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The US Army, prompted by increased proliferation and combat use, notably China's Predator counterpart CH-4 and an Israeli Harop kamikaze drone which wiped out a busload of Armenian volunteers during the Nagorno-Karabakh affray, as well as ISIS et al for propaganda and maybe even troop control, has been going hammer and tongs on a solution. Using a 10 KW (bottom end of High Energy Laser definition), it has been wholesale killing drones as small as the small quadcopters so common here in the US. The platform is a HEMTT reconfigured to be a HELMTT, with the laser being positioned high enough to fire down on terrain hugging drones. Thus, it has more than hemispheric coverage. HELMTT is part of a larger Army effort to counter not just drones, but artillery shells and rockets under an effort called IFPC (Indirect Fire Protection Capability), which has, as one of its interceptor components, the same Tamir missile credited with over 1000 rocket kills as part of Iron Dome. There is a short vid of the Tamir firing from an IFPC truck, but what is of particular interest is that the article says the truck is armed with three different weapons: AIM-9X (latest Sidewinder), Tamir and Hellfire), with the objective being to have the right weapons on the launch platform for the particular threat and engagement conditions. From odds and ends gleaned here and there, it appears the Army's lower echelon air defenses will follow the same model, part of which may well include the same twin-barrel 50 mm cannon described as part of the anti-drone effort. I would expect a fully integrated airspace defense system capable of dealing with manned aircraft, missiles, drones, rockets and artillery shells. This looks reasonably doable and deployable within the CMBS timeframe. The article's here. Regards, John Kettler
Let me start by saying I don't know what the reliability numbers are for the Patriot, the closest land based comparable weapon system, but I do find what's shown here to be provocative and worthy of attention. It's shocking, too, when viewed from a traditional Russian rigorous security standpoint. During the Cold War, I guarantee 20 years at hard labor would've been a minimum sentence. Not only does this piece have the S-300 fail some of you have seen, but Tyler Rogoway, who runs Foxtrot Alpha, provided a second video in comments which makes that one seem tame--and offers an intel bonanza. I should note that one reply from a Russian argue this missile was taken from old stocks. S-300 http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/russian-troops-have-close-call-with-missile-giggles-1698781904 S-400 This is a fairly long piece, with a very nice vid showing what I believe the most stripped down version of the S-400. This firing unit does have the GRAVESTONE acquisition and engagement radar, but it lacks the BIG BIRD acquisition radar which continually depicts the full air picture to a considerable distance. While the GRAVESTONE does rotate, because of its design, it functions much like the Patriot engagement radar, being able only to see over a 120 deg arc. The comments have a sea of great pics of Russian EW gear and platforms. http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/heres-russias-s-400-missile-system-in-action-and-heres-174649002 I provided the above because I think it is essential to actually see the hardware in action, bearing in mind that even if EW is being applied in some instances, there are no combat stress, sleep deprivation, hunger and effects from prolonged operations, SEAD/DEAD and various SOF and guerrilla actions in play. In relative terms, this is a benign operating environment. Regards, John Kettler