“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is New Iranian Supplied Bofors RBS-70 - Taking Down US Choppers in Iraq?

Fellow Peacekeeper
, Guest Post, Elephant Bar .

NYT Copter Crashes Suggest Change in Iraqi Tactics 8th FEB : "Several officials said it was unclear whether the attacks had succeeded because insurgents had adopted new tactics, but judging only by the number of successful attacks, it appeared to be part of a coordinated effort."

An Internet message from an insurgent group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq took responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, the latest in a string of crashes that the group has claimed responsibility for. The message said that the group’s “antiaircraft” battalion downed the aircraft about 10:40 a.m. near Karma, and asserted that the crash was witnessed by hundreds of onlookers shouting “God is great,” according to the SITE Institute, which tracks Internet postings by insurgent groups.


Aha, remember you read it on EB first. Somebody has thrown an insurgent AD unit into the fight.

Missiles are suspected in the NYT report. I will hazard that the internet/news guesses as the the identity of the missiles have revolved around Sovietesque SA-7/14 Grail and SA-16/18 Grouse are quite wrong.

The Igla has a minimum range of 800 meters - think about trying to use that against helicopters in an urban environment.

Iran operates the Bofors RBS-70 - a laser beam rider. The target gets a maximum of a couple seconds warning, flares are useless, infrared jammers useless. It is not quite man portable (tripod mounted) but is certainly pickup portable. Normal minimum range is 500m, but with safeties removed ... :). Figure the missile hitting directly will down a chopper even if the warhead fails.

- Fellow PeaceKeeper


  1. Interesting theory Fellow. Here is a link that gives an assessment of Iranian military capabilities, Link. if your theory is true that would be a very bold and provocative move on the Iranian part. Clearly the Iranians supplied some sophisticated surface to surface missiles to Hezbollah.

    The Bofors, is Swedish made, The web site provides this data:

    The RBS 70 is one of Bofors most well-known and established air defence system ever. This air defence missile system is operational in 13 customer countries all over the world. In addition to the Army system, it is also operational in some countries in other services as Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The RBS 70 has been under constant improvement adapted to the most sophisticated future threat and using the latest solutions in missile technology.

    The RBS 70 was initially developed for the Swedish Armed Forces requiring:

    Long intercept range in the head-on sector
    High accuracy and kill probability
    Immune to all known hostile and natural jamming
    Down to the ground capability
    Command to Line of Sight
    Growth potential to night capability
    Bofors selected laser guidance solution in order to fulfil these essential requirements. RBS 70 was the first laser guided defence missile system in the world, which means we have a long experience in this technology. From the very first, the RBS 70 was developed as a complete missile system and also given a potential of integration with most wheeled and tracked vehicles. The RBS 70 is superior to competitive man-portable air defence missile systems. Because of its 7 km intercept range in the head-on sector range it really belongs to a class other than the VSHORAD.

    In its basic configuration the RBS 70 comprises a tripod, sight and missile. In a complete system configuration several fire units can be connected to a surveillance radar enabling all C3I functions. A number of radar options with ready interface are available. And automatic threat evaluation is a part of the combat control at two separate levels.

  2. More on the manpads:

    Around 15 producers manufacture MANPADS in at least 15 countries. Production is no longer limited to established companies in the high-tech arms industry. Producing countries now include Egypt, North Korea, Pakistan, and Vietnam, and developing countries’ demands for affordable anti-aircraft systems are likely to ensure many more orders for MANPADS in the near future.

    It appears that the global stockpile of MANPADS has been grossly overestimated in a number of recent reports. In contrast to claims that 500,000 MANPADS units can be found worldwide, research indicates that around 500,000 missiles, but fewer than 100,000 complete units, have been produced to date.

    This is a crucial distinction to make, because only complete units—missiles plus launchers—are functional. A number of these weapons will no longer be serviceable, owing to age, damage, or destruction, but it is difficult to determine how many. Included in the 100,000 is an unknown quantity of systems in the hands of non-state
    groups, some of which have been identified as terrorist organizations. To date, (2004) at least 13 such groups are known to possess small arms survey on manpads

  3. It is not clear whether it was missiles or small arms fire that downed the birds, but apache does not go down easily to small arms or even HMG fire.

    The NYT implies that missiles were present. Keep in mind that the NYT is not a trustworthy news organization.

    In the muslimoid world Bahrain, the UAE and Pakistan also use RBS 70, but Iran is the only country adjacent. A insurgent caught with such a weapon would be real close to a smoking gun and casus belli (if, if the coalition authorities choose not to hide such facts).

    One of the conspiracy theories around the mystery explosion of TWA flight 800 centered around Iranian RBS 70 (TWA flight 800 exploded from the middle not an engine like would be expected from a heat seeker).

  4. Bob it may very well be a variant or knock-off of the system. Fellow said is was a theory based on reported performance. Can anything be determined from this video? downing US chopper

  5. If it is (at least partially) missiles, that could be SA-7, or the Anza, or the Jugo strela variant, or the Chicom copy, or whatever , but then we should see plenty of near misses as well and not just mysterious chopper down events.

  6. There is no general arms embargo against Iran. IN any case Sweden has an extremely hypocritical and mercenary attitude to arms sales. Basically, its only immoral if they get caught.

    Iran appears to have acquired the RBS in the late 80's. There are a number of countries also using RBS who maybe supply Iran with spares. Or maybe the Iranian RBS systems are on its last legs, and they saw an opportunity to employ the last dozen good launchers usefully.

  7. Oh crap. Look in that small arms survey on MANPADS Duece linked, it states the Pakistanis are manufacturing RBS derivatives. Other sources only mention them as users O_O

  8. The actual country that manufactures the man pad is not the issue. They are all knock-offs of either US, Russian or European technology. It is done all the time. Try and determine where an AK-47 is made. On a larger scale the excoet anti-ship missile was sold by the French , copied and modifeied by other countries and ended up sinking British ships by the Argentinians.

    The Iranians are masters at deniability, when it comes to arms supplies, but so is the US. Let me throw this into the pot. Are there players in the ME who would benefit by having the US take the Iranians down a peg or two? I can think of four right off the top. There are also players in Iran that would benefit from a US attack on Iran.

    The issue is this. The present Aministration placed the US at a strategic disadvantage in Iraq. Iran is going to take advantage of that. So will others. When you set up the pieces on the board, it helps to think more than two moves ahead.

    DR pointed out that the reaction to IED's increased dependence on air and now that has drawn in effective defense against helicopters.

    Downed choppers have a great propaganda effect. Propaganda is a very potent weapon.

  9. "comfortable and thereby give the other guy a leg up"??

    "players in the ME who would benefit by having the US take the Iranians down a peg or two? I can think of four right off the top"?

    If Iran beats us who is there to stop them? Iran is behind this but we can't miscalculate. "Iran is fully prepared to teach a lesson to possible aggressors to make them repent of such a measure forever." They are itching for a fight because they think all the pieces are in place to beat us (asymmetrically). Whose calculations are more accurate? The stakes are higher than Vietnam.

  10. If Iran beats us? Beats us at what, exactly?

    Certainly not at overspending.

  11. That wasn't a complement, Trish. I know that you know that. And so do the Jihadis.

  12. Shit, Trish, it's called an opinion (viewpoint reached after analysing, assessing and evaluating arguments, claims and evidence).

    "It is also the case that we sometimes get too comfortable and thereby give the other guy a leg up" and you are privy to this information how? do tell.

    "beat" and "lose" i guess can be subjective also so i choose not to define that for you.

  13. take a page from the romans..

    if an area is hostile, devoid it of people, then salt the earth...

  14. I know of two US O-2's (Cessna Skymasters) that "fell from the sky", in 1981. While not aware of the actual cause, I do know that the "Offical Report" was a pack of lies. But no one really cared, then.

    Then the exPresident of Panama, the "Bull", then cascaded into a mountainside as well. Interestingly the airplanes stopped falling from the sky, in Panama, after that.

    News reports from DoD often are not an accurate rendition of events.

  15. Well, slim, we arrested the asst. Minister of Health, this morning. The Iraqi Ministry of Health is an al-Sadr formation. Sure indication that the Sunni are getting a "leg up".
    It is at best a zero sum game, currently, in Iraq. It could even be a diminishing sum game, any time we attack, raid, an Iraqi Ministry we are assisting the Sunni Insurgents.
    Point of fact.

    Meanwhile four Marines were KIA by Sunni Insurgents in Ramadi, Anbar, Iraq. All to empower the Iraqi Ministry of Health, in Ramadi.

    Four more dead American troops, for what? Mr Maliki is not worthy of the sacrifice.

    When will Ramadi be cleared, then held, then built, on the six to tweleve month "surge" schedule. That's a Operations Order timeline I'd like to see.
    Restore my faith in US Force of Arms, it would.

  16. But ... then we'd have to destroy Ramadi, in order to save it!

    Those kinda ops used to be a big favorite in 'nam, but can we legally do that anymore?

  17. Only if we were going to win.

    The city has to be depopulated, cleaned and reinhabited and controlled. It is possible, always has been. Just not probable using US Militry & Political doctrine.

    Moving to the "Peace Process" before the War is won. The thinking that process is progress and that it trumps reality.

  18. Hahah! Who's gonna sue? Russia?

  19. Call the White House, mat.
    Get the Decider on the line, tell him how it is, or at least how it could be.

    Though I'm sure he knows, already.

    Gotta keep mama happy, that's his Court of Last Retort

  20. yes, Rat. CCR. Collusion, Chaos, Revenge (not creedence, clearwater, revival) seems to be the game. No way to be "comfortable" (trish) in that. Rat's proposal may = faith and comfort for our well deserved military.

  21. d'Rat,

    Smart bombs are for dummies. They only kill those that are already resigned to die. They don't affect political change. And war is politics by other means.

  22. Some remember that, others do not.

    War without Victory or defeat.
    Decades to defeat border bandits.
    Politics by other means, indeed
    Orwellian at best.

  23. You know, Ramadi is alot like Hama was in Syria.

    The elder Assad had it completely levelled with artillery and broke the back of the Muslim Bortherhood and Sunni resistance in Syria ... more or less permanently.

    100 000 casualties, maybe a quarter mill. Anybody really know, care or remember? But mission accomplished.

  24. It doesn't even need to be that overt. There are whole busloads of AQ supporters on their way to Syria and Jordan that are just begging for a planted IED.

  25. Overt is better, overt sends a message : Behave ... or else. Witness the else.

    At the moment its like the unarmed British police constable's cry : Stop! Or I''ll say stop, again!

    And hey! Guess what? Until there is an else, nobody will f***ing stop.

  26. Yeah, but I don't think the Saudi masters will be all too happy about that.

  27. Just proves a point though.
    The Shia are letting them run.

    Those Shia militias really are reactive to provocation.
    Seeking a cleansing but not a genocide, or so the evidence seems to indicate. For the time being.

  28. To me the evidence seems to indicate the Shiia got a sweet deal and will get to grab Baghdad for doing nothing. It is a deal I never would've allowed to be made. To me it seems all the US is doing is spending billions deferring the problem to a later time and place.

  29. "We're fixated on the enemy, but the enemy is fixated on the people. They know which families are apostates, which houses are safe for the night, which boys are vulnerable to corruption or kidnapping. The enemy's population collection effort far outstrips ours. The Snake Eater will change that, and fast."

    All this is nice and good, but

    if the enemy knows who is who and who is what, you can bet that EVERYBODY in the neighborhood also knows who is who and who is what.

    Smart bombs are for dummies.

  30. mat,

    If there is one thing about which the US has been consistent over the past three decades, it is deferment. Whether this was a lesson learned by the Vietnam generation, I am unprepared to say, but Scarlett would understand – fiddle-dee-dee.

  31. mat,

    And, just for your information, the US does have a smart bomb, and he is a dummy.

  32. If a team of perps is captured preparing an IED or EED, why does Major West need do more than gather posthumous data? Of course, if one thinks of war as merely law enforcement and the wanton killers of American troops as just so many Mexican gang-bangers, throwing gadgets at the problem has an all too familiar ring. Of course, were Major West to take more affirmative action, he too would end up in Federal prison.

    We will be discussing all this as something new in six months.

    No guts, no glory.

    H/T Roggio

  33. Allen,

    That's what all the smart guys said about Stalin. But that stupid unsophisticated bumpkin outsmarted them all, didn't he.

  34. mat,

    re: Stalin

    It is amazing how good a dolt can look with powerful friends. I doubt Stalin was a dolt, and I don't recall reading anyone who made such a claim.

  35. trish,

    A friend has just returned stateside after a year downrange (regimental command). One day, history will be VERY unkind to Punky.

  36. Mat,

    re: Stalin

    I don't think even Trotsky made a claim of Stalin's mental deficiency. Certainly, Trotsky made the claim of Stalin's doctrinal deficiencies.

  37. I see some really good post here by 2164. Good work.

  38. Bill Roggio is linked at RCP, he thinks SA-7 teams of aQ operatives are the culprits.

    No direct Iranian involvement, or so he is told, by those that tell tale, but conspiracy theories are rife.

    Deny clear airlanes to the US, force US to the ground, in trucks.

    Only thing that interests me, the restraint they showed for what seems, after Lebanon, so long.

    To escalate now. In Iraq
    Who else is going "all in"
    General P said he was, what kind of card player is he?

    But Roggio's sources can not lay this at Iran's door. Perhaps they are not escalating the Game, but aQ is playing US all.

    The two military and intelligence sources believe al-Qaeda has organized a grouping of anti-aircraft cells, whose purpose is to deny Coalition forces the free use of helicopters to ferry troops, resupply outlying areas, and conduct assault missions. Al-Qaeda wants to force Coalition forces to use ground transportation, where it believes heavier casualties can be inflicted on U.S. forces via roadside bombing and mine attacks

  39. trish,

    As long as this administration remains in office there is precious little that can be done, aside from riding out the storm or, as my buddy Wild Bill used to say, bite it off and go on.

    After nearly fours of American presence in Iraq the only thing agreed by both Sunni and Shi'a is that America is the enemy. And, yes, that does leave out the Kurds, but for the skeptics, I would ask, "Name a Kurdish directed attack on American troops?"

    An objective interview of officers in the field in both theatres would show the following, in my opinion. The war fighting is "incoherent". That is to say, the various levels of command, from the platoon level to division, have no fixed, orchestrated, long-term plan. Essentially, it is every man for himself, each trying to keep the levels above from judging him in error.

  40. trish,

    re: Don't you ever fucking complain about anyhting, allen. You've staked your claim.

    What is the bee in your bonnet? Do you have some constitutional need to be an asshole? My position has not changed and, as always, if I find myself in error, I will certainly admit the same. That may not be said of others.

    Yes, "at all costs" remains my personal preference. Your rudeness, will not change that. Of course, you might try reason, if its the right time of the month.

  41. TUCSON, Ariz. -- Gunmen stopped a pickup truck full of illegal immigrants, shot some and took the rest captive Thursday in an attack that left at least three men dead and two people wounded, authorities said.

    Authorities were trying to determine who the gunmen were and said some of the immigrants remained missing.

    The men shot three people, one fatally, along a known smuggling corridor near Tucson, then forced several other immigrants in the group to leave with them, Pima County sheriff's officials said.

    The bodies of two of those immigrants were found about 10 miles north in the cab of the pickup truck that had been carrying the group. ...
    Investigators did not immediately know a motive for Thursday's attack, but gangs of bandits are known to roam border areas preying on illegal immigrants as they cross into the country. Feuding among smuggling organizations also is not uncommon, sometimes involving demands for ransoms from the immigrants relatives to gain their freedom.

    Thursday morning's attack occurred on a dirt road near the Silverbell Mine, about 20 miles northwest of Tucson, said Rick Kastigar, the Pima County sheriff's criminal investigations chief.

    The immigrants were heading north when four men armed with assault rifles in another vehicle forced the truck to stop, Kastigar said. During the confrontation, one man was killed, another was shot in the hand _ losing several fingers _ and a woman was shot in the chest and suffered a neck injury.

    Comprehensive Security, that's the ticket!

  42. ...Of course, it is wholly unfair--and really unthinkable--that a candidate should ever have to face an election with a big, complex issue still on the table; or at least, unresolved. This doubtless is what some Republicans thought (if this describes "thinking") when they reportedly told the White House that they wanted Iraq gone as an issue by the time 2008 rolled around.

    (Gee. Why didn't someone think of this during the Cold War? Imagine the trouble we might have been saved.)

    And in the same vein, Democrats scream themselves blue when Republicans try to commit them to something more binding than non-binding tantrums. They know votes like that could come back and bite them.

    Party of Petulance

  43. trish,

    re: What does your wife do?

    A lot.

  44. trish,

    re: Hot for orders

    Fuck off, puck!

  45. trish,

    Did you fuck last night? Just asking. Oh, with your alleged military spouse?

  46. Allen,

    Re: Stalin. One of the advantages of having parents that lived in the Soviet Union, is that you get to learn a lot of this history. Trust me on this. :)

  47. Just curious, Trish, why is that of interest to you?

  48. What position was yours, mat, that we should be trusting?

  49. d'Rat,

    Nope. This nonsense was never to my liking at all. But I always said, whatever the big guys decide on, I will support it.

  50. I try to offer what I think is a better alternative, but I always support the higher ups.

  51. Because Trish has expressed interest in the deployment status of the officer who is my spouse, I give the following rundown of activity in that officer’s life since last she was mentioned on this site.

    On 2 January 2007 that officer had surgery to repair a botched surgery from 2005. The surgery should have been done much sooner, but duty called for postponement.

    Because the damage was more extensive than originally thought, the officer underwent additional surgery on 30 January 2007. Among other things, a bowel resection and rectocele repair was required.

    Since that time, the officer has suffered an involuntary rupture of the incision site and is now recuperating with a spontaneous drain of the 12” incision.

    The officer will not be deploying soon. Her brain, however, continues to function well.

  52. Trish, I feel left out. :(

    How come I don't get any personal questions?

  53. trish,

    My position has not changed. If your crystal ball tells you differently, please, inform.

  54. Sorry, the botched surgery was in 2004. The urologist was deployed downrange on short notice and the surgery fell to a "general" surgeon.

  55. Allen,

    You better get her to show you hers. :)

  56. Trish,

    Ask me anything. Anything at all.

  57. trish,

    re: What does your wife do?

    Sorry, Trish, this is not the place. You may have noticed, I have never asked for information about your spouse. If you were a player, you would know why.

  58. trish,

    If you were a player, you could take the information provided and find the answer to your question.

  59. trish,

    re: wank

    Talking of spouses, I wear a shoe size of 11 1/2. How does that compare, Darlin.

  60. Shoe size is a myth. It's actually the size of your nose.

  61. trish,

    re: I didn't expect that.

    Hmmm...I bet that's true of lots of things.

    Here's a clue: If you wanted a piece of my ass, you should have left my spouse out of the mix. She wears an Air Force commendation with clusters and, oddly, an Army commendation. The officer who recommended the Army commendation is an author.

  62. "Mitch McConnell is a master behind the scenes, but he has a lot to learn about going public," said a Senate Republican insider who did not want his name used. Appalled by Tuesday morning's headlines, Republicans regrouped that day by delivering a substantive message.

    McCain was particularly vigorous, antagonizing Reid and other Democrats by contending that anti-surge resolutions say to U.S. troops that "we think they are going to fail, and this is a vote of no confidence."

    Democratic senators, given their message of the day, trooped onto the Senate floor to claim Republicans had blocked debate over Iraq. That claim might seem peculiar to C-SPAN watchers who this week listened to hours of debate over the war.

    Who Won?

  63. The GOP is up for the time being. As all those Federal Judge nominations that were debated, unendingly debated. So too will the antiSurge Resolution play out.

    Next up, budgeting, that'll be a bit tougher to filibuster.

  64. re: Surge

    But, will there be consumation?

  65. Or consummation. Never drink and blog.

  66. Whatever I may think of Trish on a personal level, she offers thought provoking comments. For those, I thank her.

    On the personal stuff, I've worked with the best. Gaming R Us.

  67. Allen,

    You really think so? You are a gentleman. Too bad I can't say the same for meself.

  68. Mat,

    I meant nothing personal by that last. Being an SOB is no burden. Can everyone be wrong?