Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

SEAD tactics primer

Recommended Posts

I am looking into SEAD and I have been searching for a good primer - you know, SEAD101! So far I have come up short. What I am looking for is a general guide, not something for a specific aircraft. Basically I am looking at the general attack patterns for different threats and with different ordnance. I have seen some stuff about hi-lo-lo-hi patterns and using terrain masking, but nothing where it has been systematically approached. (I remember someone recently publishing an article on Combat Ace about this very issue, but I was looking for some more primary sources)


This is an example of something useful outlining general tactics for gun attacks against ZSUs. I found it in a manual for an old Macintosh game.





To counter the ZSU-23 (and by extension the 2S6), the A-10 exploits the systems’ reaction times and the “dead time” while the shells are in flight. Approaching at low level, it pops up to 170 meters (500 feet) at a range of 2 km, acquiring the target and lining up in roughly 1.5 seconds. It then fires a 1.5 second burst and breaks down and away to 30 meters (100 feet). The ZSU-23 has a reaction time of the roughly 4 seconds, starting from the time the A-10 unmasks during the pop-up. By the time the ZSU-23 opens fire, the A-10 has already completed its run and is beginning its break. By the time the ZSU’s shells reach the predicted intercept point, the A-10 has already re-masked. Of course, it takes a lot of training to acquire, track, and shoot a very small target in 3 seconds or less. Against the more powerful 2S6, the pop-up range would have to be extended by as much as 1,000 meters.



In a typical SEAD attack, the A-10 approaches the target at about 30 meters (100 feet) and 300 kts When using the IIR Maverick, the pilot flies an attack profile broadly similar to that used with the GAU-8, except at much greater standoff range, perhaps 8-10 km (4-5 n.mi.). As soon as the missile is launched, the pilot dives back to 30 meters, ducking behind whatever cover is available, then proceeding to the next target waypoint. He may then use terrain masking to approach the target from a different angle before repeating the pop-up attack.




I was just astonished that there wasn't more online about SAM threat envelopes etc. Maybe i wasn't looking very well!


I was also looking for information about how Anti-air defences are structured or used. I remember reading about building a layered air defence by using the different engagement envelopes of different systems together. IE. using an SA-8 as short range cover for an SA-6 battery or whatever. I remember seeing wonderful diagrams with the overlapping threat bubbles of the systems showing how they worked together. Anyone have any suggestions for sources?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..