Annex B Imagery Supplement The proliferation of large quantities of precision guided munitions, including cruise missiles capable of air and submarine launch, has changed the regional strategic calculus. Most nations will be equipped with a robust capability to attack air bases, and may have the option of surprise pre-emptive attacks. No matter how survivable a combat aircraft might be, on the ground it is as vulnerable as any other soft target.
Annex B Imagery Supplement The proliferation of large quantities of precision guided munitions, including cruise missiles capable of air and submarine launch, has changed the regional strategic calculus. Most nations will be equipped with a robust capability to attack air bases, and may have the option of surprise pre-emptive attacks.
Historical experience shows that attacks on air bases can be highly profitable in terms of inflicting attrition on an opponent's air assets.
No matter how survivable a combat aircraft might be, on the ground it is as vulnerable as any other soft target. The problem of base hardening is one which has not been addressed in the Australian defence debate to any great extent in the past.
While some very good theoretical work has been done in Australia, it has not been reflected strongly in planning.
Dispersal areas and redundant taxiways have been employed for recently constructed bases such as RAAF Curtin. Unfortunately, the proliferation of smart bombs and cruise missiles across the region, many with precision guidance capabilities, much reduces the effectiveness of dispersal in base hardening.
Evolving Airbase Hardening Measures The established philosophy of 'classical' airbase hardening developed during the Second World War, when both the Allies and Axis at various stages of the conflict were able to bring the full might of their heavy and medium bomber forces, and fighter bombers, against their opponents' airfields.
As these aircraft were armed with dumb bombs and guns of varying calibres, experience soon showed that direct hits on parked aircraft would be mostly produced by dive bombing or low altitude strafing or rocket attacks.
Given the accuracy of dumb bombs aimed by gyro stabilised optical bombsights, dropped from medium or high altitudes, direct hits on parked aircraft were the exception rather than the rule for this regime of attack.
Dive bombing and strafing thus became the techniques of choice for dealing with airfields. The revetment evolved as a defensive measure in this environment, typically involving the construction of a U-shaped berm using earth, sandbags, rock or other available materials.
The revetment served several useful purposes: Protection of parked aircraft against spall, shrapnel, exploding gun ammunition and debris produced by contact fused bombs impacting in the near vicinity. Protection of parked aircraft against shallow dive bombing, low level strafing and rocket attacks, where the berm was high enough to conceal the aircraft entirely.
Containment of damage effects when the aircraft in the revetment was hit, thus preventing fratricide damage of other parked aircraft. These advantages have seen the classical revetment with earthwork berms widely adopted since then.
Refinements evolved, including where space permitted the placement of additional berms or concrete structures to block the line of sight into the entrance of the revetment. The advent of nuclear bombs complicated matters considerably.
While a revetment would protect an aircraft from some of the overpressure and flash effects of a nearby nuclear event, that protection was not entirely good enough. If the the nuclear weapon was airburst at low altitude, or surface burst, the high velocity shockwave would often be powerful enough to suck the aircraft out of the revetment and wreck it.
If the weapon was airburst at a sufficiently high altitude, a line of sight path may have existed between the bomb and the parked aircraft, resulting in ignition or burn damage, as well as shockwave damage.
The HAS is a concrete or combined concrete and earthworks structure which wholly protects the aircraft from blast, flash and other weapons effects. Construction techniques and hardness vary widely. The most elaborate shelters were further equipped with door seals and filtered ventilation to protect personnel from nuclear fallout effects.
This would allow the ground crew, alert pilot and aircraft to 'sit out' a nearby nuclear strike until outside radiation levels declined to the point where the aircraft could be safely sortied again. Quzhou is atypical insofar as the revetments in the dispersal area are connected by a full arc of taxiway, requiring multiple 'cuts' by an attacker to close the taxiway.
The revetment pads of typical PLA airfields are 75 to ft in diameter and can accommodate up to three Farmer, Fantan or Fishbed fighters. Dispersal taxiways are typically 45 ft wide. At least one Badger base has pads sized to fit a single aircraft, but no berms were installed.
The primary runwayavailable for takeoffs and landings, has a wide full length parallel taxiway to enable recoveries in the event of damage. An auxiliary take-off only alert runway is directly connected to the underground hangar entrance, allowing the fighter to roll out of the tunnel, line up, open the throttles and take off quickly.
The PLA invested considerable thought into planning its network of 'superhardened' fighter bases, usually placing the runways behind a hill or mountain, relative to the threat axis.
Another good example of such a base is at Yinchuan [Click for more While modern smart weapons have diminished the effectiveness of such base designs, they still present genuine challenges in targeting and achieving robust weapons effects US DoD.
Where the HAS was considered inadequate, inventive military engineers sought to construct complete hangars underground. Arguably the most numerous and elaborate arrangements were constructed by the PLA in China, these including concrete structures to protect blast doors, and auxiliary take-off only runways, which doubled up as recovery taxiways, to enable scrambling fighters to get to the runway threshold seconds after rolling out of the main entrance.
Many such 'superhardened' bases remain in use, especially in China and Taiwan. While protecting aircraft, personnel and critical support equipment was a priority in the base hardening game, these components of a unit were not the only vulnerabilities a base might have.
Runways and taxiways are inherently exposed and thus also attractive targets. Because runways and taxiways can be rapidly repaired given adequate earthmoving machinery, personnel, and materials, most targeteers regard damage inflicted to runways and taxiways to be temporary, and will plan to reattack frequently enough to keep an airbase closed.Perfect for a variety of tasks, filler paper, also known as composition or loose leaf paper, is a standard go-to item to keep in your notebook for school assignments.
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