Walther von Oldenburg wrote:Werewolf:
Ok. Let's suppose we have an irregular army (like Houthis in Yemen, vs Saudi Arabia, Syrian rebels vs Assad, IS against coalition and Assad) that wants to have basic AD capability (like what I said - destroying PGMs, low flying helicopters/drones and maybe 1-2 fighters under ideal circumstances) - what equipment would you give them and what tactics would you propose to have maximally cost-effective AD? Imagine you're a millitary advisor to Houthi revels in Yemen and you have to build their AD so that they can render Saudi AF ineffective. You have a budget of around $50 mln
Would a modernized ZPU/ZSU with either FLIR or a radar, mounted on a truck stand the test?
50 mln USD?
That is almost nothing, with such a budget you can forget anything advanced, no network no radars, no communication systems besides basic infantry radios. The US has spend more millions to provide Taliban with basic infantry ammuntion every year.
With such a tight budget the only option for you to end up with any kind of effeciency against aircrafts is to by low calibre Anti Aircraft guns with some fewer higher calibre guns ZSU-23-2 the mere the better, because your asymmetric warfare will not be advanced by any kind of intel shared among your forces, meaning they are very reactionary and have to have necessary means for that but with basic tactics embeded as their doctrine as AD.
The high amount of 12.7-14.5mm will be necessary to keep at least the presence of some very basic and very limited but in biggest numbers possible to compensate the disadvantage of not having an actual integrated Air defence system or any kind of advanced technologies for such jobs. The problem for such weapons are jet fighters striking down with hit and run tactics, but that is not their job anyway, they will be mere assets of representing a threat, but their job will and must be based on concealed tactics similiar to what taliban did against Mig-23 and Hinds in Afghanistan, which had hard time to effectivley fight taliban that had used tarps with ZSU-23-2 and 12.7-14.5mm MG's, they were particulary weighting near convoys untill one group was engaging the convoy and the ZSU-23-2 and KPVT where weighting for air assault that either was escorting or came for support. This was the first and biggest problem for hinds and some Mig-23's.
The other issue is, today FLIR's are rather wide spread even for such countries like Saudi Arabia, that will make some tactics less effective but concealing against aircraft isn't hardest job since some insurgents have been educated well enough to conceal themselfs against Aircraft based FLIR's by placing Glas sheets in a relative flat angle so the glas sheets are reflecting the sky back to whatever could be watching you from the sky. The trick behind this is that glas is not and never used in aviation to protect or cover FLIR's. Light in the thermal spectrum is mirrowed by glass to 99% degree which is one of the reasons why thermal imaging googles can not or have not been deployed by aircraft crew, even tho some could due the acryl plastic glass lot of aircrafts use, but that is different story. I do not know how often such strategy was used, but it is a very simple solution to conceal yourself from FLIR's.
I don't know if your proposed means of example include only one time this budget of 50 mln USD, because ammunition will be used and needed in very great numbers for relative long time and 50 mln USD won't cut it, but lets not break heads about logistics of ammunition, it is unrealistic but you have to cheat somewhere to get effeciency from such circumstances, anyways...
The big issue here is that the environment is less favorable then compared to lot of european countries or Serbia, the concealment of ADS units of all types was not a big problem, from the urban to forests and hills they had enough concealing possibilities and used them. It was very effective and due the environment the NATO Airforce was forced to strike from low altitude to identify anything as a target to have capability to engage it, by the time they could identify a target dummy or real target they usually have already entered the enemies envelope of even basic Anti Aircraft guns of 23mm or less and helicopters usually have entered lethal zone of 1.5-1km before they could effectively see or engage their targets. This is not the same for the locations in the ME, at least such beneficial environments are rare and not often already dragged far back to important assets or interests for you and enemy which can be already quite dangerous for your defending side.
To be honest 50 mln USD, i personally couldn't think under such circumstances of much effeciency even when you would spare some of that money to buy advanced modern MANPADS as an important mean to protect most vital military assets on the field or to keep an enemy airforce long enough away from such assets, but that is the highest efficiency, i can think off for such circumstances. I would assume Mindstorm, SOC and GarryB can give you far better examples to make it more effective, especially SOC since this is his field of profession, but unfortunatley he hasn't posted in quite long time.