Another F-15SA Lost to Yemeni Air Defences; Is Saudi's War Damaging the Prestige of Western Fighters

bhramos

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Another F-15SA Lost to Yemeni Air Defences; Is Saudi's War Damaging the Prestige of Western Fighters?



The Royal Saudi Air Force has reportedly lost one if its heavy F-15 Eagle fighters over Yemen's Sa'da Province in the country's north west, representing the latest of a number of losses for the Arab kingdom's military. Yemen's Ansurallah Coalition forces, an insurgent group at war with Saudi Arabia since March 2015, claimed responsibility for the downing. Footage of the crashing fighter jet following a hit by a surface to air missile (SAM) was published soon afterwards. Saudi Arabia has suffered heavy losses in its war in Yemen, with several of its advanced U.S. and European made fighters having been successfully targeted by Yemeni SAMs - including elite Eurofighter Typhoon and F-15 platforms.

While the variant of F-15 downed remains unconfirmed, it was most likely an F-15SA strike fighter - an advanced derivative of the U.S. F-15E. With Saudi F-15C fighters designed primarily for air superiority, it is the F-15SA which has been tasked with carrying out the bulk of air strikes due to its advanced long range strike capabilities. The aircraft's loss to air defences which can be described as makeshift at best has significant implications not just for Saudi Arabia and its allies, which have had to operate their air wings with ever greater degrees of caution, but also for operators of the F-15 and other advanced Western fighters across the world.

If the F-15SA, arguably the most advanced and capable variant of the Eagle in service, can be downed in significant numbers by the negligible air defence systems deployed in Yemen, fighters operated by other states would likely prove ineffective if facing a modern and sophisticated multi layered air defence network as deployed by a number of modern states. The viability of some of the most advanced U.S. and European combat platforms is therefore put to serious question. Japan and South Korea for example, which rely on the F-15J and F-15K respectively to strike North Korean targets in the event of war, would likely be wholly unable to operate against the country's advanced multi layered surface to air missile network immeasurably more sophisticated than anything fielded by Yemen's insurgent forces. The ability of U.S. and European built fourth generation fighters widely deployed to Eastern Europe to have any impact whatsoever when operating against Russia's world leading surface to air missile network is similarly put to serious question.

Ultimately, much as the performance of European made armoured units in Turkish service in Iraq and Syria significantly damaged their prestige and led Ankara to look to South Korea for more capable systems, so too is the performance of Western fighters in Saudi hands set to significantly damage the prestige of these weapons systems. Indeed, a number of longstanding Western arms clients among the Arab Gulf states have since the outbreak of the war in Yemen made attempts to diversify their arms supplies - with the United Arab Emirates purchasing Chinese made attack drones and Qatar and the Emirates both seeking Russian made fighter jets. Continued failures of Western aircraft in the campaign against the Ansurallah coalition could well further this trend and lead to a loss of critical market share for Western arms exporters.

http://militarywatchmagazine.com/read.php?my_data=70440
 

Immanuel

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they are modified A2A R-27T/ET, last time it was S-125 Goa

Yemeni video shows shooting down of Saudi F-15 jet

Strange how the houthis have FLIR, that is quite advanced and how it has been interfaced to work with Russian missiles
 

Armand2REP

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Strange how the houthis have FLIR, that is quite advanced and how it has been interfaced to work with Russian missiles
Yemen used to have a government and a military back in 2015 before the Houthis defeated them.,
 

scatterStorm

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Indeed looks like R27 ER. Interesting for a missile that isn't that good at high G maneuvers considering it's surface launched as well. I am assuming that the initial booster phase provides a slight good kinematic performance and range was less compared to it's usual flight characteristics, hence the kill shot.

EDIT: I am surprised to see a BVR missile fired as point defence SAM!

Here's a almost realistic performance simulation of the missile, notorious of unreliable lock-on. F15 could've evaded it if it had performed a high G evasive maneuver, might be the pilot got into freeze fright.


Note of simulation game: DCS world is the most accurate fighter jet simulator and has range of military assets that also behaves almost true to real world physics components.
 
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Mikesingh

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Strange how the houthis have FLIR, that is quite advanced and how it has been interfaced to work with Russian missiles
Well, they have Iran, Qatar and Syria on their side and that means Russia too. So it's no surprise they have some advanced gizmos to play with.

And it's the man behind the machine that counts. Saudia may have the best and most expensive weapons from the US of A, but are woefully short on training, experience and motivation. Why do you think they have outsourced the defence of their Royal Palace and Mecca and Madina to the mercenary army of Pak which are also deployed on the Saudi border to defend them against the Houthis?
 

Willy3

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Indeed looks like R27 ER. Interesting for a missile that isn't that good at high G maneuvers considering it's surface launched as well. I am assuming that the initial booster phase provides a slight good kinematic performance and range was less compared to it's usual flight characteristics, hence the kill shot.

EDIT: I am surprised to see a BVR missile fired as point defence SAM!

Here's a almost realistic performance simulation of the missile, notorious of unreliable lock-on. F15 could've evaded it if it had performed a high G evasive maneuver, might be the pilot got into freeze fright.


Note of simulation game: DCS world is the most accurate fighter jet simulator and has range of military assets that also behaves almost true to real world physics components.
U played that game? ¿??????????????????........
 

scatterStorm

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U played that game? ¿??????????????????........
I tried once, but unfortunately that game simulator has a steep learning curve, for example flying an F15 would require you to learn and understand the avionics of an actual F15 besides my system cannot run that simulator. It requires a good GPU to have on the first place.
 

bhramos

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Strange how the houthis have FLIR, that is quite advanced and how it has been interfaced to work with Russian missiles
basically Iran provides them all & tests them in war with Saudi's...,
 

Immanuel

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The pilot should have dropped a lot more flares; it also appears; the AA team fired the missile in very short range where the missile still has plenty of energy. This thing proves a point that low level pop up SAMs are a real threat to all fighters, they can be well hidden, the lock is quick and the missile is at near full speed.
 

mikael

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i have always wondered what would have happened in 1991 if iraq fought just KSA and UAE /gulf states WITHOUT USA/NATO involvement ?
saudis had 60 x f-15C even back then, how they would have fared against the iraqis ?
 

asianobserve

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The pilot should have dropped a lot more flares; it also appears; the AA team fired the missile in very short range where the missile still has plenty of energy. This thing proves a point that low level pop up SAMs are a real threat to all fighters, they can be well hidden, the lock is quick and the missile is at near full speed.

And low level attacks are not necessary in most scenarios. Saudis should maximize the use of F-15SAs superb sensors from high altitude. That would allow their pilots more reaction time for evasive maneuvers and counter-measures. But I guess it's like teaching old dogs new tricks. Saudis are only good at flying planes into undefended buildings---

 

ashdoc

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i have always wondered what would have happened in 1991 if iraq fought just KSA and UAE /gulf states WITHOUT USA/NATO involvement ?
saudis had 60 x f-15C even back then, how they would have fared against the iraqis ?
Many saudi air force pilots who were princes refused to report on duty when they heard about Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.
 

mikael

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Many saudi air force pilots who were princes refused to report on duty when they heard about Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.
even if we assume they fought , the 60 x f-15c can probably defend saudi airspace against occasional intruders but what are your thoughts about them
1-performing A2G /CAS missions
2-CAP over iraqi airspace
3-handle massive iraqi air strike package
 

ashdoc

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even if we assume they fought , the 60 x f-15c can probably defend saudi airspace against occasional intruders but what are your thoughts about them
1-performing A2G /CAS missions
2-CAP over iraqi airspace
3-handle massive iraqi air strike package
Iraq's was mainly a land army of a million men with huge number of tanks and artillery pieces. Air force was smaller with about 500 combat aircraft. Most of their combat aircraft could not match the f 15 C . But the Saudis were lazy people living on oil money and were no fighters. Some of their fighter jets were flown by mercenaries--- hired Pakistanis. As I said some f 15 pilots were saudi princes and most simply refused to report for duty as Saddam invaded Kuwait. Morale and motivation was lacking in saudi armed forces . It's army was only 66000 compared to Iraq's 1 million men battle hardened by war with Iran earlier.

The air force was also smaller than Iraqi air force though technologically better . But Saudis who were used to life of ease could hardly bring themselves to go to war with iraq alone .

When the coalition which liberated Kuwait actually went to war the Saudis joined them in attacking too . But American assessment of saudi pilots was that they did not have daring to take risks in either ground strike against surface to air missile defenses or even fight aerial battles especially dogfights against Iraqi pilots especially on Iraqi air space . Because if the Saudi fighterjet was downed in Iraqi air space the pilot risked capture and possible torture by Iraqis . This even when backed by massive American air power. Alone without the Americans to back them the saudi pilots had serious lack of motivation and courage to cross into Iraq to face the Iraqi air force alone . I don't believe the Saudis would have fared any good in either CAS or CAP missions especially on Iraqi territory where capture meant facing the torture apparatus of the mukhabarat--- the secret police of Saddam famed for legendary cruelty.

Also if Saudis had faced the Iraqis alone Saddam's one million men army would have easily rolled over saudi army 1/17th it's size and saudi air bases would have been rapidly captured. Even capital city Riyadh would have surrendered in just few days. One wonders what would have happened to ground staff servicing the f 15s ? Many of them were Americans.
 
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ashdoc

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Iraqis had mig 29s with R 27 ( NATO name---AA 10 Alamo) semi active radar homing air to air missiles and AA 8 aephid short range air to air missiles. Saudi f 15s had AIM 7 sparrow medium range air to air missiles and sidewinder short range air to air missiles. But mig 29 was short range due to it's fuel guzzling RD 33 engines and it's engines ejected smoke making it more detectable, for it was early version of mig 29 when it's problems had not been rectified. The f 15 could carry 8 aams while mig 29 could carry 6 . F 15 had longer range and could strike deep . So f 15 had advantage in air combat over Iraqi mig 29 . Other Iraqi fighters could not face f 15 .
 

Longewala

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even if we assume they fought , the 60 x f-15c can probably defend saudi airspace against occasional intruders but what are your thoughts about them
1-performing A2G /CAS missions
2-CAP over iraqi airspace
3-handle massive iraqi air strike package
Iraq had decent exposure to fighting high end US aircraft, in the form of Iran air force Tomcats
They would have handled the Saudi Eagles pretty well.
 

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