The air defense system of Sri Lanka
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
1. The requirement of developing the Air Defence system is highly arisen from the past because of the enemy air capability was very prominent when operating on battle field. During the world wars air defence systems played a vital role known as battle of Britain and Normandy campaign in 1944.At the same time there are examples for failing to counter the enemy aerial attacks due to poor concentration on the proper AD system. It is very difficult to maintain a reliable AD system due to the advancement of sophisticated weapon system such as surface to air missiles and variation of air threats.
2. The AD system in Sri Lanka has long history when the British’s establishing their military establishments specially air bases they have concentrated on AD systems. If looking back, in 1980 it was realized that LTTE is having air capability and Government of Sri Lanka has decided to give the responsibility of overall AD system to the Sri Lanka Air Force to carry out all AD operations in the country to entrust the Air Superiority.
3. In accordance with the size and geographical setting of an assets AD system is categorized in to two. Point and Area are those categories. Provition of AD covers to a critical assets of which the longest dimension extends for more than a thousand meters is known as Area Defence and AD covers to a critical assets expanding up to thousand meters is known as Point defence. Air defence deployment system have common and fundamental features.conserning those features following concepts can be highlighted.
Point Defence and Area Defence. point Air defence of specified areas ,cities, vital installations.Point defence weapons such as surface to air guided weapons, AD arty which are deployed around the such vital installations.The area defence is based on the concept of deploying defence elements to intercept enemy air crafts without referring to individual targets.Area defence weapons are interceptor air crafts and long rang missiles.
Balanced and all round Air Defence. A target or area must have comprehencive all round air defence protection covering all the approach paths or tracks.
Concentration and Mutual support. Defencive force must be concentrated and the elements of the AD like missiles,AD artillery, interceptor Air Crafts must be deployed in such a way that they are supporting each other and do not interfere with others.
Defence in depth. Air defence must be provide in depth or layered.An ideal air Defence deployment must be in apposition to destroy the enemy before it reaches its weapon release line.It is very difficult task to fulfill but deployment must be layered if the first line of defence fails to destroy the enemy,and the other lines or layers’ should be in apposition to engage enemy.
Family of weapons and their integration. There is no single weapon that can economically or efficiently provide both low and high altitude Air defnce.Using family of weapons is therefore essential in any modern air defence deployments.However to achive the maximum effectiveness, it is essential to ensure that all weapons are properly integrated. Depending on the type of the treat, the weapons system planners will have to take identify the factors such as early warning system, type/speed/height of the enemy air craft and number of air crafts.
4. In order to accomplish the above functions of an AD system it is necessary to have what is termed as an integrated air defence system. An AIDS is described as the organized and regulated combination of procedures of a nation to defend specified airspace and priority assets against aerial attack.The combination of procedures and resources is used to detect,identify,intercept and destroy the enemy air threats as main functions of an air defence system. The system co ordinates the employment of air defence doctrine ,tactics, procedures, equipments, command, control, communication, computers, and intelligence.
5. Above all when meriting an AD cover to a vulnerable areas ,vulnerable points or a timely critical assets, prior attention should be drawn to prioritization of operationally critical assets and areas as the resources avaible are limited to cater to the existing threatened VAs and VPs.Therefore prioritization of of assets is an essential requirement to be done considering the following.
Commanders Mission. Keeping in view the higher commanders accomplishment of the overall mission, select critical asset/areas in the theatre of operations.since many assets in the combat zone are time critical ,properties may change as the operation progresses.
Criticality. Criticality is the degree to which an asset is essential to mission accomplishment. Determination of the criticality of an asset is made by assessing its impact on the conduct of the operation.The degrre of criticality is based on the weather the damage of the asset prevent seriously interferes with or cause only limited interference with the execution of the plane.
Vulnerability. Vulnerability is the degree to which an asset is susceptible to attack or to damage if attacked. Consideration should be given to the assets hardness, its specific mission in the overall operation, its ability to disperse or displace to another position, its capability to provide for its own air defence and the amount of protection afforded by its passive AD measures.
Recoverability. Recoverability is the degree to which an asset can recover from inflicted damage in terms of time, equipment and available man power to continue its mission.The AD Commander considers the time to replace soldiers,equipments,or entire units as well as whether a different element can perform the same mission.
Assail ability. Assail ability is the degree to which an assets is available from a particular enemy air base.The assail ability is determined by the location/distance from enemy air base in the vicinity, the range /radius of action of the air craft deployed at these bases and the weather and terrain limitations.
6. As far as the air threat is concerned, it is multi dimensional and dynamic owing to the rapid development in the technology. Hence, careful and continuous assessment of the air threat is very much essential to combat it successfully. As such thorough awareness of the capabilities and limitations of own and hostile air craft /weaponries is important in planning of an air defence system. According to the threat perception posed by the enemy, it could be categorized as direct air threat and in direct air threat. Direct air threat is mainly from strike air craft, armed helicopters, surface to surface missiles and cruise missiles. The indirect air threat constitutes of reconnaissance air craft or drones, electronic counter measures and transport air craft.
7. A ground based AD system is generally categorized into Active air defence,Passive air defence and Active passive electronic air defence.As such an AD system should consist of following components.
Active Air Defence. Employment of actual AD weapons systems,Early warnings, communication n systems and organization for electronic warfare against the air threat constitutes active air defence.The following components are essential for an AAD system.
Controlling and reporting Organizations. This is to provide early warning to produce accurate and timely information directly to the weapon elements.
Interceptor Air Craft. A long range flexible weapon to intercept and destroy enemy air craft in all weather conditions.
Surface to Air guided weapons. To provide local Air Defence to VA’s and VP’s.
Air Defence Artillery guns Man portable AD systems. To provide point defence of VA’s and VP’s against low level attacks, many Ad systems posses different weaponry and firing system.
Communication systems. Through proper communication provides timely and accurate information and coordinate all components of of the AD system.
Organization for electronic warfare. Electronic warfare measures are operated to detect, disrupt or deceive enemy radio communications, radar or guided weapons.
b. Passive Air Defence. The protective measures adopted against hostile air activities involving engagement of hostile air craft is described aas passive air defence.some of the measures that could be applied in passive Air defence are,
Attack warning. Having an attack warning system helps the command and control, communication network to convey the message to affected establishment, to take appropriate measures to reduce the effectiveness of the attack.
Camouflage and concealment. The distinguishing of military equipment or installations with various materials like paints, nets, foliage etc.In away to merge with the back ground surroundings is camouflage whereas concealment relates to physical hiding of equipment from ground and aerial observation.
Dispersion. Scattering of all persons, weapons, and equipments at places avoiding linear dispersion will protect materials and equipment from napalm and cluster bombs.
Signature reduction. The measures made to reduce the signature effect caused by major moves, weapon firing and other military activities.
Deception. Inclusion of physical or electronic decoys, false target simulator and reflectors to mislead the hostile air crafts.
Security and counter Intelligence. Avoidance of the leakage of information by establishing an effective unite security system.
Active passive electronic air defence. It includes the employment of electronic means to deny the same to the enemy, besides preventing own suppression.
8. However in any mechanism of AD system the ultimate achievements are,
To gain command of the air.
To deny freedom of action to hostile air craft.
To defend essential areas.
To destroy incoming air crafts.
To deceive or divert the incoming air crafts.
To minimize the effects of the enemy air aattack.
1. The aim of this study is to justify whether the existing AD system is capable to encounter the future challenges.
2. The LTTE carried out several air attacks during the last three years. Although most of the attacks were ineffective the impact of the bombings have affected highly on the economy of the country and well being of the people. The bombing on the economical targets like oil gas installations have greatly affected the interaction of donor countries and investors. In addition the cost incurred too counter the air threat has also heavily burdened the economy of the country further it has effected the moral of the military forces of Sri Lanka. As such identify the future threats and develop the existing air defence system of the country for future challenges will be great achievement.
3. The existing Air defence system will not be able to counter the future challenges.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
4. The scope of the study is to highlight the areas which can be upgraded on existing air defence system to meet the future challenges.
METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION
5. Considering the sensitivity of the subject no data can be taken from the primary sourses.But some of theoretical aspects of air Defence system gathered from the electronic media.The other way of obtaining data is through personnel interviews.The most of the data is from secondary sources such as publications of royal air force, the Indian air force and Sri Lanka air force publications and papers.
STRUCTURE OF THE PAPER
CHAPTER I : INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER II : METHODOLOGY
CHAPTER III : FUTURE AREAL THREATES
CHAPTER IV : THE EXISTING AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM OF SRI LANKA
CHAPTER V : MEASYRES TO BE TAKEN TO DEVELOP EXISTING AD
CHAPTER VI : CONCLUTION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
EVALUATION OF PAST AND FUTURE AREAL THREATS
1. As per the past LTTE air threat experiences, LTTE air wing had carried out several areal attacks on some vital points in the country. In each time of attacks other than the last our AD system could not put them down or disrupt them when entering in to our vital areas. Though the effects of the attacks were minimal they entered in to the areas like BIA, Kolonnawa, Harbor some of the economical valued places with their so called air craft Zlin 143 light air craft and released bombs or payloads. All the times they used to fly at nights without lights as it cannot be seen.
2. More over, the LTTE is in the position that use of air craft in attacks against government forces boosts up the morale of their carders. In addition the LTTE also wished to prove to the Tamil community that its strength had not waned due to reverses in the east. It wanted to demonstrate that it was equally capable of countering the sri lanka government forces on land,sea or air.At the same time,by attacking only the air base and not adjacent civil air ports, the tiger wanted to signal to the international community that they were not a terrorist organization,but well organized freedom fighters.
3. The recent raids have exposed limitations of security of the vital places from stealth raids .Air space never can be sealed completely, particularly from light air crafts with its less radar signature and such air craft flying low at tree top level bellow the AD radars horizon can manage to enter the air space. Some years back, light air craft managed to fly over the white house despite its strong AD system. Hence conventional measures would not be adequate to defend military and vital installations against the air threat by terrorists. An integrated strategy involving counter intelligence measures to eliminate moles, Intelligence acquisition efforts directed to gain early warning on impending operations, a modern AD systems and physical security measure with well rehearsed operational readiness drill will have to be devised.
4. As per the present situation, after ending humanitarian war so many repercussions are been arisen from the world community. It seems that still the LTTE Diaspora is functioning and pro LTTE sympathizers are trying re organize within and out of the country. The AD system of the country has to be 100% vigilant to detect any situation like suicide areal attack using high jacked commercial air line and spying using UAV’s having capability climb and fly with more capabilities.
THE EXISTING AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM OF SRI LANKA
THE EVOLUTION OF AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM
1. At the introductory period of AD system in Sri Lanka,the 12.7mm anti air craft weapons,23mm twin barrel ZU and 20mm TCM twin barrel AAA guns were used.A few years later the government of India donated 40mm L/70 anti air craft guns to sri lanka air force.how ever its pertinent to sri lanka that at the introductory period of the development of the AD system in Sri Lanka was very slow.But with the recent air threats Air Defence system has developed by purchasing interceptors, missiles, radars and systemize the command and control, communication and intelligence organization in order to encounter the current and possible air threats which could arise in the future.
2. Moreover, measures have been taken to enhance the capability of detection, identification, interception and destruction through proper training of poilots in interceptors,fighter controllers,gun and missile operators both locally and in other foreign countries.deployment of search lights and mobile observation elements has significantly helped to strengthen the existing AD system.
EXISTING AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM
3. The more intention of the existing AD deployment is to deny enemy attacks on our assets.The basic concept of AD is early detection, Identification, Interception and destruction.in this context detection will be done from 3D surveillance RADAR at Mirigama and the four mobile Indra MK II RADARs located at katunayake, palavi, Vavuniya and Chinabay ,satellite images, Mobile observation posts and the intelligence received from Military Intelligence unit and informants employed by the services. Identification is doing through pre received flight plans, through IFF (identification friendly or fore) and track behavior. Interception operations are done by F-7 air craft available at SLAF Base Katunayake and MI 24 attack helicopters based at SLAF Base Hingurakgoda.With the guidance from the Air Defence command and Control Center, important part of the AD system is destruction is done by Interceptors,Land based AD systems and suface to air Missiles such as SAM 16.
COMMAND AND CONTROL SYSTEM
4. The command and control has been structured keeping the CO Ari Defence command and control center responsible to the overall operation commander air defence for ensuring that the AD asset in the island contribute towards the effectiveness of the overall AD plan.He has direct communication with air defence command centre and other AD elements located at bases and unites.under the ADC&CC are placed the surface to air guided weapons ,the intelligence officer ,the chie operations officer and the Electronic and communication officer ,under the sector commander are placed the sector operation commander the unite intelligence officer, the sector director ,the unite training officer and the artillery controller.In addition to that standered operating procedures have been design to be activated when enemy air crafts are detected through RADAR or visually.
CONTROLLING AND REPORTING SYSTEM
5. The controlling and reporting system of the AD plan is a follows.When an identified object in the air is detected the following procedures has to be adhered to.When there is an emergency, the duty SD at ADC&CC will direct relevant AD Officers to weapons to the readiness states. Authority from the ADC&CC must be obtained to attack through AD guns at any flying object in sri Lanka.All officers in charge of AD elements of bases and unite are directly responsible to the ADC&CC to fire AD guns.
To detect and keep on tracking the flying obects either visually or by RADAR.
To identify all air movements obtained from RADAR.
After detection and Identification, checks real time picture.
To pass air raid warnings to services and civil defences.
To scramble Interceptors SAGW and ADA to the target.
CAPABILITIES OF POINT AIR DEFENCE ASSETS USED BY THE SLAF
6. More details of following point air defence assets used by the SLAF are appeared in Annex “B”.
a. 12.7mm ACK ACK Guns.
b. 23mm ZU.
c. 20mm TCM.
d. 40mm L-70 gun.
e. IGLA 1M missile system.
f. USFM RADARS.
AIR DEFENCE STSTEMS IN OTHER NATIONS
7. Pakistan is one of the vulnerable nations to air threats.As is commonly known the country had fought three wars with India.Hence,they have given more priority to the AD syatem.In their system any air craft intruding in to their territory can be easily identified.The recent act of firing at flying objects near angoor adda in south Waziristan, while attempting to cross the border under the cover of darkness is proof of the level of AD in Pakistan.It was also reported that the flying objects upon being fired turned back and proceeded towards Afganistan.
8. The Pakistan military has always purchased its AD hardware to bear in any bid to deter such invasion especially from India. Given the terrain, Pakistan AD assets would also be difficult to bring to bear very isolated point defence roles and given their short supply,the Pakistan military would likely be hesitant to put these AD hardware at undo risk of being destroyed.
9. Also, more dispersed efforts using gun fire and MANPADS would be problematic as well. Using this sort of defence effectively would require a comprehensive deployment long the border. Pakistan forces probably would not have bandwidth for it at this time. Even if did it this would still be very limited in capability given the limitations of both older MANPADS,anti air craft artillery and crude sensors in rough terrain.
10. In fact Pakistan had used American technology for their surveillance activities.But with the attack of 9/11 and the nuclear pact between America and India, Pakistan has now moved towards china for its requirements.The size of Pakistan is 5 times smaller when compared to India against whom it has fought three wars.In their strategy to counter the threat of Indian air power,Pakistan will not go the route of acquiring more expensive air craft as they have other options such as more shoulder fired missile systems,self propelled SAMs and guns along with greater mechanization of the ground forces which gives much greater protection from air threats and also allows ground forces to build enough momentum to smash through enemy defences such that opponents air capability is rendered ineffective.At present Pakistan uses very high sensitive RADRAs such as AN/TPS-77,YLC-6 2D and YLC-6 3D.
11. The destruction capability of m 1Pakistan is consisted of large amount of ADA ranging from 14.5mm to ZPU 57mm caliber radar controlled guns such as the 35mm oerlikon RADAR controlled guns,37mm manually operated guns and interceptor such as F-16.
12. In respect of now the AD of India ,the Indians have a much bigger AD system than many of the other countries.As the regional leader India processes a strong AD system especially in fear of their neighbor Pakistan and their arch rival in the region China. India has already fought 5 wars with these two neighbors. Since recent times India has involved it self with the USA concerning matters of AD. Thus with the advance technology that they have acquired from the usa with regards to AD including AD interceptors and RADARs ,they are now considered as the nation which has the strongest AD system in the region.apart from such important acts India has commenced to train soldiers to be capable spot and identified enemy air craft with their naked eyes.This deter the enemy from undertaking any sort of adventure in the Indian skies.Such is the fly catcher precision of these men from the AD arty, that they could distinguish the air craft as hostile or friendly within a split of a second.If the air craft turns out to be hostile, it is welcomed with a barrage from the anti air craft turns, mainly the L/70s.the solid backup provided by the regiment to the Indian air force,was well recognize in the Goa liberation operation-0z8ndo -Pak wars in 1965 and 1971 and operation Rakshak I and 11 in Punjab.
13. The eagle eyed regiment shot down 13 Pakistani air craft, including the saber B-57, bombers during “operation riddle in 1965.the regiment, which has many laurels to its credit, was awarded the battle honour ‘Basanthar River’ after the 1971 Indo -Pak war for its contribution in providing AD.during the war, the regiment gunned down several F 16 sabre and Mig -19 by deploying the L -70 guns.Also during the 1961 Goa liberation operation the regiment was instrumental in capturing 13 officers 21 men of the Portuguese artillery battery.
14. The regiment has a separate air craft identification centre, where the men are trained to identify over 70 air crafts with their naked eyes, even when an air craft is miles away. In this training, the centre takes helps over 12,000 slides, several models and the latest jane’s air craft recognition guide, which has the details of over 500 passenger, transport and fighter air craft that are used all over the world.
15. Through the regiment uses sophisticated radars the approaching air craft if flies at a low level may escape the vision of radars but it does not escape the eyes of these men. As soon as a hostile air craft is spotted, the massage is sent and within seconds it is gunned down. There is a capability needed for the defence of vital point and area targets, against stealth, supersonic and subsonic air attack weapons, ranging from tactical air craft, attack helicopters and remotely piloted vehicles to precision -guided munitions.
16. Apart from the above the USA has developed the low level AD system in to a medium level AD system. The classic example is the medium extended air defence system. This is a highly mobile, low to medium AD system designed to replace the HAWK and PATRIOT PAC -3 AD system. It will be a key element of theatre missile defence in the army. Air and missile defence architecture. The MEADS weapon system is needed to provide protection to maneuver forces. The system will provide area and point defence capabilities against both tactical missiles which includes tactical ballistics, air to surface, and anti radiation missiles and air breathing threats which consists of fixed and rotary wing air craft, cruise missiles and unmanned areal vehicles. The system will consist of a sensor, launcher, missile, and tactical operations centre and will be capable of autonomous operations. As part of the army air and missile defence architecture, the system will be compatible and interoperable with other army AD systems and will interface with joint and allied sensors and battle management command, control, communication, computer and intelligence network.
17. The MEADS systems is a response to ensure protection of maneuver forces. The system will provide area and point defence capabilities against tactical missiles and air breathing threats. MEADS incorporate state of the art technologies in its sensor, weapon, and BM/C41 systems. Information superiority will enable MEADS to be fully capable of operating autonomously or in a network, receiving and exchanging data with other theatre air and missile defence systems and external sensors. The MEADS will also help joint forces in the theater by contributing to full dimensional protection of the dominant manoueuvre forces through precision engagement of threat tactical missiles and air breathing threats.
18. When comparing with the AD system of india, Pakistan, and the USA with that of Sri Lanka’s AD it is observed that a few advance steps have to be taken immediately to counter the existing LTTE threats. The example that could be highlighted here is the monitoring of a spy air craft by the Pakistani military. Now the question arises as to why Sri Lanka AD AD system could not destroy the LTTE light air craft which was intruded more than eight times since those air crafts were put down by the AD system. It can highlighted that the LTTE air craft has intruded only at nights and due to non availability of night capability in most of the air crafts and the weapon system of our land based air defence system.
19. In case of India, the country processes abundant man power.Indian AD authorities have decided to utilize the abundant human resources in to maximum use. The Indian believe that the human eye is the most accurate when it comes to detecting any incoming hostile air crafts in respect of AD. Hence, they have specialized training programs carried out on this human aspect apart from the availability of highly integrated electronic devices. However in sir lanka we do not use manpower as much as what India do.
20. As we know that USA is second to non in respect of air defence.They have spent more on highly sophisticated low and medium level AD systems. They have stealth technology, sensors, and integrated AD systems automatic AD guns. However sri lankan government can not spent such amount of money to purchase such advance Air defence systems.
21. It is pertinent to mentioned that after the 9/11 attack in USA by Al qaeda, more concentration was given to unconventional terrorists groups such as LTTE. The USA banned many terrorists organizations and provided support the countries mostly affected by such terrorists organizations.Although the Sri Lankan government had opportunities to get some kind of assistance from the USA,it can not do so due to political barriers within the region.
It is clearly understood that Air defence is very important for a nation to safe guard from any enemy air threat.There are mainly two types of air defence such as Active AD and Passive AD.Out o two AD systems, active air defence is most important for a nation. Active AD means use air assets to detect, identify and destroy any air object.Passive AD is camouflage our AD assets without allowing the enemy to destroy air assets. In any air AD system there are common AD concepts and functions.But there are differences of applying of those techniques by the different nations.certain systems are very expensive,so that developing nation like Sri Lanka cannot bear up such a capital for more technical AD system.
But a country like Sri Lanka must have sound AD system because it is facing the most dangerous terrorists groups in the world.This group posses a light air craft.non other terrorists organizations in the world posseses an air capability. During my research, I have highlighted the evolution of LTTE air wing in Sri Lanka. The information was obtained from reliable source and the same has been indicated in length. Apart from above LTTE has suicide our AD system thoroughly and that was the reason, they had launched their air strikes approximately 08 times at night. They new very well that SLAF does not have night capability and they can do wonders.in fact after the LTTE’s air strikes only SLAF awaken have proper AD system with radars, interceptors, which has accurate air to air capability , guns, bombs, rockets.
In comparison with AD systems in Sri Lanka with India, Pakistan, USA it is obvious that they are far ahead than our AD system. Indian Air defence system has more sophisticated equipments and it has potential to purchase many more solid devices, but Indians have realized that naked eye is very capable than electronic eye. With their high population they have utilized manpower as the sharpen weapon. They have launched many special naked eyes training programmes on AD point of view for its men with less cost and so far they have been succeeded and leading the region without an obstruction. With those skills Indian were able to fight against its neighbor with good results three times in the past. Incase of Pakistan they are extra vigilant at all times, their observations skills are very keen. The integrated sound accurate RADAR system and for a slightest observation of air objects against their demarcations they are rich enough to destroy it as matter of priority. History is witnessed in many occasions the capabilities of Pakistan air power.
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