JED - October 2012 - (Page 24)

By Richard Scott 24 The Journal of Electronic Defense | October 2012 Individual events in the eastern Mediterranean, the South Atlantic and the Persian Gulf have, at critical junctures over the past half century, demonstrated the potency of the anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) against surface combatants unaware, unprepared or simply unable to defend themselves. Indeed, the sinking of the destroyer INS Eilat by P-15 Termit (SS-N-2 Styx) missiles outside Port Said in October 1967 marked the start point for shipborne “soft kill” electronic warfare (EW) as we know it today. The sinking of the Eilat, the loss of HMS Sheffield in 1982, the crippling damage suffered by USS Stark in 1987 and the damage inflicted on INS Hanit off Lebanon in 2006 all bear testament to the potency of the ASCM threat. In each of these cases, a lack of situational awareness and/or a breakdown in the command chain prevented any defensive counteraction. Yet, in taking a historical perspective, it is also worth remembering that in those cases where adequate warning of an ASCM attack has been achieved, and well-practiced tactical responses put into effect, the timely deployment of countermeasures has proved effective. In 1973, for example, the Israel Navy made innovative use of soft-kill electronic deception techniques to nullify the threat from Styx missiles fired from Syrian missile craft on the second day of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Similarly, post-war analysis of Royal Navy actions in the South Atlantic in 1982 showed that “Chaff Delta” (distraction chaff) was, when deployed in good time, successful in decoying at least two AM39 Exocet attacks. The key is to understand the characteristics and vulnerabilities in the missile’s terminal homing guidance package, known more generically as the seeker, and then exploit these weaknesses so as to achieve soft-kill effect by means of onboard jamming, offboard decoys, or a combination thereof. What is apparent today is that the technology associated with ASCM threat seekers is becoming both more advanced and more diverse, as the leading European, Russian and Chinese manufacturers strive to develop terminal guidance packages that are more discriminative and less susceptible to electronic countermeasures. Moreover, the fact is that missiles embodying some of these technologies are proliferating to a number of regional states – and even non-state actors – to an extent that is causing more than a little discomfort among western navies. The threat set has also become more diverse, with the appearance of a number of ASCM seekers operating in portions of the electromagnetic spectrum outside of the typical radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) bands. These include the millimeter wave (mmW) radar seekers associated with a new breed of Chinese anti-ship missiles already proliferated into the Gulf region; and electro-optical (EO) and laser guidance systems allied to shorter-range guided weapons that may be encountered in the near-land, littoral environment. ACTIVE RADAR The vast majority of currently fielded ASCMs can trace their antecedents back to the emergence in the 1970s of a new genre of long-range “fire and forget” anti-ship guided weapons capable of striking at major surface targets well over the horizon. These missiles, optimized for blue water engagements against distant targets along a clearly defined threat The USS STARK (FFG-31) listing to port after being struck by an Iraqi-launched Exocet missile while operating in the Persian Gulf in 1987. (DOD image) axis, were characterized by a combination of inertial guidance and active radar search and terminal homing, a high subsonic speed (Mach 0.9) and the employment of a “sea-skimming”

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - October 2012

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Pacing the Anti-Ship Missile Threat
Cognition: EW Gets Brainy
Inside IEWS
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - October 2012