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Missile boats during the cold war

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  • Missile boats during the cold war

    During the later Half of the cold war let's say starting from 1975 a plethora of missile armed boats appeared in the inventory of most countries around the world
    most of them carried 4 to 6 SSM or AShM
    And 1 75 mm gun + some light AA guns
    and some short range SAM or MANPADS

    Clearly they were potent ASUW platforms with the same firepower as let's say a French navy or Royal navy frigate but how vulnerable were they to PGM /LGB armed or dumb weapons armed strike fighters [ like su17, mig27] ?
    can 5 such strike fighters sink one of these boats assuming no fighter opponents? As their AAW capability seems anemic

  • #2
    I don't think that the missile boats had much to fear from aircraft armed with LGBs or PGM of that era. The LGBs were used against stationary targets, where the laser designator could more easily remain fixated. Trying to keep the laser pointer aimed at a fast-moving/manoeuvring ship would likely be an act of futility, as only a direct hit (or very, very near miss) would likely inflict damage on the target.

    PGMs like the AGM-12 Bullpup were still guided by the operator. Trying to hit a high-speed evasive target while watching through a TV viewer would probably be difficult in the extreme.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post
      I don't think that the missile boats had much to fear from aircraft armed with LGBs or PGM of that era. The LGBs were used against stationary targets, where the laser designator could more easily remain fixated. Trying to keep the laser pointer aimed at a fast-moving/manoeuvring ship would likely be an act of futility, as only a direct hit (or very, very near miss) would likely inflict damage on the target.

      PGMs like the AGM-12 Bullpup were still guided by the operator. Trying to hit a high-speed evasive target while watching through a TV viewer would probably be difficult in the extreme.
      so were they vulnerable to unguided rockets and bombs ?

      given the bombload of an average strike fighter in the 70s -80s was approx 2000kg with decent range

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      • #4
        Actually, small missile boats like the Osa class missile boat, are nearly worthless.



        They're a modern version of the PT / MTB boats of WW 2.

        The reason they're nearly worthless is they can't fight in open ocean very well, if at all limiting them to coastal regions. They lack the sensors and communications links that allow integration into larger unit operations and targeting data from outside platforms. For the most part, they're limited to their own sensors which means they have a limited engagement range. At the same time, they're highly vulnerable to opposing ships and particularly aircraft that can engage them almost with impunity as they have next to no defensive systems aboard.

        Aircraft don't need PGM's particularly to take them out. An aircraft could simply engage them with cannon and unguided rockets at short range and that'd be all she wrote. The missile boat's fire controls wouldn't be up to the job of accurately engaging a fast attack plane, and with them limited to maybe one 3" / 76mm cannon and a self-defense 20mm or two, they stand next to zero chance of successfully engaging and shooting down the plane-- assuming they even detect it before it's all over them like stink on...

        It wouldn't help the missile boat to be operating near shore. That would just give the aircraft a better chance of surprise.

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        • #5
          I think the small, unguided missiles could have done great damage. The problem is when the boat went high speed and changed course. In a constricted area, the aircraft would have more fun.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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          • #6
            I agree with Pruitt. The unguided rockets would be more effective since they were an area saturation weapon and just a couple of hits could be devastating to the unarmoured little vessels. As well, rockets are high velocity weapons with little time delay from ignition to impact. Free fall ordnance had to cover the altitude and distance to the target, which takes time and allows the target to manoeuvre. Also, strafing attacks could be deadly, since the pilot can 'walk' the fire into the target before it could evade the stream.
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            • #7
              SO why did the missile boats proliferate so rapidly in the late 70s esp in the middle east and south east asia ?

              Clearly they have SIGNIFICANT drawbacks [ both western and soviet ones] as outlined above

              I see why they are useful as coastal defence force as unless your opponent is USN or RN you are out of reach of their land based aircraft or can shoo them away with your airforce

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              • #8
                The world's first naval battles between missile-armed warships occurred between Israeli Sa'ar 3-class and Sa'ar 4-class missile boats (using indigenously-developed Gabriel missiles), and Syrian Komar- and Osa-class missile boats during the October 1973 Yom Kippur War. The first of these engagements became known as the Battle of Latakia. During this and later battles, some fifty Gabriels and a similar number of Styx missiles were fired; seven Syrian ships were sunk, with zero Israeli losses.
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_boat


                004a7376_medium.jpg

                The Boats of Cherbourg: The Navy That Stole Its Own Boats and Revolutionized Naval Warfare by Abraham Rabinovich

                On Christmas eve 1969, five small boats slipped out of Cherbourg harbor after midnight into the teeth of a Force Nine gale that sent large freighters scurrying for cover. The boats, ordered by Israel from a local shipyard, had been embargoed for more than a year by French President Charles de Gaulle. In a brazen caper, the Israelis were now running off with them. As the boats raced for home and Paris fumed, the world media chortled at Israel’s hutspa. But the story was far bigger than they knew.

                Eight years before, the commander of the Israeli navy had assembled senior officers for a brainstorming session. The navy faced downgrading to a coast guard unless it could reconstitute itself as a fighting force on a starvation budget. What to do? A desperate proposal emerged from the two-day meeting.

                Israel’s fledgling military industries had developed a crude missile which was rejected by both the army and air force. The navy would now try adapting it. If placed on small patrol boats, the missiles, with their large warheads, could give these cheap vessels the punch of a heavy cruiser.

                Over the next decade, engineers working virtually round-the-clock developed the first missile boats in the West. Of a dozen boat platforms ordered in Cherbourg seven sailed before the embargo. The five that escaped completed the flotilla. But the Soviets had meanwhile also developed missile boats which they distributed to their Arab allies. Their powerful and accurate missiles had twice the range of Israel’s. To secure Israel’s sea lanes, the navy devised electronic countermeasures that would hopefully divert the enemy missiles.

                On the first night of the Yom Kippur War, an Israeli squadron engaged three Syrian missile boats in the first ever missile-to-missile battle at sea. The Syrian boats fired first but all three were sunk. Two nights later, three Egyptian missile boats were sunk. The electronic umbrella had worked and no Israeli boat was hit. A new naval age had dawned.
                Last edited by OttoHarkaman; 10 Jan 20, 14:29.

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                • #9
                  Analysis : Are Missile Boats Still Relevant in Modern Warfare?
                  https://defencyclopedia.com/2016/11/...odern-warfare/
                  CONCLUSION

                  • The term ‘missile boat’ may be dying, but the missile boat itself has a bright future.
                  • Many countries around the world are fielding increasingly more capable and modern designs, and designating them as ‘corvettes’, instead of missile boats.
                  • These corvettes possess enormous firepower relative to their size and are cost effective.
                  • The usage of missile corvettes worldwide is seeing an upward trend, and this is only expected to increase in the future.
                  • The advent of smaller, longer ranged and more lethal missiles will only increase the demand for missile corvettes with many navies.
                  • The 150-500 ton range missile corvettes still reign supreme in confined waters as they can inflict massive damage.
                  • The larger missile corvettes are slowly taking over the role of light frigates. They will dominate the littoral and semi-blue water battlespace.

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                  • #10
                    It’s a crying shame that the Pegasus class hydrofoil boats never took off, originally they had hoped to build up to 100.
                    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                    Ernest Hemingway.

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                    • #11
                      I dont see how this is relevant here

                      Battle between missile boats is a totally separate issue
                      Maybe you can please post something about strike planes vs missile boats

                      Thanks

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
                        It’s a crying shame that the Pegasus class hydrofoil boats never took off, originally they had hoped to build up to 100.
                        They didn't have enough lift...

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                        • #13
                          I've also read that the FAC weren't anywhere near as formidable as their armament suggests, due to the fact that they were unstable platforms.

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                          • #14
                            Are they able to use AshM to their max range back in the 80s ?
                            due to their smaller masts and limit their onboard radarss?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nastle View Post

                              I dont see how this is relevant here

                              Battle between missile boats is a totally separate issue
                              Maybe you can please post something about strike planes vs missile boats

                              Thanks

                              The clearest evidence is from the Falklands war. Yes, the Argentines weren't attacking small fast attack boats but mostly regular naval vessels... and relatively successfully. If you take that and put the same planes up against small missile boats with totally inadequate air defenses, you get that they'd be obliterated in short order.

                              Even against anti-ship missiles they'd be helpless. A small missile boat lacks any electronic countermeasures, and lacks even the basic sensor systems to detect an attack being made against them using a missile. Using smaller ASM's like penguin, helicopters or aircraft could easily whack a small missile boat from standoff ranges.

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