Originally posted by Daedalus3
Nobody really answered my question there..
How does one shoot down an aircraft with a GUIDED missile by fluke?
The closest thing I've got to an answer is that it flew the same path every day..which amounts to the serbs practising skeet shooting with SAMs??
Really did they just skeet shoot (dumbfire) it or was it a guided lock??
I don't know if I really want to post on this thread or not the way things have been going ~ But I would like to try to answer your question...
First off, Like Disturbed Deliverer, I too believe the shooting down of F-117 #806 82-0806 over Budjenovici, Yugoslavia was a fluke.
By "fluke" I mean that it is rare occurence probably not to be repeated - It demonstrates great tactical behavior by the Serbs and a lesson well
taught to USAF strategists.
Quick Review of Theories:
There have been many theories by industry professionals and mil/aviation enthusiasts alike concerning the shootdown. One of the more popular theories
concerns the bomb-bay door jamming, thus giving the SA-3 missile something to lock on to.
Another theory that has been widespread is that AAA shrapnel damaged the outer skin of the stealth airframe, thus enlarging the plane's RCS enough to
give the SA-3 missile something to lock on to.
Yet another theory is that either an SA-3 or SA-6 SA-3 was visually guided into near proximity to the stealth fighter.
The SA-3 missile was most likely the culprit in bringing the plane down although some have speculated that it could have been an SA-6 - in any case it
bears mentioning that both of these air defense missiles have optical guidance backup systems for use in heavy ECM environments - such could also be
used for a stealth aircraft.
(SA-3: LOW BLOW fire controls are fitted with 25 km range TV guidance)
(SA-6: STRAIGHT FLUSH fire controls are fitted with 30 km range TV guidance)
The Pentagon Briefing:
On Tuesday, April 20th, 1999, USAF Maj. Gen. B. Carlson,Dir. Operational Requirements had a press briefing regarding the shooting down of F-117 #806
In the briefing the General while not adhering to the bomb-bay door not closing all the way did allude to the increased RCS of the F-117 when the bay
door is opened,as well as stating that he had not ruled out a mechanical error. (the F-117 was just returning from a bombing run near Belgrade).
The General also stated that the first generation stealth aircraft such as the F-117 were specifically designed against the X-band targeting radar
threat. Other bandwidths such as low-freq radar can see first gen stealth
easier but these bandwidths were not used for targeting by Serbian
(note: I have not found a link to this briefing yet - I'm going by a hardcopy)
The Investigation Assessment:
To some it was apparent that Gen Carlson's press briefing came as official damage control after David A. Fulghum, of Aviation Week & Space
Technology's Washington office published an article on the results of the Pentagon's investigation into the F-117's shootdown.
According to his sources, F-117 #806 82-0806 was hit on the 4th night of the conflict about 30miles outside of Belgrade after finishing its bombing
run for the night.
Mr. Fulghum wrote that the official Pentagon investigation showed that it took a combination of circumstances to bring the down F-117.
Some of those circumstances are as follows...
F-117 #806 82-0806 took the same exit route 4 nights in a row. One anonymous defense analyst he interviewed said, "They flew the same route over and
Other analysts involved in the investigation say the Serbs were getting nightly radar hits while the F-117 had its weapons bays open.
"They were able to develop snapshot tracks of the F-117's exit route from the target during the three previous nights..." - "They simply moved the
battery under the route."
Additionally there is apparent evidence that the US had inadequate ECW deployed in the area to properly aid in the F-117's exit. A Navy EA-6B
Prowler was assigned to jam SAM radars but at the time of the shootdown the EA-6B was too far away to be effective.
The "Covey Shot" - A Classic Tactic:
So there was the Serbian air defense sitting directly under the flight path of the F-117, and in the words of one Defense official the Serb battery
launched three or four missiles in what is called a "covey shot" - this is a non-radar aided technique used in heavy ECM environments.
If SAM operators don't have a good fix on a target, they will salvo their missiles. You can command the warhead to detonate at a specific altitude.
It is believed that one of the missiles detonated close enough to the F-117 that shrapnel caused catastrophic failure of the engines or the
"fly-by-wire" system making the F-117 uncontrollable.
What is for sure is that the SA-3 did not actually hit the aircraft or it would have been obliterated, instead it was largely intact other than being
inverted and pancaked on the ground - apparently from a flat uncontrolled spin.
The Pilot's Perspective:
To further support this the pilot reported being buffeted by negative g-forces that he estimated at five times the weight of gravity which made it
nearly impossible to eject. "I always strap in very tightly, but because of the intense g-forces, I was hanging in the straps and had to stretch to
reach the handles. The one fragment of this whole event I can't remember is pulling the handles."
I hope this information answers more questions than it generates and I also hope that the arguing that has marred this thread will not be perpetuated
by my post.
There is no doubt that this is strictly from a US viewpoint, but some of the following info comes from AW&ST magazine which is generally known to be
"F-117 Shootdown": Pentagon Briefing April 20, 1999, Maj.Gen. B. Carlson, USAF
"Pentagon On F-117 Shootdown": AW&ST - April 19, 1999
"SA-3, LOW BLOW fire control
" optical guidance: FAS. Org
"SA-6, STRAIGHT FLUSH fire control
: optical guidance: FAS. Org
[edit on 17-1-2005 by intelgurl]