too scared to get in close and drones were being shot down left and right. You never hear about that.


    Then, let me ask you this: do you have any figures about roughly what percentage of Georgian gear was destroyed by the RuAF and how much was destroyed by the Russian ground offensive? Or, to put it differentely, how many sorties did the RuAF fly in these six days?

    Well over 80%... Su-25 raped the Georgian columns, wiped out an entire tank battalion on one hill.
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    Farhad Gulemov

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Farhad Gulemov on Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:52 am

    Vladimir79 wrote:
    Well over 80%... Su-25 raped the Georgian columns, wiped out an entire tank battalion on one hill.

    Just to make things clear for myself: are you saying that the Russian ground forces account only for less than 20% of all equipment losses of the Georgian Army during this war?

    How many sorties were flown during these 6 days?
    How many aircraft were actually committed to this operation?
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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Tue Jun 15, 2010 6:07 am

    The vast majority of footage and photos I have seen of the SO war at least those of the Georgian forces after the Russians entered the fight were Georgian vehicles driven off the side of the road (so as not to block it) and no Georgian soldiers.

    In other words being in a vehicle made you a target so they ditched their vehicles and literally ran.

    ...now that would be a rather stupid thing to do when facing ground forces... you throw down you guns and surrender, or you turn in your vehicle and get out of there fast... you can't outrun the ground forces on foot, and remaining in a target like a large armoured vehicle you are not safe from air power.

    It is clear that the threat of air power is what made the Georgians run. (And I don't blame them... I certainly wouldn't want to die for Saakashvili.)

    Now this is from a western aviation magazine but there is talk that after aircraft were shot down by the BUK system that it was realised that the Su-24M and the Tu-22M3 aircraft in the strike role and the standoff jammer role were inadequate against BUK and that an Su-34 was used to finish off the BUK battery with its electronic warfare suite, though it is not clear if the Su-34 used ARMs or another platform might have actually launched the kill shots for those radars and SAMs destroyed.
    I will have another read of the article and try to give more details of the account later.

    Vlad, I think what Farhad is after, and I am interested too, is a bit more detail of what happened during that conflict, and who did what and how each arm performed.
    After the conflict the airforce wanted UAVs so clearly they want expendible craft they can send into an airspace with largely unknown defences and collect information about what is there and where it is located, like radars, SAM sites, Comm centres, HQs etc etc. This means that when more capable platforms are sent in they know what threats to expect and their general location to try to prevent the initial ambushes that seem to have occurred because aircraft were sent with little info on what to expect (which is understandable because they had little warning and were forced to act quickly, which cost pilots and planes).
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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Vladimir79 on Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:00 am

    Farhad Gulemov wrote:

    Just to make things clear for myself: are you saying that the Russian ground forces account only for less than 20% of all equipment losses of the Georgian Army during this war?

    They accounted for no more than 20% of destroyed vehicles, they captured many more as the Georgians ran away. The only heavy fighting was done in and around Tskhinvali where destroyed vehicles numbered in the dozens. When the Georgian Army was sent running with their tales between their legs, the Russian Ground Forces did not give chase. Much of the footage shot of burning tanks were from air attacks as Russian troops rolled in. There was only one small tank battle to the south of the Ossetian capital.

    How many sorties were flown during these 6 days?
    How many aircraft were actually committed to this operation?

    1000 sorties, around 50 bombing aircraft and 25 support. The majority were Su-25s. No idea of helicopter activity.
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    Air Superiority

    Post  GarryB on Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:07 pm

    Regarding my comments about the use of Su-34s in South Ossetia I found this:

    If at least two full-fledged army aviation regiments equipped with combat-ready helicopters had been used in the South Ossetian sector, then attack helicopters could have effectively supported our peace­keepers, while airborne units could have intercepted the basic routes of advance of Georgian all-arms columns and inflicted fire damage to them at the approaches to Tskhinval. For the same reason - shortage of our helicopter fleet - jammer heli­copters were not used in the initial phase of actions in the South Ossetian sector to suppress Georgian air defenses. The result is known: in the first days of war the Georgian air defenses shot down several our planes using Ukrainian-made SAM systems. However, there were no aircraft losses in the
    Abkhazian sector where at an air base in Senaki alone airborne units seized a Buk SAM battery. The secret is simple: jammer helicopters started operating right after the beginning of actions thus preventing the effective operation of enemy air defenses.

    This doesn't prove Su-34s weren't called in for the South Ossetian conflict of course, but it is clear the preferred situation would have been helicopter jammers supporting attack aircraft.

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    Georgia's Air Defense in the War with South Ossetia

    Post  Austin on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:11 pm

    Russian Air Losses in the Five-Day War Against Georgia

    Anton Lavrov

    http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/2-2009/

    The extent of Russian air losses was one of the biggest surprises of the Five Day War with Georgia, in August 2008. The loss of the several Russian aircraft during such a short conflict with a much less powerful adversary suggests that Georgia’s air defense proved exceptionally effective. However, a closer analysis of the circumstances leading to the downing of the Russian warplanes paints a different picture.

    Official Georgian statements on Russian air casualties conflict with official Russian data. According to deputy chief of the General Staff Colonel General Antatoly Nagovitsyn, Russia lost four aircraft: three Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack aircraft and one Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bomber. Meanwhile, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said on August 12 that 21 Russian planes were destroyed. Meanwhile, Georgian media showed footage of the wreckage of just one Russian plane.

    Russian MoD officials have not provided any further information concerning the downed planes. Moreover, they have never officially acknowledged the loss of two Su-24 tactical bombers. However, media and unofficial reports since the war provide enough information to fill in most of the blank spots.

    The first Russian air loss was a Su-25 ground-attack aircraft flown by Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Terebunsky of the 368th Attack Aviation Regiment (Budyonovsk Air Base), shot down over the territory of South Ossetia near the Zarsk pass, between Dzhava and Tskhinvali. He was hit by a MANPAD missile fired by South Ossetian militia near 6.00 P.M on August, 8. The wreckage of the plane was filmed by a crew from the Russian state television channel Vesti and shown on television as a «downed Georgian plane»1. The plane was probably mistakenly identified and brought down by «friendly fire» because it was one of the very first Russian sorties, and the wreckage was found before South Ossetia was informed that Russian aviation was involved in the conflict. Moreover, five Georgian Su-25 had bombed the area nearby just a few hours earlier, so the Ossetians had grounds to suppose they might return. 2 In any case, Lieutenant Colonel Terebunsky managed to eject himself in time and was quickly located and evacuated by Russian forces.

    The first and greatest success of the Georgian air defense system occurred one day after hostilities broke out. In the morning of August 9, they shot down a Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bomber from the 52nd Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment (Shaikovko Air Base) over the village of Karbauli in the Sachkhersk region of Georgia (about 50 km to the north-west from Gori). During a second bombing raid on the base of a Georgian infantry brigades, a group of Tu-22M3 bombers were following the same route to their target as on a previous run and, according to unofficial sources, decreased their altitude for some unknown reason from 12,000 m to 4,000 m. According to an anonymous Russian military source, the aircraft was shot by a Georgian Osa-AK/AKM (SA-8B) low-altitude self-propelled SAM system. The missile took out key systems of the aircraft, and it lost power. One of the crewmen, second pilot Major Vyacheslav Malkov, catapulted and was taken prisoner by the Georgians. Upon landing, he suffered injuries to three vertebrae and a broken arm. He was brought to a village hospital and then transferred to the Tbilisi hospital. On August 19 Malkov was exchanged for Georgian prisoners of war. The commander of the Tu-22M3, Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandr Koventsov, catapulted after Malkov and disappeared without a trace. The remains of his ejection chair were found, but his body was never found. 3 A few weeks after the war, a search party found the wreckage of the plane and the bodies of the remaining crew in South Ossetia near the border with Georgia: Major Viktor Priadkin (navigator) and Igor Nesterov (weapon systems operator). It is perhaps worth noting that contrary to several mistaken media reports, the downed Tu-22M3 was not a Tu-22MR reconnaissance aircraft.

    That same morning, at 10:20 A.M. on August 9, Georgian air defense forces shot down a Su-24M Fencer front-line bomber from the 929th State Aviation Testing Center (Akhtubinsk Air Base). 4 It was flying in a formation of three front-line bombers, tasked with striking Georgian artillery positions in area of Shindisi village (between Gori and Tskhinvali). After the completion of the first approach, the plane was shot down in view of several Georgian eyewitnesses. Mobile phone camera’s recorded the strike on the plane and its fiery descent, and the footage was soon distributed on the internet. 5,6 According to an eyewitness, 7 two surface-to-air missiles with infra-red guidance (probably Python 4 missiles from the Israeli-made Spyder-SR low-altitude SAM system) missed the plane, but a third missile hit the target. The strike caused a powerful fire. The crew ejected, but the wreckage damaged the parachute of navigator Colonel Igor Rzhavitin, who died when he hit the ground. The crew commander, Colonel Igor Zinov, was burned and suffered from a severely damaged spine. He was taken prisoner and sent first to the Gori military hospital, and then to Tbilisi together with Major Malkov. On 19 August the two were exchanged for Georgian prisoners of war. The Su-24M has fallen in the yard of a home in the village of Dzerevi, without causing any further casualties or damage. The wreckage was filmed and shown on Georgian television. 8 Photographs were later published in the Georgian military magazine Arsenal, and in foreign media. 9

    Just a few minutes later, at 10:30 A.M. on August 9, a newest upgraded Su-25SM ground-attack aircraft was shot down, piloted by Colonel Sergey Kobylash, Commander of the 368th Attack Aviation Regiment (Budyonovsk Air Base). A pair of Su-25 ground-attack aircraft, in which he was the lead, was attacking a Georgian troops column to the south of Tskhinvali, on the Gori-Tskhinvali road. At the conclusion of his first approach, Kolybash was hit by an air defense missile to his left engine, which ceased to function. Kolybash had to break off the attack and headed towards base. A short while later, flying over the southern edge of Tskhinvali at an altitude of 1000 m, a MANPAD missile hit his right engine, leaving the plane without thrust. The pilot tried to take the plane as far as possible from the front line. He ejected north of Tskhinvali and landed on the territory of South Ossetia, in one of the villages of the Georgian enclave of in the Great Liakh gorge, where he was quickly picked up by a Russian combat search and rescue group in a Mi-8 Hip helicopter from the 487th Helicopter Regiment (Budyonovsk Airbase). Kobylash was not injured during the ejection or landing. 10

    It is not known who shot down Colonel Kobylash’s Su-25SM. There were no Georgian forces in Tskhinvali at the time when he was hit for the second time. On the other hand, one half hour after his plane was downed, the South Ossetians announced that they had shot down one of two Georgian ground-attack aircraft that were trying to attack Tskhinvali. 11 According to the Georgians, however, they had ceased air attacks by August 9, 12 so seems likely that Kobylash’s plane was mistaken for a Georgian Su-25.

    August 9th was the worst day of the campaign for Russian aviation, with a total loss of four planes. The fourth loss that day, and the fifth since the start of the operation, was a Su-25 ground-attack aircraft piloted by Major Vladimir Edamenko of the 368th Assault Aviation Regiment (Budyonovsk Air Base). His wingman, Captain Sergey Sapilin, described the circumstances of this flight to Russian REN-TV channel. 13 Their pair of Su-25 ground-attack aircraft was assigned to provide close air support to Russian troops columns traveling from Dzhava to Tskhinvali. Right after they passed the Caucasian Ridge and entered the airspace of South Ossetia, the crew saw pair of MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters approach. Unable to determine whether the approaching MiG-29s were Russian, they took evasive maneuvers as a precaution. As it turned out, the MiG-29s were Russian, and turned away once they had visually identified the ground-attack aircraft. Almost immediately after that, in the Dzhava region, over territory controlled by Russian forces, Major Edamenko’s wingman aircraft’s SRO PWR detected the radar emission of his aircraft off the ground and at once has seen the burning Su-25 of his leader, pointing towards the ground. 14 Edamenko did not respond to his radio, nor did he make any attempt to eject from the plane, which suggests that he was severely injured or killed. The aircraft hit ground and exploded near Itrapis village, and Major Edamenko died. The Russian MoD later announced that a «Georgian Su-25» was destroyed by a Russian Osa-AKM (SA-8B) SAM system. It is possible this was in fact probably Edamenko’s ground-attack aircraft, since Georgia had ceased flights into South Ossetia before Russia brought air defense systems into the theater. According to other assumption, Edamenko’s aircraft may be has been brought down by «friendly fire» of Russian ZSU-23-4 Shilka quad 23 mm self-propelled ani-aricraft gun, guarding the Gufta bridge.

    The sixth and last downed aircraft of the Russian air force was lost at the end of the active phase of the conflict, during the day of August 11. It was a Su-24M front-line bomber. According to unofficial information available in aviation circles, it was from the 968th Test & Training Aviation Regiment of the 4th Lipetsk Air Center. 15 A column of Russian ground forces, moving from Tskhinvali towards Gori, mistakenly identified the Su-24M as enemy aircraft, and fired several MANPAD missiles at it, downing the plane several kilometers west of Tskhinvali, in the territory of South Ossetia. The pilots ejected and were evacuated, while the wreckage landed in the inaccessible mountain heights. 16

    After the conclusion of the active phase of combat, during the night from August 16-17, a Mi-8MTV transport helicopter belonging to the Border Guards of the Russian Federal Security Service had an accident. During a night landing at a temporary helicopter forward operation base near Dzhava, it made collision with another helicopter on the ground, flipped around and burned. As a result of the fire and subsequent explosion of ammunition, one Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter was seriously and several other helicopters lightly damaged. The on-board mechanic, Senior Warrant Officer Aleksandr Burlachko died, and three other members of the crew were severely burned. 17

    In total, then, four Russian air crewmen died in combat: Major Vladimir Edamenko, Major Igor Nesterov, Major Viktor Priadkin and Colonel Igor Rzhavatin. After the conclusion of combat, Senior Warrant Officer Aleksandr Burlachko died in the helicopter accident. Colonel Igor Zinov and Major Vyachelavl Malkov were downed and taken prisoner, and later exchanged for Georgian prisoners of war. Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandr Koventsov went missing in action.

    Russia lost a total of six aircraft in combat during the Five Day War: one Su-25SM and two Su-25 ground-attack aircraft, two Su-24M front-line bomber and one Tu-22M3 long-range bomber. Of these, two aircraft were certainly downed by enemy fire, three were probably hit by «friendly fire» and it remains difficult to determine who downed the last. The wreckage of five aircraft fell within the borders of South Ossetia and just one, the Su-24M from the 929th State Aviation Training Centre, fell in Georgia.

    Aside from the downed aircraft, a few more Su-25 ground-attack aircraft were seriously damaged, though they managed to return to base. Damage to three upgraded Su-25SM was officially confirmed by Chief-designer of the Sukhoy Design Bureau Vladimir Babak, 18 and Director of the 121th Aviation Repair Plant (Kubinka) Yakov Kazhdan. 19 Unofficial reports suggest that no fewer than four Su-25 were damaged, three from 368th Attack Aviation Regiment and one from 461th Attack Aviation Regiment (Krasnodar Air Base), all by MANPAD missiles. There were no reports of serious damage to any other airplanes or helicopters.

    Thus, with six downed or damaged Su-25 ground-attack aircraft, the Budyonnovsk 368th Attack Aviation Regiment suffered the worst losses of equipment - that is, at least one fourth of its aircraft, including the recently upgraded Su-25SM, with its best-trained pilots, including the Regiment’s Commander.

    Clearly, the effectiveness of Georgia’s air defense system should not be overestimated. Even though Georgia’s air defense forces possessed such effective SAM systems as the Buk-M1 (SA-11), the Osa-AK/AKM (SA-8B) and the Spyder-SR, as well as a significant number of MANPADs, 20 they was not able to provide reliable protection for Georgian forces or territory. During the first day of combat before August 9, Georgia’s air defense forces failed to down a single Russian aircraft, even though its air defense systems were not yet under pressure and its radar system covered all of Georgian territory, the separatist regions, and the surrounding areas. In one day, Russia’s military aviation completed several dozen air strikes, not only in the combat zone but deep into Georgian territory, using almost exclusively unguided weapons. For example, Marneuli, the main Air Force Base of Georgia located one hundred kilometers from the conflict zone or the border with Russia, close to Tbilisi and the borders of Georgia and Armenia, was bombarded three times unhindered on August 8 by small groups of Su-25 and Su-24M aircraft. 21 Both (or in the best case, all three) aircraft downed by Georgia’s air defenses were hit on August 9th, during the first half of the day. Thus, from noon, August 9, to the end of the conflict, Georgian forces were unable to destroy a single Russian aircraft.

    Of course, it is little consolation that at least half of Russian air losses were attributed to friendly fire. This demonstrates the serious problems facing the Russian Armed Forces with respect to the command and control of forces in battle. The absence of cooperation between the Russian Army and Air Force led to them conduct completely separate campaigns. Pilots were not fully apprised of the situation on the ground, received inexact and late intelligence, and at the start of hostilities, according to the Commander of the 368th Attack Aviation Regiment Colonel Kobylash, they did not even have exact information on the structure and strength of the Georgian Air Defense Forces. 22

    Russian Ground Forces also lacked information about the situation in the air, and were not sure until the end of combat whether Russia’s aviation had achieved air superiority. In spite of the fact that Georgian Su-25 ground-attack aircraft conducted just one combat flight in the early morning of August 8 and did not take to the air again, 23 Russian aircraft were frequently taken by Russian and Ossetian forces as Georgian aircraft, and they were fired upon without identification and in the absence of any aggressive action on their part (although there is some evidence of «friendly fire» from aviation as well. 24). As a result, Russian aircraft were fired at by Russian forces and Ossetian militiamen, with no less than ten MANPAD missiles fired, and fired from infantry combat vehicles cannons, anti-aircraft machine guns mounted on tanks, and light automatic weapons. There are also reports of problems with the functioning of the «Friend or Foe» combat identification systems and their haphazard application when firing MANPADs. All these factors contributed to such a high rate of Russian air losses to friendly fire.

    1 Shown on Vesti television on August 8 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLIiOp_tv30)].

    2 Interfax (http://www.interfax.ru/politics/news.asp?id=25736).

    3 «Nedelia s Mariannoy Maksimovskoy,» 21.02.2009 - REN-TV [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s50BabE2B9Q].

    4 RIA Novy region [http://www.nr2.ru/center/190689.html].

    5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5Mh2DeC2JE.

    6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foP047XmWM8.

    7 Georgian weekly «Kviris palitra» N38/2008.

    8 Rustavi-2, 9.08.08 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcT3FYrFIuc].

    9 Photographs of Su-24M wreckage in Dzeveri [http://www.milkavkaz.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=29218#29218].

    10 Interview with S. Kobylash, REN-TV «Voennaya tayna» [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTl3RoFl5Hc)].

    11 http://cominf.org/node/1166477959.

    12 http://d-avaliani.livejournal.com/13526.html.

    13 Interview with S. Sapilina, REN-TV, «Voyennaya tayna» [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ3E-J4Y5dM].

    14 Stavropolskaya pravda [http://www.stapravda.ru/20080926/Avtokross_v_Budennovske_IX_etap_chempionata_Stavropolskogo_kraya_33128.html].

    15 Forum Waronline.org [http://www.waronline.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=401966&sid=fbfa66ccdb197ad9797ec85aad5d6cd8#40196].

    16 Documentary film «Kouti tis Pandoras» by Greek telejournalist Kostas Vaxevani [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVQMoPQLt_c].

    17 Decorated posthumously - Stavropol TV [http://www.atvmedia.ru/index.php?report=14775].

    18 «Grach» vozmezdia – Krasnaya zvezda [http://www.redstar.ru/2008/09/10_09/3_01.html].

    19  http://www.rian.ru/osetia_news/20081017/153414223.html.

    20 Georgia’s Air Defense in the War with South Ossetia – Moscow Defense Brief [http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/3-2008/item3/article3/].

    21 Official Chronology of Georgia’s MFA [http://www.mfa.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=461&info_id=7289]

    22 Interview with S. Kobylash, REN-TV [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTl3RoFl5Hc].

    23 Georgian magazine Arsenal (translation at http://d-avaliani.livejournal.com/13526.html).

    24 Forum Airforce.ru [http://forums.airforce.ru/showpost.php?p=38299&postcount=649].

    Austin

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  Austin on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:14 pm

    Georgia's Air Defense in the War with South Ossetia

    Said Aminov, Editor of the Air Defense News website: www.pvo.su

    The Georgian air-defense system represents a symbiosis of what it inherited from the collapse of the Soviet Union and new acquisitions from former Warsaw Pact and Soviet successor states.

    During Soviet times, the 19th Tbilisi Air-Defense Army of the Soviet Air-Defence Troops was deployed in Georgia (reduced to an Air-Defense Corps in 1991). It included three SAM brigades in Tbilisi, Poti, and Echmiadzin, armed with S-75 (SA-2) and S-125 (SA-3) SAM systems, a separate SAM regiment armed with S-75 SAM systems (SA-2, deployed in Gudauta, Abkhazia), and a separate SAM regiment near Tbilisi, equipped with S-200 (SA-5) long-range SAM systems, as well as two radar brigades. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, some of the Soviet Armed Forces, including air defense, did not fall under Georgian jurisdiction, but remained under Russian control. During the early 1990s, all of the aforementioned air-defense divisions on Georgian territory were dismantled and their equipment transferred to Russia for scrapping. Nonetheless, Georgian forces seized some air-defense equipment from the Russian military, including at least one S-75 and two S-125 SAM battalions, as well as a few P-18 Spoon Rest radars. These systems were put into service to form the base of the air defenses of the Georgian armed forces. The Georgians used the S-75 SAM battalions in the war with Abkhazia in 1992-1993 and shot down a Russian Su-27 fighter near Gudauta on March 19, 1993.

    The S-75 battalion was removed from service in Georgia, but the two S-125 Neva-M low- to high-altitude SAM systems battalions was deployed in Tbilisi and Poti (a total of seven quadruple rail launchers) and those in service with the Georgian Air Force had been modernized by Ukrainian specialists by 2005.

    Georgian Army received several short-range air-defense systems in the first half of the 1990s from the arsenals of the former Soviet Army located in Georgia but transferred to Russian jurisdiction. These included KS-19 100-mm anti-aircraft guns, S-60 57-mm anti-aircraft guns, ZU-23-2 twin 23-mm anti-aircraft guns, ZSU-23-4 Shilka quad 23-mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun systems, Strela-2M (SA-7), Strela-3 (SA-14), and Igla-1 (SA-16) man-portable SAM systems (MANPADS). However, a significant proportion of these arms was lost by Georgia during its unsuccessful war with Abkhazia. Some of the ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns were mounted on MT-LB armored multipurpose tracked vehicles.

    With Mikhail Saakashvili's assumption of power in 2003, Georgia began the rapid development of its military capacities with the aim of acquiring the means to regain the separatist Abkhazian and South Ossetian regions. To neutralize Russia's potential to interfere in its operations against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia began to purchase modern air-defense systems.

    First, Georgia acquired a 9?37?1 Buk-M1 (SA-11) battalion of low- to high-altitude self-propelled SAM systems composed of three batteries (each battery includes two self-propelled launcher mounts and one self-propelled loader-launcher) from Ukraine in 2007. These were delivered together with 48 9?38?1 surface-to-air missiles.

    Georgia noted this transfer in its official report for 2007 to the UN Register of Conventional Arms. Other than Russia and Ukraine, only Finland, Cyprus, and Egypt possess Buk systems in several different versions. The Russian army is currently acquiring the latest version, the Buk-M2 (SA-17), and a large export contract of Buk-M2E to Syria is in the pipeline. According to subsequent internet reports from Ukraine, the Buk-M1 systems were delivered by sea to Georgia on June 7, 2007. In July 16, 2008, photos of Georgian Buk-M1 systems used during tactical training in Western Georgia dating from August 2007 appeared on the Internet. According to a Ukrainian source, on June 12, 2008, another battery of Buk-M1 systems was delivered to Georgia.

    Second, Ukraine delivered eight self-propelled launcher vehicles 9?33?2 Osa-AK (SA-8B) low-altitude SAM systems (two batteries) and six (ten, according to some sources) 9?33?3 Osa-?KM self-propelled launcher vehicles update SAM systems. The Buk-M1 and Osa-AK/AKM systems were deployed by the Georgian Air Force in Gori, Senaki, and Kutaisi.

    Third, Ukraine sold Georgia two modern 36D6-M radars that were deployed in Tbilisi and Savshevebi near Gori. The 36D6-? is a mobile, 3-D air surveillance radar, developed by the Iskra company in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine. The 36D6-M radar is a deep modernization of the ST-68U (19Zh6) Tin Shield radar, taken into service in 1980 and used with the S-300P (SA-10) SAM system. The 36D6-M radar has a range of up to 360 km.

    Fourth, Ukraine delivered at least one Kolchuga-M passive electronic monitoring radar system, capable of passively detecting modern aircraft, including those using stealth technology. According to information published recently in Ukraine, it is possible that another four Kolchuga-M and one Mandat electronic warfare systems, all produced in Donetsk at the SKB RTU and the Topaz Company, were delivered to Georgia in May of 2008. Earlier, Ukraine was severely criticized by the United States for having sold Kolchuga systems to China, Iraq, and Iran.

    Fifth, the Ukrainian company Aerotekhnika upgraded the obsolete Georgian P-18 Spoon Rest radars to the P-180U version, which amounts to a qualitatively new and modern 2-D air surveillance radar system. At the time when it attacked South Ossetia, the Georgian Air Force had four P-180U radars deployed in Alekseyevka (near Tbilisi), Marneuli, Poti, and Batumi.

    In 2006, company Aerotekhnika united Georgian military and four civilian air-traffic-control radars and the Kolchuga-M system into a single Air Sovereignty Operations Center (ASOC) early warning and command control tactical system. The central command center of the ASOC was located in Tbilisi, and as of 2008 was connected to a NATO Air Situation Data Exchange (ASDE) through Turkey, which allowed Georgia to receive data directly from the unified NATO air-defense system.

    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine either delivered or planned to deliver 50 9K310 Igla-1 (SA-16) man-portable SAM systems and 400 9?313 surface-to-air missiles, with missile seekers, upgraded by the Ukrainian Arsenal plant.

    Several East European states also participated in the renewal of the Georgian air defense system. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Bulgaria delivered 12 ZU-23-2? twin 23-mm anti-aircraft guns and 500 9?313 surface-to-air missiles for Igla-1 man-portable SAM systems. According to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, Poland delivered 30 Grom man-portable SAM systems (a improved Igla-1) and 100 surface-to-air missiles, and it is possible that such deliveries took place in 2008 as well. Reports have circulated that Georgia acquired Soviet era man-portable SAM systems from other countries as well.

    Finally, there are reports that Georgia acquired one battery of the new Israeli Spyder-SR short-range self-propelled SAM system in 2008. The Spyder-SR SAM system, developed by Rafael company, uses Python 5 and Derby air-to-air missiles in a surface-to-air role. There has been no official confirmation of any such deliveries to Georgia, but Jane's Missiles & Rockets magazin cited a Rafael representative to report that the “Spyder-SR has been ordered by two export customers, one of whom now has the system operational.”

    The Russian Ministry of Defense also reported that the Georgian Army acquired the Skywatcher army air-defense early-warning and command control tactical system produced by the Turkish Aselsan Company in 2008.

    Thus, by the time Georgia invaded South Ossetia, its air defenses had acquired significant capability to detect, locate, and destroy air targets. The Georgian forces that advanced into South Ossetia were the equivalent of about a large division (nine light infantry and five tank battalions, up to eight artillery battalions, plus special forces and Ministry of the Internal Affairs troops), were protected by an air defense echelon that included one Buk-M1 SAM system battalion, up to three Osa-AK/AKM SAM system batteries, a large number of man-portable SAM systems, as well as a few ?-60 57-mm anti-aircraft guns, ZU-23-2 twin 23-mm anti-aircraft guns, and ZSU-23-4 Shilka quad 23-mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun systems. Thus, the air-defense system of Georgian attack groups was about the equivalent of a best frontline Soviet divisions during the late 1980s - early 1990s.

    The confrontation with Georgia's air-defense system proved to be a serious trial for Russia's military aviation, especially since it seems that its capabilities were initially underestimated. Meanwhile, Georgia's air defenses reportedly relied on data received from the Kolchuga-M passive electronic monitoring radar systems, minimizing the use of active radar, while the Georgian Buk-M1 and Osa-AK/AKM self-propelled SAM systems used ambush tactics. This made it more difficult to defeat the Georgian air-defense systems. According to unofficial reports, the Georgian Buk-M1 SAM systems shot down four Russian aircraft on the first day of battle on August 8: three Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes and one Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bomber.

    Moreover, according to unofficial sources, Russia lost another three airplanes (one Su-24MR Fencer E reconnaissance plane on August 8, one Su-24M Fencer frontal bomber on August 10 or 11, and one Su-25 attack plane on August 9) as well as perhaps one Mi-24 attack helicopter.

    Both Su-24 were probably shot down by Georgian Osa-AK/AKM SAM systems or man-portable SAM systems, and the Su-25, according to several reports, fell victim to friendly fire from a MANPAD wielded by Russian servicemen. A?cording to the Sukhoi Company, three Russian Su-25s also was hit by Georgian SAM and MANPAD missiles but was able to return safely to base. For their part, Russian Army air-defense forces claimed shot down three Georgian Su-25 attack planes.

    From the crews of the downed planes, two Russian pilots (of the Su-24MR and the Tu-22M3) were taken hostage, and exchanged for Georgian prisoners on August 19. According to unofficial reports, another five Russian pilots (of the Su-25 shot by friendly fire, the navigator of the Su-24MR, and three crew from the Tu-22M3) died.

    At the time of writing, the Russian Defense Ministry officially recognized the loss of only three Su-25 attack planes and one Tu-22M3 long-range bomber, and considered them defeated by Buk-M1 SAM systems. The training of Georgian personnel in the use of the Buk-M1 SAM systems took place in Ukraine, and Ukrainian military instructors may have supervised their use in combat.

    Although the Russian press and even high-level Russian military officials have made statements about the possible transfer of S-200 long range SAM systems and modern Tor (SA-15) low-to-medium altitude self-propelled SAM systems, such reports have not been confirmed.

    One can conclude that following the unpleasant surprise arising from Georgia's effective use of Soviet-made SAM systems on August 8, the Russian armed forces threw all of the resources at their disposal against Georgia's SAM and radar systems. Both S-125M SAM battalions, the majority of Georgia's military and civilian radars, as well as the most part Buk-M1 and Osa-AK/AKM SAM systems were destroyed. It would appear that the only remaining threat to Russian planes and helicopters in the last days of combat came from Georgian MANPADs.

    Russian forces were able to seize five Osa-AKM self-propelled launch vehicles, a few ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns and a few ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft gun systems as trophies from the retreating Georgian forces. Near Gali and Senaki, Abkhaz and Russian forces captured at least one Buk-M1 battery, as witnessed by published photos. According to one unofficial source, Russian forces were able to capture or destroy almost all of the self-propelled launcher mounts for the Georgian Buk-M1 SAM systems.

    The war in South Ossetia marked the first time when air power faced off against new-generation SAM systems, like the Buk-M1, which were brought into service in the 1980s. In all previous military campaigns, such as the War in Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1967, 1973, and 1982, combat actions in Chad and Libya in the 1980s, the NATO campaigns in the former Yugoslavia of 1994 and 1999, and the Wars in the Persian Gulf of 1991 and 2003, the air-defense systems in question were all designed in the 1950s and 1960s (this excludes, of course, the use of modern MANPADs). Moreover, in Georgia, the Russian Air Force for the first time in its history fought against modern air-defense systems, and relatively modern and numerous SAM systems at that.

    This unprecedented experience of Russian aviation over a territory protected by a range of air-defense systems will be studied in detail, and should serve as a stimulus for the cardinal modernization of the Russian armed forces. It is obvious that the Russian Air Force must devote greater attention to the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), including the renewal of tactics, electronic weapons and increased military training in this area.

    Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST)
    Russia, Moscow, 125047, 3 Tverskaya-Yamskaya, 24, office 5
    phone/fax: (+7-495) 775-0418. www.mdb.cast.ru

    mach789igm

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  mach789igm on Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:19 am

    nemrod wrote:No use to talk about war with Russia.
    The last example was a little shit named Mr Cheney in 2008 with Georgia, I think he -and his lackey Saakatchvilli- understood very well, what is Russia.
    No country in the world, now could wage a war against Russia. This topic in fact could be moved in other parts in the forum.

    I know that a Russian Tu-22M and 3 Su-25 were knocked out by BUK systems. Georgia got BUK systems from Ucraina.
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    TR1

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  TR1 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:57 am

    mach789igm wrote:
    nemrod wrote:No use to talk about war with Russia.
    The last example was a little shit named Mr Cheney in 2008 with Georgia, I think he -and his lackey Saakatchvilli- understood very well, what is Russia.
    No country in the world, now could wage a war against Russia. This topic in fact could be moved in other parts in the forum.

    I know that a Russian Tu-22M and 3 Su-25 were knocked out by BUK systems. Georgia got BUK systems from Ucraina.

    Su-25s were mostly hit by MANPADs.
    Also it is hihgly unlikely the Georgians shot down 3. Some were hit, and on return hit again by friendly fire and went down.

    Actually through FF more planes were lost that through direct Georgian shoot downs.
    Only 2 planes are known to have been taken down through enemy fire; 1 is unknown. That leaves 3 to "other causes" including friendly fire.

    There were cases mind you of the Su-25 being hit and making it back to base. Sweet sweet armor.
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    GarryB

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:42 am

    The Backfire shot down was a Tu-22MR recon model. At least three Tu-22M3 bombers hit at least one airfield in Georgia... you can tell by the bomb tracks in this photo:



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    TR1

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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  TR1 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:43 am

    While it worked, that photo also shows why the Gefest upgrade for Tu-22s is critical.
    That sort of archaic bombing is not what the RuAF needs in the future.

    I imagine the Tu-22M could carry quite a few KAB-1500Ls internally....would probably do a hell of a lot more damage to the airway than that carpet bombing.

    Apparently Tu-160s were used in the conflict to hit radar stations as well. Curios wither they just used Kh-55s or ARMs.
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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:14 am

    Those upgrades will make an enormous difference... the Backfire is an enormously under rated aircraft... it can actually carry more 250kg bombs than a B-52 (it can carry 69).

    But having said that standard operational procedure when bombing and airfield is to bomb across like this to ensure at least a few hits.

    Flying down the airfield could mean all your bombs miss.

    Certainly using satellite guided 250kg bombs carried externally on the four hard point mounted multiple ejector racks (4 x 9 = 36 or 9 tons) plus the internal rotary launcher loaded with KAB-1500 bombs, 6 x 1,500kg would be another 9 tons, which is 18 tons and well below its 24 ton capacity would have completely eliminated the airfield and many of its buildings and its radar and communication equipment... from a much safer height and speed.

    Apparently Tu-160s were used in the conflict to hit radar stations as well. Curios wither they just used Kh-55s or ARMs.

    That sounds very strange, they would have to be Tu-160M aircraft and the most likely weapon would be the Kh-555. As far as I know the Kh-15 only has a tactical nuclear armed version, which would be the only ARM the Tu-160 carries. The Tu-160M has an expanded weapon range, but we still know very little about its options.

    I suspect a rather better combination for hitting radar sites would be a Tu-22M3 and Kh-22M or Kh-32 with the anti radiation seeker ARM version.


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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  TR1 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:38 am

    Kh-55 not Kh-15 Garry Wink

    Kh-15 is gone, retired from inventory.
    Regular Tu-160 uses Kh-55, Kh-55SM, or Kh-555, but for all practical purposes they would be the same utility in the given task.
    It is rather curious the Kh-22P was not utilized from Tu-22Ms. I guess they wanted to strike from really far away, and the radar sites were well known locations anyways (Tbilsi airport) so cruise missiles work fine.

    Actually I am curious what weapons will be integrated into the Tu-160M, aside from smart bombs.
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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:30 am

    Kh-55 not Kh-15 Garry

    Kh-55 and kh-15 are nuclear armed weapons.

    Kh-555 is the conventionally armed model of the Kh-55SM (with the saddle fuel tanks and nuclear warhead).

    Kh-15 is gone, retired from inventory.
    Regular Tu-160 uses Kh-55, Kh-55SM, or Kh-555, but for all practical purposes they would be the same utility in the given task.

    I know, I mentioned the kh-15 as the only ARM carried by the Tu-160, there are no known ARM versions of the Kh-55 et al.

    It is rather curious the Kh-22P was not utilized from Tu-22Ms. I guess they wanted to strike from really far away, and the radar sites were well known locations anyways (Tbilsi airport) so cruise missiles work fine.

    I would rather expect the Kh-32 has become a multirole successor to the Kh-22 and Kh-22M and probably includes ARM and land attack capability and would be a more suitable weapon.

    Much higher speed and reasonable standoff range should allow it to engage targets anywhere in Georgia from Russian territory with little risk of interception.


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    Re: Russian Air Force performance during Russo-Georgian War

    Post  GarryB on Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:34 am

    BTW regarding the photo of the Backfire attacks, they seem to be using 250kg bombs, which is interesting, because they have 500kg cluster bombs able to carry dedicated anti runway munitions.

    This suggests to me that they either used what they had immediately available, or the plan wasn't to permanently destroy the airfield.

    A mix of concrete piercing submunitions and time delay explosive munitions would have been more appropriate... the former to disable the runways, and the latter to hinder repairs.


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