posted on Nov, 28 2007 @ 11:02 AM
As you say, this game has been going on for decades.
The purpose of the threatening aircraft is to get the defenses lit up so that they can analyze everything they can observe - a successful mission can
affect the design of countermeasures equipment for years as well as pinpoint defensive fixed installations for tactical purposes.
The defensive response is to intercept the intruder using an absolute minimum of the intercepting force's assets (especially electronic assets) to
show the intruder that the defensive network can easily intercept them, and also to deny the intruder the chance to analyze as much of the defensive
system as possible.
In another age and another time there was also the option of just watching the intruder fly overhead without activating anything - before WWII the
Germans flew a zeppelin close to British airspace to check out those funny looking towers along the coast - at least they thought they were close to
British airspace - in fact they were miles inside it over land! The British just watched them on radar, didn't attempt to intercept, and the Germans
went away none the wiser - purely because they were looking in the wrong wavelength.
There is also another consideration. The possession of a weapon does nothing for deterrence unless your opponent knows you have it. So there is a
case for showing your opponent at least some of your capabilities.
Take the situation of the shoot-down of KAL-007 over the Kamchatka peninsula some years ago. The Russian response (in part) was that they fired
warning shots across the nose of the intruding aircraft, and gaining no response, eventually shot it down with missiles. America responded that
Russian aircraft didn't have guns (this was at the time when the Phantom's only gun was carried as a pod - before the F-4E - and most interceptors
carried only missile armament) - which was all rather silly, I thought, because if American aircraft carried gun pods, then I could see no reason why
Russian aircraft would not be capable of doing the same (sorry, I forgot Russians would be too stupid to figure that out!). Within a week or so an
Su-15 'got intercepted' and photographed in international airspace around Scandinavia - and guess what - it was carrying a pair of gun pods! Those
Russians are just so sloppy with their navigation!
So for a peacetime (yes, Americans you are not actually at war with Russia or China just yet) intercept in international airspace would require SSR
radar equipment, etc to be lit up for civil air traffic control purposes and I would suspect that the F-22s would use only passive means to intercept,
thus denying the intruder any chance of capturing any electronic information. Of course, for the whole game to function, the intruder has to approach
all lit up as well, otherwise it may be too successful and not even get a response - unless, of course they are testing that particular function!
The very simplest result for the Russians, may be gained by monitoring civil and or military ATC frequencies to discover the point at which the
interceptors launch and then interpolate the time and therefore range, at which they were detected. All useful stuff.
The Winged Wombat
[edit on 28/11/07 by The Winged Wombat]