Boeing Rhinos on Rampage!

disclaimer: Unfortunately this scenario is too complex for going through on plane to plane basics. So insights are given out in Conclusions below.

Finnish Air force is going to launch operation “Marokon Kauhu” into Karelia and Karelian isthmus. You can read the strike plan from here.

Air force will sever land transportation to battle-space in Karelian isthmus and in Finnish South-East border and coast. Forces will be as follows:

  • Strike package west St. Petersburg (From Kymi about 200km out, low-low-low, F/A-18 E )
    • Strike lead: 2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-121 (tunnel)
    • NO 2:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 ( N ring way west bridge)
    • NO 3:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (N ring way east Bridge)
    • NO 4:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109  (Highway bridge)
  • Strike package middle St Petersburg
    • Strike lead 2x Sidewinder, 2x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (Blagoveshchenskiy)
    • NO 2:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (Dvortsovyy)
    • NO 3:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (Trotskiy)
    • NO 4:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (Litenyy and Tulskaja)
  • Strike Package south St Petersburg
    • Strike lead 2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (Litenyy)
    • NO 2:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (Aleksandra Nevskogo)
    • NO 3:  2x Sidewinder, 3x AMRAAM, AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR, 2X JDAM BLU-109 2xJDAM BLU-117 (Railway bridge)
    • NO 4:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-117 (Railway bridge)
  • Strike package Neva
    • Strike lead 2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (Narodnaja)
    • NO 2:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109 (KAD)
    • NO 3:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 2X JDAM BLU-109, 2x JDAM BLU-117 (KAD and Kuzminka RW)
    • NO 4:  2x Sidewinder, 3x AMRAAM, AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR, 4X Paveway BLU-109 (M-18)
  • Strike package Svir (Onttola,  med-low-med 350km out F/A-18 E )
    • Strike lead 2x Sidewinder, 3x AMRAAM, AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR, 2X JDAM BLU-109 2X Paveway BLU-109 (M-18 and Railway bridge)
    • NO 2:  2x Sidewinder, 4x AMRAAM 4X JDAM BLU-109
    • NO 3:  2x Sidewinder, 8x AMRAAM 2X JDAM BLU-111
    • NO 4:  2x Sidewinder, 8x AMRAAM 2X JDAM BLU-109
  • Strike and CAP support package south F/A-18 G (Vantaa hi-hi-hi)
    • Support lead 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 2 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 3 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 4 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
  • Strike support package north F/A-18 G (Kuopio, hi-hi-hi)
    • Support lead 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 2 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 3 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 4 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
  • CAP support package north F/A-18 G (Rovaniemi, hi-hi-hi)
    • Support lead 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 2 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 3 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
    • NO 4 2x AMRAAM, 2xAARGM, 2xAN/ALQ-99 (hi), AN/ALQ lo, 2x480gal tank
  • Combat air patrol north 1 (Rovaniemi hi-hi-hi)
    • CAP lead 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 2, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 3, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 4, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
  • Combat air patrol north 2 (Rovaniemi, hi-hi-hi)
    • CAP lead 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 2, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 3, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 4, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
  • Combat air patrol east 1 (Kuopio, hi-hi-hi)
    • CAP lead 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 2, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 3, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 4, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
  • Combat air patrol east 2 (Kuopio, hi-hi-hi)
    • CAP lead 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 2, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 3, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 4, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
  • Combat air patrol south 1 (Vantaa, hi-hi-hi)
    • CAP lead 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 2, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 3, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 4, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
  • Combat air patrol south 2 (Vantaa, hi-hi-hi)
    • CAP lead 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 2, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 3, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank
    • NO 4, 2xSidewinder, 8xAMRAAM, 480gl tank

LennotFlight will be coordinated for mutual support. Northern CAP is responsible of denying airspace support effort from Kola area air bases.  Eastern CAP patrols will keep eastern air force in the ground or occupied. Southern CAP patrols will open the way for strike packages as necessary. CAP groups will support mutually to avoid causalities and forcing enemy to expend stores and not to hinder strike packages.

EW support will take care of SEAD/DEAD, and force Air defense divisions to keep their radars shut. Radars should be shot when opportunity presents itself.

Strike packages will return to designated fields ASAP and be refitted for AA with 480gl tanks, to help the CAP patrols withdrawal from battle space. If opportunity presents itself Svir strike package could make strike of opportunity against bridge in Karhumäki. That would “seal the deal” for battle space in Karelian isthmus.

Conclusions: AS you can see, practically ALL FAF air assets would be tied to this operation. Numbers of planes would run:

  1. Strike packages 5×4 Es or 20 bomb droppers
  2. EW packages 3×4 Gs or 12 Growlers (Boeing offered 12, so they would be all in)
  3. CAP patrols 6×4 Es or 24 missile shooters 

So this would mean that 56 out of Finnish Air Forces 64 Super Hornets would be tied up for this  deep strike operation initially. And as F/A-18 Es are not able to turn tail to SU-27s and run away, (being 1,8 Mach against 2,35 Mach) the withdrawal would have to be constructed as a delay action. This would need to have multiple rounds of refills and relaunches for aircraft. It seems in recent evidence that AMRAAM D have an edge on R-77 missiles, so exchange of aircraft would/could be favourable or very favourable for the Finns. 

Finnish fighter control would be in disadvantage in trying to control the fighter combat in deep Russian aerospace. As the control would have to rely on land based radars and systems for detection, Command and control. (Apart from Being F/A-18 E/F/G ‘s formidable AESA radars) So this could even up the exchange for the Russian fighters.

F/A-18 G, Growlers would give the initial strikes very good possibility of succeeding and as Rhinos carry a lot of ordnance, would see that all the targets can be hit with first sortie, without need for multiple rounds of bombing. As noted Russian GPS jamming COULD deteriorate JDAM performance, but on the other hand AARMG from any of the Growlers would quickly end the GPS jamming. 

Growlers would indeed be the force multiplier here: They would be able to blanket S-300/400 radars with so powerful jamming, that Russian fighter- and Air Defense control would be hard pressed to see what and where is happening. As I have noted earlier, Growler is definitely one great selling point for Boeing in HX bid. It would give FAF stellar capabilities in this neck of Scandinavia. 

Bridges are “big targets” albeit concrete and very well rebarred targets and they don’t move, so because of plethora of weapons dropped on them it would be within possibility that ALL bridges are lost. At the very least most of the bridges will be lost, and the rest badly damaged. Railways are of course maybe the most important way of transporting war materiel for the Russians, so extra care is given (in my assessment plan) to railway bridges: Some penetrating warheads to supports (and as noted mk 84, BLU-111,-109 and -116 are ALL penetrating heavy warheads, some penetrate more than the others and have less explosive filler, some penetrate less, but have more “BANG”) and some GP bombs into the framework to make the collapse on the spot. One possibility would be flooding the ring way tunnel with multiple mk 84s that make bomb craters 11 m deep and 15 m wide, so a few of them could be used to make a channel from sea to tunnel which would flood and make the use of ring way impossible that way. 

Growlers would also make the strike (and CAP) packages quite hard targets for radar guided missiles and would make it somewhat easier for CAP patrols of sweeping the aerospace before the strike packages to drive the Russian fighters out before them. 

Finnish pilots have been quite successful in defensive air combat operations in practices  with NATO in the past, but still after the offensive push, the defensive withdrawal would take time and be dangerous, as Russians could bring more fighters to bear, and FAF would be turning the strike packages around to get more AA capability into the fray. Now I have not seen any claims how quickly this could be done, but initially (after first round) you would need to change bomb dropping pylons into double missile pylons. (In F/A-18 C this is done by adding A LAU-115 with two LAU-127 adapters to BRU-32/A ejector rack) Dunno how long it takes.

It would be nice to hear your thoughts about the matter.

About epamuodikkaitaajatuksia

Viisikymppinen jannu, joka on huolissaan siitä miten maanpuolustus ja turvallisuus makaa Lapissa, Suomessa ja Euroopassa. Harrastuksina Amerikkalainen jalkapallo ja SRA ammunta, Defendo ja Krav Maga. A guy about 45, who has a "thang" for military current issues, defense and shooting. Not to forget American football.
This entry was posted in Baltic situation, HX-ohjelma, hypoteesitilanne, in English, Skenaariot, Tilanne päällä, War in Baltic Region and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Boeing Rhinos on Rampage!

  1. Pingback: HX fighter scenario 2: Deep strike into Karelia | Epämuodikkaita ajatuksia

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