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Electronic countermeasures is but one aspect of the broad subject of electronic warfare, which was waged in all its complexity throughout Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, in choosing to deal with this topic, the Office of Air Force History faced a difficult security problem, for key material is so closely held that its inclusion might result in a history to which the average Air Force officer would not have access.
As a result, this special intelligence was not used. Instead, various agencies involved in electronic countermeasures, having access to material not available to the historian, were invited to comment on a draft of the monograph, to ensure an essentially correct account.
The first systematic use of electronic countermeasures occurred when British night bombers employed various devices to blind German radar and disrupt communications between defending pilots and ground controllers.
Army Air Forces also conducted wartime countermeasures operations, and during the Korean fighting the U. In the years that followed, the United States. The Vietnam war tested the recent developments in electronic countermeasures.
At first, radar-controlled surface-to- air missiles and antiaircraft guns had the advantage. The Air Force, however, perfected a countermeasures pod for fighter- bombers, and fitted out and armed aircraft for the express purpose of locating and destroying missile sites.
These endeavors, complemented by long-range jamming and by countermeasures aircraft from the other services, succeeded in restoring a balance favorable to the offense.
The deadly struggle continued throughout the war. The North Vietnamese adjusted their radars and electronic techniques to neutralize American countermeasures, and the Americans reacted to the changing threat.
The entire wartime experience was compressed into a few days, as each side sought to overcome the electronic tactics employed by the other. The electronic countermeasures campaign produce no inflexible catechism of lessons learned.
Instead, the Air Force discovered the importance of continually evaluating the usefulness of its countermeasures and adjusting quickly when effectiveness declined. The basic lesson can best be summed up in words attributed to Adm.
These twin-jet fighter-bombers, each with a 2-man crew, had taken off earlier that morning from Ubon air base, Thailand, to protect other Air Force planes assigned to bomb North Vietnamese military targets.
The date was 24 Julyduring the fifth month of Rolling Thunder, an air offensive designed, according to President Lyndon B.
Johnson, to make North Vietnam's leaders "realize. The RBC radioed a warning, and shortly afterward Lt. Alden, USAF on the far left of the Leopard formation, saw two missiles streaking skyward, closing rapidly from the right and below.
The first missile exploded directly beneath Leopard 02, on the opposite flank from Alden.
He saw flames erupt from the trailing edge of the Phantom's wing, as the stricken plane rolled onto its back and spiraled out of sight into the clouds. One of the crew, Capt. Keirn, parachuted, survived almost eight years as a prisoner of war, and returned to the United States in Fobair, apparently died in the crash.
The SAM had first appeared inand 3 years later it shot down an American Lockheed U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance plane near Sverdlovsk, deep inside the Soviet Union. The pilot, Francis Gary Powers of the Central Intelligence Agency, was taken prisoner, but within 2 years his captors released him in exchange for a Russian spy held in the United States.
The SA-2 employed a Fan Song radar to locate targets for four to six Guideline missiles mounted on individual launchers. Portable generators provided current for the computers that processed firing data.
At each SAM site, the North Vietnamese also installed an acquisition radar capable of detecting aircraft at a distance of nautical miles, roughly three times the range of Fan Song. The most common kind of acquisition radar was called Spoon Rest, though others saw service before the war ended.
The Guideline missiles that roared skyward on 24 July measured The solid-propellant booster rocket was 64 centimeters 26 inches in diameter and 2. The liquid-fueled sustainer, or second stage, measured 49 centimeters 20 inches in diameter and was 7.
Because of its distinctive shape, Guideline received the nickname "flying telephone pole. Although Guideline could down an airplane as far as 17 nautical miles from the launch site, it could not engage targets within a "dead zone" of 5 nautical miles.
The missile had to travel this distance before the fuze was armed, the booster stage discarded, and the guidance system in operation.JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources.
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