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SAM sites: World tour

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posted on Jul, 18 2006 @ 11:11 AM

In focus: SAM sites world tour

In my Google Earth wanderings I’ve found hundreds – maybe thousands - of air defense positions around the world. I’m sure that’s only the top of the iceberg.

If we crudely divide air defense systems into three categories:
“Area defense” of a large area
“Point defense” of a high value (static) asset
“Maneuver defense” of army

In general, the first two types of system are much easier to find than the last. Contrary to popular perception, even “mobile” area defense systems like Patriot and SA-10 are often deployed in a static position during peace time. The same goes for point defense systems such as those often deployed around air bases. The reality is that in most countries the armed forces cannot/do not just go around the countryside digging up people’s gardens to redeploy the system every day. Even on their own property like air bases it is tedious to re-dig positions daily. Shoot and scoot is not as practical as it may seem.

Another generalization is that in many countries air defense units spend a lot of time in depot (not deployed) during peacetime – especially in the West. On the other hand in certain hotspots like the middle east the SAMs are active a lot of the time.

SAM systems I intend to cover:
Sparrow/Aspide/SPADA etc
SA-2 Guideline
SA-3 Goa
SA-5 Gammon
SA-10 Grumble
SA-6 Gainful (possible)
Nike Hercules (If I get around to it)
AAA in less detail

SAM spotting tips: countries where they are easy to find:
Saudi Arabia
Turkey (look at the air bases)
South Korea (look at the air bases)
Japan (look at the air bases)
Germany (both East and West, many sites empty)

The basics of fixed SAM sites

SAM sites are typically made up of several components:
* The missile launchers – typically 3-6. Can be trailer or vehicle mounted, or fixed
* The radar – often a separate search radar and fire control radar.
* Generators – these set ups need a lot of power and batteries wouldn’t last long
* Towing vehicles
* Command centre vehicles/shelters
* Reload trucks

Radar ramps
A common feature of many SAM sites is some form of ramp or high ground to put the radar on so that it has a better field of view. This is often at the centre of the site. An alternative is to have a mast mounted radar – a solution which is becoming more common.

SAM sites are usually arranged in a way so as to give the missile launchers maximum field of fire – typically in a ring around the radar. Other aspects are also systematic; the launch positions are often connected by a roadway to allow reload trucks to easily replenish them, command vehicles are next to the radar etc. This radial layout, though differing between systems and between operators, generally has a “rose” look to it when viewed from above.

Many SAM systems, particularly under Russian doctrine, have some form of blast protection around the launcher. These earthworks show up well in satellite images

In most countries they put fences around SAM sites to stop kids and locals accidentally spreading themselves around a bit more than they’d like. WWHhhhoooooossshhhh. This means that these sites aren’t farmed, and the vegetation inside the fence, kept short so as not to impede the SAM’s operation, differs from that in the countryside around – this helps them show up on satellite imagery.

posted on Jul, 20 2006 @ 11:17 AM

Type: Medium range area defense system with modest anti-missile capability. Deployed in static manner with radar and a number of launchers which are trailer mounted and need to be towed to be moved. First introduced in the mid 1980s, development still underway.

Origin: USA

Operators & deployment: (Bold = batteries found on google earth) Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. Some visible Kuwaiti and Saudi batteries may belong to US forces. US batteries also visible in South Korea.

World tour,,,,

1. Saudi Arabia

Other visible Patriot sites in Saudi Arabia include:
26 22 09 N, 50 06 48 E
26 25 28 N, 49 46 43 E
26 37 04 N, 49 57 58 E
26 50 54 N, 49 51 36 E
27 01 32 N, 49 37 08 E
24 54 21 N, 46 39 48 E
24 44 14 N, 46 44 09 E (empty)
24 42 57 N 46 43 17 E (empty, looks US)

2. Kuwait

Other visible Patriot sites in Kuwait include:
29 19 57 N, 47 31 23 E (empty, looks US)
29 16 09 N, 47 38 04 E (empty)
29 17 57 N, 48 02 07 E
29 11 12 N, 48 01 16 E

3. Taiwan
Note: It is almost impossible to differentiate between Taiwanese Patriot and indigenous TK-1 SAM units because they are almost identical. These may be TK-1.

Other visible Patriot sites in Taiwan include:
25 10 47 N, 121 40 55 E
24 57 19 N, 121 30 44 E

4. South Korea
Note: these are US operated

Other Patriot sites visible in South Korea include:
37 14 26 N, 126 59 47 E
35 53 49 N, 126 36 52 E
35 53 45 N, 126 37 18 E
35 06 57 N, 126 48 20 E

5. Japan
Note: some though not all of these may be US operated

Other Patriot sites in Japan include
35 52 40 N, 130 38 41 E (look slightly north also. Possible Patriot also at 33 52 33 N, 130 39 57 E)
35 23 28 N, 136 51 53 E
35 42 37 N, 140 04 12 E
36 02 15 N, 140 11 38 E
42 47 47 N, 141 39 10 E
26 11 39 N, 127 38 30 E (Almost certainly US)

Other countries where you can see them:
Germany – many, mostly at air bases. Mostly ex-US, now disused.
USA – good one at 31 48 58 N, 106 18 30 W

[edit on 20-7-2006 by planeman]

posted on Jul, 20 2006 @ 11:28 AM
Compiling these lists is far more time consuming than I expected. Please let me know if it interests anyone. I think I'll try to tackle SA-10 (S-300) next but if there is any SAM system anyone wants this sort of info on, please let me know.

posted on Jul, 20 2006 @ 03:27 PM
S-300 (SA-10 “Grumble”)

A medium-long range SAM system generally analogous with the American Patriot system, the S-300 is highly regarded.

Operators where you can see S-300 on Google Earth:
Russia, Slovakia, China, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus

Other operators include:
Czech Rep, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Vietnam, India (unconfirmed?)

SA-10A (S-300P)
The original version, designed for the Soviet air force, it is still deployed by Russia and some other countries although various minor upgrades and variations on equipment seem to exist. It is distinctive for its trailer mounted missile launchers.

SA-10B (S-300PM)
The first variant to use the characteristic Maz 8x8 truck (same as used in the SCUD missile) to carry the various radar, command elements and missiles. This version is in use by Russia and some former-USSR states.

SA-10C/D /SA-20/21 et al (S-300PMU, S-300PMU-1, S-300PMU2, S-400, HQ-9, FT-2000)
These are later variants of the SA-10 system and for recognition purposes are almost identical to the SA-10B. The 54K6E2 command post truck is sometimes a way of identifying the S-300PMU2. Some S-300PMU-1 systems, notably those of Greece, use a trailer launcher similar to that of the SA-10A.

World tour,,,,

1. Russia

A few of the many visible SA-10 sites visible in Russia:
55 48 54 N, 36 52 19 E
55 26 59 N, 36 54 46 E
56 02 59 N, 37 00 07 E
55 22 59 N, 37 58 51 E
64 36 53 N, 39 49 37 E
44 32 15 N, 38 06 05 E
42 44 11 N, 132 51 38 E

2. China

Other SA-10 sites visible in China include:
39 34 35 N, 116 45 38 E
39 33 46 N, 116 24 53 E
39 54 34 N, 117 43 05 E
30 50 17 N, 121 33 41 E

3. Ukraine

Other SA-10 sites in Ukraine include:
46 41 10 N, 32 46 14 E
44 41 20 N, 34 25 25 E
(empty) 45 04 52 N, 33 34 10 E
(empty) 44 42 28 N, 33 33 03 E
44 35 46 N, 33 25 37 E
44 32 49 N, 33 26 00 E
44 31 19 N, 33 29 02 E (note: formerly SA-5 position, another SA-10B battery is in depot in the south west corner of this site)
50 34 40 N, 30 11 27 E
50 07 31 N, 36 16 27 E
50 00 50 N, 36 25 13 E
(empty) 49 54 45 N, 36 07 31 E
49 41 24 N, 23 53 03 E

4. Belarus

Other SA-10 sites visible in Belarus :
53 42 21 N, 27 31 53 E
54 00 57 N, 27 35 03 E (additional radar about 1km east)

5. Slovakia

6. Greece

[edit on 20-7-2006 by planeman]

posted on Jul, 21 2006 @ 10:05 AM
Damn fine job planeman.

I'm already using the data.

Thanks again.

posted on Jul, 21 2006 @ 01:28 PM
Wow, has anyone gotten WATS two months in a row before?

posted on Jul, 21 2006 @ 05:00 PM
Hawk / Improved-Hawk

A US medium range SAM system which has been widely exported. Although it has been deployed since the 1960s, it has undergone many upgrades and most operators still consider it a combat viable system.

Operators include (Bold = at least one battery visible on Google Earth) USA, Albania, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and UAE.


World tour

[edit on 21-7-2006 by planeman]

posted on Jul, 21 2006 @ 06:15 PM

Although it has been deployed since the 1960s, it has undergone many upgrades and most operators still consider it a combat viable system.

Damn right it's a combat viable system.

Just want to add to the S300 complex.

40B6M track to 160km, 40B6MD-search to 120km, 30N6E and 5H63C (same as 40B6M but on a 8X8 MAZ-7910).

Also a minimum configuration manages 12 launchers.

Here's another excellent Aussie resource;

76N6 Clam Shell Acquisition Radar Revealed

posted on Jul, 21 2006 @ 10:25 PM
Yeah it's a good source.

Although what you are saying about the 12 launchers is completely right, it's the difference between potential and realistic deployment - as Google Earth has shown, most countries only plug four-eight launchers in at a time, at least in peacetime. This is a natural efficiency.

The mast mounted radar ("Clam shell" etc) is a significant advantage of the SA-10 and SA-12 systems. Other countries have also followed this - some I-Hawk SAM units have fixed masts for the radar (not mobile like the S-300's mast) and there are various mast mounted radars from France, Germany, Sweden and in Indian service (modified SA-3).

Some of these European mast mounted radars, such as the German TRML-3d which is operated by Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands and soon Malaysia, have a range of 200km+ (!) and a scan rate of just 2 seconds. It can operate as a stand-alone radar or be intergrated into a wider air defense network, such as in Malaysia where it is expected to be intergrated with the Rapier (both existing and newly purchased Jernas (Rapier field standard C)).

Another European mast mounted radar for comparision purposes is the Swedish Erricsson GIRAFFE AMB (Agile Multi-Beam) radar and older Giraffe S. These are tailored to shorter range operations (100km range and 20,000ft altitude) but can even track mortar rounds (!). One advanced (and oft demonstrated) capability with the Swedish systems is that they can network very effectively so that several radars share data in real time.

[edit on 21-7-2006 by planeman]

posted on Jul, 23 2006 @ 03:16 PM
How about the SA 12 planesman(S300V). It's sexier looking than the S300P serioes.

I wanan see some sat pix of those please.

posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 10:14 PM
SA-12? 1 possible (51 27 34 N 46 16 31 E) but I'm not all that confident on even that one.

SA-12 is an ARMY system designed to move with the troops whereas in Soviet doctrine SA-10 was an AIR FORCE (more specifically Air Defence Forces) system deployed to defend strategic assets. That doesn't mean that the SA-10 isn't highly mobile, but it does mean that the SA-10 is often deployed in fixed SAM sites to defend cities etc - hence a ring of sites around Moscow etc. Whereas the SA-12 isn't deployed that way.

posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 01:05 AM

Both Swedish (Ericson) and Finnish (Nokia) Airdefence units have highly developed networking between radars, LR Missiles, SR Missiles, Manpad teams and down to 23mm AA guns deployed at the front line. All units know what's going on and data and reports are streamed realtime into the AA network. system can be operated either by radio, fibre optic network or coaxial cables or all of these mixed.

Similar lateral networking is used with Artillery fire control too

Btw have you found any SAMs from Finland? I'll give you WATS if you do

posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 10:36 PM
Not in Finland I'm afraid: Finland only uses SA-12/17, Crotale NG and some MANPAD and AAA/SPAAG. Nothing that is based in fixed sites or easy to spot. Plus 99.99% of Finland isn't shown in high res, including all but 1 of the air bases. But I have found an AAA pos at 60 08 54 N 24 58 25 E.

If it makes you feel any better, Finland is overlooked by a Russian radar station at 60 44 07 N 28 34 44 E (extends south west > north east with several radar types including a modern mast mounted one possibly "Clam Shell"). And within range of the ex-Soviet S-300 (SA-10) SAM battery at 59 25 56 N 28 08 48 E, and SA-5 site at 59 31 43 N 28 30 07 E. And loads of Russian air bases and SAM sites especially at the extreme north.


posted on May, 7 2007 @ 01:20 AM
If you want to see a complete SAM overview of the world, look here:

There's over 1000 SAM sites catalogued and annotated with range rings for the identifiable active sites. Your Crete site is wrong, also; that may be an air defense site of some sort but there are no S-300PMU-1 components visible there.

S-300PM-1/2 systems also use the TOMB STONE radar, not FLAP LID...

posted on May, 19 2007 @ 02:47 AM
whats australias sam network like IF we have any at all?

posted on May, 20 2007 @ 07:47 PM
Gut feeling is next to nothing I'm afraid. All short range mobile stuff I think.

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