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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: The Russian Military Merged Thread- Air Force
« Reply #350 on: May 30, 2019, 17:07:20 »
RCAF deputy NORAD head on current, future threats--note cruise missiles, need to upgrade/replace North Warning System--how much Canada willing to pay and when? How much longer will CF-18 be capable of doing the job?

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NORAD May Ramp Up North American Surveillance amid Rising Threats from Russia

The North American Aerospace Defense Command has long been the main unit overseeing aerospace warning and control and maritime warning for North America. But the recent rise in conflict around the world has prompted it to try to better prepare for what is ahead, according to a top official in the command.

"What we're focused on is being able to detect adversary activity that poses a risk or threat" to North America, said Canadian Lt. Gen. Christopher Coates, deputy commander of NORAD. Military.com spoke with Coates, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, during a recent interview.

NORAD gets several notifications a day that require monitoring at the command center or scrambling jets to check out the airspace.

"It's not always the same action, but we [get an alert] and investigate," Coates said.

The command responds roughly five times per week across the U.S. or Canada for tactical actions, he said. Between 2016 and 2018, it scrambled nearly 500 times, conducting 164 intercepts, according to data provided to Military.com.

"Our intercepts of foreign state aircraft average about a half dozen per year, but can get higher," Coates said, referencing Russian bombers or fighters flying into the Air Defense Identification Zone, the airspace surrounding the United States and Canada. The ADIZ stretches roughly 200 miles off Alaska's coast.

Regarding potential adversary activity, "the problem has become 360-degree for us," he said. "When we saw Russia deploy its bombers down to Venezuela, of course NORAD was very focused on that [because] it presents another vector" of global conflict.

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Both Russia and China are developing long-range missile capability, with Russian officials publicly stating the country plans to upgrade part of its existing missile inventory by increasing their range and enhancing their speed to hypersonic levels.

"The trend that we're on would lead me to believe that we need to have far more robust continental defenses in five years than we do today. Our adversaries are continuing to develop capabilities to hold the homeland directly at risk [emphasis added]," Coates said.

"I don't believe Russia is going to launch a cruise missile tomorrow at Canada or the U.S. [But] we do have challenges with respect to new technologies that Russia and other nations are developing and fielding, and we're working with [Canadian and U.S.] defense agencies to make sure we're well positioned for the future," he said. "And the notion that I've got is that [our adversaries] believe that the best way to ensure their defense and security and interests are best met [is] by being … able to challenge us."
Being Ready

Operation Noble Eagle, to defend the U.S. and Canada, was launched in the aftermath of 9/11.

There have been growing requirements to partner, especially with U.S. Northern Command and Canadian Joint Operations Command, as well as interagency organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration.

"There has been a realignment, a refocusing of effort, where there is a combination of priorities and … certain activities remain higher-priority," Coates said.

That includes security for big annual sporting events and overwatch on cities.

The command’s role was highlighted in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport incident last year. In August 2018, a Horizon Air worker stole one of the airline's Q400 turboprops aircraft. The employee, later identified as ground service agent Richard Russell, 29, flew the empty aircraft south of Seattle before crashing into Ketron Island in the Puget Sound, roughly 35 miles south of the airport. He died in the crash.

NORAD responded with a multifaceted, coordinated effort between two F-15 Eagle pilots, who did not shoot the Q400 down.

The Sea-Tac incident "completely mirrored the training events that we do," Coates said.

He called the incident unfortunate, but unique in that NORAD hadn't seen that type of hijacking since Operation Noble Eagle began.

"We're training for events ... like it on a daily basis," Coates said.

Personnel at the command control center are typically on eight-hour shifts, during which they participate in two-to-three training simulations when not responding to real-world events, he said. "We're so attuned to the notion that 9/11 was a failure of imagination, so we challenge ourselves. We challenge our [exercise planning personnel] to ensure we keep this enterprise at the very pointy edge of being ready."

Intercepts or scrambles are most often due to civilian aircraft that stray into a temporary flight restriction zone or closed off airspace.The command tracked 4,464 events of interest flagged by the FAA from 2016 to 2018.

"Fortunately, we have not had to take action in those cases," Coates said.
Defending the Homeland

He said NORAD is well-suited for the alert mission, but needs to prepare for a range of events.

"Are we well-suited for a really bad day? Perhaps less so," he said, adding that a commander's job is to do the best he can with the resources he's given, while identifying risks if he sees capability gaps or vulnerabilities across the mission.

A catastrophic event could include a mass casualty or terrorist incident that would call for air intercepts and increased air patrols, or a fight against a near-peer enemy on U.S. soil or near its borders.

Coates said the command's posture could change in the next few years to be ready for both daily homeland defense as well as a bigger fight.

The first goal is to show a formidable deterrence by North American partners, "but then be ready as well to respond to where we most believe the threat might present itself," he said.
Emerging Tech, Warning Systems

Technology is constantly evolving, and NORAD is working with its partners to determine the best surveillance systems to use against these new threats, Coates said.

NORAD watched 1,451 foreign missile events between 2016 and 2018, according to the data.

"We're reaching out and engaging with our industry partners, making sure they're aware of our requirements. We're interested in looking at the widest range of possible solutions -- whether those are land-based, air-based or space-based," Coates said.

"On the weapons side, certainly we're interested in ensuring we have sufficient numbers of effective weapons … or technologies," he added. As an example, he cited the active electronically scanned array, or AESA, radar upgrade to the F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet, which gives pilots additional situational awareness, high-performance targeting and extended range [emphasis added].

"That's directly related to the capabilities [we need]," he said.

The upgrades come as the Pentagon in recent years has been quietly working on a network defense system plan to intercept and shoot down low-flying missiles [emphasis added].

In 2017, then-NORAD commander Gen. Lori Robinson said the U.S. and Canada were working on upgrades to protect against cruise missile threats posed by countries such as Russia and North Korea -- the first substantial buildup in more than two decades.

Robinson said that the two countries had established a "binational steering group to manage the eventual replacement of the North Warning System [emphasis added], which is our network of surveillance radars across Alaska and northern Canada."

"That study is ongoing," Coates said. "We're not in a position yet to know what the recommendations are … [but] we're looking at … what capabilities are most beneficial moving forward."

The current warning system architecture will eventually atrophy, he said, so a comprehensive, cross-domain surveillance system is necessary.

The key is persistence, he said, as NORAD aims for advanced line of sight to monitor, track and defend against evolving hazards.

"We're looking at sensor and command-and-control systems that can synthesize information, that can sense information or sense across domains all at once and help us makes sense of" information, Coates said.

While the U.S. already uses satellites to monitor global missile activities, there is need for "technologies that will allow us to observe further, and with more accuracy and more precision -- well beyond the range of our current sensors," he said, "whether those are a combination of platforms in the air -- and maybe those are a combination of sensors ... with radars that are on [unmanned aerostats] … or some kind of an early airborne warning platform, or space-based sensors."

That could include "a combination of low and high satellites with different revisit rates over various places," Coates said. "It's not science fiction; it's taking advantage of capabilities, both those that we have today, modernized and integrated, and then the possibility of what we will need in the next decade to come."

Deterring Adversary Gains

The necessity for additional tech comes as officials anticipate more high-speed, precision-strike weapons -- below the nuclear threshold -- advanced enough to pose a threat to cities across North America.

"We've seen our adversaries develop very long-range, advanced, stealthy, hard-to-detect cruise missiles [including SLCMs]," Coates said, referring to Russian activity in Syria [emphasis added]. "The notion that Russia or any other nation would aim weapons at North America, is [not] new."

Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed his country had developed "invincible" new nuclear weapons, including hypersonic missiles, that can penetrate U.S. defenses.

Then in February, Putin said Russia had tested a ship-based hypersonic missile. Called "Tsirkon," the missile can travel at Mach 9 and hit sea- or land-based targets, he said during his annual state of the nation address, according to CNBC.

"We're directly involved in the aerospace warning problems that we have now, and we're thinking about the future," Coates said, referring to hypersonic weapons [emphasis added].

NORAD is looking for new ways to have more eyes in the sky, even if the technology might not exist yet.

"Maybe there's a capability like [tethered unmanned aerostats] that would be an option at some point for the Arctic. Maybe there's developing capabilities that allow us to keep surveillance, like an [unmanned aerial vehicle], airborne indefinitely, for days or weeks instead of hours [emphasis added]," Coates said. "That doesn't exist, but we're certainly interested."
https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/05/29/norad-may-ramp-north-american-surveillance-amid-rising-threats-russia.html

Post from 2015:

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NORAD Note: Russian Bomber (with cruise missiles) Strikes in Syria
https://mark3ds.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/mark-collins-norad-note-russian-bomber-with-cruise-missiles-strikes-in-syria/

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Re: The Russian Military Merged Thread- Air Force
« Reply #351 on: October 22, 2019, 14:02:43 »
Now after earlier trip to Venezuela ( https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/25469/russian-tu-160-bombers-fly-10-hour-caribbean-patrol-from-venezuela-drawing-ire-from-u-s ):

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Russian Bombers to Land in South Africa During Unprecedented Deployment

Two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and support aircraft are expected to touch down in South Africa this week for an unprecedented deployment to the continent.

The South Africa Department of Defence on Monday announced it had recently invited Russian personnel and the long-range strategic bombers, an Ilyushin Il-62 Classic airliner and an Antonov An-124 Condor heavy transport, as part of an increased "military to military" partnership, according to a release. The Aviatonist was first to report the news following a social media post from the African Defence Review's Darren Olivier.

Olivier, the director of the publication, noted the bomber arrival was first scheduled for 2016, but because of Russia's increased operations in Syria at the time, the bombers were unable to deploy to South Africa.

The aircraft are set to arrive by Tuesday in the country's Waterkloof Air Force Base, just 32 miles north of Johannesburg.

Russia has made various inroads on the African continent over the last few years, with officials noting the nation has taken a page out of China's playbook in efforts to restore global influence.

Moscow has signed more than 20 military agreements with various African countries since 2015, and has quadrupled its trade with Africa in the last decade -- from $5.7 billion in 2009 to $20 billion in 2018, according to Quartz Magazine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will host the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit this week in Sochi in an effort to woo 47 African officials to expand their bilateral partnerships with Russia -- instead of the United States.

Putin told Russian media Monday that Western countries like the U.S. have taken advantage of Africa for its resources without fair recompense.

"We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments," Putin told Russia's TASS state news agency, without naming specific countries. The summit, co-hosted with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, will take place Oct. 23-24 in the Black Sea city.

Putin added that it's now time for Russia to offer the countries economic solutions that are not "contingent upon ... preconditions," according to RadioFreeEurope-Radio Liberty.

The U.S. has also kept an eye on Russia's military engagement on the continent. Prior to his confirmation to lead U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April that Russia's mercenary "little green men" have had officials questioning Moscow's motives in the region.

"They concern me greatly," Townsend said of the mercenaries from the shadowy organization known as the "Wagner Group."

"They're quasi-military and, as we saw play out in Crimea and Ukraine, 'little green men' running around not necessarily following the rules of behavior we would expect from a proper army," he said, referencing the hybrid warfare strategy.

During the hearing, Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, said the alliances would only continue to increase Moscow's access.

"Russians have moved into Central African Republic, advising them, which seems to be an attempt by Putin to return to the great power influence that they enjoyed under the Soviet Union," Reed said.
https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/10/21/russian-bombers-land-south-africa-during-unprecedented-deployment.html

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Re: The Russian Military Merged Thread- Air Force
« Reply #352 on: February 09, 2020, 14:14:30 »
Another wrinkle for RCAF/NORAD:

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Maiden flight for upgraded Tu-160M bomber

Russia flew the maiden flight of the upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M 'Blackjack' strategic bomber on 2 February, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced.

The flight took place at the Kazan Aircraft Plant and lasted 34 minutes with the aircraft reaching an altitude of approximately 5,000 ft. The video of the flight was released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Russian Federation on 6 February.

As noted by the MoD, the first upgraded aircraft are due to be received by the Russian Air Force in 2021.

The Tu-160 first entered into Soviet service in the late 1980s. Since then the swing-wing supersonic bomber has undergone several upgrades, including in the early 2000s a bolstering of the aircraft's nuclear armament with the capacity to carry 12 conventionally armed Raduga NPO Kh-555 (AS-15 'Kent') long-range cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs.

The Tu-160M upgrade is being rolled out in two phases, with the first Tu-160M1 phase comprising the new K-042K-1 navigation system and ABSU-200-1 autopilot, as well as the removal of some previous systems, such as bomb sighting systems. This Tu-160M1-variant has been operational with the air force since late 2014.

The second Tu-160M2 phase includes the new Novella NV1.70 radar, a digital 'glass' cockpit, modern communications and anti-jamming equipment, upgraded NK-32 engines (designated NK-32-02), and modern conventional and nuclear weapons...


https://www.janes.com/article/94165/maiden-flight-for-upgraded-tu-160m-bomber

Mark
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: The Russian Military Merged Thread- Air Force
« Reply #353 on: April 20, 2020, 15:43:12 »
A post with an exam question:

The Russian Aerial Campaign in Syria
https://mark3ds.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/the-russian-aerial-campaign-in-syria/


Mark
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