As the Boeing case is made to great extend Super Hornets and Growlers SEAD capabilites I chose to have 4 Growlers for 8 Rhinos. This reflects the USN ay of doing things so I think it would be a safe bet of going about it like this.
Growlers are in short range SEAD configuration with 3 NG jammer pods and 2 AARGM missiles. To support them three F/A-18 Es are also in SEAD/DEAD configuration. They dont have jammers, but they have 2 AARGMS and 2 JSOWS with cluster munitions (yes yes, Princess Diana and all that, but humor me). Sarvikuono 4 is a support fighter that will carry the MALD load. MALD is remote jammer that can be parked just outside the weaponsrange of enemy so that MALD will effectively jam AD systems. As you can see in video.
After that there is two F/A-18 Es with 4 cluster bombs and two more with close air support loadout with AGM-179 JAGM pods. (sort of like hellfire but better) These can help in taking out the air defenses if needed.
First of all. I practiced the scenario like 10 times before I was confident that I can give somewhat accurate picture of what will happen. What is really enlightening that AARGMs and JSOWs cannot penetrate to the island unless there is jamming present. If there is not adequate jamming, Pantsir and TOR systems will shoot them down from the air in quick succession. So waht is really evident that Growler is indeed a game changer! Also there were multiple hits in practise runs but 3-5 times hit Rhino survived the hit and managed to return to the base. Unfortunately I was not able to find out what missile these were, ans it might be that somewhat lighter missiles might be less lethal.
I played the scenario three times this time around, and 1st time with 12 sorties. Rounds two and three I did with 6 (5 if you exclude the MALD carrier) that succeeded in taking down the SSM missile site, the area surveillance radar and S-300 system. “Winning” the scenario revolves around destroying these three higher level assets. Pantsir and TOR systems are meant to protect higher level assets, but don’t really pose threat in same level as S-300 poses.
I did the video on round 1, in which I keep the Growlers further away, but bring the MALDs jus off shore of the island. This blinds the AD systems in the Suursaari/Hogland island quite handily. This might also be why I did’t lose a single fighter in this scenario. Rounds two and three I did with Growlers up close and personal, and the Sarvikuono 1 to 3 to shoot from behind the jamming and firt take out the defenses in the northern part of island, then whack the big radar, and then take out the S-300 with JSOW or two. The PANTSIR in northern part usually takes 3-4 AARGMs before it is silenced, after which you can take the SSM site with JSOW.
I lost one Rhino in each of the last two scenarios. I think it is because the Sarvikuono 1-3 like to come closer to shoot the last missiles. I cant see reason for this, as taking out the northern tip of the Hogland defenses they shoot from over Kotka town. So it might be because of “Command modern warfare” or it might have to do with defilade, but I can’t say with any reasonable certainty.
As evident the lethality of Rhino/Growler SEAD mission was not greatly affected of leaving half of the force at Halli AFB. Also what is evident that a lot of defensive missileas are fired with wery low kill probability. One has to, in all fairness, mention that Pantsirs and Tors managed to down some inbound ordnance in every scenario.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know why some Rhinos like to come too close after they have fired their ordnance. If I read the database right, there really is no reason to do so. Also there is more than 100 missiles in the containers for the air defenses, so I just didn’t wait and bait for them to empty magazines and then go for the kill.
I think that use of MALDs in round one prevented the loss of assets for ilmavoimat. That is because in environment where there are four Growlers and two MALDS blanketing ALL you frequencies, and you are rained upon with weapons launch of which you cant see, there is a precious little you can find, let alone target.
Use of more fighters might serve helpful if you want to take everything out and saturate the defenses, but that is a bit wasteful way of accomplishing this mission.