Saudi Strategy for Air Supermacy
Prince Selman Ben Abdulaziz (77 years), Saudi defence minister, has great accomplishments to his credit. He was governor and prince of Riyadh since it was a small town of no more than 100,000 inhabitants. Considered now one of the most important cities in the world in its planning, or its economical and political activities under the governance of prince Salman, Riyadh encompasses now an area of 1,000 Km. The Prince became defence minister after the late prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz in November 2011.
Prince Selman is known for his fine diplomacy and consultancy of technocrats and intellectuals in the simplest matters. One of the most important accomplishments of the prince was enacting of the 84 multi-role SA-15 jet deal. SA-15 is considered one of the most modern fighters in the world. The kingdom’s strategy includes covering more than two million Km2 and 2500 Km of coasts, and many islands. This comes after the 72 Typhoon fighters’ deal . The kingdom has now a strong striking air force.
The second important deal is the acquiring of 22 Hawk jets for advanced training, and 55 PC-21 for medium and advanced training. These jets are necessary to train more than 156 new Typhoon and F15-SA. The deal includes upgrading of 70 Royal air force’s F-15S jet fighters to SA level.
Land Forces: personnel 90,000 (target figure). Structure: A- 4 mechanised division HQs with 3 armoured brigades (each with 3 armoured battalions, one infantry battalion, 1 artillery battalion, 1 recce battalion, 1 air defence battalion, 1 anti-tank battalion. B) 5 mechanised brigades (each with mechanised infantry battalions, 1 air defence battalion, and support battalion). C) 8 artillery battalions. Equipment: MBT’s 315 M1A2 ABRAMS, 406 M60A3 (stored). Tank destroyers: 200 OTO VCC1’s with YUA turret, some AMX10P/HOT. Armoured Cars: 140 PIRANHA (90mm), 350 AML 60/90’s. AIFs and APCs: 400 M2 BRADLEYs, 1,600 M113s, 500 AMX 10Ps, some EE11 URUTUs, 160 PIRANHA 8X8, 50 AL FAHD OF-40-8 8X8. Artillery: 100 M101 105mm, 90 M198 155mm, 72 FH70 155mm towed, 280 M109s, 50 GCT 155mm SP. Mortars: some 400: 81mm, 107mm (stored), 110 120mm. MLRs: 60 Astros IIs. ATGWs: Dragon, TOW, ITOW, HOT. IRBMs: 50 DF3As. SAMs: STINGER, 600 MISTRAL.
Navy Structure: Naval HQs (Riyadh), 2 Fleet Commands (Western in Jeddah, Eastern in Al Jubayl), Marine Force Command. Personnel:13,500 (incl. 3,000 Marines). Fleet: Frigates 3 Al RIYADH Class 4 MADINA class. Corvettes: 4 BADR class. Light Forces: 9 AL SAlDDIQ class missile FAC, 39 NAJA 12 inshore fast craft. Amphibious Forces: 4 AFIF class LCU, 4 LCM. Major Auxiliaries: 2 BORAIDA class support ships (DURANCE type). Coast Guard: 2 SALWA class patrol boat, 4 AL JOUF class large patrol craft, 10 SCORPION type coastal patrol craft, 6 AL DHAHRAN class patrol cutters, 12 RAPIER type patrol craft, 3 SAH-2200 hovercraft. Coastal Defences: 4 Truck-mounted OTOMAT batteries
Major naval bases: Jubail, Jedda, Dammam, Ras Tanura, Ras alMishab.
Air Force: Personnel: 18,000. Structure: Combat: 2 strike squadrons with 88 TORNADO IDS, 3 fighter-bomber squadrons, a total of 72 jets. 4 interceptor squadrons: 68 F14Cs, 18 TORNADO ADVs. Transport: 3 squadrons with 33 C130E/Hs, 5 CN235s, 35 C212200s, 1 Boeing 707-320, 2 JETSTARs, 2 FALCON 20s. Helicopters: 2 squadrons with 28 AB206 JETRANGERs, 24 AB205s, 6 ALOUETTE IIIs, 18 KV107IIs, 29 AB212s, 16 AB 412s, 16 S70 MEDEVAC, 11 COUGAR Mk2s CSAR. Trainers: 15 F5Bs, 15 F-15Ds, 12 T41As, 50 PC9s, 28 HAWKs, 2 JETSTREAM 31s, 12 Cessna 172s, 20 SUPER MUSHAKs
Air Early Warning: AWACS E3A and 2 E3 ELINT
Tankers:8 KE3As, 7 KC 130s. Major air bases: Abhar, King Abdul Aziz AB (Dhahran), Jedda, King Kaled Ab ( Khamis Mushayet), Medina, Riyadh (HQ), Tabuk, King Fahd AB (Taif).
Air Defense Force: Personnel: 4,000. Equipment: AA Guns: 156 35 mm twin towed, some 100 VULCAN towed, 18 AMX30 30mm SP. SAMs: 17 IHAWK batteries with 120 fixed and land mobile launchers.151 SHAHINE I/SHAHINE II fire units (both SP and sheltered systems, 8 PATRIOT fire units.
National Guard: Personnel: 125,000.
Structure: 3 Light mechanised brigades (4 battalions each). 5 infantry brigades, 2 special forces groups.
Equipment: 417 LAV25 APCs, 113 LAV anti tank with TUO TOW launcher, 73 AMS 120mm mortar carrier 130 LAV Assault Gun (90mm gun), 261 TACTICA 4x4 for internal security.
A large scale effort for the modernization and re-equipment of the National Guard is underway.
Under Request Equipment: Additional 724 LAV 25 8x8. Delivery began in April 2011.80 CEASAR class 155mm/ 52 caliber Howeitzer. Saudi National Guard air force is under construction. The deal with the USA includes 36 Apache AH-64D Long- Bow helicopters, 72 Black Hawk UH-60, 36 light combat Apache AH-6i helicopters, and 12 MD-530 F light helicopters for training. Under request also are 12 S-76D helicopters for the ministry of affairs. It is expected that delivery will begin in the year 2012. The ministry has 16 S-92, and 15 S-76 helicopters have non-combat roles.
Total Fighters in the GulfGulf Fleets: The largest fleet is that of Saudi Arabia which consists of 244 combat aircraft, with an additional 16 combat Typhoon. The Saudi fleet consists of 18 Tornados for air defense, 88 bomber Tornados, 70 F-S15, and 68 combat F-C15. Saudi Royal air force will acquire 72 multi-role EuroFighter Typhoon, and 84 F-15 SA. Another 70 F-15S will be upgraded to SA level.
United Arab Emirates will have an advanced air arsenal. The fleet includes 80 F16- Block 60 which is an advanced long range jet equipped with AESA radar, and 62 Mirage 2000-9 which is the most modern generation of Mirage 2000.
UAE intends to substitute its Mirage 2000 with more advanced fighters. UAE chose the combat striker Rafale, but requested to re- equip the planes with stronger engines and AESA radar.
Saudi and Emirati options for the future are wide indeed with jets of the Fourth generation ++ which includes F-16 Viper, advanced F/A- 18, the semi stealth F-15 SE, Gripen NG, and the stealth F-35 Lightning -2.
Sultunate of Oman will buy 24 Typhoon, and will add another squadron of F-16 Block 50/52. Kuwait will request 20 A/F-18 to be added to the 20 jets it already have.
Gulf States have programs concentrating on acquiring naval patrol and military patrol aircraft, and trainer aircraft of all levels. Emirates changed two aircrafts to patrol missions, and it will acquire Swedish-made early warning and command Eri Eye, and three squadrons of trainer jets. Emirates chose the Italian M-346 specializing in advanced training, but the program is suspended for the time being. UAE acquired the PC-21 for secondary and final training.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requested 22 advanced Hawk trainers, and 55 PC-21. KSA requested an Eri Eye early warning aircraft to added to 5 early warning E-3A Awacs Boeings, and two aircrafts for electronic war (Elint E-3).
Military Transport Aircrafts: Gulf States are buying tactical and strategic military transport aircrafts. Kuwait received 3 tanker transport (KC-130J), and requested a C-17 for strategic transport. Emirates requested 3 MRTT 330A, 12 C-130, and 6 C-17 aircrafts for strategic transport. Qatar received 2 C-17s for strategic transport and requested 4 C-130Js. KSA requested 6 MRTT 330As transport aircrafts. Sultanate of Oman requested 3 C-130s aircrafts for military transport. The total of these aircrafts is 40 which can carry 1,340 tons if used at once.
European Defence Industry
European Defence Industry is one title to a variety of studies and planning teams and production processes, which are carried out by commercial industries according to the needs of governments and armed forces of various countries. BEA systems was the result of a merger of two major companies in Britain in 1999. EADS appeared in 2000. Thomson –CSF became THALES for defence electronics and communications.
European Defence Agency was established in the year 2004. EDA which is headquartered in Brussels represents 26 countries in a single board of directors. The agency has: 1) Fields: developing European defence capabilities, enhancing research and defence technology, enhancing cooperation in weapon’s production, and locating markets. 2) Roles and programs: leading role in defence industries, defining scenarios of unmanned vehicles in the year 2009, air transport fleet modernization, precautionary measures of CBRN in the year 2009, developing anti MANPADS in the year 2011, developing anti IEDs, rules and management of encoded communications in the year 2010, supporting and develop strategic studies in the year 2010.
EADS is the largest European defence corporation. EADS is divided into four major divisions: 1) Airbus for the production of commercial and military airplanes; 2) CASSIDIAN for defence and security (production of Eurofighter, Tornado, Eurohawk, and Cobra radar); 3) EUROCOPTER, for the production of military and civil helicopter (Tiger, Cougar, Panther, NH 90); 4) Astrium Satellite (production of satellites, such as Rosetta, ATV, and Paradigm services). EADS established in the year 2008 Airbus Military (production of A330 MRTT, and A400M).
THALES: Designs systems of various types of airplanes, ships, and land platforms. THALES designs the mutual operations solutions, such as C4 ISTAR, UAVs systems. The company introduced lately a series of air defence systems (Ground Master), and it participates in the SAMPT European air defence program.
MBDA produces different kinds of guided missiles (Aster, Mica, Mistral, and MEADS). MBDA produced long range cruise missiles (Storm Shadow/ Scalp, TAURUS, Meteor, and Spectra). The company produces a series of mounted or fixed missiles (MILAN ADT- ER new generation, Brimstone, and Eryx) and surface-to-air missiles (Albatros, Aspide 2000, surface-to- surface Exocet).
Finmeccanica includes Alenia Aermacchi, Alenia Aeronautica, and produces C-27J military transporter, and M-346 for training. Agusta Westland is a helicopter production division while SELEX produces satellite systems (Galileo, Telespazio); and Oto Melara produces naval guns and naval machine guns.
BAE Systems is an international British company producing Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon, UAVs (MANTIS), APKW missile system. BAE Systems produces naval systems such as AEGIS, BOFORS 40, VLS MK41, and sonar systems.
|Tanks and Missiles |
Anti tanks weapons play an important role in slowing the rushing of tanks to its minimum. Missiles delay the striking attack of tanks and armoured vehicles. One anti-tank weapon is the mounted 90mm gun. In 1973, an Israeli tank battalion was destroyed by Egyptian missiles. Egypt, in turn, lost 500 tanks by Israeli missiles. It is said that RPG missiles destroyed 300 of Russian tanks and armoured vehicles when they entered Grozny in Chehnia. Israel attacked South Lebanon in 2006, but anti-tank weapons, such as the Russian Fire-and-Forget Kornet, and new and accurate RPG-29, made the attack a great military loss.
Arab countries began acquiring guided anti-tank missiles of older generation. Bahrain, Jordan, Sultanate of Oman, and Sultanate of Oman acquired large quantities of the American-made Javelin missiles that could be used efficiently against tanks and helicopters. Syria preferred the Russian-made Kornet. Javelin and Kornet use the fire-and-forget technology.
Arab countries have many old-generation anti-tank systems. Algeria has the Sager and the Russian-made Spigot, and some MILAN missiles. Bahrain has the American-made TOW, while Egypt has quantities of TOW, MILAN, and Swingfire. Jordan has TOW (7,000 missiles) and Dragon, Kuwait and Lebanon have vehicle-mounted TOW. Saudi Arabia has Dragon, TOW, TOW improved. The most favoured missiles in the Arab countries are Javelin and Kornet.
Javelin entered service in 1996 and designed by Texas Instruments and Martin Marietta before their merger with Lockheed. Javelin was produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Its weight is 11.8 Kgs; its length is 1.1 meters, its launcher is 1.2 meters long with a diameter of 123 mm, while its range is 15- 2500 meters, and has a twin warhead HEAT type with a weight of 8.4 Kgs. Its engine operates with solid fuel.
Kornet-E. This weapon was designed to destroy armoured vehicles or fortifications. Kornet-E is equipped with a 1-9P6163 launcher, guided missiles, heat seeker, The head of this missile 1-9M133 is a dual HEAT. When exploded it is equal to a 155 bomb, maximum day range is 5,500 meters, 3,500 meters in the night. Weight of the Kornet is 29 kg, and that of the launcher 20 Kg, and that of its seeker is 11 kg.
Russian Systems: Konkurs-m, METTS-M, Malyutka2, and a wide range of RPG rockets. RPG-29, is equipped with a launcher of 105 mm, and a rocket of PG-29V type, and dual HEAT warhead, weight of the launcher 11.5 kg, weight of the rocket is 6.1kg, effective range is 500 meters, penetration capacity: steel 60 cm, concrete 1.5 m. The system is equipped with a day and night vision systems, and an accurate aiming system.
Russia designed two anti-missile systems for its modern T-90 tanks. The first causes disturbance to the missile seeker head, which is the optical electronic Shtora-1, and the second shoots the missile causing it to explode or deviate from its path.
SIGINT for Special Mission Aircraft
The unarmed “Special Mission Aircraft” are modified versions of King Air twin-engine turboprop business aircraft built by Hawker Beechcraft, and subsequently fitted with two onboard ISR sensors, two sensor operator/ analyst workstations and communications equipment. The two ISR sensors on the army and Air Force turboprops are communications- intelligence (COMINT) payload and a down looking, rotating ball turret with electro-optical and infrared full-motion video cameras.
Filling a Niche
The small turboprops, though relatively limited in payload, offer a number of advantages that can complement the use of larger ISR aircraft and UAVs. These include their low airframe cost, low fuel consumption and operating cost, and small logistical tail and deployment footprint.
Small turboprops can also offer relatively high mission endurance or “persistence’’. The twin-engine King Air 350ER can stay aloft for 6-8 hours with 5-7 hours of mission on-station time. Size, weight, and power constraints and cooling requirements limit the payloads that a small turboprop can accommodate.
Army QRC Turboprops
The first small turboprops fielded by the Army in Iraq beginning in 2006-2007 for Task Force ODIN- about 10- are called Aerial Reconnaissance Multi-Sensor aircraft, which are King Air B200s. They are joined subsequently by Medium- altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System aircraft.
The Army’s ongoing Guadrail Modernization program is extending the service lives of 33 operational RC-12s by about eight years and standardizing their configurations and adding new hardware and software to improve their sustainability. The modernization program also is installing a suite of advanced COMINT payloads on the RC- 12 with increased capability against the irregular warfare threat.
In September 2008 the Air Force awarded L-3 Communications Mission Integration Division a contract to deliver the first seven MC-12W turboprops which were delivered in less than 10 months; The Ai Force ordered an additional 30 of the Liberty aircraft. The MC-12W has a crew of four. The aircraft’s E-O/IR ball turret is 15-inch-diameter MX-15i or MX-15Di built by L-3 Wescam (Burlington, Ontario), It produces high resolution day or night imagery from long ranges. The COMINT payload is reportedly an upgraded version of the system that has been used on Predators and Reapers and was developed by the National Security Agency.-
The British mine-hunter HMS BANGOR detected and destroyed a 900 kg mine during a harbour survey of Tobruk. The mine was used extensively during the 20th Century to interdict shipping lanes and harbours, deny access to waters, or channel maritime movement. Two basic versions emerged: moored mines and bottom or influence mines.
The moored mine has a mass of some 200 kg ordnance with some 80 kg of explosive in a buoyant spherical case attached to an anchor. When the anchor is laid on a seabed the explosive case, with Hertz Horns of sulphuric acid, is released and rises on a cable to a preset depth of 5-300 metres. It is detonated when the acid in the Hertz Horn is released by contact with a ship and energises a lead-acid battery which detonates the explosive.Influence Mines
. Influence mine is essentially a non-buoyant cylinder of 150- 1,500kg but it has a substantially larger explosive charge, up to 1,400 kg. Torpedoes have been used also. They lie on the seabed and are detonated by the influence of the passing target. Influence mines have been met by influence sweeps simulating the ship to trick the mine sensors. The magnetic sweep simulates a ship’s field by passing an electrical current between two non-insulated cables. Minehunting Sonars
. Dual influence sweeps such as Fiskar ELESCO and Thales Underwater Systems TUS with STERNE have been developed. Australian Defence Industries introduced the Australian Minesweeping and Surveillance System AMASS marketed by Thales Australia using a linear array of Dryad permanent magnets to create magnetic fields for selected classes of ships.
The mine-hunter is an extremely sophisticated vessel with precision navigation (aided by elaborate position-fixing gear and bow thrusters for low speed manoeuvring), a command system such as the Atlas Elektronik MWS-80, BAE Systems NAUTIS and TUS TSM 2061 which uses real-time and historic data to help detect, classify and identify threats.Upgrading the MCM Force
. The Sikorsky MH-53 E SEA DRAGON helicopters drag the Mk 103 mechanical minesweeping system, and the Mk 105 magnetic minesweeping sled and Northrop Grumman AN/AQS-14A side scan sonar. In addition the MH-60S SEAHAWK has an organic airborne mine counter-measures capability based upon Raytheon’s AN/AQS-20A side-scan mine detection sonar. But because of cost and the lack of prominent threat there is a noticeable reluctance in the world’s Navies to replace their mine counter-measures fleets, which are normally upgraded. The European TRIPARTITE fleet has now received the TUS 2022 Mk III hull-mounted sonar with Benelux ships having Elektronic Integrated Mine Counter-Measures System (IMCMS) and French ships the Thales TSM 2061. They are also receiving the Saab Underwater Systems’ DOUBLE EAGLE. There is also new generation expendable route surveillance ROVs such as the Atlas SEAFOX, BAE Systems’ ARCHER-FISH, ECA’s K-STER and Kongsberg’s MINESNIPER. These are light weight, 30-50kg, with fibre-optical umbilical, and are cheaper than reusable ROV’s.