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Missles that can loiter?

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captbk

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I just heard that some of the cruise missiles that were launched last night, "loitered" overhead and then struck all at once.
How can a rocket loiter?
 

dhbarr

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Big left turns, same as an airplane.
 

dr wogz

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if they are loitering, can they then be tracked by radar?!

I assume the loiter time is in minutes, not hours!
 

cvanc

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Interesting, where did you read that?

Remember these things are boosted up to speed by a solid fuel rocket, but that drops off and it flies most of the mission on a jet engine. So they're jets and can, as such, loiter until they run out of fuel.
 

Winston

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I just heard that some of the cruise missiles that were launched last night, "loitered" overhead and then struck all at once.
How can a rocket loiter?
They were launched in a sequence and took routes that caused their arrival to be within a 60 second interval. It is reported that 23 of 59 launched actually arrived at the target and from airborne IR video images released it looks like there may have been sufficient time from the warning of foreign personnel at the targeted location to missile arrival time for at least some of the aircraft to be moved from their former locations to locations they'd never normally be parked. Six aircraft were claimed to have been destroyed. Intact ones shown look like ancient Mig-21s.

A BGM-109 warhead found:

 

GregGleason

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Using the Wiki data (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(missile)), the Block IV TLAM variants have a 1,000 mile range and a cruise at 550 mph. So the max flight time is about 1 hour 49 minutes.

Regarding the loitering capability ...

"Tomahawk Block III[7][6] introduced in 1993 added time-of-arrival control and navigation through Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC) and jam-resistant GPS, smaller, lighter WDU-36 warhead, engine improvements and extended missile's range."

A coordinated attack of 59 missiles, each carrying a 1,000 lb warhead, arriving at about the same time would cause a fair bit of shock and awe.

Greg
 

Buzzard

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That has been a tactic used for a long time, mostly with non-conventional missiles. We could (simulated) launch two or three Short Range Attack Missiles (AGM-69A) at a "target" in five second intervals. The aircraft computer would command each missile prior to launch to fly a trajectory as to allow them to arrive at the target simultaneously. In a real world situation this would have increased the warhead effects and also prevented fratricide by one non-conventional warhead of the others.
Same tactic with ALCMs, Tomahawks, and multi-warhead ICBM.
The Tomahawks launched were doing less than loitering and more of flying a timing pattern to arrive at their targets at a specified time.

Twenty-one years of Hound Dogs, SRAMs, ALCMS, GLCMs, and ACMs.
 

Winston

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That has been a tactic used for a long time, mostly with non-conventional missiles. We could (simulated) launch two or three Short Range Attack Missiles (AGM-69A) at a "target" in five second intervals. The aircraft computer would command each missile prior to launch to fly a trajectory as to allow them to arrive at the target simultaneously. In a real world situation this would have increased the warhead effects and also prevented fratricide by one non-conventional warhead of the others.
Same tactic with ALCMs, Tomahawks, and multi-warhead ICBM.
The Tomahawks launched were doing less than loitering and more of flying a timing pattern to arrive at their targets at a specified time.

Twenty-one years of Hound Dogs, SRAMs, ALCMS, GLCMs, and ACMs.
I'd like confirmation from a more reliable source than the Russians that only 23 of 59 launched actually arrived at the target. If true, that isn't great... I wonder if there are any unclassified stats, like from one or more of the Iraq wars, on this. I'll have to search on-line. After Gulf War I it was revealed that the Patriot missiles didn't perform at all well (since corrected, supposedly) and now I'm wondering about the BGM-109s, too.

EDIT: Found this -

During the Gulf War in 1991, 297 Tomahawks were attempted to be fired by the US Navy. Nine failed to leave their launch tubes, and six suffered booster malfunctions which caused them to fall into the water shortly after launch, representing a 5% failure rate on launch. Of the 282 missiles successfully launched, 245 hit their targets; 37 did not. The Pentagon claims that Iraq shot down between two and six Tomahawks, meaning that between 31 and 35 Tomahawks went “astray”, or around 12% of the missiles launched. These calculations are consistent with the Pentagon’s claims of an approximate 85% success rate for the Tomahawk during that conflict.

In the coming decade, Iraq continued to be the favorite target for American cruise missiles - 46 were attempted to be launched against a manufacturing plant outside Baghdad in January 1993 (42 left their tubes, 34 of which hit their intended target); 25 were fired at the Iraqi Intelligence Service’s headquarters in June 1993 (23 of which launched, 16 hitting their target), 44 against Iraqi air defense sites in August 1996 (31 hitting their target), and 325 against a wide variety of targets in December 1998 (there is no data on how many of these actually hit their target - the Pentagon assigned a success rate of around 90%, meaning less than 300 did so.) In every instance, missiles went astray and struck unintended targets, causing significant damage and civilian casualties. Although the Navy began employing improved versions of the Tomahawk in the late 1990’s, the problem with missiles going awry did not go away - the Serbian government reported missiles hitting the water and striking civilian buildings after a barrage of 13 Tomahawks was fired into Bosnia in September 1995, and later, in 1999, when some 219 Tomahawks were fired at targets in Serbia. Similar issues with malfunctioning Tomahawks plagued US cruise missile attacks against Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen over the years. And, more recently, ISIS has recovered the remains of two Tomahawk missiles launched on 22-23 September 2014 that failed to reach their targets (out of 47 launched.)
 

mccordmw

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Modern artillery also launches projectiles at varying angles so the shells all hit about at the same time on target. You don't want one hitting and then giving people a chance to take cover before the rest hit.

The British ALARM anti-radar missile has a neat loiter capability. It launches at high speed to the target area, climbs to high altitude, then descends slowly on a parachute while scanning for radiation sources. Once detected, it lights up the motor and streaks down to the source.
 

rharshberger

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Modern artillery also launches projectiles at varying angles so the shells all hit about at the same time on target. You don't want one hitting and then giving people a chance to take cover before the rest hit.
That technique is known as Timed On Target or TOT, most artillery personnel just call it a Mercy Kill. With the first round accuracy of modern artillery it can wipe out entire units or command posts without warning.
 

shreadvector

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It is not a rocket.

There is a small rocket motor used to boost some cruise missiles up and out of launch tubes and up to airspeed, but the rest of the long flight is like an airplane with an air breathing turbine ("jet") engine.

Google it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(missile)

I just heard that some of the cruise missiles that were launched last night, "loitered" overhead and then struck all at once.
How can a rocket loiter?
 

Winston

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Just heard RGM/UGM-109E models were used:

The variant currently being purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) - for the Navy - is the RGM/UGM-109E Tomahawk Block IV aka Tactical Tomahawk features a two-way satellite data link that allows the controller to switch target during flight to pre-programmed alternate targets or redirect it to a new target. The targeting flexibility also includes the capability to loiter over the battlefield, while waiting for a more critical target.
 

Winston

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"Noteworthy, the TLAMs flew across the MEZ (Missile Engagement Zone) of the S-400 missile battery the Russians deployed to Latakia to protect the Russian air contingent deployed there in 2015." The S-400 is Russia's most advanced anti-aircraft defense system.

Since the Russians don't claim any were shot down, but also claim only 23 arrived on target, and considering the GPS and satellite link used by the BGM-109 variant used, if the claim of 23 is correct, I wonder if some sort of electronic countermeasure was successfully used ala:

Iran–U.S. RQ-170 stealth drone incident

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–U.S._RQ-170_incident

The Department of Defense released a statement acknowledging that it had lost control of a UAV during the previous week, claiming that it was "flying a mission over western Afghanistan" when control was lost. The statement did not specify the model of the aircraft. The U.S. government also stated that it was still investigating the cause of the loss.[16]

A Christian Science Monitor article relates an Iranian engineer's assertion that the drone was captured by jamming both satellite and land-originated control signals to the UAV, followed up by a GPS spoofing attack that fed the UAV false GPS data to make it land in Iran at what the drone thought was its home base in Afghanistan. Stephen Trimble from Flight Global assumes UAV guidance could be targeted by 1L222 Avtobaza radar jamming and deception system supplied to Iran by Russia.[17] In an interview for Nova, U.S. retired Lt. General David Deptula also said "There was a problem with the aircraft and it landed in an area it wasn't supposed to land".[18][19]


If so, neither the Russians nor the US would probably admit it. Of course, perhaps the Russians might not admit they shot any down with the S-400s either. Iranians are present in Syria AND some are even stationed at the very airbase attacked.

EDIT: Hmmmm...

Russian Electronic Warfare Technology Might be Able to Disrupt US Air Ops
04/26/2016

http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1664333-russian-electronic-warfare-could-hurt-us-ops

Russian electronic-warfare powerhouse KRET—Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies—has started testing a powerful new ground-based jamming system that could cut the crucial data-links that enable the United States military to conduct operations around the world. The system is designed to be used in conjunction with advanced Russian-built air defense systems like the S-300V4 and S-400 to disrupt air operations.

According to a company source—who spoke to the Moscow-based TASS news agency— the system consists of multiple separate jamming modules that are capable of attacking a command and control system at extended ranges using complex digital signals. The system is also capable of attacking multiple types of systems simultaneously. “Multichannel stations that ensure simultaneous inhibition of various avionics systems have been created,” the Russian defense industry source told TASS.
 

captbk

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if they are loitering, can they then be tracked by radar?!

I assume the loiter time is in minutes, not hours!
That's another thing. Why risk being picked up on radar. AND I heard they called the Russians and warned them. WHY????
I kinda like the loiter capability but knock out the radar first before you loiter.
 

Peartree

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That's another thing. Why risk being picked up on radar. AND I heard they called the Russians and warned them. WHY????
I kinda like the loiter capability but knock out the radar first before you loiter.
I'm sure that they called the Russians first so that they could reduce the risk that our missiles would kill Russian citizens and cause further friction between our nations. Our intent was to make a point with the Syrian government and not to start a war with Russia. Similarly, we notified Israel in advance. It is possible that some of our missiles could have overflown Israel, but more likely that they would have flown through areas of Syria that are monitored by Israeli radar and protected by either Iron Dome, or David's Sling defense systems. It was only about a month ago that a David's Sling rocket knocked down a Syrian SAM that was launched after Israeli F-16's so we would clearly want to insure that the Israeli systems did not target our missiles.
 

DavidMcCann

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That's another thing. Why risk being picked up on radar. AND I heard they called the Russians and warned them. WHY????
I'm guessing partly to piss them off even more. It's like telling someone "your friend pissed me off. You said you were gonna keep them in line. you didn't. Now I'm gonna knock him out, and you can't do anything about it. By the way, get out of my way or I'm knocking you out too. "
 

Viperfixr

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I would be skeptical about what the Russians say.
Couldn't have said it better; they make lying an art form. The best part about this is that events did not escalate and drive attacks on Americans on the ground AND we lived up to our word regarding chems being a Red Line = success.
 

captbk

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Couldn't have said it better; they make lying an art form. The best part about this is that events did not escalate and drive attacks on Americans on the ground AND we lived up to our word regarding chems being a Red Line = success.
I think reactions to these missile attacks is yet to be seen. And I believe that the Russians will be behind any retaliation.
You said it... "they make lying an art form"
 

Winston

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Post-strike tour of Syrian airbase.

[video=youtube;w0TEJxztJKQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0TEJxztJKQ[/video]
 

TALON

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I know this is off topic, but I remember that some country (I think a NATO Member) developed a Anti Radiation Missile back in the 80s. They would drop the Missile (motor NOT ignited) in a parachute. As it SLOWLY footed down the aircraft would exit the area. When enemy turned the Radars back on, the seeker head would lock on AND ignite the motor. So I guess it was loitering!
 

Viperfixr

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I just heard that some of the cruise missiles that were launched last night, "loitered" overhead and then struck all at once.
How can a rocket loiter?
Loitering is a tactic, built into a capability where needed. This does not necessarily apply to missiles only; a gravity weapon can 'burn off energy' as well. Many RPAs loiter as a central TTP (tactics, techniques and procedures)--persistence is the name of their game. Loitering could be waiting for a triggering event, to get to an exact TOT (time on target) for multiple weapons or an effect, or just to surveil/collect. Sometimes you care if the adversary sees the loitering asset and sometimes you do not, depends on the desired end state.

In this case, it took time to fire all of the TLAMS. If they dribbled in as they were fired, the later part would be more vulnerable; TOT mattered. My hat is off to my USN brethren, as their execution was spot on.
 
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