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Issue 6
December 2003

Front cover: A Royal Air Force Tristar Tanker refuels two RAF Tornados in mid-flight.

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

is the monthly magazine of the computer Harpoon community, produced by the contribution of the
community members and freely distributed by the Harpoon Headquarters site (, the
premier Harpoon fan site on the net.

All the work submitted by contributors (articles, projects etc.) fully remains their intellectual property and
may be replicated/reproduced only under their explicit consent.

We continuously welcome and encourage input from the community – after all, it’s your magazine, and you
should be the ones to decide what gets presented! Ideas, suggestions, corrections, projects & articles of your
own, put your thoughts into words and email us at All emails are answered.

The Waypoint staff is in no official way associated with 360 Pacific, Interactive Magic, SpearSoft, AGSI,
UbiSoft or any other corporate entity related in any way to any of the computer Harpoon products.

Dimitris V. Dranidis ( – Lead Editor & Publisher, H2/3 material
Dale Hillier ( – Co-Editor, H2/3 material
Ragnar Emsoy ( – Editor, H2/3 material
Michael Mykytyn ( – Editor, H2/3 material
Kip Allen ( – Wargaming veteran, “The Vet’s Pen” column

François Guérin
John Brosky
Harold Hutchinson


The Harpoon series of Board Games has been (c) Larry Bond and Chris Carlson under various editions since
1977 and is still in print and protected by Copyright.

Harpoon, Classic, Classic 97, II (Harpoon 2), and III (Harpoon 3) and all their registered trademarks are (c)
Advanced Gaming Systems Inc. 1988-2002. All worldwide rights reserved Harpoon Online is (c) AGSI and
Kesmai Corporation. Harpoon 4 is (c) UbiSoft 2002 - all worldwide rights reserved. The newer databases,
help files & supplementary material for H2/3/2K2 are produced with permission of AGSI for non-
commercial distribution by each developer who applied for and received acknowledgement by AGSI.

We assume no legal responsibility for the quality of the information contain herein or whatever damage
(direct or indirect) caused by the presented material. All military information on these pages is sourced from
declassified material found in books, magazines, web sites and mails from fellow Harpooners and military
enthusiasts. However, if we have used sensitive material or copyright-protected material of any type, please
let us know so that we can remove it. Any information that does not correspond with declassified info was
obtained through the imagination of the editors.

The Waypoint staff explicitly disavows any legal responsibility for the contents of this edition.


Ends and Beginnings
The H3 Formation Editor in Depth
The H3 Sonar Model
Europe Appraises the Price of Admiralty
The European Navies: Towards a cohesive force
Sub Attack!
Airborne Stealth in a Nutshell – Part II
Tornados over St. John’s
THE FAQs 150

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community


Ends and Beginnings

For every end….there is always a beginning….

Now, don’t go thinking that it’s the end of the world. It certainly isn’t that. Yes ladies and
germs, we are back. The sixth issue of Waypoint is finally here, and from the tons of mail
we have received in the meantime, the anticipation has been edging on the unbearable (the
rumors that North Korea threatened with another missile test unless we publish before the
end of 2003 are, however, entirely unfounded) . There were good reasons that it took us so
long, but we are confident you will find it’s been worth the wait.

As we already mentioned in the last issue, Dimitris has gone off to experience the ultimate
military simulation, so the responsibility for editing and publishing the mag had to be
shared with others. Mike and Dale wrestled for the honor inside a mud-pit with the rest of
the crew as spectators (the 45-minute video of the fight is sold exclusively through the HHQ
site, if you can find the hidden eSellerate link), with Dale eventually emerging victorious
(minus a rib and some teeth). Dale has a good writing & editing background and so is
considered just the man to co-shoulder the responsibility – and his chronic clinical insanity
is just an added bonus for the position. At the same time, much thought has been given at
the perils of the staff being caught up in the “news cast syndrome”, i.e. having to stick to a
standard time-based release schedule whether there is enough material to justify a new
issue or not. We have therefore decided to break the monthly or bi-monthly release
schedules and instead publish only when we feel that the accumulated material is enough to
warrant a new release. Furthermore, we have taken some steps to trim down the page count
a bit to make it easier on your printers. This issue is around 160 pages or so and we’re
probably going to try and keep it that way from now on.

It has been a good 12 months now since the first issue of Waypoint was first released. It
was followed by four more issues (five with the one you’re reading right now), every each
of them receiving critical acclaim throughout the community, and also from quite a few
outsiders who’ve seen a lot in their careers. This has always been the strongest form of
support for us to continue with what we do. This kind of success has surprised even us.
Things must be kept in perspective: we do this in our (very limited these days) free time,
when we are not dealing with other Harpoon-related stuff or the day-by-day going-through
of our Real Lives™. So the feedback we receive from our readers (be it positive or
negative) is of the utmost importance in continuing this endeavor. It doesn’t matter what
you tell us back – as long as you take the time to read, think and tell back.

As most of you are aware by now, Harpoon 4’s long and lingering death came to a
conclusion recently with the cancellation of the title’s development by Ubi Soft. While
expected, it was also greeted with a certain amount of stoic cynicism that can only come
from the constant announcements of its delayed release again – and again. While we share
the disappointment of every member of the community on this news, we cannot help but

feel vindicated in our years-long insistence that prospective buyers should NOT pass over
either H3 or HC in favor of H4. There had been many a people who would just sit on the
fence and not listen to us. Really, what good did their stance bring to them, other than
missing out months (in many cases years) of solid Harpoon enjoyment? If the old saying
“Better the bird in the hand” does not ring true right now, well….

Our news section contains the official statements from all parties involved, related to the
cancellation. These statements are, however, only part of the post-mortem story. There is a
lot of activity going on at many levels in the community right now, to be able to salvage as
much of the development effort as possible for the development of future versions.
Harpoon 4 may be dead, but its “soul” may well end up rising again like the proverbial
phoenix, to eventually appear in a box in your hands in the future (assuming we still use
boxes for software distribution by then). It will almost certainly not have the label
“Harpoon 4”, but you’ll know it when you see it.

On a brighter note, Harpoon Classic 2002 Gold was released in Mid-October. Byron and
his boys are busy with exe updates (there’s been three so far, if memory serves) and they
have released their first two scenarios to go along with the shipped HCG scenarios. It’s
been a long time coming for the HCG team, and the entire HHQ crew passes along our
congratulations on a job well done.

Great things are happening on the Harpoon 3 front as well. Work continues on executable
improvements, scenario releases and database building. Ragnar Emsoy has released several
new editions of his infamous DB2000 which include a new comprehensive ESM model and
updated aircraft logistics (for more details see our news section). Rag also has some further
aces in his slave for near-future release, including a fully reworked ECM model and other
improvements based on code modifications. Many new scenarios from Mike Mykytyn,
Klaus Behrman, and Quinton Van Zyl (among others) have also been released. Scuttlebutt
also has it the HHQ crew is gearing up for a major new section addition to the site, based
on one of H3’s recently added features.

Exe-wise, Jesse Spears is busy rolling-up Darrell Dearing’s MP code modification into the
main H3 executable. The multiplayer version is currently under intense development and
testing, and testers’ comments indicate that things are looking good. While no hard dates
can be given at the moment, the feeling in the air is that players will not have to wait for
much longer for this ground-shattering event (Think we’re overstating it? The testers say
we’re being far too modest).

Back in the real world, the mess once called “war on terrorism” goes on. November was
the bloodiest month for US forces since the end of the war this past spring, as well as one
of the heaviest tolls for Italian peacekeeping units. There appears to be a coordinated
resistance against the US and other nations in the region, and allied forces have begun
taking the fight to possible terrorist strongholds in response. Afghanistan is also heating up
again and these two locations seem to draw away from other conflicts in the region such as
the Philippines, Indonesia and the potential upcoming Taiwan/PRC crisis. Saddam
Hussein’s recent arrest, a significant event by any criterion, may or may not act as a
catalyst in the mode of presence of US and other western forces in the region. While not by

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

any means the end of events in Iraq, hopefully it is a step closer for the peaceful settlement
of the entire Middle East situation and, just maybe, the eventual withdrawal of badly-worn
troops back home, wherever “home” is for them. Also, there is hope that the truth about
Iraq’s supposed WMD program may now be established for good, straight from the horse’s
mouth – making the protagonists on both side of the argument finally shut the hell up.

With these and other thoughts, we would like to wish our readers the best holidays, and the
best for the safety and prosperity of themselves and their loved ones in the New Year that is
nearly upon us. And lest we forget: Harpoon’s sailors, airmen and soldiers are digital.
There are real men and women out there who, either out of obligation or voluntary decision
are putting their lives on the line day by day so that we can afford to concentrate on other
aspects of our lives. Some of them stand guard on eternal powder kegs (yo D!☺), others are
already in warzones. The Waypoint, and everything else in the Harpoon universe, is about
these people – the dangers they face, the choices they have to make, the environment in
which they live and die. It is our way of not forgetting about them.

Happy holiday, and a happy new year to everyone.

Harpoon HQ
By the Players for the Players

This section deals presents news of interest to the computer Harpoon community: everything from new
databases, new versions, new ideas expressed, to official press releases, to world events of relevance to
computer Harpoon. Have some news that you would like to spread around? Drop us a line
( and we’ll credit you with the piece of news reported.

DB2K database changes in the three months between versions 6.4.5 and 6.5.1

The v6.5 version of the DB2000 database is the product of nearly four months of intense
development and testing. New features include:

1) New logistics model. All types of aircraft ordnance are in limited supply, not just
missiles and sensor pods. The 'general munitions' ammo dump now contains more than
550 types of ordnance; missiles, guided and unguided bombs, rockets, torpedoes, and
sensor/datalink pods. The carrier magazines in the database now usually hold 40-50
different types of ordnance depending on country of origin and the timeframe.

2) New ESM model and revised radar model. With the old model, even the weakest
navigation radar sets could be picked up by any ESM/RWR at several hundred nautical
miles. However with the new model, if you have a radar set and an equally sensitive
ESM set (i.e. same generation), the ESM can detect the radar at twice the radar's
maximum range. Older radar sets can be detected at longer ranges; while advanced LPI
radar sets can only be detected at very short ranges. The ESM/RWR sets in the
database now come in ten different categories, nine different countries of origin, and
five generations. With these latest changes, all of the sensor models from the original
H2/3 have been redesigned; Radar, IR, Visual, Sonar, and lastly, ESM.

3) Smarter AI. The AI will now be able to defeat enemy SEAD efforts much the same
way the player can. Fire control radar will only be used when needed, forcing the
player to employ real-life deception/baiting tactics if he wants a successful hit with an
anti-radiation missile (ARM).

Here is a list of the most relevant database additions:

- AH-1P Cobra, 1997, Turkey
- AH-1W Super Cobra, 1999, Turkey
- AS.545 Panther with AS.15TT missiles for UAE
- Commando Mk 3 with Exocet missiles for Qatar
- F-5A Freedom Fighter, Turkey
- F-15K Eagle for South Korea
- F-16AM Falcon MLU, Norway, 2003 LANTIRN upgrade
- F-104G Starfighter, Norway, 1980 – 1983
- F-104G Starfighter, Italy, 1980 – 1993
- F-104S Starfighter CBO, Italy, Attack
- F-104S Starfighter CIO, Italy, Fighter

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

- HD-6A Badger, China, Electronic Warfare Version

- HD-5 Beagle, China, Electronic Warfare
- HZ-5 Beagle, China, Recce
- L-39ZO Albatross, Syria
- MiG-21MF Fishbed J, Syria
- MiG-21bis Fishbed N, Syria
- Su-22M-2 Fitter J, Syria
- Su-27 Flanker B, Syria
- Su-27SMT, Indonesia
- Su-30MKM, Malaysia
- Tornado EF.3 armed with ALARM missiles from 2003 onwards

- Royal Navy Type 45 Batch 2 with 127mm/62 gun and ERGM munitions, IOC 2009.
- F 145 Amatola South African stealth corvette
- A 302 Outeniqua
- A 301 Drakensburg
- P 980 Snøgg, Norwegian MTB class
- Indian Project 17 destroyer
- DDG 168 Guangzhou, new Chinese DDG
- DDG 170 Lanzhou, ditto
- MM 814 Wolei minelayer
- MM 833 T-43 minesweeper
- LSM 957 Yulian
- LSM 990 Yudeng

- SSN 585 Skipjack
- SSN 594 Permit

- Arty - 122mm Howitzer Bn, 18x guns
- Arty - 122mm Howitzer Bty, 6x guns
- Arty - 152mm Howitzer Bn, x18 guns
- Arty - 152mm Howitzer Bty, x6 guns
- Arty - 155mm Howitzer Bn, x12 guns
- Arty - 155mm Howitzer Bn, x18 guns
- Arty - 203mm Howitzer Bn, x18 guns
- Arty - 203mm Howitzer Bty, x6 guns
- Battalion - Russian Mech Inf
- Battalion - Soviet Paras
- Battalion - Soviet Armored
- Battalion - Syrian Army
- Battalion - US Army Infantry
- Battalion - US Army Armored
- Battalion - US Army Mech Inf
- Complete HAWK/I-HAWK series, from MIM-23A to MIM-23K

- Chinese tanks like Type 69, 79, 85, 88 and 90 added
- Radar Site (TRS-2000)
- Radar Site (TRS-2230)
- Radar Site (TRS-2100 Tiger S)
- Radar Site (J/TPS-102)
- Radar Site (J/TPS-101)
- Radar Site (J/FPS-2)
- Radar Site (J/FPS-3)
- SAM (Rapier B1X Battery), Turkey, 1999
- SAM (DEHAWK Battery), Denmark, 2001
- SAM (NASAMS Platoon), Spain
- SAM (Roland 3 Battery)
- SAM (Roland 3 VMV Battery)
- Vehicle (Truck Depot)
- Vehicle (Park)

- AGM-114C Hellfire
- AIM-9JULI Sidewinder
- BPG-2000 2000lb LGB penetrator for Spain.
- GBU-28A/B and GBU-28B/B
- ZT-6 Mokopa

Significant database modifications:

- USN future ships updated as per latest information.
- Cruiser conversion program from 2006 + various subsequent upgrades.
- USN has decided to change the ERGM warhead from DPICM to Unitary, IOC skewed
to 2006.
- Updated the following systems: Mk53 Nulka, Mk46 Optical Sight, Mk15 Block
1A/1B, Sea Sparrow, ESSM, Tomahawk, and Mk54 torp.
- RAM, Sea Wolf and other point defence missiles have been given a minimum range of
1nm. The missiles are no longer taken into account in the last 'point-defence'
calculation when the parent ship is about to get hit by an anti-ship missile. This solves
the problem with these missiles being too effective. Also reduced the range of the
RAM missile to 6nm from 8nm.
- B-2A Spirit carries 80 GBU-38(V)1/B JDAM [Mk82] from 2004.
- Misc. B-52G/H updates, including added different HSAB and I-beam bomb loads for
the various versions and mods.
- Litening ER and Litening AT pods added, fitted to A-10, B-52
- F-15E carries the GBU-28 on the centerline.
- Israeli F-15I carries GBU-31(V)1/B JDAM [Mk84] from 2005.
- USAF CCIP F-16 Blk 40/42/50/52 updated.
- UAE F-16C Blk 60 weapon load.
- JSF loadouts updated, many weapons removed as per Joint Office decision in May
- Updated USN/USMC reconnaissance systems: AN/ARQ-56 Datalink pod for ATARS,

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

- C-130, C-135, C-17 and V-22 now have nav/weather radars with correct designation
- Aussie F/A-18s and Hawk Mk.127 have AIM-9M instead of AIM-9L
- Aussie F-111C AUP (1995 onwards) carry new/separate loadouts with AIM-9M.
- AN/AAW-13 datalink pod from 1990s.
- Nimrod MR.Mk 2P with AN/AAQ-35 turret from 2003.
- British Outfit DLB/DLJ/DLH systems have been fully implemented, Mk251 Siren +
DLH on Type 23's from 2006 and Type 45 from 2007.
- Indian Su-30MKI's are armed with AA-10C Alamo missiles, not AA-10A.
- Rafale IOC dates updated + other minor mods. Damocles LDP Pod from 2004, GBU-
12, AS.30, Paveway II/III. Rafale N carries a single SCALP missile under the fuselage
from 2006, Rafale C carriers a pair of SCALPs under the wings.
- Mirage 2000C-5 no longer carry IR MICA, only Rafale from 2004 onwards.
- Super Etendard updates, including ATLIS II pod and AS.30L from 1995, Damocles
LDP Pod and GBU-12 from 2002.
- AASM updated, AASM/D and AASM/M subversions from 2004 and 2006
- French LGB series fixed/updated. Jaguar has BGL-400 from 1986, followed later by
Mirage F.1. Mirage 2000D is the only a/c carrying the larger BGL-1000 penetrator.
GBU-12/22/24 (the latter with BLU-109 warhead) from late 1990 while at the same
time the BGL-series was withdrawn.
- Swedish A-17 Vastergotland submarines will have AIP from 2005.
- Netherlands L-class (Jacob Van Heemskerck) is to be decommissioned by 2005, the
2003 version has been removed from the database.
- The last Netherlands Kortenaer will be decommissioned next year, 2003 upgrade
deleted from database.
- The Project 1234.7 Nanuchka IV corvette Nakat is said to be operational with the SS-
N-26 Sapless (a.k.a. 3M55 Oniks a.k.a. Yakhont) this year. Only one ship of this class
was converted from earlier Nanuchka III's during the late 1980s (!). The missile load in
the DB has been corrected, the ships now carries two sextuple launchers.
- The Novator Club / Alfa missile series has the NATO designation SS-N-27 Sizzler.
- Updated several Chinese amphibs, including LSM 972 Yudao, LST 927 Yukan, LST
991 Yuting updated.
- SA-N-6: Increased the number of missile datalinks to 12 per system; the radar is still
only capable of handling 6 targets (i.e. 2x missiles per target).
- SA-10: Lots of minor mods like replaced some radar sets, etc. PMU and PMU-1 have
received extensive mods. There are four missiles in the database: 5V55K (SA-10a),
5V55R (SA-10b), 48N6E (SA-20a/c) and 5V55RUD (SA-20b). PMU and PMU-1
systems are for export only. The last type commissioned by the Russians was the SA-
10c (a.k.a. SA-20a Gargoyle). Battery composition has been fixed, one SA-10a/b
Regiment has 3x Batteries, ach with three launchers. The SA-10c has six launchers per
battery (up from three as for earlier systems) which is identical to the SA-12 entering
service around the same time.
- SA-5: conventional version of SA-5b added to supplement nuke version, range reduced
to 135nm for this version.
- SA-2: Updated SA-2d/e radar, added conv. SA-2e, updated range, speed, etc.

Interesting stuff found during research:

Paired GBU-12 bombs on Rafale:

Triple GBU-12 racks are being tested for Rafale; the AASM bomb can use the same triple-

The new French laser-designator pod is named Damocles LDP:

Damocles on Super Etendard from 2002 onwards:

AASM missile/bomb (not sure what it really is):

Gems from JED since June

It’s been a while since June, and the chaps at the Journal of Electronic Defence
( have kept producing superb articles on subjects dealing with all
branches of warfare, with a heavy emphasis on electronics & sensor systems as usual. Here
we list some of the HHQ webmasters’ favorite picks from each month.

The June issue focuses heavily on the subject of modern

expeditionary forces and the tactics and technologies developed
to enable them to perform their mission. The front-page article
deals with the tricky subject of providing sufficient air-support
from distant bases and from high-altitude while maintaining the
high operational tempo and responsiveness typically associated
with the traditional low-altitude, dirt strip-launched CAS ops.
Additional articles exploring the hazards of port & airfield
assaults and the USAF’s heavy airlift
capabilities round-out this complex
and wide subject.

July hits hard on with khakis and the proverbial soldier boot (in
addition to keeping D reading in the barracks☺). Border
intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR), a centuries-
old problem for countries in neighborhoods of unrest, is getting
increased attention as UN peacekeeping operations expand in

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both scope and scale. JED presents new (and not so new) technologies that can ease the
workload on border-duty grunts and increase their effectiveness. Other two-thumbs-up
pieces in the issue include a highly interesting analysis of the Soviet/Russian fascination
with rocket artillery and the numerous offsprings of this relationship, as well as a look-back
to the 60 years since the first employment of chaff, that timeless and most basic self-
protection tool.

August takes a dive (literally) into the increased responsibilities

and operations of the US Coast Guard, incidentally an
inspirational source for Harpoon scenarios that has been
relatively untapped until now (you hear that, scen-meisters?).
Also, with the heliborne Horizon radar system, the French may
well have the next best thing to JSTARS or ASTOR when it
comes to wide-area ground surveillance, and at a killer bang-for-
buck value to boot. Finally, one for the Falcon lovers: an article
celebrating the 25 years since the IOC of the F-16 fighter,
possibly the most widely produced and employed western fighter
since the F-4 Phantom II.

Number 5 from “Short Circuit” is

back – only this time in control of an armed aircraft and with a
killer mood. The September issue is all about UAVs/UCAVs,
and no stone is left unturned: current and future capabilities,
usage doctrine (including the US DoD’s official roadmap),
market research, reforms needed to effective operate them and
more. An interesting underlying theme prevails: The technology
for properly exploiting unmanned aircraft is already here; what
is still lacking is the change of mindset and formal procedures
needed to adopt them operationally. Air Force generals might
indeed be a bit tougher to rewire than avionics packages.

October arrived with a headline article fit to make Rag and D

slip in each other’s drool: Russian heavy antiship missiles, the
Russian Navy’s premier weapon system (SLBMs aside).
Technology, tactics and doctrine are all explained, together with
a run-down on all the operational systems. Other gems: New
technologies for better planning of amphibious operations (some
of the screenshots in the article look suspiciously like H3
screengrabs – coincidence?), and a blast from the past in
detailing the command and control structure of WW2 German
anti-aircraft defence networks.

The November issue returns to the grunt business in force. Enhanced night-vision devices
enable line infantry to fight better under most adverse weather & visibility conditions – but
at what price? Cost control is of importance when thinking of outfitting a large number of
infantrymen, and JED examines a number of alternatives available. Part II of the detailed

history of Russian SSMs is a welcome addition. Plus, an
examination on single-channel ESM receivers for the all-
important snooping mission.

In addition to the prime articles, each issue also features the

latest news and commentary from the world market &
development sectors in the defence matters. An invaluable
resource for any serious Pooner, the JED articles are available at
the JED-Online site ( after a free

Rag’s research links for the WW3-1985 & China-based battlesets

I have used these sites extensively for the WW3 battleset:

Other useful stuff:

Lots and lots of cool stuff

I did some research on the Chinese/Taiwanese OoB a few months back and I found a LOT
of VERY interesting stuff. I've been looking at stuff to do after the WW3 battleset is finished
(in 3-4 years time, hehe), and a battleset involving China could be interesting.

Here is some of the stuff I found:

-Complete list of Chinese air bases and the aircraft complements (current and projected):

Chinese OoB with maps of military districts and bases, list of aircraft complements etc etc

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More of the same:

Chinese facilities and stuff (good as an introduction but not accurate enough for scenario

There are tons and tons of information on this subject, so it’s just a matter of going out
and grab it. But please remember to always be critical of these sources. Not all of them
are accurate, and many are downright wrong. It may be difficult to distinguish between
good and bogus information at first, but after a while you become quite good at it ☺.

H2002 Gold Finally Available

Posted by Bruce Fenster:

Harpoon Classic 2002 is now available for purchase at:
Purchase Instructions:

There are currently two purchase options, Electronic Download and CD-ROM via First
Class Airmail. The price of the Download is $30.00 (USD). Shipping and Handling cost
for the CD-ROM is an additional $8.00 (USD). It is the policy of our on line merchant,
eSellerate, to ship CD's anywhere in the world within 48 hours of an order being placed,
so for most US customers, the CD should arrive in the mail 3-5 days after placing the

As promised, those of you who previously purchased the HC2002 upgrade are entitled to a
$10 discount when purchasing HC2002 GOLD. To ensure you receive the discount,
please click the "More Info" link directly above the "Buy" button when you load the URL
listed above. You'll need to provide the same e-mail address you used when you
purchased the HC2002 upgrade.

IMPORTANT NOTE - If that e-mail address is no longer active, you will not receive an e-
mail confirmation of your purchase and registration serial number. Be extra mindful to
copy the new serial number generated during the course of this transaction. You will need
it to run all but the Demo scenarios in HC2002 GOLD. (And since the letter O and the
number Zero are easy to mistake, your best bet is to Copy and Paste the registration serial
number into a new .txt or other document for later retrieval.) Please use the HGSL
support list to report any problems in receiving your discount (link provided below).

The Download is a 24+ MB file that includes the HC2002 GOLD Game Engine, Scenario
Editor, Platform Editor, and the HCDB (HC2002 GOLD's newly updated database). The
CD-ROM includes all of the above, plus Access Runtime for those who do not have MS

Access 97 or later installed on their machines. And, since the CD also includes a several
hundred megabyte NEW WORLD MAP (its implementation is our next goal in the ongoing
development of HC2002), we strongly encourage you all to order the CD-ROM as well as
the Download.

Purchase is currently by Credit Card only. Within a few days, we will post notice on how
to purchase HC2002 GOLD for those of you who prefer a Money Order option.

Installation and Registration:

Upon completing the purchase, those of you who order the download will be linked to the
HC2002 GOLD Download Site. Choose from any of the three mirror sites listed there and
your download will begin. Upon completion, double click the Installer file,
"hcgold_full.exe" and follow the prompts to select a destination directory in which to
install HC2002 GOLD. Next, for those of you who own HC97, use the BattleSet Utility
button to import the EC2000 files into your new HC2002 GOLD directory.

You are now ready to register your copy of HC2002 GOLD. Use your newly created
shortcut, Start Menu icon, or double click on the Winharp32.exe file, to open the Game
Engine. Load the first scenario in the GIUK BattleSet. Click on HELP in the upper menu
bar once the scenario has loaded, and in the drop down click on REGISTER HC2002.
Finally, retrieve the registration serial number you saved earlier and paste it into the
registration window. Click on OK, and your copy of HC2002 GOLD should now be
registered and fully functional.

Note on MS Access and Access Runtime:

The Download does not contain Access Runtime (to save bandwidth), which is only
necessary for running the Platform Editor, and even then, only if you do not have a
working copy of MS Access 97 or later on your computer. To get Access Runtime (8 MB
Download), please visit:


Please continue to use the HGSL support list and/or the HULL for all support-related
questions. We hope this all runs smoothly, but if there are bumps in the road, we'll respond
as soon as is humanly possible. The links to these are listed below my signature.

Bruce Fenster
Assistant HULL Moderator
Testing and Support Manager, HC2002 GOLD

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

Dale Hillier’s Military News

October 5, 2003

Operational News
On October 3, the NY Times reported that US troops traded shots with guerrillas in a
firefight Thursday afternoon near the center of Falluja, a town about 30 miles west of
Baghdad, witnesses said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Pakistani soldiers attacked an al-Qaeda mountain
hideout in the country's tribal region yesterday, killing 12 suspected terrorists and
capturing 18. It is not clear whether any senior al-Qaeda figures were among the dead or
captured, all of whom appeared to be foreigners, army officials said.

The Journal of Electronic Defence has reported that US Secretary of Defence Secretary
Donald H.Rumsfeld said that the US supports the resumption in Colombia of a policy that
allows Colombian fighter pilots to shoot down planes suspected of trafficking drugs. The
policy was put on hold in Colombia and Peru (which had a similar policy, also backed by
the US) after a Peruvian fighter shot down a private plane carrying US missionaries in
2001. A White House statement said that, since that incident, Colombia had "put in place
appropriate procedures to protect against loss of innocent life."

The BBC has reported that China has struck a deal to invest in Galileo, the European
Union's space satellite navigation network.

Naval News
The Journal of Electronic Defence has posted the first part of a series of articles on
Russian made surface to surface missiles.
13&doct=cover%20story (Free registration is required but it's worth it)

The US Naval Institutes magazine Proceedings, there is an article from the October issue
on the future of naval warfare.
The think tank Global Security has reported via the San Diego Union-Tribune that the
USN has reached its lowest strength since World War One.

Ground Forces News
The Air Combat Information Group has posted a Photo Gallery of a recent Iranian Military
Parade held on September 22.

The Center for Contemporary Conflict has posted an essay by Retired ROKN Vice
Admiral Young-Kil Suh on the Future of the U.S.-South Korea Alliance.

The Foreign Military Studies Office has posted an article on the performance of Russian
snipers in Chechnya.

JED is reporting that the Canadian Armed Forces would pay $33.8 million to acquire four
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for use starting in October by Canadian forces in
Afghanistan. Under the deal, Sagem (Paris, France), a French sub-contractor to Oerlikon
Contraves (Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada), will provide one system composed
of four UAVs, two control stations, training, and support, with the option for Canada to
acquire more at a later date.

The US Army War College quarterly magazine 'Parameters' contains an article by Alan W.
Dowd on the recent war in Iraq.

Air Force News is reporting that the Government of Czech Republic has requested
a possible sale of 12 F-16A Block 15 Air Defence Fighter aircraft. This possible sale could
include 20 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and
4,000 rounds of 20mm cannon ammunition. Also provided will be F-16 associated support
equipment, spare and repair parts, devices, simulators, ammunition, AMRAAM training
missiles, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training
equipment. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $650 million.

In yet another story from Malaysia's Airod Wednesday signed a

sales and purchase agreement with Russia's state defence marketing arm,
Rosoboronexport, to procure ten medium-lift Mi-17 helicopters which would be sold to the
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

Agusta SPA issued a press release on October 2 stating that it had been awarded a contract
by the Malaysian Ministry of Defence for the supply of eleven Augusta A109 Light
Observation Helicopter (LOH) together with an initial product support and training
package. The aircraft will be operated by Malaysian Army Aviation. The contract is worth

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more than 70 Million US$ and includes a substantial package of Transfer of Technology to
the Malaysian Industries.
Finally, Jane's Information Group has posted on the recent Moscow 2003 air show.

October 12, 2003

Operational News has reported that an apparent suicide car bomb today detonated on a side street
near the Baghdad Hotel -- where U.S. officials are believed to be housed -- killing at least
six people and wounding 10 others. According to US spokesmen, Iraqi police forces fired
on the car as it sped through a checkpoint, keeping the vehicle from reaching its apparent

The Arab News has reported that forty-one Taliban prisoners tunneled out of jail in
southern Afghanistan in a dramatic escape that is embarrassing for the government and
presents yet another security headache in the troubled region.
ix=world.jpg&category=World is reporting that North Korea said Saturday that "arms, not
words" were necessary for dealing with Japan's attempt to set up a missile defence system.
The latest outburst came just days after Pyongyang demanded Japan be excluded from the
next round of six-nation talks into its nuclear weapons program. http://www.defence-

In another report from, Russian President Vladimir Putin said

Thursday at a Russo-German summit that Russia is opposed to the doctrine of using
preemptive strikes to prevent attacks but reserves the right to resort to it if the practice
should become widespread. This is in apparent reversal to its long standing opposition to
US military action against Iraq and other nations.

The United States Army News Service reported on October 10th that the US Army's new
Stryker armored vehicles are headed for their first operational assignment -- service in
Operation Iraqi Freedom. Vehicles of the Fort Lewis-based Stryker Brigade Combat Team
began rolling onto ships today at the port of Tacoma, Wash. The Stryker vehicles and
related equipment will support 3,600 soldiers from the I Corps' 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry
Division who will begin their assignment in Iraq in a few weeks.

According to a story released from Defence Link, US troop strength in South Korea can be
reduced because of technological advances in military art and lessons learned from combat
in Afghanistan and Iraq. This according to Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff.


Naval News
The Los Anegles Times reports that Israel has modified American-supplied cruise missiles
to carry nuclear warheads on submarines, giving the Middle East's only nuclear power the
ability to launch atomic weapons from land, air and beneath the sea, according to senior
Bush administration and Israeli officials.

The United States Navy News Stand reported on October 9th, that, after careful
assessments of USS Carl Vinson’s (CVN 70) operational readiness, including the
remaining useful life of the nuclear fuel, the Navy is recommending to Department of
Defence officials that the ship’s refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) commence in the
fall of 2005, one year later than originally planned. It is as yet unknown whether the reason
for the delay is either operational or funding related.

Journal of Electronic Defence has reported that Russia and China have settled a pay
dispute between the Baltic Shipyard and Severnaya Verf, which had been holding up the
construction for the People's Republic of China of two Project 956EM guided-missile
destroyers (DDGs), the upgraded export version of the Russian Project 956E Sovremenny
class). The Baltic Shipyard and Severnaya Verf have been involved in a conflict
concerning the PRC contract since early 2002.

MBDA has issued a press release stating that its new Seawolf Block 2 naval point defence
missile has been successfully fired for the first time at the Vidsel missile test range in
Sweden. The new Seawolf Block 2 variant, which will enter service with the UK Royal
Navy in 2005, was test fired on the 4th September. The missile is designed to operate with
existing in-service Seawolf missile systems.

Raytheon has been awarded a $36.9 million contract for production of its ALR-67(V)3
radar warning receiver system for the US Navy. The ALR-67(V)3 is the state-of- the-art
radar warning receiver on US Navy F/A-18E/F carrier-based tactical aircraft and recently
completed a successful initial deployment in the Persian Gulf this past spring.

Ground Forces News

The New York Times reported on October 8th that the US military has been unable to
locate a large number of shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles that were part of the arsenal of
Saddam Hussein, officials say, compounding the security risks for airports and airlines in
Iraq and around the world. The lack of accounting for the missiles — officials say there
could be hundreds — is the primary reason the occupation authorities have not yet
reopened the Baghdad International Airport to commercial traffic, officials said. The

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terminal has been rebuilt and the runways repaired, and Australian soldiers are running the
air traffic control system.

The Air Force Journal has posted an article on the attack by 11th Aviation Regiment
against the Iraqi Republican Guard Medina Division.

The United States Army News Service reported on October 7th, that the Dismounted
Battlespace Battle Lab’s lightweight shotgun system is undergoing operational inspection
and test firing for 200 shotguns to be fielded to the 10th Mountain Division for future use
in Afghanistan. The 10th Mountain will field the lightest variation of the 12-gauge shotgun
system, which attaches under the M-4 carbine and weighs 2 pounds, 11 ounces — less
than the M-203 grenade launcher.

Air Force News

Jane's Defence Weekly reported on October 6th that Lockheed Martin has won the US
DoD's competition to build a sophisticated next-generation airship that will provide
persistent high-altitude surveillance of ballistic missiles and air threats approaching the
continental US and could also be used in other theatres to protect US troops and allies.
(Non-Subscriber Extract Only)

The Air Combat Information Group has posted an interesting comparison between the Su-
27 Flanker Series and MiG-29 Fulcrum.

ACIG also has another article on the Order of Battle of the North Korean Air Force. It is
unclear how accurate the Order of Battle is but there are plenty of photographs.

According to the Journal of Electronic Defence, the Naval Air Systems Command
(NAVAIR) announced that the AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking
Infrared (ATFLIR) pod had successfully completed its operational evaluation.

Raytheon has announced that it was recently selected by the U.S. Air Force Research
Laboratory (AFRL) to develop a miniaturized Global Positioning System (GPS) navigator
with an adaptive anti- jam (A/J) capability for the Miniature Navigator Demonstration
(MIND) program.

According to a news release from Boeing, The Government of Singapore has selected the
F-15T Strike Eagle as one of three aircraft in the short-list of platforms to be evaluated in
the Invitation to Tender phase of Singapore’s Next Fighter Replacement Program. The
other two aircraft on the list are the EF-2000 and the Mirage 2000.

The Center for Contemporary Conflict has posted an article on the al-Qaeda group and its
desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

October 19, 2003

Operational News is reporting that the American force that has stood guard on the Korean
Peninsula since the war against North Korea ended 50 years ago is about to change
fundamentally. Details are sketchy but it is rumored that the current number of troops will
drop from 37,000 to 12,000.

Canadian On-Line Explorer has reported that the US President on Sunday rejected North
Korea's demand that the United States sign a formal non-aggression treaty in exchange for
nuclear concessions.

The Washington Post is reporting that Palestinian police arrested several members of a
small, radical group in the Gaza Strip early Thursday and were questioning them about
their possible involvement in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy Wednesday that
killed three American security guards, a Palestinian security official said. The official, said
the suspects were members of the Popular Resistance Committees, a group of disaffected
former members of larger Palestinian organizations.

The Associated Press is reporting that the four combat deaths suffered by US units in Iraq
on October 18th pushed the total count of KIAs to over 100. This after a joint U.S. Iraqi
patrol confronted gunmen outside the headquarters of a Shiite Muslim cleric, triggering
clashes in which three Americans and 10 Iraqis were killed, including two Iraqi policemen.

Naval News has posted a press release from Eurocopter stating that the
Mexican Navy (Armada de México) has signed a contract for the acquisition of 2 Panther
helicopters plus 8 options. This firm order reinforces the relationship between Eurocopter
and the Mexican Navy, started 23 years ago. The Panther helicopters will be operated from
boats for coast guard, surveillance, SAR (Search And Rescue), drug, and troop transport
missions. They will be delivered in 2005, completing the current Mexican Navy fleet of

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Eurocopter BO 105 CB & AS 555 AF.


The Australian Defence news journal Head's Up has reported that the new 5 inch GPS
guided projectile flew more than 54 nautical miles in less than three minutes. Using inputs
from up to nine GPS satellites, the projectiles guided to within 20 meters of their
designated targets. (you have to scroll down some)

Ground Forces News has reported via The Hague that Dutch marines in Iraq have
found grenades from the 1991 Gulf War that possibly carry a chemical charge and have
sent in British experts for further checks, a defence ministry spokesman said Saturday.
According to the spokesman, the grenades found could carry a chemical charge but it
could also be a case of a normal charge disintegrating and releasing chemicals after years
under the hot sun.

Global has posted an article on the future of the Stryker ACV and its recent
deployment to Iraq.

Air Force News

Well, as most people have heard by now, the People's Republic of China successfully
completed its first manned space flight on October 15th. This first flight lasted 21 hours
with the pilot and capsule landing safely some 300 km North-West of Beijing.

Gripen International announced via press release that the Gripen production line has been
opened in Linköping, Sweden. has reported via the Press Trust of India that on October 10, India
today concluded a major defence deal with Israel and Russia for manufacture of airborne
early warning and control system (AWACS), Phalcon, for the Indian Air Force. The
system will be mounted on IL-76 aircraft.
bin/client/ (not much else to
read though)

The Air Force Journal has posted an article on the new blended wing concept.

October 26, 2003

Operational News
The is reporting via the Associated Press on a rocket attack that took place at
the Al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq. One US soldier was killed and 16 others were
wounded. Furthermore, a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter was shot down Saturday by
ground fire near Tikrit, a center of anti-US. sentiment. The U.S. command in Baghdad said
five soldiers were injured when the Blackhawk was hit by an RPG. It is interesting to note
that in both incidents a US Deputy Secretary of Defence was at both locations within hours
of both attacks. This brings to total US death toll to 108 since May 1, 2003.

In another report from, US troops in raided the remote village of Habbariyah,
Iraq on October 24th and detained nearly all the men, one as old as 81, one as young as 13.
The sweep - similar to those conducted in Afghanistan by U.S. special operations troops -
came at a time when American officials are concerned that foreign fighters, including
those loyal to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, are crossing into Iraq to join the resistance
against the U.S.-led occupation. A month after the raid, apparently aimed at preventing
terrorists from slipping across the border from Saudi Arabia, only two of the 79 captives
have been freed.

The Washington Post is reporting that despite events elsewhere, the US administration
intends to press Iran to comply with an Oct. 31 deadline for opening the books on its past
nuclear activities, senior officials said yesterday, as U.S. skepticism grew toward this
week's surprise agreement by Iran to stop enriching uranium.

The Washington Times has posted a report stating that a top Israeli intelligence official has
charged that Saudi Arabia is pressing forward with a secret program to acquire nuclear-
weapons technology from Pakistan, even as senior U.S. officials said yesterday they had
seen "no information to substantiate" reports that a deal was in the works. The Washington
Times, citing a senior Pakistani source, reported yesterday that Saudi Crown Prince
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the country's de facto ruler, concluded a long-rumored deal to
obtain a nuclear deterrent in exchange for discounted Saudi oil during a visit to Islamabad
over the weekend. has reported that Singapore, a staunch US ally in Asia, will send
transport planes and ships to Iraq next week as part of its contribution to rebuilding the
war-torn nation, the defence ministry said Wednesday. A defence ministry spokeswoman
told AFP the contingent will include C-130 Hercules transport aircraft from the air force
and Landing Ship Tanks from the navy.

Naval News
Singapore conglomerate Keppel Corporation said Wednesday its US subsidiary AMFELS
Inc. has won a 73 million US dollar defence-related contract from Boeing. The contract
involves outfitting a bare deck semi-submersible oil drilling platform that will be used as a

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radar outpost for the US government's missile defence system. The vessel is expected to be
delivered in the first quarter of 2005.

The Xinhua News Agency has reported on a recent joint exercise by Chinese and Pakistani
warships carried out off the coast of Shanghai. The drill, code-named "Dolphin 0310,"
simulated an emergency operation in which the vessels were called to a burning civilian
ship to rescue surviving sailors. Two ships from each side took part in the drill, which
marked the first time Chinese and Pakistani navies have joined forces in an exercise based
on what was called "non-traditional security" scenario.

According to a report by the Republic of China (Taiwan) Central News Agency, a group of
10 US naval officers arrived in Taipei Sunday to discuss the sale of eight conventional
submarines Taiwan has ordered from the United States, it was reported. The officers are
expected to brief the navy on the progress of the deal before their departure on Thursday,
the state-funded Central News Agency said. The group was led by Gibson Le Boeuf, the
deputy US Navy program executive officer for submarines, it said. The navy declined to
comment on the report.

Boeing has been awarded a $121US Million contract for system development and
demonstration of the Hornet Autonomous Real-time Targeting (HART) system. HART
adds a precision guidance capability to Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) that enables
aircrews to designate targets and deploy JDAM independent of pre-planned mission
requirements. The Navy plans to deploy HART initially on JDAMs carried aboard the
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The US Navy News Stand has posted a report on the recent seizure of a large pile of
cocaine by the USS Samuel B. Roberts.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting on the first delivery, three years late,
of the RAN's first SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopter.

Ground Forces News has reported that some 400 US military personnel have arrived at
the southern navy port of Chinhae in South Korea for a drill aimed at speeding up
deployment, US military authorities said Thursday. The group, including 300 marines and
100 navy personnel, will spend some 15 days drilling the loading and offloading of two
ships carrying equipment and supplies for a Marine expeditionary brigade.

Another report from states that, according to the South Korean
Ministry of Defence, North Korea has exported some 400 Scud missiles to Middle East
countries since the mid-1980s. Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen were the best customers for
North Korean Scuds in the region, the ministry said in a parliamentary report. The report
did not say how much the communist state earned from the missile exports, but Yonhap
news agency put the figure at 110 million dollars.
(Sorry, I tried to find the original story but the ROK MOD page was too messed up)

Air Force News

The Asia Times has reported that the Russian Air Force has opened a facility at a military
airfield in Kant, about 20 kilometers east of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, in a move that
arguably brings the mountainous Central Asian state closer to Moscow's sphere of
influence. Currently, the Russian force at Kant includes more than 20 Russian aircraft and
more than 150 troops. Including five Su-25 attack jets, five Su-27 fighters, one An-26
transport, six Il-76 transports, four L-39 training jets and two Mi-8 helicopters at Kant.

In a press release on October 22, Lockheed Martin announced that the Royal Danish Air
Force accepted three new C-130J-30 Hercules tactical transport aircraft during a signing
ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., facility where the aircraft were built.
Equipped with an enhanced cargo-handling system and a comprehensive integrated
electronic warfare system, the new aircraft now will enter a modification program in
Marietta for the installation of Denmark-specific equipment. They are scheduled for
delivery to Denmark in the first quarter 2004.

In yet more C-130 news, Northrup Grumman has been awarded a contract to provide the
U.S. Air Force with 25 AN/APN-241 navigation and weather radars designed to enhance
flying safety for Air National Guard C-130H tactical airlift aircraft. The award to Northrop
Grumman was through the CECOM Rapid Response contract, an indefinite
delivery/indefinite quantity contract available to all federal agencies, and managed by
Northrop Grumman's Information Technology (IT) sector. The contract value for the
radars is $11.7 million over two years to Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector.

November 2, 2003

Operational News
CNN is reporting that two CH-47 Chinook helicopters were attacked by Man Portable
Surface to Air Missiles today near Falluja, Iraq. One Chinook was shot down killing at
least 15 and wounding at least 21 US service men. Other attacks killed at least one other
US soldier in what is becoming the bloodiest day in post-war Iraq.

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The Associated Press is reporting via that two US soldiers were killed after a
land mine went off in the city of Mosul, Iraq.

In a report from Voice of America News, a U.S. army helicopter crashed on October 26th
near Tikrit. U.S. military officials in Baghdad say a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter
crashed near Tikrit, injuring five soldiers. Military officials said the helicopter was hit by
ground fire, after crashing, but that the five soldiers had been safely evacuated. Witnesses
in Tikrit said the helicopter was flying alongside another Black Hawk, when it appeared to
be struck by something from the ground, possibly a rocket- propelled grenade.

Arab News has posted an article from Agence France Press stating that Hundreds of
militants from Europe and the Middle East are heading to Iraq to fight the US-led
occupation, the New York Times reported yesterday, citing counterterrorism officials in
six countries. Most foreign fighters captured thus far in Iraq hail from Middle Eastern
countries like Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, or from North Africa, a senior British official
told the Times. But signs of a movement to Iraq have also been detected in France and

In another article from the Associated Press, North Korea yesterday accused the U.S.
military on Saturday of conducting at least 200 spy flights against the communist state in
October. North Korea said such maneuvers by the U.S. military questioned Washington's
public stance that it seeks a peaceful solution to a standoff over the North's suspected
development of nuclear weapons. Pyongyang's official news agency KCNA said U-2, RC-
135 and other reconnaissance planes of the U.S. military flew "day and night" near the
border between the two Koreas to "spy on strategic targets of the (North)."

The Washington Post reported that while in talks with Chinese officials, North Korea's
leader, Kim Jong Il, agreed in principle to restart international negotiations aimed at
ending his country's nuclear weapons program, according to official media dispatches from
North Korea and China.

In what appears to be a major embarrassment to the Indonesian Military, a high-level

Acehnese separatist rebel who was reported killed by the Indonesian military last month
has made a public appearance and thanked the army for saving his life. The military
reported last month that Dailami and his wife were shot dead during an exchange of fire
with troops.


Naval News
The New York Times has reported that the US Navy has announced that one of its vessels
is expected to stop in Vietnam next month, the first such visit since the end of the Vietnam
War, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said Friday.

In an official release from the Royal Navy, it was announced on October 29 that
production work started at the VT Group’s new facilities on the Royal Navy’s new Type
45 destroyer. VT (formerly Vosper Thornycroft) will build blocks for the first six of the
new class of circa 7,000 tonnes vessel so far ordered, under the prime contractorship of
BAE Systems who started production work at Glasgow earlier this year. VT will build the
bow section, masts and funnels of the ships with the blocks moved by barge, also under
construction at Portsmouth, to BAE Systems’ shipyards in Glasgow for whole ship
assembly. The first block is scheduled to leave Portsmouth in 2005.

The USN’s Navy News Stand has an article on how US Marines are training for ship
boarding operations.

Ground Forces News has reported that South Korea's state-run defence institute, the
Agency for Defence Development said Thursday it had developed a portable surface-to-air
guided missile for the first time. The ADD said it would begin mass-producing the
Singung, nicknamed Chiron, missiles early next year for operational deployment. Tests
showed the missile could hit more than 90 percent of targeted aircraft flying at a distance
of up to seven kilometers (4.3 miles) and at a speed of mach 0.7-0.8. http://www.defence-

On, October 29, in a news release from the Canadian Department of National Defence, it
was announced that the Government of Canada has approved the acquisition of a mobile
gun system for the Canadian Forces. The vehicles, known as Strykers, are the same
vehicles that are being delivered to the United States. Deliveries are to begin in 2006.

The US Department of Defence News Link has posted a story on the current rush shipment
of body armor to Iraq.

The Foreign Military Studies Office has posted an essay by Roger N. McDermott on the
Modernization of the Russian Armed Forces.

In a press release from Boeing, the prototype Joint Common Missile made a successful test
launch from the US Army testing range at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.

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Air Force News

The F-22 has made its first public appearance. In an article from Air Force Link, the F/A-
22 Raptor made its first public flight Oct. 25-26, making a few passes over the crowd
gathered for the 2003 Edwards Open House and Air Show.

Embraer announced on October 30, that on October 16 it started the process of ferrying to
Europe the first EMB-145 AEW&C aircraft belonging to the Hellenic Air Force, for the
installation of specific mission equipment that will allow the Hellenic Air Force to perform
operations of its own, as well as NATO-related missions.

A press release from Agusta SPA has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the
Malaysian Ministry of Defence for the supply of eleven Augusta A109 Light Observation
Helicopter (LOH) together with an initial product support and training package. The
aircraft will be operated by Malaysian Army Aviation. The contract is worth more than 70
Million US$ and includes a substantial package of Transfer of Technology to the
Malaysian Industries.

General Dynamics has announced that it has received a contract Boeing to produce the
Trainable Gun Mount System (TGMS) for the AC-130U Force Structure Enhancement
Program. General Dynamics will manufacture trainable gun mount systems for the
conversion of four C-130H2 aircraft into AC-130U gunships. Each system consists of two
gun mounts, a loader weapon control panel, and an ammunition storage and handling
system. The gunship’s dual, trainable gun mounts enable the aircraft to simultaneously
target two threats up to a kilometer apart. 24, 2003 News

Northrup-Grumman, in co-operation with EADS has successfully completed a series of

demonstration flights of a U.S. Air Force RQ-4A Global Hawk high-altitude, long-
endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with an EADS electronic
intelligence (ELINT) sensor prototype. The flights, conducted in late October from the
German Navy's Nordholz Air Base near Cuxhaven, were the first HALE UAV flights to
take place in German airspace.

November 9, 2003

Operational News
According to Military.Com, the US Army made a sweep through Tikrit, Iraq on Friday.
According to various news wires, the sweep, called Operation Ivy Cyclone included

patrols, ambushes and search raids aimed at flushing out anti-coalition fighters. The
operation, similar to operations made by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, was in
response to this past week’s series of attacks against US and US Allied forces in Iraq.
These attacked killed 32 US servicemen and the loss of one Blackhawk helicopter in
country. The Blackhawk was shot down on Friday that killed 6 servicemen and was the
trigger for the Army sweep into Tikrit.

In a report from, the US plans to send US Marines back to Iraq

next year as part of a rotation of the bulk of the US forces there that also will involve
thousands of reserve and national guards as well as active duty forces, defence officials
said Wednesday. Although most of the deployment plan has long been in place, the
Pentagon has held off a final decision on what forces would go in hopes that a third
multinational division could be formed in time to replace the army's 101st Airborne

In an article from the Washington Times on November, 6th, North Korea threatened to
seize the assets and equipment at a construction site for two new nuclear power plants
being built by the United States and its allies if the Bush administration follows through on
a threat to kill the project. A spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that
an expected decision by the United States and its allies to shutter the $4.6 billion nuclear
project could endanger plans for a second round of multilateral talks on Pyongyang's
military nuclear program. The North "will never allow them to take out all the equipment,
facilities, materials and technical documents ... until this issue is settled," the unnamed
spokesman said in a statement transmitted by the official KCNA news service.

There have been developments on the Greco-Turkish border. According to Defence-, Greece said Thursday it will move army units posted on the frontier with
former Soviet bloc countries to its border with longtime rival Turkey as part of plans to
streamline the military. This is an apparent reflection of the decreasing threat posed by
former Soviet Bloc countries that share a border with Greece. http://www.defence-

Naval News
There was a test of the new BrahMos missiles today. The missile, developed by a joint
venture company formed in 1998 between the DRDO and Russia's State Unitary
Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia, is three meters long and has a range of 300km with a
200kg warhead.

The United States Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced on October 31st,
that it will conduct at-sea demonstrations for future sealift capability. These efforts are

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aimed at enabling the re-supply of large cargo items to a Maritime Prepositioning Force
Future ship (MPF(F)) operating as a sea based supplier for the Marine Corps.

On A November 3rd news release, the Canadian Department of National Defence

announced that flying operations for the CH-124 Sea King fleet have resumed. However,
temporary restrictions will be imposed on hover flights over unpaved surfaces and specific
aspects of anti-submarine warfare missions, as these pose the greatest risk to crew safety
should a loss of power occur. These restrictions will be revised as soon as practicable as
further technical or operational information becomes available. The CH-124s have been
suffering from numerous maintenance problems over the last several years as the aircraft
see operations beyond their original service life.

In a story from the US Navy News Stand, Two People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy
ships visited Apra Harbor, Guam, Oct. 22, for a historic three-day port visit. Sailors from
the guided-missile destroyer Shenzen (DDG 167) and oiler Qinghai Hu (AO 885),
representing the People's Republic of China, took the opportunity to interact with U.S.

The South African Navy has officially received its new corvette. In a press release from
Blohm & Voss Shipbuilding, the SAS Amatola, a MEKO A-200 frigate, arrived today at
its destination at Simonstown, Republic of South Africa (on the Indian ocean) after a 21-
day journey starting from Wilhelmshaven, Germany, the ship arrived in Cape Town, and
after some celebratory circles, continued its journey towards Simonstown.

The Italian Navy has launched its first Type 212 class submarine. In a ceremony at
Fincantieri’s shipyard at Muggiano (La Spezia) the submarine “Salvatore Todaro” was
launched on November 6th. The sub was ordered by the Italian Navy within the framework
of a program of cooperation between the Governments and industries of Italy and
Germany. This program, one of the few cases of collaboration between European defence
industries, has been developed with the German Submarine Consortium and comprises the
construction of four U212A class vessels for Germany and two for Italy. Fincantieri will
also provide the Navy with the full complement of integrated logistical support, including
a new, modern training centre for crews at the Naval Shipyard in Taranto.

Northrop Grumman announced on November 7th that it had completed pressure hull
construction of the Viriginia class SSN USS Texas.

Ground Forces News

An announcement by the German Ministry of Defence has confirmed Spain's entry into the
Franco-German Tiger helicopter program.

In an article posted by the Foreign Military Studies Office, William D. O’Malley & Roger
N. McDermott discusses the recent military rapport that has developed between the
Russian Republic and Kyrgyzstan.

The United States Army News Link has some further information on the rotation of troops
into and out of Iraq in the next several months.

The UK Ministry of Defence has announced that it has signed a contract with Alvis
Vickers Ltd on 6 November for a new Command and Liaison Vehicle for the Armed
Forces. Worth £166 million, the initial order comprises 401 of the light armored vehicles,
with options on a further 400.

Air Force News

The Air Combat Information Group has posted an article by Vineet Srivastava. It is an
exclusive insight into Dassault Rafale, France's next generation fighter designed to replace
a wide range of aircraft from Super Etendards to Mirage 2000s.

In a press release, Lockheed Martin announced on October 31 that it had formally

delivered the first HC-130J Super Hercules airlifters to the Coast Guard in ceremonies here
today. The new aircraft will serve in a number of roles for the Coast Guard, which now
falls under the Department of Homeland Security. The new aircraft will eventually replace
the service’s oldest HC-130H long-range maritime patrol aircraft, a number of which were
built in the early 1970s.

Diehl Group has announced that the IRIS-T (Infra-Red Imaging Sidewinder, Tail
Controlled) production will finally begin after Spain and Germany granted governmental
approval of the production line. IRIS-T will be produced by order of the six partner
countries (Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Spain) as a modern armament for
the Eurofighter Typhoon but also for the Tornado, the F-16 and the F-18.

The US has increased its tanking capabilities in the Middle Eastern Theater. In a USAF
press release, it was announced that six KC-135 tankers had arrived between November
1st and 2nd to support operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

November 16, 2003

Operational News
The Unites States has begun to crack down on Iraqi insurgents. Following several weeks
of attacks against US and US Allied Troops, the US Army began extensive counter-
insurgency operations in Baghdad and Tikrit on November 12th. Called Operation Iron
Hammer, it involves using helicopters and artillery against known insurgent facilities.
Furthermore, civil re-construction has been replaced by search and seizure operations
throughout Iraq.

Italy has suffered its greatest military loss since WW2 on November 12th when suicide
bombers broke through the perimeter of its Carabinieri base and detonated a car full of
explosives. The explosion killed at least 28 people and wounded 60. Of the 28 that were
killed, 16 were members of Carabinieri, Italy's paramilitary police force.

There has been yet another helicopter crash in Iraq. On the evening of November 15th, two
UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were flying over Mosul when one of the helicopters was
attacked by ground fire. While taking evasive action one of the Blackhawks collided with
the other resulting in the loss of both aircraft. At last report there was 12 KIA. The two
helicopters belonged to the 101st Airborne Division which operates in northern Iraq. This
makes five helicopters destroyed in the last three weeks.

U.S. troops have arrested six Iraqis suspected of attacks against U.S. helicopters, including
at least two allegedly involved in last week's downing of a Black Hawk that killed all six
Americans on board, officials said Friday. U.S. troops captured the six during a series of
night-time raids between Tuesday and Friday in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. The
military said the first two are suspected of involvement in the Nov. 7 downing of the Black
Hawk in Tikrit while the other four were involved in attacks against American helicopters
but did specify which ones.

The Washington Times has reported that North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear
weapons program and stop testing and exporting missiles, subject to certain guarantees.
Pyongyang expected written security guarantees and compensation for economic losses
incurred by closing two nuclear power plants, said two diplomats during an interview. The
envoys said the United States would also have to pledge not to hinder North Korea's
economic development, especially its dealings with Japan and South Korea. Since the
nuclear crisis erupted a year ago, North Korea has demanded a non-aggression pact with
Washington. US President George W. Bush has refused, but last month proposed a written
guarantee instead of a formal treaty.

Jane's International Security has reported that Iran has admitted it is in the final phase of
designing a 40MW heavy water nuclear reactor at Arak. Officials have said that the basic

design of the reactor, called the IR-40, has already been completed, and that work has
started on a more detailed design. Construction work is due to begin in early 2004. (non-
subscriber extract)

Naval News
In a report from, China and India embarked Friday on their first
ever joint naval exercises off the coast of Shanghai as part of a drive to warm frosty ties
between the two Asian powers. Led by the NS Ranjit, a 5,000-tonne Russian guided
missile destroyer, the INS Kulish, a guided missile corvette, and the INS Jyoti, a tanker,
the Indian taskforce cast off from Shanghai at 9:00 am (0100 GMT). Joined by two
Chinese warships and helicopters, they conducted five-hour search and rescue maneuvers
in the East China Sea before the Indian ships sail for home. While the maneuvers are
militarily insignificant the naval co-operation is seen as deeply symbolic for two countries
still mending ties after a 1962 border war.

A US submarine has run aground, resulting in the relieving of two of its officers.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the USS Hartford, a fast attack submarine,
went aground on Oct. 25 off La Madalena, a tiny island off Sardinia's north coast that hosts
a Naval support facility. According to Sixth Fleet Officials, the grounding caused limited
rudder damage and scraped the bottom of the sub, but no one was injured and there was no
environmental damage. After an investigation of the grounding, the Navy relieved the
commander of the sub and the commander of the submarine squadron citing loss of
confidence in their ability to command.

The Journal of Electronic Defence has posted the second part of their two part article on
Russian Anti-Ship Missiles.

Ground Forces News

The US Army News Service has reported that the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd, the so called
Stryker Brigade, has arrived in Iraq. The brigade’s Stryker vehicles and other equipment
arrived Nov. 12 in the port of Kuwait on board the USNS Shughart and USNS Sisler after
a three-week voyage from Fort Lewis, Wash., via the Port of Tacoma. The deployment
marks the second time that Stryker vehicles have landed on foreign soil though. In August
a platoon from the Army’s first Stryker Brigade Combat team conducted a capabilities
demonstration in South Korea.

In a press release from MBDA, it was announced on November 12th, that it had received a
€3 Billion contract order for production of the ASTER surface to air missile. The contract
was signed by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Co-opération en matière d’Armement)
on behalf of the French, Italian and UK Ministries of Defence. The order covers series
production of 18 SAMP/T Aster Block 1 missile batteries for the French army, French air

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force and Italian army and production of the Aster 15 SAAM (Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile
system) vertical launch naval missile system for the French and Italian navies’ new aircraft
carriers and frigates. The contract also covers €400 million placed by OCCAR on behalf of
the UK MoD with MBDA’s wholly-owned subsidiary UKAMS for series production of
Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles and support equipment for the PAAMS advanced naval air
defence system which will equip the Royal Navy’s first batch of Type 45 Daring class

Saab AB announced on November 10th, that the French Army has contracted it to deliver
additional AT4CS anti-tank weapons. The deliveries will begin in late 2004.

Heads Up, the AsiaPacific Online magazine for SE Asia military news has reported on the
recent short list of new Main Battle Tanks for the Australian Army. The tanks listed are
the M1A1 Abrams, the Leopard 2 and the Challenger 2. (you have to scroll down

Air Force News

There has been a crash of a Russian fighter in Armenia. On November 13th, a MiG-29
took off from its base near the town of Gumri and soon disappeared from radar screens. A
resulting search found the wreckage and the body of the pilot some 18 km from its base.

The AIM-9X has reached Initial Operating Capability. A press release from US Naval Air
Systems Command, the missile reached IOC with the 12th and 19th Fighter Squadrons of
the 3rd Wing, 11th Air Force are now the first operational units to field and train with

In a report from ZeeNews, the United States has begun deliveries of AIM-120 missiles to
Taiwan, after China acquired similar Russian-built technology, it was reported on
November 15th. Taiwan bought AIM-120s from the United States in 2000 on the condition
they would only be delivered if China acquired similar weaponry. The fact that China had
test-fired the Russian-made AA-12 missiles in June 2002 prompted Washington to deliver
the missiles to Taipei, the report said. US Air force officials have earlier said the US-built
missile would be used to arm part of Taiwan's fleet of 150 F-16 fighter jets.

In anticipation of Romania's entry into NATO, the Royal Air Force conducted a two week
exercise with Romanian Air Force units. The exercise, called Lone Kite 03, ran from 06 to
17 October and is part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Outreach program which involves
bilateral training activities with countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and has so far

involved Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia as well as Romania. RAF aircraft included seven
GR7s and a pair of T10 trainers and were based at Mikhail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base
on Romania’s Black Sea coast some 200 miles east of Bucharest to carry out mutual
training with MiG-21 Lancer jet fighters and 120 personnel of 861 Squadron based at the
nearby air base of Fetesti.

Harpoon 4 is cancelled
The AGSI statement, November 26th 2003
Today, November 26, 2003, it was announced that Ubisoft canceled Harpoon 4 (see
Speaking as the person who architected the first Computer Harpoon in 1989, I know what
a blow this is to the Harpoon community and the many development teams.
AGSI had a financial interest in the success of Harpoon 4, so this also hurts us.
However, the unmatched talent and capability of the Harpoon community has previously
shown itself, in the current, supported, and very available Harpoon Classic and Harpoon
III products.
These were built and supported by the Harpoon community. By gamers for gamers. Who
knows best what a naval wargame is than our Harpoon community?
Harpoon lives.
Please allow Larry, Chris and I some time to wrap up our Ubisoft relationship, consider
our options, and consult with the leadership of the Harpoon community.
Finally: This event has NO impact on our Harpoon 3 Professional and Harpoon III
Multiplayer projects.
Don Gilman, a.k.a. UncleHarpoon

Ubisoft’s official press release, November 26th 2003

Ubisoft Cancels Harpoon IV - Concerns About Product Quality Crucial to Final Decision

Ubisoft™, one of the world's largest videogame publishers, today announced that it has
officially ceased production on Harpoon IV and has chosen not to release the title.
"Ubisoft is committed to making the best military simulation games possible, and
unfortunately, the Harpoon IV project wasn't meeting this goal. In our judgment, the

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

product quality could never reach a level that meets or exceeds consumer expectations,"
said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing, Ubisoft. "We will never intentionally ship a
product that is sure to disappoint our discerning customer base."
While the game will not be finished or published by Ubisoft, discussions are underway to
license the source code to a third-party group within the community in order to finish the
game. Information regarding this development will be available soon at the game's
community website

Statement from the Admiralty (Larry Bond, Chris Carlson, Don Gilman), December 3rd
Larry Bond and Chris Carlson, the originators of the Harpoon4 wargame, and Don
Gilman of Advanced Gaming Systems Inc., also a participant in the Harpoon4 project, are
disappointed by Ubisoft's decision to cancel Harpoon4, but respect Ubisoft's judgment,
their desire to sell quality games, and their need to make a profit while they do so.
The just-ended project has been underway since 1997, when we signed an agreement with
Strategic Simulations International to create a computer adaptation of the Harpoon4
miniatures wargame. Unfortunately, the development effort became hampered by a series
of corporate buyouts, each one causing delays and simultaneously reducing the size of the
development budget. While each successive publisher has made their best effort, each
buyout (and there were four) reduced the chance of a successful product reaching the store
Our intention is to start a new development effort that will produce a computerized version
of Harpoon4 at the earliest opportunity. Ubisoft has graciously offered to transfer the
partially-completed code to a third party for further development. We will examine the
code to see if that is feasible, and if appropriate, will transfer of the code to a third party.
Since the code contains copyrighted material, that third party would have to enter into a
contract with the rights holders, just as SSI did six years ago.
And that is only one approach to producing a new Harpoon4 game. Others options include
starting development fresh with a new publisher, or upgrading existing programs to H4
None of these will produce a game quickly, and even choosing which option to follow will
take several months.
It is important to acknowledge not only the patience and support of the computer Harpoon
community, but also the efforts of the many developers who have worked on the
commercial product, and the beta testers who did their best to make it a quality game. They
all made substantial contributions to Harpoon, and we will work hard to make sure that
they have not labored in vain.

The Docks section lists new additions to the community: New scenarios, new utilities, new tools, significantly
new versions of existing material etc. Naturally, the focus of new additions is scenarios. Think you can write-
up a good summary or comment on any scenario you have given a spin recently? Made the next Harpoon-
related killer app? Tell us about it ( and share it with the community. All of the
material covered is normally available at the HarpoonHQ download sections.

Harpoon 2 / Harpoon 3
All Harpoon 2/3 scenarios are available at the HarpoonHQ’s scenario & database
download section.

Attacking the Fortress

By Ralf Koelbach
September 13, 1986. The Red Fleet is approaching from the east towards Iceland. Massive
bombing raids have weakened NATO defences. The final shoot out is about to start...
Notes: This scenario tries to merge the unique GIUK atmosphere of Harpoon Classic with
the superior Harpoon 3 micromanagement possibilities.

Battle Islands
By Klaus Behrmann
The Hawar Islands were given to Bahrain by the International Court after a long dispute
with Qatar. However, after cash-stricken Bahrain awarded oil and gas concessions to
Malaysia and Iran near the Hawar Islands, Qatar decided to recapture the islands and teach
Bahrain and Iran a lesson.

Deliberate Action
By Michael Mykytyn
In mid 1995, the whole of NATO conducted its first small successful air war over the
Bosnian Theater. The success of the campaign was attributable to the combined strength of
NATO Nations and the technological edge of the United States. What would have
happened if the US was not involved?
This scenario is an air scenario, playable from the NATO side only and has a 5-day
duration. Not real difficult but requires to player to factor in CRT's (Custom Ready
Times), plan his air sorties as well as depend heavily on recce platforms.

Diamonds in the Sea

By Quinton van Zyl
The world economy is in the grip of a recession, countries are desperate for a source of
wealth that could re-ignite their economic flames.

Beneath the waves on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, just off the South American
continent, lie some extinct volcanoes that could solve the economic problems of a country
for decades. The kimberlite rock found within the volcanoes has been found to contain

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diamonds. Just off the coast, this resource is harvestable - it just needs to be accurately

The Chilean government has announced its desire to investigate this find so it can begin
the process of extraction for the "benefit of the South American people". Peru has scoffed
at this as an insult to its country, and labels the announcement at an attempt to hide the
Chilean government’s greed at exploiting a Peruvian resource. This brings us to our
problem. The diamonds appear to lie in a patch of water straddling the maritime border of
Peru and Chile. Peru claims the waters as her own territorial waters. Chile argues that
they lie outside the 12nm limit and are international waters.

Yesterday afternoon on the 4th April, a small Chilean task force set sail for the area to
begin a preliminary survey of the region with their oceanographic survey ship the Vidal
Gormaz. At the same time, the Peruvian government announced a ban on all Chilean
vessels entering Peruvian waters.

Diesel Power
By Michael Mykytyn

Soviet coastal ASW forces and German U-boats square off in one of the most vital supply
routes for the Soviet war machine. Can four small diesel submarines really make a
This is a medium-scale ASW scenario playable from the German side only. It’s an
exploration of sub combat in these very restrictive waters. Scenario duration is three days.

In Harm’s Way
By Michael Mykytyn

Iran has proclaimed that US warships will not be allowed into the Persian Gulf and
interfere with their war with Iraq. The battleship New Jersey and her escorts will make
them rethink this policy.
This is an alternative history scenario set in 1984. It assumes that the United States never
established a permanent presence in the Gulf after the 1979 revolution, and must do so
now. You are the first group to venture into its waters and you have little or no support.
This scenario is designed to be played from the US side only and from the US side only.
Duration is two working days. Good Luck☺

Kuril Salient
By Michael Mykytyn

Significant Japanese forces have landed on Russia's Kuril Islands unopposed. Russian
forces are in poor condition but, as throughout its rich history, there is no shortage of
fighting spirit and leadership. Can you force Japanese forces from Russian territory?

This scenario is a derivative of “Waking the Bear”. The basic idea is you have very little
forces and must cause significant damage to a technologically superior opponent.
Coordination is key. Have fun with Flanker vs. Eagle☺.
This ASW/ASuW/AAW scenario is playable from the Russian side only. Scenario
duration is 3 game days.

Shallow Waters
By Steve Mills

With the abject failure of the reforms in Russia, especially the rise in organized crime, it
was only a matter of time before the return to a hard line regime. Once re-elected, many
felt now was the time to strike, especially with the apparent run down of NATO forces.
While war is raging throughout the North Atlantic, convoys that have struggled across
have only a little way further to reach port.
This scenario was written primarily to test the operation of submarines in an area of
relatively shallow water.

Long Live the Shah – Part 1: Persian Glory

By Daniel Hayes

Date: 15 September 1984

Location: South West Asia

Following the failed revolution of 1979, the regime of Shah Reza Pahlavi has maintained
strong ties with the United States and has continued to build one of the most formidable
armed forces in the world outside of the superpowers. With an apparent large advantage in
military muscle over its traditional rival, Iraq, Iran has recently been pressuring its
neighbor to make new concession on the division of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway and Iraqi
support for opposition groups in Iran. Iraq has so far stood firm and has leaked details of
its unconventional weapons programs in what seems an attempt to counter the Iranian
advantage. Iranian troop movements indicate that they may be planning some sort of
punitive raid to force Iraq to comply with their wishes.

Long Live the Shah – Part 2: Dragnet

By Daniel Hayes

It is 15 September 1984, and Imperial Iran is initiating a war with Iraq. Air strikes are
underway and the ground assault is about to start. At the same time large Iranian naval
force has weighed anchor and is making its way north in the Persian Gulf. Its purpose is
mission is believed to be the clearing of all Iraqi naval units from the Gulf.

Long Live the Shah – Part 3: Backstab

By Daniel Hayes

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

Date: 18 September 1984

Location: Northern Persian Gulf

Three days ago Iran attacked its neighbor, Iraq. Massive airstrikes hit Iraqi airfields and
strategic locations. At the same time the Iranian Navy moved into the northern region of
the Persian Gulf with the aim of destroying the Iraqi fleet. This action was largely
successful and a blockade of Iraqi ports is now in place. The only potential fly in the
ointment is a small number of missile boats that escaped to Kuwait. However the Kuwaitis
have assured Iran that the vessels have been interned for the duration of the war.

China - Part 08: Operation Seawolf

By Klaus Behrmann


DATE/TIME: 15 NOVEMBER 2011, 12:00 H

The island of Taiwan was invaded a year ago, and both the USA and Japan were unable to
bring in sufficient forces in time to drive the invading Chinese Army back into the sea.
Now the USA is marshalling forces and trying to convince the UN to launch a counter-
invasion. But prior to any firm commitments, an intelligence gathering mission is required.

China - Part 09: Coup de Grace

By Klaus Behrmann


DATE/TIME: 22 DECEMBER 2011, 18:00 H Z

The island of Taiwan was invaded a year ago, and both the USA and Japan were unable to
bring in sufficient forces in time to drive the invading Chinese Army back into the sea.
Now the USA is marshalling forces and trying to convince the UN to launch a counter-
In secret negotiations, which started already three years ago, the USA and Vietnam agreed
that Vietnam would provide base facilities in and around Cam Ranh Bay and Da Nang to
launch strikes against mainland China in preparation for both the liberation of Taiwan and
Operation Freedom: Vietnam's acceptance to turn to democracy provided the powerful
neighbor in the north has to follow suit.

World War III 1985 – GIUK Gap Part 3: The Trap

By Ragnar Emsoy


DATE/TIME: 15 SEPTEMBER 1985, 19:30:00Z

A multi-regimental Backfire raid on Iceland on the second day of the war put the two main
airfields temporarily out of action. A brave defence by Keflavik's squadron of F-15
fighters resulted in ten bomber shoot-downs, but each airfield was nonetheless hit by more
than a dozen long-range missiles. The missiles caused severe damage and destroyed a
number of aircraft parked out in the open.

The range, speed and warhead of the AS-4 Kitchen make it the perfect standoff weapon in
a high-threat environment. However, in the land-attack role the missile is guided by a
highly inaccurate INS (Inertial Navigation System) which gives it a CEP (Circular Error
Probable) of several hundred meters. This makes it virtually impossible to hit point targets
with any certainty, and as a result one of the runways at Keflavik escaped any serious
damage. The F-15s that were caught on the ground survived the attack thanks to their
hardened aircraft shelters. Once the rubble and debris had been cleared the fighters were
ready for fly again. The airborne F-15s that diverted to Scotland after the strike soon
returned home to re-join the defence of Iceland.

The aircraft carrier USS America and her battered battle group have successfully
conducted a fighting withdrawal from the Norwegian Sea south into the GIUK gap
(Greenland - Iceland - UK gap). Although the carrier escaped undamaged, the Soviets
managed to sink several of her escorts. It seems unlikely the battle group will be capable of
fending off a second determined Soviet bomber raid.

The damaged airfields on Iceland and the crippled USS America battle group are
presenting the Soviets with two highly tempting targets. Iceland is of great importance to
NATO's effort to re-supply Germany by air, and destroying airfields will have a direct
impact on the war in Central Europe. Going after and sinking the USS America will
greatly reduce NATO's offensive capabilities on the Northern Front, and may delay or
even prevent carrier battle groups and amphibious task forces from being sent into the
Norwegian Sea later in the conflict to attack the Soviet homeland.

About 30 out of the estimated total of 55 Soviet Backfire bombers based on the Kola
Peninsula have been shot down during the first two days of fighting. It is expected that the
Soviet bomber operations will be significantly hampered by these losses. The Northern
Fleet's Badger regiments remain intact, but it seems likely that the Soviets will hold these
assets back to attack NATO convoys headed for Norway, and not send them into the
heavily defended GIUK gap.

The AS-4 Kitchen missiles' intrinsic inability to hit point targets on land, coupled with the
limited number of available missiles, reduces the possibility that they will be used in any
great number in follow-up bomber raids against NATO bases in the GIUK gap. The main
body of an attack would thus likely consist of Backfires armed with cluster and iron
bombs, and maybe even bombs containing persistent chemical agents. Using bombs may
put the bombers at greater risk, but it will also place a great deal more explosives on the
target and increase the chances of putting the airfields out of action for a prolonged period
of time.

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

A strike against USS America and her battle group is a daunting task. The carrier has
reached the safety of the British Isles, and the Soviet bombers and reconnaissance aircraft
will face stiff opposition, possibly total annihilation, if they decide to fight their way
through the alerted defences around the UK. The bombers also run the risk of not being
able to find their evasive target and that they'll have to return home with unfinished

A second Soviet bomber raid against NATO forces in the GIUK gap is expected before
any serious repairs can be completed and reinforcements can arrive. NATO commanders
have now come up with a cunning plan to destroy the bombers, should they decide to

World War III 1985 – GIUK Gap Part 5: Attack on the Kirov
By Ragnar Emsoy


DATE/TIME: 17 SEPTEMBER 1985, 10:00:00Z

It has been four days since the first shots of the war. With a ferocious ground war raging in
North Norway, NATO's ability to reinforce and re-supply will be of paramount importance
to both NATO and Soviet commanders.

Soviet anti-convoy operations have so far been highly successful. The Northern Fleet
Naval Aviation’s Tu-16 Badger bombers mounted an effective strike against the convoy
carrying the UK / Netherlands Landing Force (UK / NL LF) to Norway. Only a handful of
bombers were shot down, while nearly one dozen warships and merchants were sunk.

At the outbreak of war, the Soviets moved a powerful Surface Action Group (SAG) down
the coast of Norway in support of the ground operation. It has assumed a position off the
coast to prevent Allied reinforcements from reaching Norway by sea. The SAG is also
posing a grave threat to NATO shipping in the GIUK gap, and to the GIUK gap barrier
itself. The SAG is made up of eight ships of the Red Banner Northern Fleet, including the
Kirov nuclear-powered battle cruiser and the Kiev aviation cruiser. Between them, these
ships are armed with nearly 50 long-range anti-ship missiles, each capable of sinking
almost any NATO vessel with a single hit.

The main part of the NATO naval forces in the Atlantic is the US Navy's 2nd Strike Fleet.
This force consists of up to four carrier battle groups and 360 planes. In accordance with
contingency plans, the entire Strike Fleet can deploy to the North Atlantic or the
Norwegian Sea in approximately ten days. NATO forces on the northern front are heavily
dependent upon the timely arrival of the fully assembled Strike Fleet, however only a
single carrier, USS America, is available at this time. It will be another three to four days
before the other three carrier battle groups can arrive on station.

With USS America's Carrier Air Wing (CVW) now recovering from the initial encounter
in the Norwegian Sea, a decision has been made to undertake a limited operation and try to

sink the Kirov battle cruiser and the Kiev aviation cruiser. There is hope such a strike may
catch the Soviets unprepared; will they anticipate the launch of so audacious an attack on
the pride of the Red Banner Fleet before the Strike Fleet can mass for a combined attack?

World War III 1985 – North Cape Part 5: UNREP

By Ragnar Emsoy


DATE/TIME: 22 SEPTEMBER 1985, 20:00:00

The 'Clash of the Titans' action in the Norwegian Sea ended in a stalemate. NATO and the
Soviets achieved many of their main objectives, but both suffered horrendous losses and
expended huge quantities of munitions. As a result, there has been a temporary hiatus in
offensive naval operations. The race to regroup, re-stock, and resume strike ops has begun.

On balance, it is the Soviets who have suffered the heaviest losses. More than 100 naval
bombers have been confirmed destroyed together with an estimated total of 200 fighters,
naval reconnaissance aircraft, electronic warfare and transports. In addition, three of the
four main airfields that the Soviets were using in occupied North Norway have been
reduced to rubble and will remain inoperable for many days to come.

Two of the Strike Fleet's four aircraft carriers, USS John F. Kennedy and USS Dwight D.
Eisenhower, were destroyed in a massive combined raid by Soviet missile submarines and
naval bombers. Three cruisers and four destroyers were also sunk. A total of 44 Tomcats,
53 Corsairs, 20 Intruders, 14 Vikings, eight Prowlers, seven Hawkeyes and 13 other
support aircraft have been lost. However, the Carrier Air Wings (CVWs) of the two
remaining carriers, reinforced by planes from the carriers that were destroyed, remain
intact and fully combat capable. The carrier battle groups are now withdrawing to join up
with their replenishment groups west of the GIUK gap. The carriers are expected to be
back in the Norwegian Sea to resume strike operations in three to four day's time.

The Strike Fleet is a unique weapon, combining great destructive power with mobility and
flexibility. Yet as powerful as this force may be, its ability to stay at sea is limited by
logistical requirements. A single aircraft carrier may use as much as 250 tons of ordnance
and 30 tons of stores per day while conducting strike operations. This makes resupply
every few days a necessity. A carrier's magazine can take approximately 1650 tons of
conventional munitions, and a typical mid-1980s magazine would contain the following
strike weapons for the air wing:

96x AIM-54 Phoenix 200x laser-guided bomb kits

120x AIM-7 Sparrow 2500x Mk82 bombs
200x AIM-9 Sidewinder 800x Mk83 bombs
40x AGM-84 Harpoon 500x Mk84 bombs
40x AGM-45 Shrike 40x cluster bombs
or AGM-88 HARM 80x 324mm torpedoes
80x AGM-65 Walleye 50x nuclear bombs

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The USN is relying on Underway Replenishment (UNREP) to extend the endurance of the
Strike Fleet and maximize its power projection capabilities. UNREP is a broad term for all
methods of transferring fuel, munitions, supplies, and personnel from one ship to another
while the vessels are at sea. For connected replenishment (CONREP), two or more ships
steam side-by-side and hoses and lines are used to transfer fuel, ammunition, supplies and
personnel. Vertical replenishment (VERTREP) is carried out by helicopters with the ships
in close proximity or miles apart depending on the tactical situation and the amount of
cargo to be transferred.

Since all time spent replenishing is time away from combat, the emphasis in underway
replenishment is on rapid transfer of materiel from the replenishment ships to a combatant.
However, the oilers and ammunition ships are too slow to keep up with the battle groups.
They also lack the ability to defend themselves and survive in a combat environment.
These vulnerable ships have therefore been formed into heavily guarded replenishment
groups on the Atlantic side of the GIUK gap - out of range of enemy strike aircraft and
away from the Soviet submarine barriers.

The Soviets are well aware of the UNREP groups' significance and the role they play in
supporting the Strike Fleet. As a result, these assets are as highly priced targets as the
carrier battle groups themselves. It is believed the Soviets will try to do all they can to
interfere with the replenishment operations.

ODAX 2004
By François Guérin

DATE/TIME: 24 JUNE 2004, 08:00:00

Every year, the French Armee de l'Air [Air Force] trains its Air Defence during exercise
ODAX. Even though the Marine Nationale [Navy] is not part of the exercise, this scenario
depicts her as a potential OPFOR, alongside France's assault aviation.
Note: This is a speculation of ODAX 2004, the time being the only certain element.

Crossing Sabers
By Michael Mykytyn
What can come between two regional partners? A couple hundred billion dollars of natural
gas reserves, of course. Malaysia and Indonesia square off in the busiest waterways in the
world. It’s Flanker vs. Fulcrum, medium navy vs. medium navy! Who will be the judge,
we’ll let you decide.
This is just fun hypothetical scenario playable from the Malaysian or Indonesian side.
Scenario includes ASuW, AAW and ASW elements.

Conflict in the Comoros
By Quinton van Zyl

DATE/TIME: May 1998, 03:00 Zulu (Before dawn local time)

LOCATION: Western Indian Ocean

Since 1974 the Comoros islands have endured 19 coups or attempted coups. In 1974 the
three northern islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli became the Comoros and
the fourth southernmost island Mayotte elected to remain under French rule.

A set of suspicious circumstances has surrounded the most recent coup, in that it was
intensely monitored by the Indian government. India has never shown an interest in the
Comoros until about two weeks before the actual coup, the attention has continued until
now. When the Comorian president was gunned down at his residence the Indian Prime
Minister declared that the unstable situation in the Comoros was bad for the Indian Ocean
community and declared that Indian "peacekeepers" would supervise the setting up of a
stable force of leadership. This statement caused the French president to injure himself
while falling out of his chair and prompted a declaration of condemnation on the Indian
government’s intention to meddle in affairs that do not concern them. France went on to
say that if any civilized nation was to intervene in the interests of the Comoros it should be
France and not India. The situation deteriorated further in that the Indian government has
announced that it is growing tiresome of the misplaced French naval presence in an ocean
that is India’s.

That was three weeks ago. Following this heated exchange, France dispatched a large task
force that rendezvoused with a support ship and frigate of its Indian Ocean squadron based
at Reunion yesterday. India has sent a small supervisory flotilla to the islands to ensure a
peaceful continuation of the new regime.

When pressed for details in a press conference in Paris last night, the French spokesman
said that very reliable intelligence has suggested that India’s interests in the Comoros are
purely military. He said that India has long wished to command and control all goings on
in “its” ocean and that a base in the west would allow it to have a far greater influence in
this area. Apparently the new Comorian regime is being paid handsomely for the future
construction of an Indian base. There is also a suspicion that as partial payment the Indian
government and its assets will help persuade Mayotte to become a part of the Comoros
once more. The French response to this situation was clear, according to the spokesman.
Firstly, if India got away with this it may encourage them to attempt further abuses of
power. Secondly, the island nation of Mayotte is a French protectorate and deserves the
best protection afforded by France.

The situation is extremely tense and a showdown appears to be on the cards between two
mighty naval powers in the Indian Ocean. In the most recent satellite pass, the Indian
aircraft carrier Viraat and her escorts had left their base at Bombay…

The magazine of the computer Harpoon community

Harpoon Classic 97/2002

Forced into a Corner
By Brad Leyte

A new scenario for HC2002 Gold based on the recent HULL thread is ready for download.
It's called "Forced into a Corner", and looks at the first few hours of an Israeli-Arab
conflict. Future scenarios will examine the entrance of the USA, EU and Russia into the
You can find it here:

Technical material…internal wargaming mechanics, database modifications, sensor &
physics models, how-to’s, hardware and related subjects. Think you know the perfect
hardware setup to run any of the computer Harpoon versions? Found a way to make H3
run on a Spectrum 48K in Windows-emulation mode? Want to analyze some God-forgotten
detail of the sensor or physics or damage models that you feel could use some tweaking?
In the mood of tutoring others about some facet of Harpoon that you have mastered over
the years? Go ahead and share your knowledge with the community.



By Michael Mykytyn

To begin with
When first asked to do an article on H3’s Formation Editor (FE for short) several months
ago, my first thought was “no problem”. Like many other long-time players, I had used it to
simply set up formations that were held in place, and didn’t think there was much else to it.
However, after a detailed exploration I discovered just how wrong I was.

The Formation Editor is one of the most advanced features of the game, and is an
extremely useful tool in efficient task force management. It allows players to automate the
operational housekeeping of their groups, allowing them to concentrate on more pressing
tactical concerns.

However, what is really ingenious about the formation editor is that (like other
components, e.g. the mission editor) the players are not forced to use this feature in its

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entirety to play the game. The designers built this editor so the player can choose the level
of AI assistance he wishes. They have the option to tangle with it as much as they wish;
from full AI assistance all the way to complete personal micromanagement.

This guide will cover the FE in its entirely. It will start by answering basic user questions
and then move into in-depth descriptions and step-by-step directions of the editor’s various
functions. This guide will then conclude with a practical example of use of the formation
editor. As with my prior works, these are living guides that will be updated as new
information is learned and changes are made to the Harpoon 3 code. I do hope you enjoy it
– at least as much as a technical writing can be enjoyed ☺.

Basic Questions

What is the Formation Editor?

The formation editor is a useful tool created by the Harpoon 2 & H3 design team to give
the player and scenario editor the ability to automate the micro-management of units
formed into groups. It accomplishes this by allowing the player to assign individual units
into patrol zones and along assigned threat axes (AAW, ASW, ASuW), which will be
retained for the duration of the game or until otherwise ordered. Its usefulness lies in the
fact that, once a player or scenario writer has accomplished this task, they can then
concentrate on more pressing tasks in the simulation with the confidence that the AI-staff is
handling the inner management of their groups.

When is a good time to use the Formation Editor?

The formation editor should be used at the beginning of every scenario with every player
group, to make sure that units are where the player would like them to be within each group
under their control. All other functions are optional and can be changed/used at any time.
This formation editor can be accessed at any time during scenario play.

Anything I need to do before using the Formation Editor?

Yes, you must decide how much control you would like over your formations and the
game. The designers have provided a series of preferences (found in the preferences menu
and the Harpoon3.ini file) that allow you to share control between you and the AI. It is
your game, and your choice, how you wish to use these preferences. I do, however, suggest
you play the game with total human control.

To play a game at which the player has total formation control and no AI control (beyond
what is ordered), several game preferences have to be turned off. The reason is that the
game has progressed to a point well beyond its original design, and some bugs previously
swept under the rug have started showing themselves. These include incorrect aircraft

assignments (e.g. S-3 Viking anti-sub aircraft on anti-air patrols), inefficient sonobuoy
deployments, and other frustrating behaviors. You have two ways to turn these settings off.

The first is temporary, and your selections will last only for the duration of the current
scenario. While playing the scenario, click the “Settings” menu from the top menu bar, then
select “Game Preferences”. The preferences that should be turned off are located under the
“Staff Handles” heading. Using this menu works for the duration of your current Harpoon

The second method is more permanent, and will be the default behavior in any scenario
you will play. You have to modify the “harpoon3.ini” file, found in your H3 main directory
(same folder where you have the Harpoon3 executable).
You access this file by double clicking its icon or opening it with notepad.
You modify this to keep your preference changes permanent (or until you
return to the .ini file to change them). Inside the file, the entry you should be
looking for looks like this:

; =============================================
; The following preference is for the
; amount of assistance the AI gives the human
; player. The bits in the value are assigned as
; follows
; Navigate paths 1
; Allocate weapons 2
; Assign threat axes 16
; Default formations 32
; Manage Air Assets 64
; =============================================
ExecutiveOfficerAssistance 3

The way this works is that you add-up the numbers of the selections that you want
enforced, and then you input the sum at the end of the “ExecutiveOfficerAssistance” line.
If, for example, you wanted the AI to manage everything except assigning threat axes, you
would add all the numbers except the last one, so 1 + 2 + 32 + 64 = 99
"ExecutiveOfficerAssistance 99”.

As you can see, in the example text above I have already modified it so only the “Navigate
Path” and “Allocate Weapons” selections are active. If you have any questions about your
“.ini” file please do see the FAQ at:

As said, the nice thing about these options is that you can gear the level of AI assistance to
your liking. The only requirement is that player set up patrol zones so their formations stay
in position during game play. (Ed: Actually, not even this step is necessary. I regularly play
scenarios without ever opening up the FE window even once. But then I also regularly lose
badly, so…☺) This is accomplished by setting all ships patrol zones to the ASW threat

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axis. Given that the ASW axis is always set to the path of intended motion (PIM), the units
will not break formation unless attacked by a torpedo.

What are formations, and when can I use the formation editor?

All platforms within the simulation (with the exception of submarines) can be grouped into
formations. This is accomplished by clicking and dragging one unit to another (or by shift-
selecting multiple units/groups and pressing the “G” button). The unit that you click last
will always be the center of the formation. Once this has been accomplished, you can click
the formation editor button and begin working in the FE for good. Given the functionality
of the editor, and the types of commands given, the only useful usage is with groups
composed of surface warships and aircraft (subs are too much “lone wolves” to be tethered
into a tight formation).

Where is the Formation Editor?

To access the formation editor, first click on the formation or group you would
like to edit and then click the formation editor toolbar button (the icon to the
left). It is the eleventh button from your left, on the toolbar of your tactical


The Basic Idea

The basic idea of the formation editor is to assign platforms to patrol zones, aligned to
threat axes. What you are essentially doing is setting up a template for the AI to position
and orient your units (much like the pre-defined group formations in numerous RTS games,
in fact). You can then shift your defences with relative ease by simply re-aligning your
threat axes in a new direction to face a new threat - or you can let the AI do this for you
(Harpoon3.ini file settings or the “threat axis” button on the in-game Preferences). Think of
holding a gun and pointing it around to deal with new threats and you get the picture.

You've got three axes to work with: ASW, AAW, and ASuW. These three axes are always
originating from the center of your group. You can only have one of each
type of axis for each formation. So, all of your AAW-assigned ships work with one axis,
likewise with your ASuW and ASW (the ASW threat axis is always oriented toward the
path of intended motion, i.e. your group’s current heading). They will still carry out other
defensive & offensive tasks as ordered, but their primary orientation will be to their
assigned axis.

To assign a platform to an axis, the clickology goes like this:

• First select any vessel, this will bring your axis-selection triangles into view (small
triangles poking out of the axis wedges).

• Click the triangle of the corresponding axis to which you would like to assign this
ship. This will bring the axis into view.
• Now, click the axis and shift it in the direction you think your threat will come
from. You can change the wedge-width (click-dragging the sides) and the bearing
(Click-dragging the end).
• Once this is accomplished, click the vessel once again and then click the “PZ”
button. Now, work through the corresponding Patrol Zone menus (patrol types etc.).
• Click okay when finished, and now you've assigned a ship or aircraft to a particular
axis. You now work through the rest of your formation in the same way.

Just remember that the axis you see is the axis that your currently selected ship is
assigned to. So if you switch from, say, an Aegis cruiser to a Spruance destroyer, don’t
be surprised if you jump from the AAW axis to the ASW one. Harpoon helps by using
the same color to mark the PZ as it does the axis.

Okay so now you've read this, you’re probably wondering, "Great, how does all this help
me?" Well, it’s like this. Let’s say you initially set up your AAW axis on the port side of
your group, expecting the main air attack to come from that direction. You set the pickets,
you assign the air patrols, you put your capital units behind a strong screen, the whole
works. Now, you soon find out that the threat is actually in the opposite direction. Back to
manually re-positioning every single actor on the show? Hell no! All you have to do to fix
this is open up the FE window. Grab that AAW axis and slide it in the proper direction.
The units you had assigned to the axis will immediately begin moving in that direction to
cover the new front. You can then quickly click out of the FE and move on to more
pressing tasks, knowing that your vessels will race to the proper positions to defend1. The
patrol zones are positioned relative to the axis, so as you slide it around the patrol zones
move along with it.
Also notice that the FE works exactly that same with land airbases. The difference here is
that you are dealing exclusively with aircraft patrols.

Display Window and Buttonology

Looking at this workspace, you will have two main areas of interest. The first is the display
window that gives you a visual representation of your group in the context of a circular
plot, incremental range measurements and threat axes. The second area is the FE toolbar
that includes a series of 9 buttons that have specific functions in the editor. You must use
these two together to really exploit the formation editor.

Naturally, the units will take some to time to settle in their new positions. Aircraft will reposition themselves
quite fast; helos and ships will need more time, so keep this is mind when re-aligning your defences. Also,
when radically shifting threat axes, it is a good idea to slow-down your whole group. The less your ships have
to worry about keeping up with the formation’s speed, the more freedom they have to manouver into their
new patrol zones.

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FE display window and its functions

The display window is the visual representation of your formation. It is composed of a

circular plot, the units you've added to the group, the three threat axis marker triangles and
one visible threat axis at a time (the others are visible by clicking the other threat axis
marker triangles). This window is very similar to your tactical display (indeed, if you zoom
out far enough you can begin to see other outside units/groups) and gives you the option to
view all sorts of information that will be discussed in depth when we get to the relevant
button. Like your tactical display, you can also change its size and location using the same
window function buttons or the equivalent keyboard shortcuts2.

Circular Plot

The Circular plot is

simply a visual
reference that gives
players a logical
pattern to set up
patrol zones in a
logical arrangement
in reference to the
center of the
formation. This
would normally be
the center of the
group’s gravity
(command or high
value units, e.g. a
carrier or amphibious
ship). This plot is
marked by measures
of radius in nautical
miles and is editable by clicking and dragging the circles in or out, allowing the player to
set up formation displays of any reasonable size (player comfort and map size permitting).

The Platforms within the Plot

Viewing the units within the circular plot, you will see that all of the units you've click-
and-dragged together to form the group are included. The unit towards which you clicked

There is a small bug associated with the FE window. In any normal tactical display window, right-clicking
anywhere on the map will re-center the view on that display at the point you click. Doing the same to the FE
window will make it lose focus and “disappear”, hidden behind the main tactical display window. If this
happens, before thinking “Now WTF???”, click on the “Window” menu on the top menu bar and check the
list of currently open windows; the FE window should be somewhere there. Select it and it will re-appear
ahead of everything else. You can now get back to working with it.

and dragged all other units is at the center of the formation. You will notice small PIM
(path of intended motion) lines moving from each unit (if you don’t, you may have selected
to hide the paths – click on “/” on the numeric keypad to toggle this). You may click and
select any unit; you will know it is selected when it is surrounded by the square selection
box. When you do this, you can then use any of the other functions within the editor to
issue this unit orders.

ASW, AAW, ASuW Axes and Corresponding Marker Triangles:

You will notice several colored axes (wedges) and corresponding marker triangles within
your circular plot. These are the threat axes, and are very important to the management of
your groups. These are the player’s way of indicating to the AI where expected threats will
come from, and where the AI should concentrate its efforts in each particular case.

To activate the axis, simply click on any vessel which will bring one into view. You will
see small triangles within the circular plots that correspond to each axis. Simply clicking
the triangles will allow you to view a particular axis. You can only view one axis at a time.
To view another axis, just click on the corresponding triangle in the circular plot.

To manipulate an axis the procedure is simply click, hold, drag and release. By clicking
and dragging the end of each axis you can shift them in the direction you would like. Keep
in mind that the ASW axis is locked to the path of intended motion so it cannot be shifted.
To change the width of each axis, simply click on the sides of the axis and drag to the
appropriate size.

Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Axis: The ASW axis will always be facing the path of
intended motion (PIM). The reason for this is that is where most ASW threats are expected
to be coming from. The ASW axis will not affect sonar performance. So the direction the
axis is pointing does not imply better sonar performance.

Anti Air Warfare (AAW) Axis: The AAW axis is set to the expected direction of an
air/missile threat. This axis can be set by the player and will remain in the same direction
until the player or the AI changes it. To set this axis just click and hold the mouse button
which will “grab” the axis. Then slide it to the direction you would like and release (by
releasing the mouse button).

Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) Axis: The ASuW axis is set to the expected direction of a
surface threat. This axis can be set by the player and will remain in the same direction until
the player or AI changes it. To set this axis just click and hold the mouse button which will
“grab” the axis. Then slide it to the direction you would like and release (by releasing the
mouse button).

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Zoom-In/Zoom-Out Buttons: These buttons allow player to zoom in and

zoom out their formation editor displays. To use simply click either button
which will zoom them in or out one level of magnification.

Formation Window
Preferences Button: This
button allows players to set
certain display options for
their formation editor display. When
clicked the formation Window
Preferences Window appears
allowing selection of certain visual
properties of the display. To select
an option simply click the available
selection boxes (checked active,
unchecked inactive) and select okay
at the bottom of the menu to activate

Formation Sensor Button: This

button allows players to set emission
conditions for each individual unit in
a formation. As in all other Harpoon
emission control menus you will
need to set each type of sensor to the
appropriate setting (active, passive,
intermittent). Any unit in your group
which has a sensor set to active will cause the entire groups emission condition to be
reported as active although that may only be true with one particular sensor. This does not
mean that an enemy will detect your entire group (they will only detect that sensor)
however, it does mean that the one member is transmitting.

Note-Reminder of how intermittent sensor settings work:

You have four paired values to fill in. The first two are: Active Duration and Percent
Variance. The second pair are: Passive Duration and Percent Variance. The Active
Duration field is where you put the value for the number of minutes you would like this
sensor to be active. The associated Percent Variance is the percent value change you
would like your active value to change after each cycle. So if you entered 10 minutes active
and a 20% variation, your sensor will go active for 8 to 12 minutes (2 is 20% of 10). The
Passive Duration field and its associated percent variance work the same way. You then
click okay and you are complete.

Patrol Zone Button: This button allows player to set individual patrol zones to
individual surface units within a formation as well as setting a type of patrol

To create a zone, simply select a unit by clicking its icon. Next, select the threat axis you
wish to assign the patrol zone to. Then, click the patrol zone button and then move your
mouse cursor to the area you would like that zone to be. You will then click and drag,
forming the zone which you will see form as you do this (a roughly donut-shaped area).
When done simply release the mouse button. You will now be prompted as to how your
selected unit will maneuver in your newly drawn zone.

This will be in the form of a menu that will give

you a number of choices. These choices are:
Sprint-Drift, Station Keep and random.

Sprint-Drift is a patrol pattern where units will

race at full speed and then drift, allowing good usage of passive sonar (particularly units
fitted with towed array or VDS). This is a typical ASW pattern used by modern navies
worldwide. Great care must be taken with this type of zone. Please assign these zones in
logical patterns (around 8 miles or longer) ahead of your group. Sprint-Drift patterns that
are too short or improperly oriented may consume your escort’s fuel at an inefficient rate
and slow your group down. Escorts assigned to this mission must have a top speed high
enough to keep up with the rest of the group after drifting. If they do not, perhaps it is
better to assign them to a station keeping patrol zone.

Station Keeping will enforce a constant distance and heading relative to the center of the
formation. The ship will always remain in the same zone and keep up with the rest of the
group. This is a sound patrol type for AAW escorts, who need to be constantly in a fixed
position relative to the high-value units they are screening. A typical station keeping patrol
zone should be no larger than 2 miles by 2 miles in size.

Random causes the unit to select a random side of its assigned zone and travel to its
midpoint and take up a station. Always use this setting with larger zones. Reason being is
that in terms of distances and sensor detection small zones may make this setting irrelevant.

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To delete a patrol zone assignment, simply reassign the surface unit using the same
procedure as described above. Surface units must always be assigned to a patrol zone, or
else the AI will assign the ship to whatever it thinks it should be, which could have some
undesirable results.

Formation Air Operations Button: As its name implies, the air operations
button allows you to assign embarked aircraft to patrol zones within threat axes.

The procedure to assign aircraft to the formation air patrols is as follows. First select the
corresponding axis you would like to assign the aircraft to, and then select the platform
which hosts the aircraft you wish to assign (a carrier, an airbase or a helo-hosting ship).
Click the Formation Air Operations button once and then click, drag and release your patrol
zone as you did with a standard ship patrol zone. When complete, click the Formation Air
Operations button once again.

When you do this, a new menu will appear. It is the

Select Patrol Station/Type menu. This allows you to
choose from 5 different types of formation air patrol
zones. These are: CAP, AEW, Dipping Sonar,
Sonobuoy and SUCAP patrol zones types.

CAP (Combat Air Patrol): This mission is generally associated with the AAW Threat
axis. When issued, aircraft will launch from the host platform and engage any aircraft
entering its associated threat zone. These aircraft are anchored to their positions and will
act defensively unless an identified enemy contact moves into engagement range.

Notes: This is a very useful patrol zone but should be limited in use. The AI tends to be
fairly liberal with the amount of aircraft assigned to this mission, and will not hesitate to
send them up in flurries – not having ready birds on the deck to deal with emergencies is a
bad habit. It is advised that you set very few assets to these patrol zones, and instead assign
aircraft to AAW patrol missions and intercept missions in the Mission Editor for best effect.
The only aircraft that should be assigned to this patrol zone are those that have an AAW
role, i.e. fighters & interceptors. For best effect, make sure that the staff-AI does NOT
handle formation air patrols (either through the .ini file or through the in-game
preferences menu).

AEW (Airborne Early Warning): This mission is generally associated with the AAW
threat axis, although may be associated with others as well (e.g. as an ASuW picket). When
issued, aircraft will launch from the host platform and carry out a patrol on the specified
patrol zone.

Notes: This function is very useful. Please be sure to assign AEW aircraft to this mission
(E-2 Hawkeyes, Sea King AEW, Ka-29RLD Helix AEW, E-3 AWACS etc) and be sure to
take advantage of their advanced sensors. Also keep in mind that if the enemy can get a

solid ESM fix on the position of these units, he’s likely to assume that your high-value
assets are not far away. Therefore, great care must be taken in positioning them.

Dipping Sonar: This mission should be associated with the ASW threat axis. Units
ordered to this mission will take off, patrolling their assigned zones with their dipping
sonar. Upon detecting a contact, they will move to localize and attack.

Notes: This is another useful type. This patrol should only be assigned to helicopters with
dipping sonar (SH-60F and Ka-27 are good examples; if you’re uncertain which of your
helos have such equipment, check the DB) and they should be placed in useful but efficient
positions with sonar emissions always turned on. Useful positions are somewhere where
you think an attack submarine would be if it wanted to engage your high value units but not
close enough to fire torpedoes. Efficient positions are locations where they can be useful
but where they would be expending fuel at a rate that would not allow long enough on
station time. As a rule of thumb thirty nautical miles is the maximum you would with to use
– though the helicopters have a much higher theoretical radius than that, keep in mind that
they spend a lot of fuel just going somewhere, hovering while using their dips, and then
moving somewhere else .

Sonobuoy: This mission should be associated with the ASW threat axis. Units ordered to
this mission will take off, and begin patrolling their assigned zones dropping patterns of
sonobuoys. Upon detection of a contact, they will move to engage. When sonobuoys or fuel
is expended these units will return to base to reload.

Notes: This function is useful, but you should only use it carefully as it has been known to
cause problems. Huge numbers of sonobuoys are known to slow the game down greatly
(the sonar modeling being as complex as it is) and the AI will drop them by the bucketload.
Second, although many navies have their units drop sonobuoy barriers, there is still a finite
and usually limited amount of them (Back in 1987, the Soviets had surged three Victor-IIIs
on the east US coast and the Atlantic Fleet spent almost its entire stock of sonobuoys
hunting them down). Harpoon Three has no logistics settings for sonobuoys, so you can
drop as many as you like. Unfortunately this is a breach of reality and this function takes
full advantage of it. Finally, use of this mission is a bit off-doctrine. In most cases, navies
will use host units with good sensors (towed arrays, VDS) to detect distant contacts. They
will then launch ASW helicopters with sonobuoys to localize, identify and prosecute
submarines. As such, this patrol zone does not match that model. However, assigning a
Sub-strike mission to embarked sonobuoy-laden aircraft/helos in the Mission Editor does
exactly that. So that is what should be used, instead of a sonobuoy air patrol-zone mission.
Preferably, use only dipping sonar to carry out pre-detection ASW patrols within your
groups. If you do indeed decide to use this patrol zone, be sure that assigned units are ASW
types with sonobuoy loadouts.

SUCAP (Surface Combat Air Patrol): This mission is normally assigned to the ASuW
Threat Axis. Units assigned to this mission will launch and patrol their assigned zones.
They will move to engage any identified surface threat detected along the ASuW Threat

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Notes: This function should be assigned to aircraft with weapons capable against enemy
surface platforms. This is another patrol zone whose usage should better not be left to the
AI, as you may get undesirable results (flurries of aircraft chasing a tiny gunboat, or
aircraft being unavailable for other ops). The most valuable usage of this mission is with
helicopters armed with anti-shipping weapons, e.g. SH-60 with AGM-119 Penguin or Lynx
with Sea Skua.

Once you choose the mission you would like, check the appropriate radio button. When
you do this, a familiar sensors menu will appear. Set the appropriate emission controls for
each type of sensors you have with your platform. When completed, click the okay button.

You will then be directed to the “assigned aircraft” menu. To assign an aircraft to your
mission, select it by clicking the entry in the upper menu. You’ll know it’s selected if its
entry is highlighted. Next, click the “Assign” button and the “How Many” mini-window
will appear. Enter the proper amount and click okay. You will be returned to the “Assigned
aircraft” menu. You will now note that the entry has the “O/T Station” indication under the
Assignment column (last to the right). This means that your aircraft has been successfully
assigned. Clicking “Continue” will finalize your assignment and you’ve now assigned an
aircraft to a patrol zone.

To delete an air patrol zone in the formation editor you must simply select the unit and then
click the air ops button. The unit will then return to its base and the mission will be deleted.

Tracking Threat Axis Button: This is perhaps one of the most advanced
features of the formation editor, because it allows you to “tag” a threat axis to a
contact you wish to track. What this means is that as that contact changes its

relative bearing to you, the threat axis (and units assigned to it) will automatically re-align
with it3.

To activate the tracking threat axis button, click on the axis you would like to assign to a
particular contact, making sure that the threat axis type matches the contact type you are
choosing to track. Single-click your tactical display window and then double click the
contact you would like to track. Your axis is now locked on that target and will stay until
you reassign it, or the target moves outside sensor range. If the target is lost, the axis will
hold to the last known bearing of the target.

Detach Unit Button: As its name implies, if a unit is selected and this button is
clicked the unit will be detached (ungrouped) from the formation.

CPU Button: This button allows you to hand over a unit of your formation to
computer control. The AI will then set appropriate zones and threat axes. The
computer will also gain control of all aviation units on that vessel. This is
accomplished by selecting the unit and then depressing the CPU Button. To remove CPU
control you simply re-assign the stations and axes.

Practical Example

Now that you’ve got a good deal of familiarization with the interface, it is time to see a
practical example. This walkthrough will be a series of screenshots with corresponding
explanations as to what is going on in them. For this example, we shall build a small SSG
(surface strike group) consisting of a CG (cruiser), DD (destroyer) and FFG (frigate).
Given that this group will be tasked in an environment where any type of threat (AAW,
ASW, ASuW) is possible, all three ships and embarked helicopters will be given a specific
tasking in the formation editor. We will assume that this is a coastal patrol with land to the

The usefulness of this feature is quite obvious. If you’re worried that a particular base or ship is just waiting
for you to drop your guard even just a little so that it can shower you with aircraft or missiles, just tag your
AAW axis on it and your entire anti-air screen will always orient towards it. Now you can relax (or sort of)
and go back to the business of removing that threat for good.

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east. Probable threats are air and surface from the east, and submarine along the path of
intended motion.

To start, I have dropped my three units at

desirable positions on my Harpoon tactical map.
My CG is centered and marked as flagship (little
flag next to ship symbol) and is also selected
(box around it). My DD is to the north and my
FFG is to the Northeast. You will notice baby
blue lines protruding northward (0 degrees) from
each ship. These are your PIM (path of intended
motion) lines. So when building your formation
always orient in the direction your PIM lines are
pointed. I will now build my formation by
clicking, dragging and releasing my FFG and
DD on my CG. I have done this because I
specifically want the CG to be the center of the

Once I have completed this procedure, I now

have a formation built. As you can see, the
symbology has changed to note this. I have
named my formation “SSG”; it has a heading of 0
degrees and a speed of 0 knots. Speed and
heading are of those values because I have not
issued any orders to the formation in the
formation editor or the mission editor.

It is now time to delve into the formation editor.

Click its corresponding button, which is the

eleventh button from your left.

We now have accessed the

formation editor. I have taken the
liberty of clicking on one of the
units, so all relevant information
will be displayed. You will first
notice the units I dropped in the
first screenshot. Their positions
have held as they were. You will
also notice the circular plot, which
consists of four range-rings marked
in nautical miles.


You see the ASW threat axis

which is the current visible threat
axis (you can only view one at a
time). To access the others, you
will see clickable marker triangles
for the other axes on the outer
range-ring. To access the ASuW
axis, I would click the white
marker triangle on the lower right
portion of the screenshot. To
access the AAW axis I would
click the red marker triangle on
the lower right portion of the
screenshot. Looking over what I
have made, I feel that I could
make my circular plot a bit larger.
To do this, I simply click, drag
out and release my outer range circle. This change will be reflected in the next screenshot.

Now it’s time to assign my first vessel to an axis and I must make some decisions and
begin the process. I know that I will face all three types of threats in this scenario (AAW,
ASW and ASuW). I decide to assign my CG to an AAW axis because its sensors and
weapons seem most suited.
Looking over on the lower left
side of the screen, I find the
AAW marker triangle and click
it, which brings the AAW axis
into view. Knowing that my
threat is mostly likely going to
come from the East, I need to
swing it to the east. I do so by
click, drag and releasing the axis
in the appropriate direction. This
change will be reflected in the
next screenshot.

I have now swiveled my AAW

axis over to the appropriate
direction and now must decide
on where I would like to position
my patrol zone. Looking at my circular plot I realize that the farther my patrol zone is from
the center the farther the ship must travel if I, at some point, change the direction of the
axis. I play it safe and decide to put my patrol zone closer to the center. I also understand
that, once I place this zone with the axis, it is locked in position within that axis. It is now
time to create my patrol zone.

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To create my patrol zone I follow these steps:

1. First make sure that the ship I would like to assign to the axis is selected (box around it)
and that I will assign it to the axis I desire (the axis is visable).
2. I then click the PZ (Patrol Zone) button and then click, drag and release the zone I
would like to create. When I release, the Select Station/Patrol Type menu will appear
with my three options (station keep, sprint drift and random). Looking over the
properties I realize that station keep is the most appropriate. I click its associated radio
button and then click okay. My patrol zone now appears in the location I have selected.
I know it is correct because the color of the patrol zone matches the color of the axis it
is assigned too. I have now successfully assigned the CG to the AAW axis. The
screenshot shows what this looks like when successful.

I now move on to assigning my

other two vessels to their
appropriate missions. I will not
do a click-by-click description as
the procedure will be the same. I
will, however, provide a
screenshot of a ship assigned to
the ASuW axis and ASW axis as
well well as explanations.

Using the same procedure as

above, I have assigned my FFG
to the ASuW axis. I have set this
axis oriented toward the
northeast, because that is the
direction I assume enemy surface
forces will come from. If any are
detected, my FFG will now move
on its own to engage.

You will also notice that the

AAW marker triangle is now
found in the same postion as I
had moved the axis. This is just
a quick visual que to remind the
user where they had left an axis
when not in view. I now move
on the the ASW axis.


Using the same procedure as

above, I have now assigned my
DD to a patrol zone on the ASW
axis. The groups path of intended
motion is north, so that is where
the ASW axis is locked. I have
set an ASW patrol station about
10-15 nautical miles from the
vessels I would like to protect so
as to hopefully detect, localize
and prosecute any submarine
before it moves into torpedo

As mentioned before, setting

ships to patrol stations on the
ASW axis is the only formation
editor related necessity to play the game. The axis is fixed on the path of intended motion,
so when you assign ships to patrol zones they will always stay in formation. So, if you are
playing a game in which you do not wish to use the formation editor’s features at all, you
must at least enter once and set ASW patrol missions for each vessel.

We will now move on to the final lesson of this example, and that is setting up an air patrol
station within this editor.

Looking over my forces I decide that I will assign a ASW helicopter from my DD to a
dipping sonar air mission within a patrol zone in the ASW Axis. Directions to accomplish
this are as follows.

1. I first make sure that the

appropriate axis is selected (axis is

2. I then click the formation air

operations button and click, drag
release my intended patrol zone.

3. When I accomplish this the select

station/patrol type menu appears. I
click the appropriate radio button
(dipping sonar) and then click

4. The sensor menu now appears. I

set the unit to active, to allow it to
use its surface-search radar to

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assist the group. I understand that once I do this, my group emissions condition will be
reported as active (the indication “EMCON: ACTIVE” will apear on the group status
window) because at least one radar will be up. I also understand that this is the only
radar the enemy will see – so no big revelation. I then press “OK” to complete this

5. The “assign aircraft to mission” menu now appears. I click each entry to find the
helicopter which is hosted on my DD. I will know this, because the bottom portion of
this menu gives me that information (“Currently on the…”). Once found, I then click
the assign button at the bottom of the menu. It will then ask me how many, I assign one
and press okay. I am now returned to the main “assign aircraft” menu and know that my
aircraft has been assigned because its entry has been marked with “O/T Station” under
the Assignment column. I then press continue and my task has been accomplished.

Aircraft that start on ships will not be visible until you run the simulation. Once this occurs,
your aircraft should take off and immediately begin their patrol, provided they are ready.
To be sure that the aircraft patrol zone has been assigned simply select the aircraft from
within the formation editor. Then you a should
see the patrol zone you have drawn and assigned
it to. Is should be the same color as the axis you
have assigned it to.

We have now basically complete the formation

editor assignments for this group. Lets see how
we did by looking at two of the axis.

This is a screenshot of the final ASW axis. It is

fixed to the path of intended motion so we
cannot change it unless we change course of the
group. Visually, we verify that the DD and
helicopter we’ve assigned to it are within their
patrol zones. I have selected the helicopter,
so you can see that it has a drawn patrol
zone and the color matches that of the axis
so it is correct.
It appears thus far that we have successfully
assigned our units in the formation editor.
There is, however, one more check.

In this first screenshot of the AAW axis we

see that our CG is now within its defined
patrol zone within the AAW axis. It appears
we have successfully assigned it to a patrol
zone within the AAW axis. However, I want
to double-check my work as well as give
you a good visual example of the value of

the formation editor. Let’s say ESM on our cruiser detects a distant radar contact to the
northwest of this group. I quickly click the axis, drag and drop it in that direction.

As you can see, I have shifted the AAW axis

and the ship has followed taking up its
assigned patrol zone within the axis. It is in
the same position it was in the axis as it was
when the axis was oriented east. It is now
successfully engaging the detected aircraft,
fulfilling its AAW role.

As you can see, this is the value of the

formation editor. By assigning platforms to
patrol zones within defined threat axes at the
beginning of a session you were able to
quickly access, change and reorient to meet
a new threat with only a single quick click-
and-drag. You are now able to concentrate
on more pressing tasks knowing that your
groups are well managed by the AI per your orders.


I do hope this guide has successfully covered the formation editor, but more importantly
that you have a better understanding of it. Go ahead and tinker with the various
functionalities and find out what works best for you. If you have any questions feel free to
ask. This article will also be found on the Harpoon HQ homepage for download.


First this is an unofficial, unsanctioned guide guide written out of a need for useful documentation to assist
players with the game. Thank you to Jesse Spears and Don G for giving something for me to tap on about.
Next thank you to all the pooners how have submitted questions to the Harpoint mailing list. This was critical
to determining the direction of this document.
Thanks to Dale, Ragnar, Craig, Dan for putting up with my questions and constant whining. As usual you
guys were a great help.
Finally, the pictures appearing in the title where property of a US Navy website. Thanks for making this
guide look pretty.

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How does it stack up against real life?

By Ragnar Emsoy

This article is based on writings by Oliver Einhaeuser, Daryl Burke, Pete, Jens Meyer, Jim
Collins, Darrel Dearing (Harpoon II/3MP programmer) and Jesse Spears (Harpoon II and
Harpoon3 programmer). It aims at describing the Harpoon 3 sonar model in detail and also
takes a look at how sonar works in real life.


This chapter explains the theory of sonar, only as far as it is necessary in order to
understand the physical background of the formulas being specified below. It is far from
being an exhaustive treatise on marine acoustics; readers who are interested in further
information on this subject have to look elsewhere for more specific sources. A basic
knowledge in math and physics is recommended.

Sound Measurement

The Harpoon 3 game engine uses a logarithmic scale for sound intensities, so the author
uses in his formulas the measure "dB". However, the Decibel scale normally relates on
special reference intensities (which vary between the countries). But in H3 only
differences between given noise levels are important, so this information is irrelevant
anyway. The only noise levels declared by the game engine are the background noise
levels, all others are given in the database.


I = p2 / ( c * ro ) [N/(m*s)]

p : sound pressure
c : speed of sound (in water ~1400m/s)
ro : specific gravity (water ~1000kg/m^3)

As the sound intensity can vary extremely (up to 1014), it is converted into the logarithmic
noise level L:
L = 10 * log10( I / I0 ) [dB]

I0 : reference intensity (normally with p0 = 10-6 Pa at 1m)

This scaling is handy but has to be used with caution. Some examples for the relation
between sound intensity and noise level:
2*I L + 3.0dB
3*I L + 4.8dB
5*I L + 7.0dB
7*I L + 8.5dB
10 * I L + 10.0dB

Noise Signature by Vessels

Every ship or submarine emits sound energy, which is unevenly spread across the entire
acoustic spectrum. The frequency allocation of the emitted noise is unique for each vessel.
To reduce calculation time, Harpoon 3 only works with discrete bands which sum up the
sound intensities within large frequency ranges to a few total band noise levels. There are
noise levels for three frequency bands: Low (LF), Medium (MF) and High (HF). The
Harpoon 3 database characterizes units with the average of these three values (Passive
Sonar Cross-Section). The total noise levels however are not the same for all frequency
bands. To reflect this, Harpoon 3 calculates the band noise with the average Passive Sonar
Cross-Section by adding a band-depending constant:

L(xF) = Lpscs + Gf [dB]

Like the steady frequency allocation, their proportion to each other should be unique for
each ship/sub class, too. Unfortunately, the Harpoon 3 sonar model only knows a standard
frequency allocation being used for all units (including weapons). The noise intensity
emitted by a vessel strongly depends on its speed. Harpoon 3 works with a simple, linear
L(v) = L0 + mv * v + Gc [dB]

L0 is the LF/MF/HF total band noise level (see above). The noise increase factor mv is the
same for all three frequency bands. Cavitation which occurs when the ship/sub runs on full
or flank speed is reflected with the constant Gc. This rule means that the Passive Sonar

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Cross Section in the Harpoon 3 database is something like an "idling noise level". The max
range for direct-path detection is 15nm.

Passive Sonar Background Noise

Sonar has to find the sound signature of a target within the background noise. This noise is
produced by the sonar itself (reflected at the sensor sensitiveness), the own vessel, and the
environment. As it (primarily) depends on the noise level ratio of target signature to
interference whether a sub/ship is detected, this phenomenon must be reflected. Sound
emitted by a ship/submarine is not only heard by other units; acoustic devices on the
emitter itself receive it, too. This noise is calculated by Harpoon 3 roughly as the target
noise level. Oceans are not very silent, even without any shipping in. Harpoon 3 works
with an ambient noise level calculated like this:

La = La,0 + mssl * (Sea State Level) [dB]

La,0 represents the noise produced by geological phenomena, animals etc. There is a
certain La,0 for each Frequency band. Waves increase the noise level by mssl for each Sea
State Level. Ambient noise and noise by the own ship/submarine effect together on
acoustic devices, so their noise levels have to be added. Because additions are impossible
in the logarithmic scale, the total sensor background noise has to be calculated with the
sound intensities instead of the noise levels:
Lb = 10 * log10( Ia + Ir ) with Ia/r = 10^( La/r / 10 )

Sound Propagation Characteristics

On its way from the emitter to the receiver, sound is reduced by two phenomena:
propagation and absorption. Propagating sound forms a sphere with the emitter at the
centre of it. As the area of this sphere grows by the squared radius, the sound intensity
decreases in the same way:
Iprop = I / R2
Lprop = 10 * log10{ I / ( I0 * R2 ) } = L - 20 * log10( R ) [dB]
The radius R is given in nautical miles, so the reference distance where the sound
intensities are measured would actually be 1nm. But the reference distance for all entries in
the database is 1m. Therefore the noise level first has to be re-scaled:
Lnm = Lm - 20 * log10( 1852 ) = Lm - 65.35 lsi [dB]
Propagation is identical for all frequencies. Additionally, the medium in which the sound
waves run (here water) absorb sound energy. This effect strongly varies with the
frequency: High frequencies are absorbed really fast, low frequencies can run hundreds of
miles. For all frequencies, the rule is that the noise level decreases by a constant number of
Decibels for every mile:
Labsorb = L - md * R [dB]

The value md determines how fast the sound energy is absorbed by the water. Harpoon 3
knows three different reduction factors, one for each frequency band.
Both effects are together reflected in Harpoon 3. As a simple rule, low-frequent noise
mostly decreases because of propagation, while high-frequent sound energy is primarily
absorbed by water.

Active Sonar

From the physical aspect, active sonar in general works like passive sonar. The only
difference is that the searching unit first has to produce the sound it wants to receive from
the target. So the sound suffers the same losses by propagation and by absorption like at
passive sonar, but with the double range - from the sonar to the target and back to the
searching vessel:

Iprop = ( I / R2 ) / R2 = I / R4

Lprop = 10 * log10{ I / ( I0 * R4 ) } = L - 40 * log10( R ) [dB]

Labsorb = L - md * 2 * R [dB]

To compensate for this fact, active sonar emits sound at much higher energy than any
existing vessel could do. Active and passive sonar differ in terms of background noise. As
all active sonar being in service are still narrow-band systems, the background noise
produced by both the environment and the own vessel is less than at passive systems with
their wide processed spectrum. For active sonar, Harpoon 3 does not reflect the self-
emitted noise like like it does at passive sonar; this source of interference is ignored. But
higher speed of the searching unit still reduces the sensor sensitivities because the
turbulence on the surface of the sonar dome, which grows with speed, distorts the emitted
and received signals.

The Layer

Harpoon 3 has an acoustic thermal layer at 40-50m. Submarines at Intermediate or greater

depth are below the layer. Submarines at shallow, periscope or surface depth are above the
layer. The layer varies in strength depending on the sea state and is calculated the
following way:

layerStrength = min ( 10 - Sea State )

Ships and submarines with Towed Array and VDS systems are not affected by this rule
and can make long-range detection below the layer.

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Convergence Zones

Convergence zones are simulated by adding 15dB to the target noise level. The size of the
CZ is calculated differently depending on where you are in the world. Normally, CZs are
calculated the following way:

CZ radius = 50,000 yards + a random number between 0 and 21,000 yards.

CZ width = 3,000 yards + a random number between 0 and 8,000 yards.
CZ minimum sea depth = 250m

In (for example) the Mediterranean the CZs are calculated differently:

CZ radius = 30,000 yards + a random number between 0 and 11,000 yards.

CZ width = 2,000 yards + a random number between 0 and 6,000 yards.
CZ minimum sea depth = 125m

Wave Noise Interference

In shallow waters (depths of 250m or less, 125m in the Med), the performance of LF sonar
is greatly reduced by wave noise interference (target signature is reduced by 8dB). MF
sonar is less affected (5dB), while HF sonar hardly affected at all (2dB). A target located
in a CZ produces an additional 15dB.

Towed Array Sonar

Towed Array and VDS are most effective when used at speeds from 5 to 13 knots. The
systems cannot be used at speeds greater than 23 knots. These systems can search below
the layer without suffering any penalties.

Dipping Sonar

Dipping sonar on helicopters is automatically deployed when the helicopter

is hovering at altitudes of 50 meters or lower. Dipping sonar is not affected by self noise.

Submerged submarine with mast

A submerged submarine with mast up can be detected at up XVIHEAto 5nm. The chance
for a detection is calculated this way:

percentageDetect = 30 - ( range * range ) - ( Sea State * 5 )

Alerted Operator

The Alerted Operator modifier is used for close targets and adds 2dB to the target noise

(Ed. Most readers will probably want to skip this section and jump straight into the
concrete tactical examples. Sonar pros and math uber-brains are of course welcome to
tweak the numbers to their heart’s content ☺)

----- Passive Sonar -----

Target Noise
Every target ship/sub in Harpoon 3 emits sound within each frequency band at the noise
level Lt:
Lt = ( Lt,0 + Gf) + mv,t * vt + Gc [dB]

Lt,0 : target Passive Sonar Cross-Section from the database

Gf : divergence of band noise level from average noise level
LF: Gf = -6 dB MF: Gf = +5 dB HF: Gf = -19 dB
mv,t : target noise increase by speed
mv,t = 1 dB/kts
vt : target speed
Gc : noise increase by cavitation (only at full/flank speed)
Gc = 2 dB

Ambient Noise
The ambient noise level La is:
La = La,0 + mw,p * ssl [dB]

La,0 : ambient noise basis level

(LF: La,0 = 87 dB, MF: La,0 = 90 dB, HF: La,0 = 73 dB)
mw,p : noise increase by waves
mw,p = 5 dB/(sea state level)
ssl : sea state level
In Harpoon 3, the ambient noise level does not vary with depth.

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Sensor Background Noise

The passive sonar also receives noise from its own carrier with the intensity Lr:
Lr = Lr,0 + mv,r * vr [dB]

Lr,0 : receiver Passive Sonar Cross-Section from the database. For Towed Array sonar
and VDS this value is one-third the rear Passive Sonar Cross-Section from the database.
mv,r : receiver noise increase by speed
(LF: mv,r = 3.6 dB/kts, MF: mv,r = 4.2 dB/kts, HF: mv,r = 5.5 dB/kts)
vr : receiver speed
Cavitation at full/flank speed has no effect on Lr. The total intensity Lb,p of the sensor
background noise then is:
Lb,p = ( 10 / mb ) * log10{ 10^( Lr / 10 ) + 10^( La / 10 ) } [dB]

mb : background noise reduction factor

(LF: mb = 3.4, MF: mb = 2.9, HF: mb = 3.7)
The logarithmic addition of Lr and La can easily be done with the table below; for L1 take
the larger one of Lr and La, for L2 take the smaller one of both.
L1 - L2 SUM( L1, L2 )
9 L1
9 L1 + 1
8 L1 + 1
7 L1 + 1
6 L1 + 1
5 L1 + 1
4 L1 + 1
3 L1 + 2
2 L1 + 2
1 L1 + 3
0 L1 + 3

To get Lb,p, the result from the table then only has to be multiplied with 1/mb.

Condition for Passive Detection

A target is detected by passive sonar at the range R with:

Lt - { 20 * log10( R ) + 65 dB + md * R } - Lb,p = Gs,p

md : dispersion factor
(LF: md = 1/6 dB/nm, MF: md = 1 dB/nm, HF: md = 3 dB/nm)


Gs,p : sensor Passive Sensitivity from the database

The dispersion factor (a.k.a. Attenuation Coefficient) varies by ocean, season and
frequency. Only the Atlantic norms are used in Harpoon 3, and the values are not set by
location and time of year. In shallow waters (depths of 250m or less, 125m in the Med),
the performance of LF sonar is greatly reduced by wave noise interference (target
signature is reduced by 8dB). MF sonar is less affected (5dB), while HF sonar hardly
affected at all (2dB). A target located in a CZ produces an additional 15dB of sound.

With LF at all ranges, MF and HF at < 5000 yards:

20 * log10( R ) + md * R = Gd( R )

MF and HF at 5000+ yards:

37 + 10 * log10( R ) + md * R = Gd( R )

and the table below the detection range can be quickly estimated. Values in the table are all
rounded down.

R [nm] LF: Gd( R ) MF: Gd( R ) HF: Gd(R)

2 6 8 12
3 10 12 18
4 12 16 24
5 14 18 28
6 16 21 33
7 18 23 37
8 19 26 42
9 20 28 46
10 21 30 50
11 22 31 53
12 23 33 57
13 24 35 61
14 25 36 64
15 26 38 68
16 26 40 72
17 27 41 75
18 28 43 79
19 28 44 82
20 29 46 86
21 29 47 89
22 30 48 92

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23 31 50 96
24 31 51 99
25 32 52 102
26 32 54 106
27 33 55 109
28 33 56 113
29 34 58 116
30 34 59 119
31 34 60 122
32 35 62 126
33 35 63 129
34 36 64 132
35 36 65 135

Lb,p = ( 10 / mb ) * log10{ 10^( Lr / 10 ) + 10^( La / 10 ) } [dB]

mb : background noise reduction factor

LF: mb = 3.4 MF: mb = 2.9 HF: mb = 3.7

----- Active Sonar -----

Sensor Background Noise

The active sonar background noise level Lb,a depends on the receiver speed and the sea
Lb,a = Lb,a,0 + ma * vr + mw,a * ssl [dB]

Lb,a,0 : active sonar basis background noise level

(LF: Lb,a,0 = 34 dB, MF: Lb,a,0 = 21 dB, HF: Lb,a,0 = 36 dB)

ma : sensor background noise increase by speed

ma = 0.5 dB/kts
vr : receiver speed
mw,a : sensor background noise increase by waves
mw,a = 4 dB/(Sea State Level)
ssl : Sea State Level

Cavitation by the receiver does not increase the active sonar background noise.

Condition for Active Detection

A target is detected by active sonar at the range R with:

( Ls,o + GA - { 40 * log10( R ) + 65 dB + md * 2 * R } ) / 2 - Lb,a = Gs,i

Ls,o : Sensor Output value
GA : Target Active Sonar Cross-Section from the database
GA = 10 * log10( cross-section area in m^2 )
md : dispersion factor
(LF: md = 1/6 dB/nm, MF: md = 1 dB/nm, HF: md = 3 dB/nm)
Gs,i : Sensor Input value

The signal value is halved compared to the passive formula because the signal is traveling
twice as far (once out to the target, then the reflected signal comes back), and thus is
subject to propagation loss twice. Over the ranges active sonar is effective, this gives very
nearly the same results as doing the real calculation and is much faster (remember, the
target machine for Harpoon II was a 486/66MHz). On reflection, the interference level
might not really be halved (since it would get applied twice), but this is how the formula
the Harpoon II programmers were given worked out.


The following examples use statistics from the DB2000 database for computer Harpoon 3,
which has completely revised sonar detection ranges based on the Harpoon4 boardgame
rules. The original Harpoon II database was flawed and detection ranges were much too
great. Submarine duels turned into unrealistic long-range torpedo shoot-outs instead of
'knife fights in a booth' as in real life. Submarines were also on the defensive in the
underwater battle, and were often little more than sitting ducks for ASW helos. Not so
with the DB2000 database and its new detection ranges. Submarines are now the hunters
and ships are prey. Detection ranges closely mirror those in real life, and anti-submarine
warfare has become as realistic as it possibly can get in a commercially available
simulator. Engagements between submarines usually take place at less than 2nm for diesel
subs, and about 1-4nm for the latest high-tech SSNs. As the commander of a modern US
destroyer you'll be real lucky if your AN/SQR-19 towed array sonar detects a Victor III at
5nm, or an advanced Kilo SS or Akula SSN at 2nm. For most systems, detection ranges
are in the 0.5-3nm range, and often the first thing your ship-based sonar systems pick up is
enemy torpedo launch transients.

----- Passive Sonar -----

Target Noise
A Victor III submarine with a Front Passive Sonar Cross-Section of 85, which runs at 5kts
(creep), emits - within the LF-band - sound to the front sector with an intensity Lt:

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Lt = ( 85 + ( -6 ) ) + 1 * 5 = 84 dB
The intensity within the MF-band in the same situation would be 95 dB. When the
submarine now speeds up to 20kts full speed, the emitted LF-noise level increases to 99
dB; the MF-noise level then is at 110 dB. Whether the sub is Diesel or nuclear powered, or
- if it is non-nuclear powered - whether it runs on Diesel or on battery makes no difference
for the target noise.

Ambient Noise
The ambient noise level La within the LF-band at Sea State Level 3 (small waves) is:
La = 87 + 5 * 3 = 102 dB
At sea state level 8 (heavy seas) the ambient noise increases to 130 dB. The ambient noise
level within the MF-band at Sea State Level 3 is 105dB. The noise is the same both for a
ship and for a submarine being at any depth. The ground depth has no effect, too.

Sensor Background Noise

A Spruance destroyer with a Front Passive Sonar Cross-Section of 85, which runs at 5kts
with the Praire/Masker turned on, produces sensor interference within the LF-band with
the intensity Lr:
Lr = 85 + 3.6 * 5 = 103 dB
With an ambient noise level La = 102 (LF-band, Sea State Level 3), the total passive sonar
background noise level Lb,p (LF-band) is:
Lb,p = ( 10 / 3.4 ) * log10[ 10^( 10.3 ) + 10^( 10.2 ) ] = 3.4 * log10[ 5.67E10 ] = 31 dB
The summary table simplifies the calculation:
La - Lr = 1 = Lb,p = ( 1 / 3.4 ) * SUM( La , Lr ) = 0. 34 * ( La + 3 ) = 31 dB

Detection Range
A Spruance destroyer (Passive Sonar Cross-Section 85) is searching for a Victor III
submarine (Passive Sonar Cross-Section 85). The ship operates at 5kts and uses its low
frequency AN/SQS-53B sonar in passive mode (sensor Passive Sensitivity -18); the sea is
relatively calm (Sea State Level 3). The submarine is 5nm away and currently cruises at
5kts above the layer. Provisional results:
Lt = 84 dB
La = 102 dB
Lr = 103 dB = Lb,p = 31 dB

The equation for passive sonar detection then looks like this:
84 - { 20 * log10( 5 ) + 65 + 0.17 * 5}- 31 = 84 -{14 + 65 + 2.4} - 31 = - 27 < -18 =
submarine not detected
The submarine now closes to 1.9 nm and is detected:
84 - { 20 * log10( 1.9 ) + 65 + 0.17 * 1.9 } - 31 = -18 = -18 = sub now
The submarine, still 5nm out, now speeds up to 20kts full speed. The provisional results
then change to:
Lt = 102 dB
Lb,p = 31 dB
The equation for passive detection now is:
102 - { 20 * log10( 5 ) + 65 + 0.17 * 5 } - 31 = -12 > -18 = sub now detected
The Spruance destroyer uses its AN/SQR-19 TACTAS towed array sonar against the
Victor III at 5nm doing 5kts. Sensor Passive Sensitivity is -26 and sensor interference from
the ship itself is one-third the rear sonar signature. Provisional results:
Lt = 84 dB
La = 102 dB
Lr = 47 dB = Lb,p = 30 dB
The equation for passive sonar detection then looks like this:
84 - {20 * log10(5) + 65 + 0.17 * 5}-30 = 84 - {14 + 65 + 2.4} - 31 = - 26 = -26 =
submarine is detected
If the searching ship had a passive MF sonar (sensitivity -18) instead of the LF one, the
calculation of the detection range for the same submarine (still at 20kts full speed) would
look like this:
Lt = 110 dB
La = 105 dB
Lr = 106 dB = Lb,p = 37 dB

110 - { 20 * log10( R ) + 65 + 1 * R } - 37 = -11

20 * log10( R ) + 1 * R = Gd( R ) = ( table ) = R = 14 nm
The depth of the submarine has no effect on R.

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----- Active Sonar -----

Background Noise
For a Spruance destroyer at 10kts the sensor background noise level Lb,a for active LF
sonar at Sea State Level 3 is to be calculated like this:
Lb,a = 34 + 0.5 * 10 + 4 * 3 = 51 dB
At the same situation the background noise level for MF sonar would be 50 dB. These
values are valid for all ships and submarines.

Detection Range
The Victor III submarine has the following active sonar cross-section in the database (front
/ side / rear):
GA = 10 / 20 / 10
The Spruance is now searching for the submarine with its active LF AN/SQS-53B sonar
(sensor Output Value 235, Active Sensitivity 37). There are only small waves (Sea State
Level 3), and the ship cruises with 10kts. The submarine is 1.9 nm away and first heads
straight for the ship. The calculation for active detection has the following results:
Lb,a = 49 dB

( 235 + 10 - { 40 * log10( 1.9 ) + 65 + 2 * 0.16 * 1.9 } ) / 2 - 49 =

= ( 235 + 10 - { 40 + 65 + 1 } ) / 2 - 49 = 35 < 37 = submarine not detected
The sub now maneuvers and (stupidly) shows the ship its broadside. The active sonar
detection formula then changes to:
Lb,a = 49dB

( 235 + 20 - { 40 * log10( 1.9 ) + 65 + 2 * 0.16 * 1.9 } ) / 2 - 49 =

= ( 235 + 20 - { 40 + 65 + 1 } ) / 2 - 49 = 40 > 37 = sub now detected
Since Harpoon3 operates with range increments of 1000 yards coupled with the %
possibility of making a detection inside that increment within a certain amount of time, the
enemy submarine will most likely be detected somewhere in between 1.5 and 2.0nm.
However there is also a slight possibility that the submarine will be detected earlier (2.0 -
2.5nm) or later (0.0 - 1.5nm). An alerted operator will be able to detect a target more
easily, at about 1.9nm on average.
Sea state has a big impact on detection range. At sea state 1 the above range would have
been 4.3nm, and at Sea State 5 as short as 0.8nm.


Sonar in Real Life

This is a compilation of the tons and tons of information that was exchanged around the
time when the new sonar model for the DB2000 database was being created.

Passive Sonar

Sea state and Target Noise always causes the biggest changes to sonar predictions. Target
Noise and Target Speed are always calculated as one entry: Target Self Noise. Likewise,
Receiver Self Noise, Receiver Speed, and Cavitation are grouped together as: Own Ship
Noise. They are combined because the separate items are directly proportional to each

With newer nuclear submarines at speeds

below 10-12 knots, one is looking at detection
ranges of less than a mile. Diesel submarines
can become virtually undetectable passively,
because they can shut down everything that
makes noise, regardless of how modern they
are. A modern diesel at a 2-3 knot patrol speed
is probably not detectable beyond 1000 yards
passively, less in high ambient noise
environments. Obviously, a lot depends on
ambient noise, propagation paths, layer depth,
the sensitivity and location of the passive sonar
receiver, proficiency of the submarine crew and
operating mode, etc. In fact, in an inshore
environment (shallow water, high ambient
Typical passive sonar waterfall display on noise, high shipping density, high wreck
an Improved LA-class submarine, showing
sound sources detected at different
density), attempting to track a diesel submarine
frequencies and azimuth passively is virtually impossible, and extremely
difficult actively, and the US Navy relies
primarily on non-acoustic methods for initial detection, e.g. a periscope-hunt using ISAR
radar being the most effective. MAD in a shallow water environment is handicapped also...
wrecks, bottom topography, geologic features etc., all contribute to false MAD contacts
and high magnetic noise, reducing the detection range. For that reason, passive detection
range for a diesel submarine in shallow water should be close to zero.

Factors limiting active sonar performance in shallow water (the littoral environment) also
play a major role... active sonar frequency and power affect bottom reverberation and
absorption. Bottom compositions are rated on their ability to absorb and reflect sound
energy. A muddy bottom will absorb a lot of energy, whereas a rocky, gravel bottom will
reflect and scatter a lot of energy. Again, wrecks will give false contacts. A good diesel
sub CO can avoid active detection by going dead in the water and pointing the bow or
stern towards the sonar, reducing the target strength by as much as 80 per cent and not

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providing any Doppler return to the sonar. Or he can bottom, in which case his target echo
is masked by the bottom reverb, and if he bottoms near a wreck you've got more problems.

The main point is that the environment pays a major role in the ranges observed. A Victor
III in the Norwegian Sea (relatively quiet sea and deep) at 12 knots may be detected at
several miles. The same submarine in the Med (relatively shallow and very noisy) may be
detected at 1000 yards. At flank speed (27 knots), the Victor III may be detected at 20
miles direct path, 25-40 miles bottom bounce, and possibly to 3 or more CZ's
(convergence zones) at 30-33 miles, 60-66 miles and 90-99 miles in the Norwegian Sea,
by ship based sensors and sonobuoys, and for literally thousands of miles by SOSUS.
What is seen here is an overlap of ranges depending on transmission path, and that is
entirely normal and expected. SOSUS exploits the so-called deep sound channel, low
frequency noise propagated for thousands of miles in a duct created by the effects of
pressure and temperature at the great depths.

A surfaced Victor-III class submarine displays its fin-mounted towed array housing
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and the moral of the story is that you can't just assign
hard and fast numbers. Under the right conditions a carrier may be detected acoustically
well in excess of 140 miles, or may not be identified at all until it's in visual range.
Assuming the carrier is detected at 140 miles, can the operator classify it as a carrier?
Maybe, maybe not. If he is operating a sophisticated narrowband acoustic processor,
possibly, assuming the carrier isn't using acoustic deception. If it is a broadband system
(namely an active sonar being used in a passive mode), all he knows is something is

making a lot of noise on a given bearing. That, combined with other intelligence may
provide another piece of the puzzle, but one cannot positively classify a target with
broadband sonar. A carrier launching and recovering aircraft is a different story. The noise
of the catapults hitting the water brakes every 30 seconds or so is very distinctive, can be
heard for long distances, and any submarine acoustic analyst has probably been trained to
recognize that sound.

A more comprehensive list of variables:

Source Level (SL) expressed in decibels (dB). Sound pressure level of individual noise
sources of the target, i.e. propellers, drive shafts, reduction gears, steam turbines, electrical
generators, reactor coolant pumps, diesel engines, main propulsion motors, other pumps
and motors, speed-related components (hull resonance's occurring at different speeds).
ASW tacticians and operators will use the most detectable steady state noise sources for a
given target as their primary detection, classification, and tracking frequencies.

Ambient Noise (AN) expressed in decibels at a given frequency (which includes sea state,
rain, biologics, distant shipping noise, underwater geologic disturbances, etc.) i.e.,
anything not target related.

Recognition Differential (RD) expressed in dB. The sensitivity of the equipment and
operator proficiency (i.e. ability to detect and classify a target unalerted). Tends to be a
subjective number.

Directivity Index (DI) in dB. The improved sensitivity of directional sonar systems,
where the receivers can be focused on a given sector.

Propagation Loss (PL) in dB at a given freq. Sound energy is attenuated by spreading

losses, absorption (sound energy converted to heat energy), reflection, refraction, etc. Prop
loss varies directly with frequency.

Self Noise (SN) in dB. Primarily flow noise over the sensor array, but can also include
system noise, artifacts (caused by electrical interference within the equipment-- a design
limitation, also affects RD).

Target Strength (TS) in dB. The "sonar cross section" of a target. Amount of sound
energy reflected from a target.

Signal Excess (SE) in dB. How much signal is left after accounting for all the variables
mentioned above.

These variables are what make up the passive and active sonar equations. The passive
sonar equation is as follows:

SE = SL - PL - AN - RD + DI

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Propagation loss is usually calculated and displayed on a graph, to which we apply a

Figure Of merit (FOM), calculated from a version of the passive equation:

FOM = SL - AN - RD + DI

Using this graph we can determine the expected detection range for a given frequency,
including the usability of various transmission paths... direct path, bottom bounce,
convergence zones.

Active Sonar Equation:

SE = SL - 2PL - AN - RD + TS + DI
(2 x Prop loss because sound energy must travel two ways)

By now it has probably become obvious that sonar performance in the real world is very
unpredictable, and therefore almost impossible to precisely duplicate in a game (indeed, in
any simulation). While new systems improve the ability to process sonar information (they
even provide some very accurate targeting solutions against enemy surface ships over the
horizon), they are still subject to mother nature’s whims.

In simulations of attacks by German Type-206/206A subs vs. Russian Kilo subs in the
Baltic Sea, first contacts (does not equal a firing solution!) were in the range of 3000-5000
yards. Sometimes, first contact was the torpedo launch by the Russian sub. The tracking
range for ASW groups and convoys was greater, but these were also engaged at greater
distances; sub vs. sub was always a close-quarter kind of thing. During those simulations
(it's actually a real part of a Type-206 attack center, which gets fed with signals by
computers, and an auditorium with a large replay screen for analysis, which looks similar
to the H3 map display), the German submarines got mostly sunk by two kinds of attacks:
one was a torpedo counter-fired back down the bearing of the own-launched torpedo, and
the second, more effective one, were ASW helos. During real-life exercises with other
206A boats, practical firing solutions were achieved at about 1500 yards. This was in the
North Sea, near the English Channel entrance.
Towed array sonar is an entirely passive
system. Basically, the array is a neutrally
buoyant fluid filled tube containing passive
hydrophones attached to a mile long tow
cable. The depth of the array is controlled
by how much tow scope is out, and the
speed of the ship. The standard currently
deployed US system is the SQR-19 CATAS
(Critical Angle Towed Array System). The
earlier SQR-18 array was actually attached
to the SQS-35 VDS "fish" or transducer
body and the depth of the array was

controlled by the depth of the VDS fish. But again, there were some serious maneuvering
restrictions. The only maneuvering restrictions for the SQR-19 are that the ship cannot
move backwards, or make more than a 180-degree turn. There are no speed restrictions.

SQR-19 CATAS layout

The information gained by towed array sonar includes classification information, bearing,
and speed of the target... and over time, a target fix can be gained by maneuvering the
array or having more than one sensor in contact to get a cross fix.

Target noise is typically exploited in two ways, with broadband processing and
narrowband processing. Basically, broadband noise is generated by the movement of the
hull of a ship or sub through the water. It occurs over a wide frequency range. Hull-
mounted sonar systems can detect this passive broadband noise and display the data as a
noise spike on the bearing to the target... but that is all it can tell you. Towed arrays and
passive sonobuoys on the other hand use sophisticated spectrum analysis processors to pull
out specific frequencies that the target is generating, i.e. from the propellers, drive shafts,
reactor pumps, reduction gears, blowers, electrical generators, etc. There are other
narrowband sources that a submarine generates that are speed dependent, various hull
resonances at different speeds for example. This is how specific class of vessels can be
finger-printed, sometimes down to an individual hull number.

Some of the factors that affect active and passive sonar performance include the
temperature profile, the depth, ambient noise, the radiated noise or source level of the
target (passive sonar), target strength (similar to radar cross section for an aircraft, for
active sonar), own ship’s noise, propagation loss (sound energy being absorbed, reflected,
or refracted), which is a one-way thing for passive sonar, two-way for active, etc., etc.

The long-tail SQR-19 has a listening window to a frequency range of 0 to 1800 Hz. Lower
frequencies are the best to use to classify a target, but the higher the ship’s own speed the
fewer lower frequencies you were going to hear. 5 kts typically is the slowest usable speed
that can be used. Frequency coverage can be traded-off for increased area covered by
towing at a higher speed, e.g. 10-12 kts. Speed and the length of tow cable also affects
whether or not the tail is below the thermocline layer. As said, there is no easy answer for

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detection ranges. Sometimes the acoustic conditions can confer ranges literally in the
hundreds of miles, sometimes in the tens of yards. The factors that should be modeled in
any simulation are the source levels of the various classes of ships & submarines, and of
course that depends to a large extent on speed, their relative target strengths, and the
environment. In other words, detection should be based on the characteristics of the target
and the environment, and to a lesser extent on the characteristics of the sensor.

Different sensors exploit different types of sound. Narrowband sensors use spectrum

Modern diesel-electric submarines like the French Scorpene are major headaches in littoral
anti-submarine warfare

analysis techniques to display specific sets of frequencies in the lower frequency spectrum
(roughly 0-2000 Hz) generated by a target submarine: propeller and prop shaft rotation
rates, reduction gears, steam turbines, turbine generators, various pumps and motors,
hydraulic systems, hull resonance's, auxiliary diesel engines, main propulsion motors, etc.
Each type or class of submarine has its own specific acoustic signature, and sometimes a
unique signature to an individual hull number within a class of submarines. In general,
nuclear submarines are easier to detect and classify passively than diesel submarines on

Broadband passive sonar is listening to a wide frequency range, and is basically listening
to the total noise output of a target (i.e., all of the narrowband components and the general
noise created by the hull moving through the water and propeller cavitation). Since most
broadband passive sonars are actually hull-mounted active sonars used in a passive mode,
they tend to hear sound generated in the range that the hydrophones are designed to listen
to, that is, the frequency of the active sonar; somewhere between 2 and 15 kHz for tactical
sonar systems. As a result, broadband passive sonar is relatively short ranged because the
broadband noise in that frequency range is rapidly attenuated.

Russian submarines are broken down by their main propulsion systems into NATO-
standard classification types. Type 1 Nuke would be the first generation subs - Hotel,

Echo, and November. Type 2 is the Victor and Charlie, Type 3 Yankee and Delta (Type 3
is two Type 2 power plants). Type 4 was the Papa, the one of a kind SSGN. Type 5 was
Alfa. Type 6 is Sierra, Oscar and Akula. Type 7 is the Typhoon.

Chances are the sonar operator is going to first classify to propulsion type, then refine it
further to class. Signatures between subs in a class differ, so given enough time, or a
change in operating mode of the sub, it may be possible to classify to a specific hull
number. And the variances are due to the fact that there are minor machinery configuration
changes between submarines. In other cases one may not get any further than propulsion
type, and in some cases not even that. So, the longer a sonar contact can he held, the more
refined the classification becomes over time. Of course, in an actual wartime situation, it
really doesn't matter: If you're in as ASW free-zone (meaning you know the exact
locations of friendly subs), you're going to shoot first and ask questions later.

Passive sonar has a longer range than active sonar even if one does not consider
convergence zones. With active sonar, the receiver has to catch the emitter’s signal, which
gets degraded based on the distance to the reflector. The degradation is an exponential
function, so for example quadrupling the emitter power results in only double the range.
Passive systems on the other hand are designed to receive very low power sound signals.
Additionally, underwater sound can travel in certain sound channels (hence the
convergence zones), which increases detection ranges.

Another difference is the spectrum of the signals one is receiving. The lower the main
frequencies are, the longer the range. Whales, for example, use relatively low frequencies
for their communications, enabling them to cover hundreds (some biologists claim
thousands) of miles. One may also consider the experiments that are done off the Hawaiian
coast, where the USN is experimenting with low frequency active detection systems for
submarines, similar to an active SOSUS.

Sonar as a science is a very complicated subject. Sonar ranges can change rapidly during a
4-hour watch. And so many things can affect the performance. Even the alertness of the
operator plays a big part in the equations used. A person on watch for 6 hours is a lot less
likely to spot a target than someone on for 1 hour. Sonar duplication is the biggest
challenge for a designer of simulations.

Active Sonar

The active sonar signature of submarines is based on size, aspect in relation to the active
sonar, and whether or not they are anechoic-coated, and to a lesser extent, hull materials
used (i.e. steel, aluminum, glass-reinforced plastic). Target strength of a surface ship is a
function of draft and length, not how quiet they are against a passive sensor.

A realistic rating would be to base target strength and resulting ranges on the size of the
submarine, i.e., SSBNs having the largest target strengths, small coastal diesel submarines
the smallest. Assume all later generation Russian SS/SSNs (from Kilo and Victor III on)

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have anechoic coating. Anechoic coating is also on all US Flight II and III 688s, Seawolf,
and will no doubt be used on the Virginia class as well.

Using a beam aspect US Flight II 688 (anechoic coated) as a target example and assuming
ideal acoustic conditions (isovelocity conditions, no sonic layer, in deep water providing
the longest direct path ranges) vs. the following sensors:

BQQ-5: 15 - 20 nm LF
SQS-53A: 12 - 15 nm LF
SQS-53C: 15 - 20nm LF
SQS-56: 8 - 10nm MF
SSQ-62 DICASS: 3 - 4nm HF
AQS-13F: 6 - 8 nm HF
Mk46 torpedo: 1000 Yards VHF

The increase in range between SQS-53A and SQS-53C is a result of improved signal
processing and a wider range of operating modes, but the output power of the transducer is
identical. These are approximations based on best-case acoustic conditions. Temperature
gradient, ambient noise, scattering layers, target aspect, etc., will generally result in shorter
ranges. Bow or stern aspect reduces target strength considerably. Target speed plays a
factor as well. Most modern sonar systems can distinguish target Doppler, so a submarine
moving at speed (even bow-on to the sonar) has a good chance of being detected at close
to the maximum predicted range of the day. A submarine moving very slowly or dead in
the water is another story. In that case the detection range is drastically reduced, say, to 25
% of the maximum predicted range. There are many variables involved.

Distances achieved against a Foxtrot-class sub on batteries in active sonar mode, on good
days, normal sea states, and 10 to 20 kts of wind:
Min Max
SQS-53A 0 yds 3000yds
SQS-53B/C 0 yds 18,000yds
SQR-19A (short tail, 140 Hz to 1800Hz) 0 yds 15,000yds

Passive sonar is really, really short-range when a sub is in battery mode. Against a Juliett
SSG the ranges are much less, about 50% shorter in active. The max passive range for the
Juliet and the Foxtrot while they are on diesel power on the surface is 3,000 yds, with the
SQR-19 short tail. Diesel engines give off more low frequencies that the short tail cannot
hear, but the long tail can at 5 to 10 kts speeds.

The SQS-53B/C sonar also has two extra modes of operation when active, due to the
increased power and transducer sensitivity:


This overview of the command center of the Virginia-class SSN demonstrates the high degree of
automation and processing integration needed to effectively utilize the capabilities of modern sonar
1) If the ship is in an area of the ocean where the bottom is hard and not covered with
primordial oozy mud, then the sound energy could be directed downward in the “Bottom
Bounce” mode to bounce the sound off the bottom like a ball on a pool table. This can
even exceed the ranges achieved in the Direct Path mode.

2) When in water deep enough (over 3000ft), the “Convergence Zone Mode” can be used.
The sound energy is depressed 5 degrees from being parallel with the ocean surface and a
max energy pulse is sent. The speed of the sound and the mass of the water at deep depths
bend the sound upward from its downward path back toward the surface. If anything gets
in the sound path, some energy returns to the ship as a target. The sound energy often

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reaches out to the second CZ zone. One CZ = 30 to 35 miles, two CZ = 60 to 70 miles

from the ship. SQS-53A's cannot do this very well, and SQS-56 can only dream of such

The SQS-53 is a development of the SQS-26 (Knox class). The major difference was
replacing the steel sonar dome of the -26, with a rubber one for the -53, along with signal
processor improvements. The rubber dome alone improved ranges by about 20 percent.
The USS America was fitted with an SQS-26 during the 70's, but it was not a very
successful arrangement.

Cutaway view of the Seawolf class, revealing the large bow-mounted spherical active/passive sonar
array, as well as the arrangement of the torpedo tubes

One of the problems inherent with hull-mounted active sonar is its inability to detect
submarines reliably below the layer. Depending on the time of year, the geographic
location, and the weather, the water temperature can remain relatively constant down to a
given depth; say on average 200-400 feet. Below that, the temperature declines rapidly (the
thermocline), until one reaches the region of "deep cold water," which remains constant, a
couple of degrees above freezing. Temperature is the biggest single factor affecting sound
speed; temperature and pressure changes affect the way sound rays travel from a source.

Basically, the layer acts as a semi-permeable wall. Depending on the angle at which a
sound ray approaches the layer, some of the sound bends or reflects off the layer back
towards the surface, while the sharper-angled sound rays penetrate through the layer, and
change direction significantly. Basically, this causes a sonar hole or “shadow zone” below
the layer, which is a great place for a submarine to hide.

The purpose of VDS sonar is to lower an active sonar transducer below the layer and
eliminate the shadow zone. The downside to VDS is that it is a relatively high-frequency,
low-power sonar and those characteristics are driven by the size of the transducer “fish”

which has to be small. High-freq and low-power typically means relatively short detection
ranges. Another drawback is that it seriously hampers ship manouvering.

Active vs. Passive

Which sonar has the longest range, Active or Passive? There is no simple answer. Again, it
depends on the target, how advanced the sonar system is, and the acoustic conditions.
From the submarine's point of view against surface targets, passive sonar is the longer
range sensor. A ship’s active sonar is the sensor of choice against a diesel sub. However,
active sonar has to be used sparingly and with good judgment. Normally other sensors are
first used to at least get an initial idea of where the sub is. Third World countries, by the
nature of their command and control systems, generally communicate frequently with their
forces at sea, so HF/DF and other ELINT/SIGINT methods are used to narrow down an
enemy sub’s position. Aircraft are then generally vectored into the area using radar to look
for periscopes. As a general rule of thumb, active sonar counter-detection range is three
times the detection range. When you light off an active sonar, you just broadcast to the
enemy where you are (just as with radar), and an aggressive sub commander is going to
come towards you, not be scared away.

Assume active sonar can positively ID a contact as a submarine and narrowband passive
sonar (passive sonobuoys, towed arrays, and SOSUS), can positively ID to class. Of
course this is simplifying things a bit... the ability of a passive narrowband system to ID a
contact depends on a number of factors... target speed, range to the sensor, system
sensitivity, operator proficiency, to name a few... and in general, it is easier to passively
classify a nuclear submarine than a diesel
operating on battery. On a passing note,
there is a fundamental difference between
US/NATO nuclear submarines and
Russian nuclear submarines’ electrical
systems, so it is easy for an experienced
acoustic analyst to quickly tell the
difference between the two, even if you
don't otherwise have enough of a
signature to identify to class.

Soviet active systems were very

compatible to USN systems. They had a
lot of power to make up for their
weakness in the area of signal processing.
In some cases two Soviet subs in the
Mediterranean exchanged data via a sonar
A large spherical sonar array prior to being link when they were 100 miles apart (!!!).
installed on a submarine In the passive system arena the west was

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far ahead of them because of computing power. For example, the original SQR-19 towed
array fed its data into multi-linked computers for processing.

For many years, active sonar has had the ability to define the shape of a target. The SQS-
53, AQS-13 dipping sonar, and the VLAA system have that capability. However, they do
not have the resolution to actually classify a submarine as to type. That requires very high
freq sonar, which are extremely range limited.

As a general rule of thumb, active sonar can be counter-detected at least 3 times the
predicted range of the day.

Dipping sonar

Dipping sonar are typically high frequency sets. It’s difficult to aim for low-freq because
low freq sonar must have large transducers to catch the large low-frequency sound waves.
(Same kind of relationship that radio has with its antenna sizes.) The Soviets had a good
dipping sonar because they had a big helo flying the gear around.


The current inventory of US sonobuoys includes the following:

SSQ-53 DIFAR (Directional LOFAR)
SSQ-57 LOFAR (Low Frequency Analysis and Recording - omnidirectional)
SSQ-62 DICASS (Directional
Command Activated Sonobuoys
System - Active)
SSQ-77 VLAD (Vertical Line Array
SSQ-110 VLAA (Very Low
Frequency Active Acoustic)

The SSQ-110 is a buoy that deploys a

line charge that can be remotely
detonated to generate a very low freq
active pulse that propagates a long
distance. Standard SSQ-53 DIFAR
buoys are used as the receivers. This
is the old Julie system brought up to
date, using advanced signal
processing, and is said to be very
A Sea King helicopter is using its AQS-13 dipping There are other experimental and
sonar. The same helicopter can also deploy sonobuoys
special purpose buoys (i.e., submarine

communication uplink and downlink buoys, etc.) that are not in general use in the fleet. As
for detection ranges, they are target and environment-dependent. Sonobuoys are not as
sensitive as some other underwater sensors, mainly because of the size of the hydrophones
which are very small. They are not designed to be long range sensors anyway. DIFAR
buoys are less sensitive than LOFAR buoys because the bearing signal is uplinked to the
aircraft over the same carrier as the acoustic signal. NATO uses US, British, and Canadian
manufactured buoys. The designations of the British and Canadian sonobuoys are
different, but they have the same characteristics and capabilities as US buoys. Typical

-LOFAR vs. diesel/electric on batteries = less than 1000 yards on a great day. Even when
you know it’s there.
-LOFAR vs. diesel/electric snorkelling or surface = 3,000 to 12,000 yards depending on
the sea state. Against noisier subs and surface ships they could hear a long way. Better
than a towed array due to the lack of self noise. But the towed array was better at
identifying the target because it could listen down to 0 Hz. If the water is over 1,000
fathoms deep and around sea state 2 or less, CZ returns from LOFARs are possible. P-3s
often reported the merchant traffic in the area after they laid their buoy patterns because
they heard so much.
-DIFAR gives identical distances as LOFAR but with a relative bearing to the noise.
-DICASS was also the same ranges in passive mode. But in active mode it was a high freq
sonar without a lot of power so a max range of 5 miles when active might be pushing it.
The DICASS active mode has shorter range than passive mode. Passive buoys have always
been better than active because they can hear low, med, and high freqs but can't send out
anything but high frequencies.
-CASS Buoys have been retired. Basically an early version of DICASS.

As far as sonobuoy loads, US aircraft carry the following maximum loads:

P-3C: 84
S-3B: 60 (Note: ASW mission has been taken away from S-3 as of Jan 99)
SH-60B: 25
SH-60F: 12
SH-3H: 12
SH-2F/G: 15

Buoy loadouts depend on the anticipated target, and in the case of the S-3, launcher slots
are also used to deploy chaff and flares, so normally did not carry a full load of sonobuoys.
Against nuclear targets primarily passive buoys are carried, and versus diesels primarily
active buoys are carried. There is also another buoy type, the SSQ-36, which is a
bathythermograph buoy. A P-3 will normally carry 60 passive buoys and the remainder
active and BT buoys.

The Sea King has 12 tubes, but the tubes can be reloaded from inside the aircraft. It can
carry as many as 30 extra buoys inside the aircraft on ASW ops. The total number can be
increased but this would have to be figured into the weight and fuel load. P-3's can, and

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occasionally do, carry more than the normal load of bouys. On SH-2 it was not uncommon
throwing buoys out the door.

Anechoic coatings

Anechoic coatings were designed mainly as a countermeasure to defeat acoustic homing

torpedoes. Essentially, they absorb the very high-frequency active pulses of an active
homing torpedo, reducing the acquisition range substantially... something on the order of
30 percent. Against high power low freq sonar, the coating is less effective, say maybe a 5-
10 percent reduction in detection range.

The attack center of the Scorpene submarine, showing some of the sonar displays

Prairie Masker and deception tactics

Prairie and Masker come into play only for passive sonar searches. They make the ship
sound like a rainstorm to the submarine. The sub knows something is making noise but can
not identify the noise as any type of a ship. Prairie and Masker play no part in Active

Sonar use. If you are banging away with 235dB of sound energy the sub will know where
you are.

Prairie Masker is very effective. Even USN’s own submarines have a difficult time
locating their friendly CGs, DDGs, DDs, and FFGs when they are operating in condition
2AS (ASW stations) with Prairie Masker active during exercises.

A carrier operating with an effective acoustic deception plan can still be detected at long
ranges, but can be mistaken for a different target... i.e. a merchant ship or a smaller
combatant. Acoustic deception plans have been used it in exercises very effectively.

Another tactic: Has anyone heard about the Mini Mobile target simulator? They are
deployed for tracking practice. What would happen if the sound tape that they carried was
replaced with one that sounds like a carrier? Force a sub down deep, deploy the simulator,
wait for him to shoot at it and then put your torp right on top of him.

Sonar vs. torpedoes

A torpedo, regardless of type (and assuming there are sensors listening for it) will be
detected very shortly after launch. In the case of the Shkval rocket torps, which have a
speed of 200-300 knots, and are strictly nuclear tipped, it probably doesn't matter. These
rocket torps have no internal guidance system... just point and shoot, and activate a timer.
The sonar operators will maybe have enough time to alert the tactical action officer and
then bend over and kiss their bacon good-bye.

Torpedoes are noisy, very noisy. The propulsion type of the torpedo (thermal, steam,
electric) would have the greatest effect on noise, but that is relatively insignificant since
they all end up spinning propellers at very high RPM (except for those aforementioned
nasty Russian rocket torps). Under average acoustic conditions, torpedoes are going to be
detected as soon as they are launched, taking into consideration the time it takes for sound
to travel in water. Sound speed in water is 4800 feet per second at the surface, water temp
39 deg F, salinity 35 parts per thousand. Assuming the water is warmer and the torp is
launched at a depth greater than the surface, sound speed is going to be faster, say around
5000 feet per second: Roughly a mile. If the sub launches the torp from 20 miles, the
receiving sensor will detect it approx. 20-25 seconds after launch. By the way, that is a
very long range to launch a torp from. Even though some torps have a very long range,
tactical doctrine and the realities of having to visually ID the target mean that most torp
launches occur inside 7 NM during daytime, and as low as 4 NM at night or in bad
weather. Sub vs. Sub torp shots are also going to occur at close quarters for the most part.
So to simplify that aspect, assume torps are automatically detected inside 20nm. In this
case, torpedo size doesn't matter.

Regarding the 650mm wake homer torp... The range is somewhere around 50 miles.
However, Russian doctrine calls for torpedo launch at no greater than 7nm. Remember, the

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torp is going to be heard shortly after launch. If it's launched 50 miles away, you'd have
time to outrun it. And the warhead is close to 1000kg... or approx. 2200 pounds. Quite
certainly, one exploding under the keel would break a carrier in half.

Submarine operations

How can you be sure that the sub you are firing at is an enemy sub? Too bad if you sink
one of your own $1 billion subs.

You can't be sure, at least not absolutely. OTOH, subs are normally assigned certain patrol
areas. Any submarine that they detect within that area then has to be considered hostile
since no other of your own subs will be permitted into that patrol area. There are
exceptions but then there will be a "safe passage" arrangement. Normally, submarine
patrol zones in a declared war zone are "kill areas". This however applies to SSK tactics in
brown-water areas. SSN tactics might be different especially if they are protecting

There is a standard NATO procedure for establishing patrol areas, safe areas, etc., which
are commonly called Waterspace Management/Prevention Of Mutual Interference. This
serves two purposes. One is preventing potential collisions between friendly submarines;
the other is to avoid a blue-on-blue engagement. Think of it as air traffic control for
submarines. Same procedures apply whether it is brown water ops or blue-water ops. A
pretty complicated thing.

Another way to be reasonably sure is when and if you have good passive detection of a
submarine and have had time to analyze the acoustic signature. In the 70's and 80's the
USN had developed enough acoustic intelligence on Russian subs to be "acoustic positive"
to a specific class or variant of Soviet subs, and in some cases down to an individual hull

Every month, the Waypoint presents a selected article from the renowned
Journal of Electronic Defence, covering subjects relevant to air and
naval warfare. The appearance of these articles on Waypoint is the result
of an exclusive agreement between the HarpoonHQ staff and JED, and is
covered by the explicit consent of JED. All rights of the original authors
are reserved.


By John Brosky

European naval programs display technical excellence, operational planning, and a

nod to US naval experience
To catch a glimpse of the future of
European naval power, look to the
horizon - both figuratively and
literally. For one thing, European fleets
will be more impressive in the future
than they are at present. Recently
called upon to participate in coalition
actions, the navies of Europe turned in
a mixed performance, with a British
fleet sorely stretched and inconsistent The French LaFayette-class frigates are the avant garde
in its capacities; a "state-of-the-art" of European naval shipbuilding, incorporating stealthy
French aircraft carrier more often "in profiles and new-generation integrated combat systems.
the garage than at sea," as they joke in Thales photo
Paris; and a collection of lightweight
carriers and specialized craft from all nations designed to deal with a Soviet submarine
threat rather than combat a dispersed enemy. The result is a naval capability the US Navy
found "difficult to assign to a constructive task" in the operation against al Qaeda and the
Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a French admiral.
Once the Straits of Hormuz were secured after a few days of searching for mines, and once
Pakistani submarines in the area had been spotted and tracked, naval action turned toward
the land, he said. Here, only the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was capable of
projecting power into the distant combat zone, with a squadron of modernized Super
Etendards and a Hawkeye aboard, assisted by three refuelling tankers based in Kyrgyzstan.
The rest of the fleet sent by the European nations were heavy on anti-submarine and task-
force-protection capabilities and were suitable mainly for escorting ships passing through
the Red Sea or the Straits. British and Italian carriers sent to the zone with their short flight
decks and short-take-off/vertical-landing Harriers could not launch long-range missions.
And after firing very few Tomahawk cruise missiles (which are in short supply in the UK),
the British submarines were "inconsistently available," according to the French admiral.

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Only the French Task Force 471 was assigned a distinct mission: to interdict maritime
traffic with a nuclear submarine and frigates. Over 2,000 vessels were tracked by the
French force and were, in some cases, boarded for inspection.
So, all in all, the European contribution to the war effort was marginal, if not cosmetic. In
an article appearing in the French review Défense Nationale in October 2002, Phillipe
Camus, a co-chairman of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) Company,
wrote that the "recent operations in Afghanistan illustrate almost perfectly" what will be
required in the future of European naval forces. He cited:
• Quick deployment of several aero-naval groups deployed close to the coasts
• First-strike capability with cruise missiles
• Bombardment with aircraft launched from carriers
• Control of the maritime zone

After underlining the importance of the carrier in

this group, Camus expanded on the need for
multirole frigates and landing platform ships for
supporting amphibious operations as key
requirements for conflicts in the next century.

So it is far out toward the limits of the foreseeable

future, somewhere between 2010 and 2015, where
the vision of a powerful European naval force is
taking shape. While armies and air forces may be
The LaFayette-class is the basis of the stalled in budget fights across the Continent, naval
Sawari II frigates for Saudi Arabia, of
which the first in class, the Al Riyadh, is
programs have fared well. Three new aircraft
now under that country’s flag. Note the carriers with full flight decks - each pushing
dome of the Arabel radar. Thales photo 40,000 tons - are approved and funded by England,
Italy, and France. These nations are also sketching
out designs for future surface combatants, planning to buy collectively as many as 47 of
these multirole platforms and give them unprecedented capabilities to launch commando
strike teams and cruise missiles.

European ships armed with European cruise missiles, amphibious assault ships deploying a
European Rapid Reaction Force, joint command groups planning missions autonomously
and independently using European satellites, and all of this power acting upon a European
political will for action - this is the future shimmering in the distance.

On the Horizon

Before setting sail for this horizon, it helps to get a perspective on the feasibility of
European visions by examining the fleets coming up for the 2005-2010 timeframe. For this
more sobering perspective, it is best to look at the Horizon program. This new class of anti-
air frigates being built in Italy and France is cousin to a family of new-generation European
frigates currently under construction in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. The

would-be heavyweight of this family, the British Type-45 destroyer, will start construction
in later 2003.

The Horizon-class ships were not supposed to be close cousins but sister ships, sharing a
common platform and, significantly, combat systems and electronics. Instead, European
battle groups sailing into future conflicts will be carrying diverse radar, air-defence, and
command-and-control systems. The pipe dream of built-in commonality and systems
compatibility went up in smoke when the partner nations abandoned the NFR-90 NATO
frigate-replacement program in the late 1980s. The NFR-90 program was a pan-European
effort under the auspices of NATO, and included, at the start, the US, which was the first
partner to leave. The inspiration - or instigation - for NFR-90's dissolution was France's
eternal quest to break the grip of the US on European military equipment (currently a 40%
share) - in this case, an alternative to Aegis.

The 26 frigates in the resulting wave of new-

build ships focus on task-force protection,
emphasizing anti-air defence with a
complementary capacity for anti-submarine
warfare (ASW). Despite the obvious
commonality of the assignment, the
interpretations and solutions diverge in
important ways. Too many national shipyards
and too many national suppliers of equipment,
as opposed to diverging requirements, are the The German F124 frigates are the result of a
reasons behind this balkanization. National decision by the German government to opt for
content, rather than best-of-class contenders, the MF-APAR combat system and SMART
multi-beam targeting system rather than sit
ultimately directed the systems selected by
out lengthy new development programs, as the
each program. Today, the only assurance of French, Italians, and British opted to do. As a
interoperability among these stubbornly result, the first-in-class Sachsen was
nationally built vessels is, ironically, NATO undergoing sea trials while construction of the
standards, established by the very organization first Horizons had just begun in 2002, and
construction on the Type 45 is scheduled to
a so-called "European defence identity" would
start in 2003. The Dutch chose a similar
supersede. approach to the Germans for their new
frigates. Blohm + Voss photo
Spain, put off by the French insistence on a
new European combat system, stuck with the
"proven and ready to go" US sales pitch for its F100 frigate, which features the Aegis
system and Standard missiles. Spain's IZAR shipbuilders formed industrial bonds with
Lockheed Martin to fill in the pieces missing in its catalog. This pairing also found favour
with Norway, whose F310 frigate is based on the F100, but is 25 meters shorter and will
carry the Naval Strike Missile under development by Norway's Kongsberg, in addition to
the Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow for air-defence. Nevertheless, the ships will be built in
Spain by IZAR with Lockheed Martin's SPY-1 radar and Aegis combat system.

The Dutch and Germans bought into a new multi-function, active, phased-array radar that
was an early achievement flowing directly from the effort to build the new wave of
European frigates. The anti-air detection suite made up of the MF-APAR; Signaal (now

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Thales Nederland) Multi-beam Acquisition Radar for Targeting (SMART); and the long-
range, dual-band SIRIUS infrared sensor are the result of research and development
stimulated in the late 1980s by the Dutch Ministry of Defence. The watershed work
performed by Hollandsee Signaal proved to be a rich source that, in part, explains the rapid
rise to dominance of the European naval-electronics market by Thales, which acquired
Signaal. (Another supplier to the Dutch frigate, the UK's Racal Electronics, was another
key acquisition for Thales.) The Dutch and the Germans begged off, however, on the risks
of a joint effort to develop a European air-defence missile. They chose, instead, the
Standard missile and the lower risk of an upgrade to the Evolved Sea Sparrow.

As a result of these decisions to go with advanced technology in hand, Spain, the

Netherlands, and Germany put their ships in the water more quickly. The first-of-class
Spanish F100 Alvaro de Bazan was commissioned in 2002, while the Dutch De Zeven
Provincien and the German F124 Sachsen are undergoing sea trials - a full two years before
the Horizon partners had even laid down keels.

France, Italy, and the UK had banded together to push the Horizon program. The
attractions for this program were its multi-function radar and, especially, the Principal
Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS). The three-way partnership was short lived, though,
with the UK withdrawing to pursue the Type 45. The deal-breaker was the radar choice.
The UK found the Sampson radar from BAE Systems (Stanmore, Middlesex, UK) to be
"more advanced," according to British Parliament studies, and while the European
Multifunction Phased Array Radar (EMPAR) system favoured by France and Italy "may be
in service earlier, it will not meet the operational requirement."

Sir Robert Walmsley, with the UK's Defence Procurement Agency, explained the key
factor to the dispute was that the UK arrived late to the PAAMS partnership, after Italy and
France had already committed to the EMPAR. Sampson operates in the in the E/F bands,
whereas the EMPAR operates in G band. Sampson also is configured for digital adaptive
beam-forming, reportedly making it more resistant to jamming. The UK, Walmsley said,
found the active Sampson radar from BAE Systems to be more advanced and more capable
of "disentangling the tracks of aircraft, even operating at one hundredth of its output

Significantly, though, Britain's commitment to fund a third of the $10-billion cost of the
European air-defence-missile program assured the development of the Aster series from
MBDA (Paris, France). This breakthrough technology holds the world record for direct-kill
ratios against sea-skimming missiles, and the Aster 30 version holds the kill record against
theatre ballistic missiles - test targets, anyway.

The New Phase of Integration

Phased-array radar has dramatically altered the role of every surface combatant built today,
particularly in the capabilities they enable against aircraft and anti-ship missiles.
Furthermore, the multifunction aspect of these complex sensor systems offers solutions to
the greatest challenge facing naval forces: the requirement to move from the clean context

of the open sea into the cluttered and complex environment of coastal waters. Here, sensors
must do more, do it faster, and with greater reliability, while at the same time working in
continually reduced space onboard naval platforms as designers seek to shrink their radar
cross-sections even further to render the
vessels stealthy.

European advances and successes in multi-

tasking and the integration of data give US
engineers something to strive for, say the
Europeans. Noël Le Devedec, a senior
manager with Thales Electronic Warfare
Systems, claims European systems are
peerless in the mixing of sensor input with
France and Italy’s Horizon-class air-defence weapons-systems output. "The United
frigates are the descendents of the splintered States, in my opinion, dropped its guard a bit
NFR-90 NATO frigate-replacement program. with detection systems, whereas with the
These countries jointly developed the European
Multifunction Phased Array Radar (EMPAR) Horizon, the Dutch frigate, and the Type 45,
that is the soul of the vessel. Thales image we here in Europe have continued
development," he said. "I am confident
saying that we have won the pole position. Today, instead of the combat-management
system directing the electronic-warfare suites, we direct our own section and send out
actions to a central computing system so that active and passive systems and soft-kill
responses are controlled, managed, and processed through coordination and not

It could be argued that the US approach is very reliant on doctrine and culture. And current
naval fashion is for hard-kill "gunslinger" tactics to protect the fleet, perhaps at the expense
of individual ship survivability. Certainly, US warships tend to be lighter in the areas of
countermeasures, particularly of the active sort, than the latest generation of European
vessels. On the other hand, European navies are pale shadows of US naval power, and lack
the depth of air-, submarine-, and surface-warfare capabilities. As a result, European
warships, particularly multirole vessels, need to be more survivable on an individual basis.

As examples, Le Devedec pointed to the new Dutch frigate, as well as to the first of the
Sawari II frigates, built by the Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) for Saudi
Arabia. The first of class, the Al Riyadh, is now under that country's flag and finishing
outfitting and crew training in France. Based on the world's first stealthy ship design, the
La Fayette-class frigate, the Al Riyadh represents the state of the art in French naval
technology and arms. Carrying eight Aster 15 missiles and eight Exocet MM40s, the 4,500-
ton multirole frigate is equipped with a sensor/weapons package that enables it to tackle
anti-air, anti-submarine, and anti-surface missions. The same Arabel radar - "the cousin to
the MF-APAR," according to Le Devedec - found on the Charles de Gaulle manages the
air and surface defence while a Captas 20 towed-sonar array handles submarine detection.
The Thales DR 3000 ESM system works with both the Altesse COMINT system and the
Salamandre radar jammer.

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Collocating such systems onboard the same vessel, however, can prove tricky. "We are a
victim of stealth," said Le Devedec. To reduce signature and avoid detection on the
horizontal plane of the sea, designers redirect a ship's radiated energy vertically. "When it
moves down, that is less of a concern, but when it is directed up, it severely affects the
ESM antennas." Moving ESM requirements "far, far upstream" in the design process is the
way to develop good solutions, he said.

The two keys to new research and development efforts in Europe are this collocation of
equipment and digital spectrum analysis. In the context of the littoral environment, digital
analysis creates the potential to sort through clutter more quickly and reduce complexity.
Current studies are focused on strong and robust algorithms for isolating signals, selectivity
in searches, and filtering.

Despite technical achievements, European

naval planners have seen the future, and it
is the US Navy. The only big pieces
missing among the navies of Europe are
the big carriers that the US demonstrated
so convincingly can bring the battle to an
enemy with weight, power, and endurance
like nothing else afloat. The good news for
the overworked US Navy is that the
A second carrier is essential for France to maintain
the “permanent presence in the world” called for Europeans are building a relief force. The
by President Jacques Chirac. Money for such a tool bad news, though, is that we will not be
has already been made available. The question is seeing a European task force along the
whether to build a sister ship to the nuclear- lines of a US battle group anytime soon.
powered Charles de Gaulle, or to develop a new The British are pushing for delivery of the
gas-turbine-powered Future Aircraft Carrier
(CVF) proposed by Thales, pictured here. Thales is first of its two carriers in 2012, and the
also bidding on the UK Royal Navy’s new aircraft- French hope to add a second carrier to
carrier program. Thales artist’s conception complement the Charles de Gaulle around
the same time. Italy's Andrea Doria is
already under construction and is due in 2007.

In the area of amphibious assault, Europe is already well along with its capabilities, thanks
to an early emphasis on creating a Rapid Deployment Force. Spain and the Netherlands
have each launched new 12,000-ton-class amphibious assault and support platforms, and
the Dutch are building another for delivery in 2007. In the UK, two 20,000-ton-class
Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) are bogged down with construction difficulties, while
France last year began construction of two similarly sized vessels called BPCs (batiments
de projection et commandement). At half the weight of the new carriers, these vessels
provide tremendous heavy-lift capability, transporting and supporting a European-sized
regiment including main battle tanks and armored vehicles. The French version will allow
operation of six helicopters simultaneously on deck.

But carriers are key. A second carrier is essential for France to maintain the "permanent
presence in the world" called for by President Jacques Chirac. "We can not deprive
ourselves of such a tool for participation in the world," said French Admiral Jean Moulin.

Charged by the minister of defence with the dossier for restarting the European Defence
Initiative, Admiral Moulin explained why a carrier-based force suddenly looms large on the
European agenda and why there is a firm commitment to construction: "If we deploy an air
force or a land force to a part of the world, it is already an aggressive action, but out in the
blue water, an international space controlled unquestionably by Western navies, the aircraft
carrier moves discreetly, where and when it wants. If we wish to exert pressure, it moves
closer to the coast where it is seen. If we need to make a stronger statement, we send out
the aircraft. Finally, if necessary, we can deploy a military force. This presents us with a
major flexibility, highly nuanced for participation in international actions or for
independent action in a zone where perhaps the United States will not have the same

Five years ahead of the earliest arrival date for the second carrier, Admiral Moulin said
France will be equipped with a new tool almost as effective for maintaining its policy of a
permanent presence, the Multi- Mission Frigate (FMM). While the Horizons will be
specialized for area air defence and force protection, the FMMs will be equipped for
independent action and capable of land attack. In November 2002, France signed a
cooperative agreement with Italy to construct 27 of these future surface combatants. All
will be armed with cruise missiles and half of them will be specifically outfitted for land-
attack missions. Radar specifications call for a solid-state emitter with 360-degree
surveillance and detection range of 80 kilometres in three dimensions. The radar must also
integrate with the Aster missiles and have the capability of directing more than 10 missiles
simultaneously. These requirements rule out the Thales Arabel system (which is a tube
emitter) but not BAE Systems' Sampson.

The UK is expected to announce plans soon for as many as 20 Future Combat System
(FCS) ships, which can be seen as counterparts to the FMM. With the Type-45 destroyers
set to take up the ASW tasks of the current fleet, the FCS ships will be oriented toward
land-attack missions.

The Franco-Italian FMM project is

currently the largest shipbuilding
program in Europe, valued at $15 billion.
First deliveries are due in 2008, and the
last ship will be delivered in 2017. "It is
the first instance where the political will
to move forward has run ahead of other
considerations, such as mission
requirements," Admiral Moulin said. The The Franco-Italian Multi-Mission Frigate (FMM)
political will is driven by a price strategy project is currently the largest shipbuilding program
to lower the cost of acquisition and in Europe, valued at $15 billion. While the Horizon
frigates will be tasked with area air-defence, the FFM
possession. Planning to build 17 ships, ships will be have land-attack, anti-ship, and anti-
France already reached a savings of 25 submarine roles. DCN artist’s conception
percent per ship over a short- series
production. The Italian participation saves another 5 percent, enabling the partners to
commit to a ceiling of $250 million per ship as an average cost. Further, program managers
told JED that, as an example, the price for 27 radar units "drops 20 percent even before we

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begin negotiating," compared to the same acquisition cost for four units for the Horizon

The principal difference between the ASW version and the land-attack version of these
multirole frigates is the detection suite of a towed sonar and an ASW-equipped NH90
helicopter. The land-attack version will carry a NH90 transport helicopter equipped for
combat search and rescue. The land-attack frigates will also be equipped with mission-
planning stations for the cruise missiles, allowing each ship's captain to create and load 3-D
imagery and GPS coordinates for targets to the missiles' guidance systems. MU-90
torpedoes, Aster 15 missiles, possibly Aster 30s, and the NH90 helicopters are a "done
deal" for all ships.

The French ships will also be armed with SCALP Navale cruise missiles, and the anti-ship
missiles will be Exocets, but whether these will be the Block II or Block III variant has not
yet been determined. "If Block III is capable of horizontal launch, then it could be
considered," said one program manager. (The Italians, meanwhile, have not made a
decision on the cruise missile or the anti-ship missile.)

The combat system for all frigates will be "classic," said a program engineer, meaning it
will be built by DCN. Otherwise, open for bidding are the radar, sonar, communications
system, electronic-warfare systems, and the propulsion. "We are looking strongly for
COTS everywhere, including American products," said one manager. "Of course, why
wouldn't we consider them?"

The "stepped up" cooperation of this program is market driven. The program's prime
contractor is a joint venture between Orrizzonte SpA and the new French-based
shipbuilding firm Armaris, which is in turn a joint venture between DCN and Thales. The
ambition is to get to market first with a next-generation frigate that offers a 15-year
lifespan. Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany are candidates in Europe, and the frigate
will be available for export outside the Continent, "though the Scalp Navale cruise missile
is definitely not for sale," said a spokesman for the French Ministry of Defence.

Over the Rainbow

Of course, critical to the viability of these future diplomatic tools is the intelligence and
communication networks necessary for plotting the cruise missile's objectives and the
approval to fire them. Here, France is "cooperating" alone by building the Helios II
observation satellites and Syracuse III military communications satellites that will be
placed in orbit over the next few years. France expects to sell channels and images to its
partners but is funding the networks itself to preserve its overriding strategic priority of
maintaining what French Defence Minister Michèle-Aliot Marie calls an "autonomous and
independent" capability for decision and action.

"We have had instances where this policy has proved itself," said Admiral Moulin. "I am
thinking specifically of Operation Allied Force, which was a very convincing example.
Whether because our American friends did not tell us everything, or whether they

'transformed' the information they provided, in certain cases France knew the situation was
not as it was being presented."

With the mass of capabilities planned, and in most cases funded, for the horizon of 2015,
Europe is poised to take up a role, collectively, as a world power to both counterbalance
and complement the strength of the United States. The open question is what vision will
guide this force, and whether Europe in that same timeframe can develop a shared political
will to enable it to act.

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The Harpoon series has always been about realistic strategy simulation: the application of real-life tactics,
plans and methods to defeat adversaries that are as closely modelled after their real-life counterparts (or
hypothetical OPFORs) as possible. In this section we include material relevant to the application of strategy
at all levels – from the trenches all the way up to high command. Subjects of historical and technical nature,
where they relate to real-world events and strategies, are also covered here. And lest we forget:”To know
tactics, know technology”.


By François Guérin

World War II blew the final whistle for European naval supremacy to the benefit of the US
Navy and an emerging Soviet Fleet (Morska Flota). Even during the Cold war, European
navies played the role of watchman, mainly protecting their coastal waters and economic
interests. Some as the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy or the French Marine Nationale were
able to send their fleets far from their operational bases, as shown by the operation
Musketeer in 1956 (Suez Crisis) or during Falklands conflict in 1982 (Operation

The first European effort to integrate their armed forces came in the early Cold War
period. This was a project coming shortly after the success of the European Community of
Coal and Steel (1951). The idea was that members of that Community (Germany, Italy,
France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) where to meld their forces into a
“European Army” (no more “national soldiers”). This effort was abandoned in 1954,
because of the French Parliament’s opposition to the project.

The European navies had to wait the end of the Cold war to see the first effort made in the
constitution of joint task forces. European navies were used to training together within
NATO, and the best way to improve the operational abilities was to meld fleets into joint
task forces. The French and German were the first to develop such a task force in 1992.
Other countries followed that successful example. With the construction of the EU
progressing, a major European Task Force is now a reality. Will it be enough to bring
Europe forth as a major naval power?

The Development of Task Forces

The German and French Navies were the first to develop the concept of integrated task
forces. This was the response to the outbreak of crisis that followed the collapse of the
Soviet Union. Instead of clearly identified enemies, Western forces are now facing an
uncertain threat that attacks their national interests abroad. Citizens that cooperate with
Developing Countries (mainly in Africa) may be threatened by local instability, as it was
shown in October 2002 when France had to evacuate its nationals in Ivory Coast because
of local unrest.

In 1992, Germany and France decided to build a joint task force called the German-French
Naval Force. It became fully active in 1996. Its missions can be decided by both
governments and occur within NATO, on United Nation’s request or on both nation’s will.
The Naval Force consists in 5 major units (German Schleswig-Holstein [Brandenburg
class] and Bremen [Type 122 class], French Primauguet and Latouche-Tréville[Georges
Leygues class] frigates and the German oiler Spessart). The force trains each year, and its
command is alternated between France and Germany.

The next milestone was made in 1993 when the Netherlands and the United Kingdom
decided to form a joint landing force, able to deploy 6,000 lightly equipped men, mostly
Royal Marines from UK and Dutch Koninklijke Nederlands Korps Mariniers (Royal
Marine Corps of Netherlands). Sharing a common historical experience of embarked
troops on board their ships, it was almost natural the amphibious forces were chosen for
the creation of the United Kingdom/Netherlands Landing Force. Ships used are mainly
UK’s amphibious ships of the Sir-classes, and the Rotterdam amphibious assault ship, as
are frigates types Kortenaer and Type 22 as escorts.

Spain and Italy followed suit in 1997, creating the Spanish-Italian Amphibious Force. It is
able to deploy 4000 men. Unlike the UK/Netherlands Landing forces, this is a random
formation of ships summoned to suit a particular mission, there is no permanent structure
and ships remain under national control.

Defence being a hot topic, European construction paid force integration little interest at
first. The Treaty on the European Union signed in Maastricht (Netherlands) in 1992 lays
the basis of a common defence policy, which is the Defence and Security External Policy.
The same year, the European Union’s members met at Petersberg (Germany) to define
missions assigned to European forces (Noncombatants Evacuation Operations, naval
embargo in application of United Nations Security Council’s resolution…). In another
high level meeting at Cologne (Germany) in June 1999, the European Union laid the basis
of a European force of 50 to 60,000 men, 300 to 500 aircraft and 80 vessels (including 15
major surface combatants). In Helsinki (Finland) in December 1999 and Nice (France) in
2000, the Europeans finalized their contribution to the future force, scheduled for 2003.
Meanwhile, the constitution of task forces had moved to a higher step, multinational

The EUROMARFOR: First Step to the Constitution of a European Task Force

The creation of bi-national task forces was a good first step towards cooperation between
European countries. From an operational point of view, however, that was limited by the
fact that only a few of them own aircraft carriers able to ensure close air support to ground
forces or air cover when operating in hostile zones. This has to be tempered by the fact that
the operational spectrum of missions is wide.

Following the example of ground force integration that created the Eurocorps (Belgium,
Germany, Spain, Luxembourg and France) in 1992. France, Italy and Spain created the
European Maritime Force (EUROMARFOR) in 1995. Portugal joined this structure later,

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and Greece acquired the status of observer. It consists in a non-permanent fleet that
comprises amphibious ships and other major vessels composed of 14,000 men. Each year,
it is activated and takes part in exercises with other fleets such as the Greek or Turkish
navies. Its headquarters is based at Florence (Italy) and every two years, a new nation
takes command of EUROMARFOR. Its missions are mainly humanitarian or
restoring/peacekeeping, as defined at Petersberg in 1992.

The EUROMARFOR is a giant leap towards the constitution of a European task force.
Three of its members can bring to it aircraft carriers, which could prove critical when
operating in hazardous areas. The future European force is very good progress, but will it
reduce the operational gap between Europe and the United States of America?

Is Europe a Major Naval Power?

Europe’s navies are able to cover the whole spectrum of naval operations from anti-
submarine warfare to naval gunfire support. There is still a lot to do to be as effective as
the US Navy is. It was only in 1999 that Europe had a worthy fighter in its arsenal, the
French Rafale (7 operated during operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan) which is
able to ensure long range interception. Some sixty are planned for French Marine
Nationale. For ground support missions, European navies can rely on the combat-proven
Harrier, but as the Falklands conflict showed, it was not an effective solution to protect
task forces from air attacks.4

Regarding ships, European countries have worthy but aging platforms that await
replacements to come. Slowly, the new generation of embarked helicopters of NH-90 class
is getting out of factories. It will have two variants, one will be able to ferry troops and one
will hunt for subs. The Horizon-class frigates (joint Italian-French program with UK’s
withdrawal in 1999) are delayed because of French and Italian dispute over the engines.
They are scheduled for commission in 2006 in France and 2007 in Italy. Will the same
happen to the new class of frigates called FMM (Multi-Missions European Frigates) which
is another joint French-Italian project scheduled for 2008?

As for operational capacities, European navies are very close to the American concept of
Expeditionary Strike Groups, with a group of amphibious ships escorted by combatant
vessels. Despite this, this kind of organization is well-suited for low intensity conflicts; it
would be insufficient when facing a major crisis with air opposition, thus appealing for
carriers with interceptors to defend the ships. France’s Charles de Gaulle class vessel
offers good possibilities, but suffers from an unavailability rate of 40% of its life (at the
dock). French President Jacques Chirac and its Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie
have opened the debate for the construction of a second carrier that could close the
window of unavailability. At the same time, the United Kingdom took the decision to
build a new generation of carriers and is tentatively planning to receive the future
embarked Joint Strike Fighter. The carrier is flexible enough to allow both aircraft and
Ed. The current FA.2 Sea harrier is of course a vastly different beast than the FRS.1 of 1982. Furthermore,
AEW coverage, the prime British handicap in the Falklands, has been greatly remedied with the Sea King
AEW helicopter.

helicopters to operate from it. Perhaps Europe should explore the way Americans used
their carriers during operation Restore Democracy (Haiti 1994) or Enduring Freedom
(Afghanistan) with special operations forces based on and operating from them.

With French and English carriers as a cornerstone of European task forces, the European
Union will have the best instrument to enforce its Defence and Security External Policy.
However, the European navies still miss something important to reach a level comparable
to the US Navy. They miss “heavy”, multi-mission units comparable to US Ticonderoga
class cruisers. Maybe continued co-operation between all European countries in their
current joint programs would help to develop such ships. The same could be said about
amphibious operations. Ships in the kind of Tarawa or Wasp-classes would help European
navies to deploy ground forces without having to rely on ground based strike aircraft to
support their troops.

Europe must master important technologies from integrated communications to modern

precision guided weapons. They must also exercise using these technologies together so
European navies are altogether able to fulfill their role when requested. Even if the
national political choices are sometimes questionable, the fact that a European task force
capable to intervene abroad must not be neglected. It will allow the emergence of the
European Union as a major sea power able to effectively carry forth Europe’s international

The first one hundred percent European operation has already occurred. This is operation
Artemis (Democratic Republic of Congo), in support to United Nations’ effort to restore
peace in this particularly troubled region. This operation may well be a sign of
developments to come.

-Quid 2003(yearly encyclopedia)/ section Défense Nationale Dominique et Michèle
Frémy (éditions Robert Laffont): an online version is available at (2000
-German Navy’s website:
-Annuaire militaire et stratégique 2002 (Military and Strategical Yearbook 2002)
Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique édition Odile Jacob (website :
-World’s Navies Today:
-Le Point (weekly French information magazine) issue of July the 25th 2003
-Encyclopédie des Forces Spéciales du monde (World’s Special Forces encyclopedia)
Jean-Pierre Husson (editions: Histoire et Collections)
-Projet de budget du Ministère de la Défense 2004 (French MoD’s budget for FY 2004)

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By Harold Hutchinson
This is an excerpt of a novel in progress.


The message arrived at 2353, and that meant that Roberts had to be awakened just after
going to sleep. The result was a bad mood. It got worse when he saw the contents.
“What?” he asked.
“That’s the message I was handed,” the messenger said.
Roberts got up, got dressed, and walked over to the radio room.
The operator looked up.
“Are you sure there wasn’t a mistake?” Roberts asked.
“Exactly what they said, sir – the old Libyan Combattante II missile boats are being moved
up the coast – all nine of them.”
Roberts looked at the message.
“Tracking Soviet boomers was easier,” he muttered. “Set course 175, ten knots. We’ve
got a bunch of missile boats to clean out.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Wake me in four hours,” Roberts said.

“Conn, sonar, multiple surface contacts bearing 181, range 45,000 yards,” the sonar
operator’s report came in. “Multiple small vessels and one large surface vessel.”
“Large vessel?” Roberts asked, having timed it perfectly – he’d been there less than five
“Running it through SAPS, sir,” the sonar operator.
“Coming up as one of the old bin Laden freighters, sir – the Desert Jewel,” the sonar
operator was concentrating.

“Signal NCA,” Roberts said. Bin Laden’s ships were prized for intelligence coups, but
still, there was something up…
“Sir, ESM is picking up signals – looks like the navigation radar for that freighter,” the
ESM operator said.
“Conn, comm shack – message arriving on ELF.”
It was a remarkable turnaround time. That thought came to Roberts as he walked over to
the comm shack.
“What’s the word?” Roberts asked.
The officer on watch handed over the message form.
Roberts read it over.
“All right – we’re going to sink the freighter, too,” he said.

Fifty-five minutes later, the Squalus was thirty thousand yards from the lead vessel, one of
the gutted missile boats. Aft of the sonar, the torpedomen were at work, loading each of
the eight tubes with Mark 48 ADCAPs. The men double-checked the wires, to prevent a
circular run, which had sunk a namesake of a sister ship under construction – the USS
Tang. That done, they closed the doors and sealed the tubes. The tubes were ready to fire.
The Squalus had another sixteen of these weapons in the room (four of which were
equipped with twenty-kiloton nuclear warheads), with ten Harpoons and sixteen
Tomahawks. In that room was enough firepower to put a serious hurt on just about any
other navy in the world. Now, it was about to do so to the “navy” of the IFT.

Roberts got the word. He took one final look at the display, and -
“Very well. One ADCAP per Combattante – match bearings and shoot tubes one through
eight,” he ordered.

The Squalus moved into position, and soon, the eight Mark 48 ADCAPs were on the way,
closing in on their targets at sixty-five knots. The targets, which did not have any sonar
systems, kept going north at a speed of twenty-five knots. The control wires sent the data
back to the sub, and the fire-control party made brief corrections to the course settings.
The torpedoes continued their run, taking their cues from the BSY-2 fire-control system.

The advanced fire-control systems of the Squalus, the fact the IFT suicide boats were old
and gutted, and a closing speed of ninety knots pretty much wrote the results in stone. The
Squalus had achieved and was maintaining the element of surprise against the suicide

At four miles, the torpedoes went into ping-and-listen mode. That began the first stage of
the endgame. The high-frequency sonars were felt, and the crews of the suicide boats tried
to maneuver them. That only helped each torpedo get a better idea of what to chase. The
Combattante II missile boats were just too old and tired. The torpedoes got closer, and
soon went into continuous pinging. That was the endgame.

“Torpedoes have acquired targets,” the weapons officer said.

“Cut the wires, close the outer doors, reload tubes one through four with Harpoons, reload
tubes five through eight with ADCAPs, and make ready to finish this group off,” Roberts

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As it was done, Roberts watched the endgame on the BSY-2 display. Those poor bastards
would die, but they would not be killing Americans in the process. Did that mean they
would not get their virgins in Paradise? Roberts was taken aback at that thought. He put it
aside – he had a job to do.

On board the flagship of the suicide force, the Desert Jewel, it was a horrifying sight. Eight
explosions were felt through the hull, and crewmen on deck saw most of the missile boats
they had tended from Tripoli harbor vanish in huge waterspouts. Some remembered their
training and began to man the two twin 23mm guns, but most stood and stared as oil
puddles and debris floated where missile boats had been as the waterspouts ran their

Some stopped, and wondered what had happened. Others were frozen, knowing what had
happened, and wondered if they would be next. A few had time to begin doubting the
wisdom of the choices that had led them here.

It would be too late for them.

“Match bearings and shoot tubes one through four,” Roberts ordered.
“Match bearings and shoot tubes one through four. Aye, sir,” the weapons officer said.
The Squalus shuddered four more times.

Roberts had decided to follow up the initial attack with Harpoons, primarily to ensure that
the targets would have little reaction time. Intelligence had indicated that the Desert Jewel
and her charges did not have much in the way of defences, and Roberts had wanted to have
the ADCAPs available if an enemy submarine decided to put in an appearance.

The Harpoons covered the distance in less than five minutes.

The first locked on to the last of the gutted missile boats, and closed in relentlessly. The
crew put up a fight, firing a couple of SA-14 missiles at the incoming anti-ship missile.
Neither of the missiles hit. The Harpoon, however, did. The five-hundred pound high-
explosive warhead detonated, causing the three thousand pounds of high explosive on the
missile boat to go off sympathetically. The result was a spectacular fireball that got the
attention of the crewmen on the Desert Jewel. It also sealed their fate.

Three Harpoons were targeted at the freighter, and the stunned crewmen didn’t react until it
was too late. Some SA-14s were fired, but again, there were no hits. They had been
designed for low-flying aircraft, not sea-skimming missiles. The twin 23mm guns also
fired, but without radar guidance, it was little more than an act of defiance.

All three missiles would score direct hits. The first struck fifty feet back from the bow,
detonating in the forward cargo hold. It ruined a weapons shipment destined for the new
al-Qaeda training camps in Mauritania. The second struck two hundred feet back of the
first, spraying burning rocket fuel into the engine room and the quarters of three hundred
Islamic fundamentalists who had been ransomed by al-Qaeda. The detonation started fires,
and soon, the Desert Jewel began to list to starboard.


The third Harpoon was the worst. As the Desert Jewel listed to starboard, the third missile
struck the superstructure, killing the captain and most of the officers. The result was to
decapitate the ship. It didn’t take long for the survivors on deck to realize that their best bet
was the sea and to await rescue.

The Desert Jewel lingered for an hour before going down. Three hundred and thirty-two
men went with her instantly, leaving eighteen men to await the rescue effort that would
never come. The third Harpoon had, in addition to killing the officers, cut off
communications with the outside world. The eighteen survivors would either drown or
become shark food.

Roberts didn’t stop to think of that. Instead, he was more concerned that the battle had
attracted attention.
“Sonar, conn, any contacts?” Roberts asked.
“Can I get a turn away from the battle scene, say, zero-eight-zero?”
Roberts ordered the turn, which would allow the Squalus’s BSY-2 sonar systems to clear
up a little.

In the sonar room, the operator kept his ears open.

“Conn, sonar, looks like a Libyan Foxtrot is trying to check things out.”
“Reverse the turn, and see if we can’t slip away…”
“Foxtrot is pinging. Shit – sir, he has us! Two 53-59 torpedoes in the water!”
“Snapshot, tube five!”

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The Squalus fired its number five torpedo. The wire was immediately cut, and the
Seawolf-class submarine began hard evasive turns. The job was easy – the Foxtrot’s
torpedoes were straight-running torpedoes, and their predictable course made it easy for the
Squalus to evade.
The Foxtrot was much less lucky. It had a brilliant Mark 48 ADCAP pursuing it, and it
was nowhere near as fast as the Squalus – and it had a lot less speed and endurance. It was
a Bambi-meets-Godzilla situation – and the Foxtrot was Bambi.

The ADCAP closed in from behind, and the 600-pound high-explosive warhead detonated
on contact. The Foxtrot had attempted to evade and to decoy, but the ADCAP had it
locked. Continuously pinging, it had closed in on the single target that it could find.
The Foxtrot was snapped in half by the blast, taking its crew with it.

“Hard kill, sir – no message, no buoy,” the sonarman said.

Roberts smiled. This had been quite the cruise – and he’d just proven the Squalus in
combat – one-sided combat, but combat none the less. He was proud of his ship and his
crew. The Squalus had just faced a major test, and had passed it with flying colors.
Roberts didn’t think of many of the milestones that his ship had achieved. Now, he had a
new job to do.
Time to find that missing class, he thought.
“Okay folks, enough celebrating. Back to ESM duty,” Roberts ordered.

Harold Hutchison works with the Research Division of a special interest group in the Washington, DC area.
He has written one novel, Task Force 76, adapted from a screenplay of the same name, and two other
screenplays (Target: Yamamoto and Wild Weasels). He is currently working on two other novels (Flying
Dragon, an alternate history set in the Pacific Theater of World War II and a sequel to Task Force 76) and
four screenplays (The Wrong Laptop, Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, and The Operators, and 419).



Countering Stealth – Technologies & Tactics

By Dimitris V. Dranidis

In Part I of this article, we saw how stealth technology and its principles work when
applied to aerial warfare, and how they can be used effectively in operations to confer a
decisive advantage. It is now time to examine the opposite side of the coin, the defender’s
dilemma against this form of combat. Like all military technologies & principles, stealth
has certain drawbacks and limitations, which, if properly exploited, can allow successful
countermeasures to be undertaken against it, and either neutralize it altogether or reduce its
actual effects.

As already seen, Stealth is not merely a technology. Rather, it is a paradigm of fighting, a

concept of how to do the job. In fact, it is not nearly as new as some think – submarines
have been using stealth since their inception to maximize their effectiveness and improve
their survivability, and soldiers have long adopted camouflage to get that extra edge in
concealment – and hopefully surprise. Like all principles of warfare, stealth is an
integration of technology and tactics. Thus, counters to it have to include both
technological means and also the suitable strategy & methods to maximize their effect.

Low-frequency (long wavelength) radars

Radar-absorbent materials and structures (RAM and RAS) are physically limited in their
ability to absorb incoming electromagnetic energy. This is because, as seen in Part I, their
actual physical depth has to be driven by the wavelength of the incoming signal. For a
high-frequency signal (as is the case with the majority of tracking/fire-control radars in
service today, generally in the 5-200GHz range) this is not a problem, since the wavelength

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may be a few millimeters or even fractions of a millimeter, and thus RAM can be applied
in a thin-skin or paint form. What happens, however, when the signal frequency is much
lower? In this case the absorber material has to be so deep that practical problems begin to
arise with regards to its applicability to the aircraft. While you can build a house with 3m-
deep walls, doing the same to an airplane produces a very inefficient design; weight and
volume restrictions will virtually prohibit the carriage of any significant payload over
meaningful ranges. Great skin depth also tends to severely limit maintainability (imagine a
repair crew digging its way through the skin in order to remove an avionics box or an
engine part), which in turn hurts the practical sortie rate.

The effectiveness of long wavelengths against low-RCS targets rests on resonance effects
between the direct reflection from the target, and scattered waves which "creep" around it.
Resonance may occur on individual components as well as on the entire aircraft body. A
gun muzzle may be resonant even when illuminated by an X-band fighter radar with a 3-cm
wavelength. The E-2 Hawkeye, with a radar typically operating at 400 MHz in the UHF
band, puts out a 75cm wave, so that quite large components (fin or wingtips, or the cross
section of a missile body) may fall within the resonance region.

Reflected Signal Attenuation (db)

Signal Frequency (GHz)

Narrowband RAM layer

Wideband RAM layer
Honeycomb-structure RAM layer

Low-frequency sets are among the earliest forms of radar systems. They were quick to be
adopted by early users as their low frequency made their signal less susceptible to
atmospheric interference & absorption, an important factor back when signal processing
was extremely limited (or non-existent) and every single dB made a world of difference in
detection range. Such systems became widely used in the strategic early-warning radar

fences of the superpowers during the Cold War’s bomber race, and offsprings of their
development continued to dominate the EW/GCI scene well into the 70s. Henceforth,
advances in signal processing and increased computing power allowed their gradual
replacement by medium-frequency systems which offer better detection resolution, reduced
clutter interference and reduced vulnerability to jamming without a significant reduction in
absolute detection range. They can still be found in service however, particularly in former
Eastern block and third-world countries where fiscal restrictions have forced their operators
to maintain them in operational status (often in an updated form or another).

As an example, many of Russia’s older early-warning radars typically operate in the VHF
band. Some of these are mobile, such as the Spoon Rest associated with the SA-2, SA-4
and SA-6 systems. Others, like the very large (and surprisingly still widely used) Tall King,
are fixed and are used for strategic air and missile defence. Precise frequencies vary, but
Tall King is fairly typical at 160 to 180 MHz, with wavelengths of 165 to 190 cm. At this
point, the major structural components of an aircraft, such as its wings and fins, may

Over-the-horizon (OTH) radars like the Australian Jindalee invariably operate in the HF
band with frequencies around 10 MHz and wavelengths of 30m, because their operating
frequency is confined to the band in which atmospheric reflection is effective. At that
point, any target will generate some kind of resonance and shaping will be largely
irrelevant to the size of the target's RCS.

However, lowering the frequency (i.e. increasing the radar wavelength) is hardly a trivial

Operating scheme of OTH radar systems

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matter. The size of the antenna aperture has to grow in proportion to the wavelength in
order to maintain a narrow beam and adequate resolution. So-called "mobile" VHF radars
are still a pain to assemble and strike down, and strategic early-warning radars such as Tall
King are large fixed structures and typically provide coverage of only one sector. OTH
radars are larger still, their receivers often occupying vast empty land areas.

Another problem with VHF and, to some extent, UHF radars is that those wavebands are
already stuffed with communications traffic. In the tactical environment, this generates so
much noise that the ability of such radars to detect anything, let alone a stealth aircraft, is
reduced. This is why most such radars are found in the early-warning role, staring mostly
over empty territory (or the sea), rather than in tactical overland applications.

Bistatic/Multistatic radars

It has already been shown how faceting, the dispersion of radar reflections away from the
conventional transmitter/receiver unit, can help drastically reduce an air asset’s RCS. What
needs to be emphasized is that the electromagnetic energy is still there; it is simply
redirected to directions other than the radar unit and thus considered useless for
conventional systems.

Now, what if that scattered energy is picked up by receiver units in various other
directions? Provided that the received signal is accurately correlated with the original
emission from the radar transmitter, the successive bearings from which it is received can
be compared, and a pretty accurate estimate of the reflection point can be deduced. Aircraft
that make heavy use of faceting, such as the SR-71 or the F-117 can thus be detected with a
fair probability of success. Such radar systems are called bistatic (in the case of a single
transmitter and a single receiver), or multistatic if the number of Tx or Rx units is greater –
typically one transmitter coupled to multiple receiver sets.

Putting this theory into practice requires several steps. To begin with, each successive radar
pulse must be uniquely identifiable in order to correctly perform the spatial correlation
between the outbound signal and the inbound returns. This is an already existing practice in
modern pulse-Doppler radar systems and is thus a modest technical challenge. More
difficult is the combination of all the signal correlations into a meaningful positional
estimate. A radar return may arrive at the transmitter from a variety of directions other than
the “true” reflection, both as a result of multipath or mirror effects and other factors such as
anomalous atmospheric propagation, signal distortion due to interference etc. Sorting out
the true-bearing returns from the fakes is a difficult task even for straightforward
conventional radar sets, and it becomes even more complex in the case of multistatic
receivers. A simple tracking algorithm may try to follow the consistent returns and wash-
out spikes that seem inconsistent with the target’s expected motion; this is the simplest of
examples, and the software associated with such functions can be expected to be mind-
numbingly complex.

As conventional monostatic radars divide their area of air surveillance into segments
successively scanned by their main beam (lobe), so do multistatic systems. The difference
here is that the intersections of the segments can intersect between nodes of the system,
thus forming surveillance “cells”. These cells are then monitored in rapid succession for
any reflection of a signal consistent with the one originally emitted by the Tx element of
the system.

Operating principle of multistatic radar systems

An early example of this type is the French RIAS experimental radar, set up since the mid-
70s in the French island of Levant, to explore to potential benefits of the principle. This
uses a single transmitter element in the metric band with a number of receivers (a series of

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dipoles spaced 15m apart and forming 2 co-axial rings, the outside ring being 400m in
diameter) to provide 3-dimensional target data. At least 3 receivers are needed to provide a
2D fix, and another one for a height estimate. The main problem at the time of the system’s
inception was the limited computing power then available. In the early tests, with an IBM
Cyber-360 mainframe handling the monitoring of the multiple cells, it took nearly a week
to fully process the input of just two minutes of surveillance. From the mid-80s, however,
the replacement of this system with a Cray-II supercomputer enabled the signal processing
to be performed in near real-time. With computing power being so abundant and cheap
nowadays, this restriction can be assumed not to present an issue anymore.

Passive & covert radar systems

The availability of massive computing power in the late years has also enabled the
realization of another radical concept – using the radio-electronic background noise itself
as the means of detection. As already mentioned, certain bands of the EM spectrum are
regularly used by civilian radio & electronic devices (anything from radio/TV station
transmitters to mobile phones to wireless PCs etc. etc.) and such bands are literally stuffed
with electronic traffic. Ordinarily, radar designers tend to shy away from using these
frequencies, as this would guarantee a very high background noise level in the operation of
their system – and the higher the interference, the worse the degradation of its performance.

The thickness of EM noise in these bands, however, presents a significant characteristic:

like a body of liquid, anything that disrupts its normal state by passing through it leaves a
noticeable trace - even momentarily. Space observers have long been tracking black holes
by looking in the galaxy for places where background light should be there, but isn’t.
Tracking an airborne target covertly follows a similar logic: look for spots in the sky where
there is an abnormal absence of EM noise, an “EM black hole”. Another variation of this
principle is to track a target by looking at the changes in the EM noise patterns in a specific
area. By monitoring these patterns in an area over a period of time, a fairly consistent EM
noise “map” can be created. Now, whenever a sufficiently large air target passes through
this area, it will unavoidably disturb the normal EM flow, alter the random scattering of
regular EM emissions etc. This abrupt disruption in the local EM “status quo” creates
spikes in the stored pattern, and thus can be tracked.5

As usual, implementing the theory is a bit trickier than simply stating it. To begin with,
enormous processing power is required to analyze the EM traffic patterns over a given area
– and the bigger the area, the more acute the problem. Then there is the challenge of storing
the absolutely massive data for later comparison – and being able to retrieve it instantly
when needed. Some degree of redundancy is also desirable: a spike on a single receiver is

In his novel “The Sum of All Fears”, T.Clancy theorises that the Russians might begin searching for US Ohio-
class SSBNs by using the “black hole” principle, looking for the absence of background noise in the sea room
that these ultra-quiet subs occupy. It is unknown if the Russian subs are indeed using this technique in their
sonar systems. They have, however, been using non-acoustic environmental sensors since at least the late-
70s/early-80s to detect enemy subs by tracking the water disturbance created by their wakes. These sensors are
reportedly unreliable and short-ranged (though whether this is an inherent design weakness or a result of poor-
quality implementation from the Russians’ part is unclear).

just that, a spike. The same blip appearing on several adjoining receiver stations is a more
solid indication of “something” being in the air. Furthermore, because the EM pattern can
shift as a result of a host of reasons other then the presence of an air target (something as
simple as a passer-by with a strong-signal cell phone), any heads-up will have a varying
degree of reliability – lots of false alarms are an inherent headache in the design. Such a
system is also likely to be relatively short-ranged: as distances increase, the perceptible
pattern disruptions in local EM fields are going to be harder to pick up.

The effectiveness of a passive radar system is going to be higher in urban areas where the
EM field pattern is thicker – however, this is also the place in which random non-target
spikes are most likely to occur. A more effective solution may be to deploy multiple low-
cost, low-power active transmitters over large uninhabited or rural areas, to create an
equivalent field. The receivers would then be randomly placed among the transmitters or in
pre-surveyed optimal positions. Such an arrangement (which closely resembles a multi-
static radar system) has the advantage of presenting enemy SEAD planners with a large
number of emitters which will take a huge effort to neutralize – and which can be replaced
easily with a minimal cost. Of course, the greater the number of elements in the system, the
more complex the C4I infrastructure supporting it will have to be in order to really exploit
its potential. The real-time dissemination of processed data to relevant consumers (anyone
from theatre-wide air commanders to the pilot in the cockpit) is a demanding task in itself,
and the imprecise nature of this system is likely to call for other assets (such as IR sensors)
to pinpoint the target after the initial localization.

Practical & technical considerations notwithstanding, the appeal of passively tracking a

stealthy air target (or any other target for that matter) is too strong to ignore, and numerous
military branches are starting to take an intense interest in practically fielding such systems.
China has long been rumored to be developing a system based on these principles, called
PCLS (Passive Coherent Location System); its operational status is unclear at the moment.
Western militaries and defence contractors are also exploring similar concepts (such as
Lockheed’s “Silent Sentry” system), partially as a response to the increased market
presence of LO aircraft and weapons and the possibility of them being used extensively by
third world armed forces.

Advanced ESM/SIGINT systems

In the last few years, it has become commonplace for “shocking” reports to crop-up in
western media about some new “anti-stealth radar” being sold to a number of third world
countries like Iraq, Syria or North Korea. These ambiguous reports usually refer to the sale
(or sale negotiations) of advanced ESM/SIGINT systems like Tamara or Kolchuga.

The use of advanced SIGINT systems in tactical & theater anti-air operations (rather than
in war-warning & strategic reconnaissance duties as is common with NATO & western
branches) was a principle long sought by the Warsaw Pact since around the mid/late-60s,
after the doctrinal shift of both European alliances re-emphasized conventional counter-air
means & tactics instead of nuclear strikes. For the WP this meant a re-emergence of the
problem of NATO’s vast superiority in tac-air capabilities and a number of methods to deal

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with it were considered. The experience of the Middle East conflicts as well as the US
SEAD campaign in Vietnam convinced the WP that active air defences alone were
insufficient to deal with NATO's air onslaught. Therefore, they would have to be reinforced
with more covert means of airspace surveillance and control.

The increasing reliance of aircraft on radar for the purposes of navigation, low-level
penetration and target acquisition & engagement provided an Achilles’ heel that could be
exploited. If the sensor and communication emissions of NATO's aircraft could be
collected, correlated and analyzed fast enough, their location could then be triangulated and
estimated accurately enough to provide an initial cue for other ground-based sensors or for
friendly "silent" aircraft. Interestingly, the main development effort for such systems seems
to have been undertaken in Czechoslovakia and Ukraine rather than Russia.

Deployment of a Tamara unit

The first practical products of this development endeavor were the Czech "Kopac" and
"Ramona" systems, for which little hard information is available. Their service introduction
timeframe must have been around the mid-to-late 1970s. The first fully operational system
was the Czech "Tamara", a more capable and comprehensive system introduced in the early
1980s. It is produced by the Tesla corporation and has gathered considerable press attention
in the late years. This is a fully mobile system capable of recording and analyzing all
emissions from emitting aircraft such as attack & navigation radars, communication radios,
terrain-following radars etc. In order to achieve sufficiently good coverage against low-
flying intruders (one of the classic headaches of the WP air defences) the system uses a
cylindrical drum receiver mounted on an extensible tube-pike, which is unfolded by a
cross-country truck when striking-down for deployment. The system may operate
autonomously or, as is usually the case, be integrated to a larger C4I network and
contribute its information to the overall air picture. According to Maj. Gen. Oldrizhikh
Barak, president of Tesla, Tamara uses a so-called "chronometric hyperbolic principle" that
with three units spaced “several miles apart” can track aircraft from distances of “about 12
miles”. Also JDW credits the system as being able to track 72 targets concurrently.

Similar to the Tamara but apparently more capable is the Ukrainian "Kolchuga". This
system was designed and produced by Topaz (Donetsk). The company has its own design
and research facilities and production facilities left over
from the former Soviet state-owned defence industry. The
Kolchuga is essentially a high-precision, passive, signals-
intelligence (SIGINT) system, consisting of four
elements: three detection and tracking stations and a
command-and-control (C2) element with powerful
analysis capabilities. Normally, when the system is
deployed in the field, the detection elements are separated
by about 60 km from each other, which enables precision
location of an air target by tracking it with two or three
stations simultaneously. Each station is equipped with a
set of rotating antennas, covering the 0.1- to 18-GHz
frequency band. The antennas and receivers are able to
detect, track, and output data for further analysis. All
aircraft emissions - such as non-autonomous navigation
aids (e.g., TACAN), radar altimeters and Doppler radars,
communications, fire-control radars, and IFF signals - can
be intercepted and analyzed. About 40 elements of signal
characteristics are analyzed, which ensures (according to the producer) a 90% probability
of target identification and recognition (as a particular type of aircraft or helicopter). The
system has two basic modes with two different ranges - one up to 600 km and another up to
200 km - but under ideal circumstances, it can track targets up to 1,000 km away. The
system's intercept probability and ability to track multiple targets, however, is much better
when operating at shorter ranges.

The system software on the C2 vehicle allows a basic assessment of the air situation,
provides target prioritization, and determines the target's trajectories and modes of
operation based on the target's radar mode - i.e., navigation, ground attack, air-target track

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etc.). The whole system is mounted on heavy cross-country tracks and is, thus, highly
mobile. Each mobile element possesses its own means of autonomous secure
communications for real-time data transmission and synchronization of operations with the
other stations, as directed by the C2 element. The deployment and redeployment time is
short, which enables the system to change positions rapidly, thereby increasing its combat

Though probably not designed specifically with VLO targets in mind, such systems can
probably contribute significantly to an air-defence system's ability to cope with targets that
are more likely to register on passive rather than active sensors. Hard as they are to detect
on radar, VLO aircraft still have to use radar for navigation & target acquisition purposes
(particularly when hunting mobile targets such as Scud launchers or mobile SAMs), in
addition to regularly communicating with other assets to facilitate a flexible C4I and battle
management system. For non-stealthy aircraft that are already tracked by radar, the
giveaway of these emissions is not a great deal in the tactical confines (subsequent enemy
analysis and eventual decoding of the emissions is a longer-term worry), but for stealthy
assets the loss of the surprise factor can mean the difference between accomplishing their
mission and having to abort as a result of enemy defences being pre-alerted and too
dangerous to challenge (or worse, trying and dying).

Far from simply providing the friendly integrated air-defence system (IADS) an ambiguous
heads-up or the general location of possible targets, modern systems can actually perform a
substantial part of the detect-classify-track-engage loop in complete electronic silence. This

was amply demonstrated during the state acceptance trials of the advanced S-400 SAM
system on the Kapustin Yar test range on September 2003. One of the test-firings involved
using the S-400’s ability for “late lock”, the Russian equivalent term for lock-on-after-
launch capability. A Kolchuga system fed the S-400 initial targeting information and the
missile launch was performed in total EMCON. When the missile reached the target area,
the radar was switched from stand-by to normal operating mode, and the engagement was
successfully completed6.

The series production of the Kolchuga system started in 1987, and since that time, system
manufacturer Donetz has produced 76 systems. Through January 1, 1992, under a Soviet
order, 46 systems had been produced and introduced into Soviet service. Of these, 14 were
deployed in Ukraine and were subsequently taken over by the Ukrainian armed forces,
when the former Soviet republic became an independent state. After the collapse of the
Soviet Union, Ukraine produced 30 more systems (both the Kolchuga and the improved
Kolchuga-M), of which 18 were delivered to Russia, eight to Ukraine, and four to China.
The systems in Ukrainian service have been replaced by newly produced Kolchuga-M.

Aside from these, an unspecified number of the systems produced under the
aforementioned Soviet order were left in Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR,
modernized, and sold to Ethiopia. An idea as to the number of the systems exported to
Ethiopia can be deduced from the Ukrainian government's statement that the country
currently has 19 Kolchuga sets, which might suggest that three were exported. (It is often
misinterpreted that a "set" means a single Kolchuga station, but a set, or system, actually
consists of four such stations – 3 snoopers and a central C2 node). Delivery of these
systems to a country in the developing world, such as Ethiopia, makes it unlikely that their
further fate can be traced with any great certainty, and it is technically possible that some of
them could have been re-acquired by other interested customers.

The Ramona and later the Tamara systems were common in Warsaw Pact dedicated air-
defence SIGINT regiments (usually one per country, except for the Soviet Union, which
had numerous sets, both Czechoslovakian and domestically produced). Presently, Russia
operates large numbers of Kolchugas (not to be confused with the more modern Kolchuga-
M, presently offered by Ukraine). Another system, VERA-E is produced by ERA (a kind of
"daughter company" of Tesla) and is being negotiated for sale to China, and the BORAP
system is manufactured by Tesla itself. India is interested in purchasing BORAP systems,
and talks are underway.

It is reasonable to assume that, against a maneuvering target, the S-400 battery would have to partially break
EMCON in order to uplink course corrections and target updates to the missile(s). However, these emissions
would probably be significantly harder to sniff than the very strong signal of the main phased array radar.
Furthermore, the uplink signal, while a strong indication that missiles are in the air, does not provide a clear
clue (to enemy RWR or ELINT systems) of just who is being targeted and should take defensive action.
Therefore, a significant degree of tactical surprise is still maintained even in this case.

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Typical workstation consoles for the VERA-E system

Ukraine was recently accused by US authorities to have sold four Kolchuga-M systems to
Iraq through Jordan just prior to PGW-III, but since a single Kolchuga system consists of
four elements, this could be a misunderstanding. It is not known whether the sale was of
four full systems or four elements of a single system. However, the value of the transaction
- $100 million - indicates the latter. According to some reports, the system might have
helped Saddam Hussein evade the "decapitation strike" from a US Air Force F-117A early
in the air operation. Reportedly, the system was capable of detecting an approaching F-
117A some five to seven minutes before the aircraft reached its target, enabling Hussein to
evacuate the target zone just in time, before the attack was executed. This is technically
possible and explains some early "misses," but the story is not fully confirmed.

If Iraq had indeed purchased a passive detection system like the Kolchuga, it need not have
come from Ukraine. Many countries have worked extensively on such systems - four
Eastern European countries among them. The Czech Republic, with its long-established
experience (e.g., its Kopac, Ramona, and Tamara systems) currently offers no less than
three: SDD, VERA-E, and BORAP. Poland has just developed and fielded on a limited
scale its MUR-20 system, and Ukraine and Russia have their own such systems: Kolchuga
and VEGA, respectively. All these systems are production rather than prototype hardware,
and all have been fielded.

Interest in such systems has recently increased, as a result of their effectiveness in the
management of air-defence systems in a heavy jamming (i.e. radar-eroding) environment.
It has been reported (without any solid confirmation) that the use of such passive detection
systems helped Serbian forces in shooting down a USAF F-117A over Yugoslavia in 1999,
as well as badly shooting-up another one. Until recently, western tactical-level SIGINT
systems (including the abortive and highly sophisticated PLSS) focused more on tracking
ground forces (particularly HQ units and mobile SAM elements) than directly contributing
to the immediate air picture. However, as part of the renowned interest in non-emitting
airspace control techniques, western interest in this technological sector is likely to increase
in the near future.

Advanced IR & EO sensors

The concept of using infrared and electro-optical sensors to supplement radar is hardly
new. Both superpowers had extensive practice with in the last 3 decades of the Cold War,
albeit with different priorities. Such systems appear to be making a comeback in the race
against VLO technology.

As explained in Part I, airborne stealth as a principle is by and large a radar-based arena,

simply because radar has dominated the air-detection game for a good six decades now.
While such aspects as IR, acoustic and smoke signature suppression are certainly being
taken in consideration, RCS reduction is where the big bucks are spent. This in turn means
that there are promising dividends to be delivered to anyone smart enough to hedge his bets
and invest in detection methods that rely on other means.

The USAF deployed IR sensors on its F-106 interceptor aircraft and briefly the US Navy
flirted with IR systems in the early F-4 versions, but these were dropped as the results were
deemed insufficient to justify the expense. More successful were EO systems like the
TISEO, mounted on numerous F-4E airframes, or the TCS which was a standard fit on
most F-14B/Ds. US systems in general were not designed with VLO targets in mind; they
were rather oriented towards taking over in the case of radar malfunction/failure (not an
unusual case in the 1950s/60s), and in the case of EO systems providing the very important
positive ID at ranges practical for BVR engagements. The TISEO also offered increased
magnification levels for Maverick missiles and other early EO-guided ground attack
weapons. In the 1970s and 80s both the USAF and USN fielded a successful series of FLIR
systems optimized for the recognition, tracking and (with an aligned laser designator)
marking of ground targets; some of these demonstrated a secondary limited air-to-air

Advanced IR/EO systems like the ATFLIR (left) or the Sniper-XR (right) can significantly
enhance the defender’s ability to silently detect and track VLO targets at useful ranges

The Soviets were early to adopt IRSTs specifically to counter US & NATO electronic
warfare successes on the radar spectrum. Their PVO interceptors were fitted with primitive
systems already from the mid-60s, and the remarkable MiG-25 paved the way for “silent”

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BVR engagements with the IR version of its monster R-40/AA-6 missile (of course,
detecting and acquiring the weapon target in the first place was a different matter
altogether). Far more capable systems were fielded in the late-70s and 80s on the new
generation of fighters and interceptors the entering service. Systems such as the OLS-27 or
OLS-M reportedly are able to track airborne targets reliably out to 30-50km depending on
aspect and throttle settings.

IR and EO systems have also been deployed for some time on ground and shipboard
elements. As with most electronics-based systems, it is generally easier to package such
sensors in non-airborne sets as the weight, volume, power and cooling limitations are
usually less strict. Again, the Soviets were quick to supplement their radar-guided SAM
systems with back-up optical devices as the effectiveness of US SEAD systems and tactics
became evident. While not sufficient to allow a fully silent engagement cycle7, they do
offer the significant advantage of reduced duration of active emissions and thus
(particularly when combined with good mobility) reduced vulnerability to enemy EW
assets. The probability of a successful engagement is also increased as the target has a
significantly reduced reaction time available. Modern systems such as the French Crotale
NG or the Russian SA-15 or Panzir-S1 employ such sensors not as back-ups but rather as
active consorts to their primary radar sensors. The Crotale NG goes even further,
monitoring all three of its primary sensors (the Gerfaut radar, an EO/LLLTV camera and an
IIR array) concurrently and selecting in real-time the data deemed most reliable.

Until recently, most systems employing such sensors usually did so for reasons other than
countering VLO targets. In the non-stealth context, an IR or EO sensor is useful where
heavy ground/surface clutter is present (e.g. short-range SAMs with a requirement for
engaging very low-flying targets), where the enemy is particularly effective in his EW &
SEAD efforts, or in cases where a radar set of given volume, weight, complexity or cost
parameters simply fails to meet performance specs. More recently, with the recognition of
stealth aircraft as the new threat benchmark to beat, these passive sensors are regaining
increased attention. This is augmented by significant improvements in existing tried-and-
tested technologies, as well as new innovations.

On the infrared spectrum, for example, simpler spot-style IR seekers are well on their way
of being superseded by imaging infrared (IIR) systems. Whereas a spot seeker will sense
targets as blips of infrared energy (said blips being anything from valid targets to
countermeasure flares to simply sunlight glinting off flat surfaces on the ground), an IIR
seeker provides a TV-like image of the area being scanned. Naturally, this translates to an
inherent ability to reject most false targets. Most recent IIR designs are also dispensing
with mechanically moving, pointed sensor heads and instead adopting fixed-in-place
staring arrays with very large fields of view8. Apart from the obvious benefits in
mechanical simplicity and reliability, this enables them to track a specific target
instantaneously and also track a large number of targets concurrently.

Unless the missile is fitted with a passive seeker for the end-game phase, as Iraq has recently done by fitting
R-73/AA-11 seekers to SA-6 missiles.
Narrow fields of view used to be a necessary evil in older IR seekers in older to avoid most random (or
deliberate) interference outside the immediate area of the target being acquired. With IIR seekers being
supported by intelligent image processing to clear-out invalid cues this is no longer a problem.


Neither is seeker technology the only sector of improvement. With older spot seekers
“seeing” only blips of IR emissions, simple algorithms for tracking these spots were
sufficient. With IIR seekers reaching maturity, however, acquiring and tracking targets is a
more sophisticated process: how do you pick out an airplane out of a TV-like image?
Humans can do it easily, but then again the human brain is still largely an unexplored
miracle. Thankfully, the technology for image-based recognition existed already, from the
neighboring EO sector: Early EO-guided bombs and anti-surface missiles like the Maverick
were programmed to lock-on to high-contrast blobs on the screen, typically tanks or
buildings. This basic technique was subsequently enhanced to take such parameters as
background elements and the target’s apparent “shape” into effect9, and compare them with
digital pre-stored data. We have now reached a point where EO/IIR seekers fitted on high-
precision attack weapons like the SLAM-ER missile can fully autonomously detect targets,
confirm them as “the” target and guide to attack. Anti-air seekers are similarly benefiting
from this level of sophistication: A video clip of live-fire AIM-9X tests released by
Raytheon about a year ago clearly shows the missile acquiring a QF-4B target drone and
homing straight and true to the center of its fuselage (fitting seeker and computer
electronics into the body of a Sidewinder-class weapon is in itself an engineering feat).

These technological advances allow IR/EO sensors to take over a much broader
responsibility in the detect-track-engage cycle than before. While past systems had
demonstrated a good capability to track airborne targets, they typically did so only after
being cued to a relatively narrow piece of the sky from the radar, which almost always
made the initial detection10. This reliance on radar is naturally a no-no when discussing
usability against stealthy targets. Modern sets however, with increased FOV, range and
IRCCM capability are able to handle the initial search & detection themselves, and at
significantly greater ranges. This capability not only enables the application of a much
more restricted EMCON state while searching for targets (e.g. normal-mode IR scan with
only periodic, randomly-varied radar sweeps as a back-up), with apparent benefits in own-
forces’ EM discretion, but is also of particular importance when stealth-hunting.

Why is that? A common evasion tactic of VLO aircraft, for example, is to remain at strict
EMCON themselves, track hostile emitters in dangerous proximity and then steer clear of
them. But if the stealth-hunter can reliably search at meaningful ranges (i.e. more than a
few km) without emitting, then the rules of the game change considerably. The VLO pilot
can no longer be confident that his RWR shows him the whole picture; evading fighter
patrols or nasty pop-up SAM threats becomes more a game of chance (of not stumbling
upon them) rather than a logical exercise in detecting them at a nice, safe range and
maneuvering around them. And the more silent hunters there are, the less the degree of
confidence in success of penetration. Even if the stealth driver can get a better SA through
external data-feed (e.g. a link from a friendly AWACS/JSTARS) to improve his chances,
he will still be uncertain as to who, if any, has actually picked him up. A stream of fighters
converging on his position is certainly a good indication – but what if his pursuer is smarter

Incidentally, much of the funding for automatic target recognition originated from the desire to
automatically engage fleeting high-value targets like mobile Scud launchers, another mindset legacy of the
1991 Gulf War.
This was true even for impressive FLIR systems like the LANTIRN or the AAS-38 Nite Hawk.

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than that? What if the VLO aircraft is being silently monitored and deliberately left alone
until it reaches a trap position? Again, more uncertainties. The more uncertain the VLO-
employer’s mission plan becomes as the result of such factors, the less likely he is to
commit his (typically few, precious and hardly replaceable – not to mention their political
price tag) silver-bullet assets to an operation. Thus the defender “wins” simply by
presenting the possibility of being “out there”, watching silently – and this is arguably the
greatest contribution of IR & EO systems in the counter-stealth arena.

Tactics & Strategy

Deny basing

Stealthy air assets, like any other aircraft, need a base or carrier from which to operate11.
That home base itself is vulnerable to a preemptive attack. Be it by aircraft carrying
airbase-denial mines, or by ballistic missiles spreading thousands of bomblets, or by cruise
missiles impacting right at the doors of hardened shelters, the principle is the same and the
benefits obvious. An airbase or carrier represents an unusually high concentration of
targets, ripe for attack by a variety of weapons. While individual HAS-plinking, as in
Desert Storm in 1991, may not be feasible without already-established air supremacy
(unlikely when challenging an adversary with such advanced assets), there is still plenty of
opportunity for attack.

A typical strike plan may involve tossing a few stand-off weapon dispensers on the
runways to prevent alert fighters from scrambling, while concurrently showering the base’s
terminal defences and any perimeter SAMs with anti-radiation weapons or cruise missiles.
Scenarios also exist where the arrival of manned assets follows a massive initial barrage of
accurate ballistic missiles tipped with cluster and penetrator munitions. Subsequently, the
main attack force can close on the base complex and target individual installations such as
shelters, revetments, control towers and related facilities, fuel and munition dumps,
personnel buildings and miscellaneous heavy machinery equipment.

While it can be expected that most or all stealthy aircraft will be protected by the hardest
available shelters which will be very difficult to destroy in large numbers, most other
facilities and equipment are significantly more vulnerable. Any aircraft’s availability and
sortie rate will suffer as a result of damage or destruction of a base’s facilities. An aircraft
that survived the strike but cannot be refueled, cannot be maintained, cannot be re-armed,
cannot take off (if the runway is damaged) or has no pilot left alive to fly it, is almost as
useful as one that has been destroyed on the ground. This will be even more so true for
stealth assets, whose very sophisticated and expensive special maintenance, coating and
calibration equipment is unlikely to be stored in anything more durable than a standard
repair hangar or, at best, a spare shelter.

Even the STOVL version of the JSF will not be able to operate for long from “parking lots” and other such
oft-quoted sites without a major logistical train to support it.

At the very least, inflicting significant damage on forward operating bases forces the
stealth-using adversary to fall back on bases in further distances and substantially
complicates his planning of air operations. Major mid-air refuelling assets have to be
committed to allow the continuation of effective operations (and additional escorts
allocated to their protection), sortie schedules have to be scaled-down to compensate for
the longer ranges, airborne C4ISR units have to trade-off between proximity to the battle
area and own security etc. All these factors are critical to the effectiveness of stealthy
assets, and all are negatively affected. Thus, keeping the adversary at just a bit longer arm’s
length is a useful dividend of this method.

This wartime concept of basing denial has a peacetime or in-crisis equivalent. In the last
decade, stealth assets have been used mostly from allied foreign bases in expeditionary
mode, rather than their normal peacetime locations. If sufficient pressure is applied towards
the host of such bases, both on the political and also on the military level (through overt
and covert threats, “accidental” leakages of contingency plans for massive strikes against
these bases with “every means necessary” etc. etc.), then it is quite possible that the base
host may deny the use of the local facilities to the expeditionary force. An example of this
method is China’s frequent diplomatic pressure towards Japan regarding the use of
Japanese bases by US forces. Another example might be the recent US-Turkish
disagreement over the availability of Turkish bases to act as a springboard for a second US
front in the Third Gulf War. Much like the wartime fallback to rearward bases, the
peacetime uncertainty of availability of friendly bases forces radical changes in force
structure and contingency operational planning.

To counter such problems, the USAF has proposed the so-called “Global Strike Task
Force” scheme, under which a special expeditionary wing composed almost entirely of
stealthy assets (F-117, B-2 and in the near future F-22 and JSF) and husbanded with
miscellaneous C4ISR and support assets, will operate directly from the continental US and
execute offensive operations (or, in the view of unofficial quotes, “kick down the door”)
anywhere in the globe within short notice. While the concept is theoretically possible, and
its appeal to an air force becoming increasingly worried about the vulnerability &
availability of its overseas bases is certainly understandable, there are still quite a few
practical considerations into actually making it work. Trans-oceanic distances make timely
target intelligence a problem, even with an abundance of reconnaissance assets. Aerial
refuelling must be very carefully choreographed, particularly for the shorter-legged aircraft,
and significant redundancies allowed (as was the case in such past examples of long-range
strike ops as “Black Buck” or “El Dorado Canyon”), which again reduces the effective
force size available. One of the biggest hurdles would probably be the crew endurance for
the tactical aircraft – how combat effective is a single pilot going to be after an 8-14hr
cruise to the target area? These and other concerns have to be addressed before the GSTF
proves a definite response to the basing problem. In the meantime, basing denial in both
war and peace remains an effective counter-stealth approach.

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Target non-stealthy combat & support assets

Despite the technological leaps of the last two decades, stealth technologies remain an
expensive and complicated affair. This
limits their applicability12. Stealthy
assets are still the “silver bullet” force
of a selected few airframes who
undertake the toughest assignments.
Stealth aircraft however do not operate
in a vacuum; critical to their
operational effectiveness is an entire
mix of support assets such as C4ISR
aircraft (AWACS, JSTARS, Rivet
Joint, ABCC etc.), force-multiplier
support aircraft such as tankers,
specialized offensive assets such as
SEAD escorts, as well as an entire
series of older combat aircraft who
flesh out the force. All these assets are An F-22 being refueled by a KC-135 tanker. AAR assest are
non-stealthy and are likely to remain few, precious and thus highly valuable assets to protect – and
so in the near and medium term. They destroy. Stealthy assets owe much of their operational
are thus far more vulnerable to attack. freedom to the airborne gas staions.

To fully comprehend the importance of these units in the success of stealthy forces, one

Stealthy fighters may get the glory these days, but the workhorses who get most of the job
done are still conventional fighters like this F-16C. Without them, VLO assets have to
spread themselves thin – possibly too thin.
This is going to gradually change in the near-future with the introduction of mass produced aircraft that
incorporate stealth technology (F-22, Eurofighter, Rafale, F/A-18E/F, JSF etc.). Notice however that all of
these airframes are front-line fighters, not support assets.

may simply ask: what happens if they are unavailable?

C4ISR: The loss of even a single AWACS/JSTARS/SIGINT platform over the battlefield
immediately creates a gap in sensor coverage, particularly if the patrol sector is not covered
by any other asset. This means tactical units have to step-in and temporarily take over the
duty until another asset can be brought forth. Stealthy aircraft usually exploit their VLO
property to roam about the battlefield in near-complete EMCON like silent predators, being
fed data by external C4ISR platforms. Sticking to a tight patrol pattern and (by necessity)
often emitting actively, even with LPI sensors, is definitely not their style of fighting and
robs them of much of their operational freedom.

Tankers: Not being able to refuel in the air means having to return to the base as soon as
bingo fuel level is reached (a significant amount if the base is distant). Again, this denies
stealthy assets much of their freedom to move around the battlefield and reduces their edge.
Stealth tactics often rely on weaving complex multi-waypoint routes around dangerous air-
defence facilities to minimize the chances of detection; not having the gas to do that is a
most undesirable situation.

SEAD assets: Many will probably

recall that even the mighty B-2 did
not operate over Kosovo without at
least a pair of EA-6Bs on a tethered
leash. Air defences are naturally one
of the prime enemies of stealthy
aircraft (and any other aircraft for
that matter). There are certain
defensive networks so thick that
even stealthy assets have a hard time
slipping through; a SEAD escort can
provide that extra edge that is needed
to get the job done. If that help is not
around, other ways need to be found
– an extra problem for the VLO
The loss of specialised C4ISR platforms like the E-8
JSTARS can seriously hamper the operations of stealthy
Conventional non-VLO aircraft:
These are the “regular troops” that make the bulk of any air force. The need for them is
evident when once considers the range of tasks that the AF has to perform at any given
point: Anything from air patrols to aggressive offensive counter-air to interdiction to close
air-support to reconnaissance etc. Until stealth technology becomes more affordable, the
majority of the operations fulfilling these tasks will need to be undertaken by non-VLO
assets. Not having these aircraft available means that the precious few stealthy assets have
to “do everything”, in a sense. This not only significantly stretches their tasking schedules
and adds to their maintenance requirements (with apparent results in their overall
operational readiness), but also places them in predicaments and situations for which they
are ill-suited and can lead to increased vulnerability: Imagine, for example, a squadron of
F-35 JSFs having to do round-the-clock low-alt CAS with rockets and cannon strafe-passes

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(how many 23/30mm rounds to bring them down?) because there are no A-10s or
helicopters in the theater. Or F-117s being forced to loiter above a highway, hunting
elusive mobile targets, instead of doing what they do best: get in, strike and get out.

The exact method of targeting all these supportive assets can vary. They can be neutralized
on the ground as part of a pre-emptive OCA operation or, alternatively, engaged in the air.
While they can certainly be defended in the air (and may well be used as ambush baits),
simply the existence of credible threat to them means that extra fighters need to be
allocated to the task – aircraft that would otherwise be doing something else more

Restructure the air-defence network

The experience of the air campaigns of WW2 and their decisive effects shaped the structure
of air-defence networks for the entire post-war period up to our days. Despite the great
technological advances in the last 6 decades, the hierarchical, pyramid-style layout of a
typical IADS has remained pretty much unchanged. There is usually a single national-level
command center, which controls several regional centers, which in turn control many more
sector-level centers, which ultimately then control the EW/GCI sensors and SAM/AAA
stations, as well as fighters.

This layout has remained unchanged over the years for a number of reasons, system inertia
and the expense of major restructuring being chief amongst them, but primarily because up
to now it really did work. Any aircraft that attempts to challenge the IADS is typically
detected and engaged by the outer layer first. Survivors of the first layer who proceed
deeper are then engaged by additional defences etc. It is very difficult to significantly
penetrate the system without repeated clashes with the enemy defences – clashes in which
the home team usually has the upper hand13.

The big shift in this picture came with the advent of VLO platforms and long-range, very
accurate conventional cruise missiles. It was now possible to attack even the top nodes of
the system without risk of attrition to the defensive layers. Alternatively, these “silver
bullet” systems may selectively destroy certain parts of the IADS (or pull it apart
completely, if the resources are sufficient) in order to allow the rest of the air war complex
to perform its tasks unhindered.

There are two prime reasons that these attacks on the IADS can be so spectacularly
effective. One is the strict hierarchical structure of the system – a natural continuation of
the traditional business layout, which is optimized for the quick and efficient flow of
information, compartmentalization and adherence to a clear-cut chain of command. The

There were always certain exceptions to this. Accurate, long-range nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (and
conventional cluster-munition weapons in the 80s, at least against lightly armored targets) could destroy any
node in the hierarchy without being subjected to defensive fire. This however was a doomsday scenario and
thus not applicable to conventional air ops. Also, skillful low-level flight can allow a significant penetration
without detection and engagement. However, this severely restricts the range of the aircraft and thus limits its
attack options.

second reason is that a modern IADS is typically composed of a very limited number of
nodes, a consequence of the escalating costs of operating them. This means that every
single node is much more capable than in the past (e.g. modern EW/GCI radars can
effectively cover millions of square miles of airspace), but also far more irreplaceable.
Though a certain degree of redundancy is not uncommon, it is far from enough to ensure
the system’s ability to absorb numerous losses and continue to function. As a result, quite
often the selective destruction of even just one or two nodes can neutralize a significant
portion of the system and make it far more vulnerable to follow-up attacks.

Accurate conventional cruise missiles like the US Tomahawk, in consort

with stealthy strike assets, marked the beginning of the end for
traditional-structured AD networls

A textbook example of this approach was the Coalition air campaign against Iraq in 1991.
The Iraqi KARI air defence system, although designed primarily with an east-west
orientation (to face threats from Israel and Iran) was still a worrisome factor in the plans of
the Allied air campaign. Its neutralization was thus given top priority, and it was
accomplished within a very small amount of time. Following the destruction of a few key
nodes of the system by cruise missiles, F-117 attack aircraft, SEAD aircraft and other less
conventional means (such as AH-64 helicopters) the rest of the system saw its effectiveness
plummet and was methodically exterminated as the remaining system elements were
picked-off piecemeal.

Addressing these inherent vulnerabilities calls for a multi-pronged approach.

One method is to increase the mobility of the system nodes. A big part of SEAD operations
is planning based on the available electronic order of battle (EOOB), i.e. the known
locations and types of the active emitters comprising the IADS. If the nodes are fixed in
place, they only need to be mapped once (a procedure much easier to perform against a
fixed emitter). Afterwards, they’re simply targets waiting to be attacked – again, a task
much easier against fixed assets. Providing the system elements with increased mobility
goes a long way in increasing their survivability as well as their operational effectiveness.
For one, they’re not sitting ducks anymore – striking a fixed installation is a lot easier than
to hunt an equivalent target down the road. Just ask the frustrated F-15E aircrews that

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participated in the Scud-hunting operations in the Gulf, or the F-16CG pilots chasing
around SA-6 batteries all over the rugged Serbian terrain. Moreover, being in unexpected
places offers opportunities for surprise shots against overhead aircraft. Neither are the
weapon elements the sole beneficiaries of movement; operation centers and command
nodes of the system also benefit from the increased survivability of “living on the road”,
much as it reduces their communication options. It is hardly a coincidence that almost all
air-defence systems under development or in production incorporate a high degree of
mobility as a primary design spec. Older systems such as the SA-2/3 are also being
substantially upgraded, simply by replacing the older electronics and mounting the
launcher assemblies on top of various vehicle options instead of fixed sites.

Then there is the subject of the few, vulnerable, terribly expensive and near-irreplaceable
system nodes, and of their restrictive hierarchy. Ideally, one might be able to replace them
with a much denser network of nodes, each of them less capable (radars with smaller range,
radio transmitters with reduced range, coverage and capabilities etc.) but much more
affordable. The benefits of such a structure are that the elimination of any given node does
not severely affect the system, thus providing far greater redundancy. Constructing such a

Smart move: A complete SA-3 complex mounted on mobile trucks

dense network might seem prohibitory costly, but in reality the economies of scale are in
the defender’s favor, and the lower technological level required for each single element
means that they can be mass-produced at total prices far lower than that of equivalent-
coverage premium-tech systems.

Think of a 1000-km front being covered by just three big sophisticated radars evenly
spaced apart (not an uncommon situation for many AD networks today). Taking out one of
the radars leaves a 300-km wide penetration corridor, with no clear indication of where
exactly in that space the enemy is going to attempt penetration. Now consider the same
front covered by 50 rudimentary radars at 20km intervals. If one of them is taken out, there
is immediately a good indication of where the attacker wants to push – and the loss of
coverage is comparatively negligible. If nothing else, the attacker now has to strike at a
much larger number of system nodes in order to create a sufficient breach to exploit – and
each destroyed node acts as an “alarm bell” trip-wire that can cue the defender’s mobile
assets (such as fighters and AEW aircraft) to the likely positions of the intruders with a
good probability of interception.

Breaking free of the restrictive hierarchical structure and the flow of information through
specific comms channels is also a big factor in decreasing the vulnerability of the IADS to
the selective neutralization of its critical elements. “Network-centric warfare”, a concept of
warfighting that covers every branch of the armed forces and emphasizes an Internet-style
multi-routing data flow, is seen as a key direction towards this goal14. As a Lockheed
Martin executive comments:

"The wave of the future as we see it what we're calling 'sensor-centric networking' or
'network-centric warfare’. If you are networking sensors, you are giving them - almost by
definition - built-in survivability, because you don't have any one critical node that can be
knocked out [that will bring down the system]. You have sort of a broadcast of all sensor
information and the appropriate headquarters of the appropriate agencies that are going
to take action in an air-defence role are getting that information through various
[redundant] channels."

More intelligent emission control (EMCON) is also key to increasing the system’s
effectiveness. In the 1991 air campaign, Iraqi SAM crews tended to continuously emit their
systems, thus advertising their presence and location – until destroyed by Allied SEAD
efforts or forced to shut-down under the overwhelming threat of overhead HARM-shooters.
Fast forward to 1999, and the Serbian army’s air defences gave Allied air forces a much
harder time not by better hardware but simply by much more sophisticated tactics. Mobility
was a key factor – indeed, the vast majority of legacy fixed sites in the Serbian inventory
(mainly fixed SA-2 & SA-3 batteries) were quickly eliminated, while their mobile
counterparts survived the air campaign in significant numbers. Another factor was the
careful coordination of emissions between different sensors so as to minimize each
individual unit’s transmission time while at the same time providing the maximum
coverage possible. One mobile radar would transmit for a while, and then it would shut
An extensive presentation of the application of network-centric techniques on air-defence networks can be
found on JED’s May 2001 article “Good Move”

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down, pack up and leave in a hurry, the coverage responsibility of its sector being taken up
by someone else. This presented NATO EW operators with a constantly changing EOOB
which was much more difficult to keep updated than in Iraq.

In fact, the operating methods and performance of the Serbian IADS during operation
“Allied Force” provided a strong model for future IAD networks that have to deal with
advanced adversaries, including stealthy assets. Coupled with Serbia’s rugged mountainous
terrain (contrasted to the flat desert plains of the Middle East) which made active tracking
of the mobile ground units a tough assignment, the task of eliminating the Serbian IADS
was never fulfilled in a manner similar to the Desert Storm triumph. Indeed, the continuing
active presence of the IADS and the threat it represented forced significant shifts in the air
operations; for example, allied aircraft rarely operated under 20000ft, the limit of the
coverage envelope of the majority of the Serb mobile SAM systems. Stealthy assets
suffered from this as well. The case of the F-117 shoot-down is well-known; the Serbs
combined the increased mobility of their assets (probably SA-3 conversions plus mobile
AAA), careful EMCON, sound tactical thinking and a good deal of luck to bring down an
aircraft which, by common sense, should be untouchable to their AD resources. Another F-
117 was badly shot-up and had to abort its mission. B-2 bombers, commonly advertised as
being able to operate completely autonomous (with no EW/SEAD support and no fighter
escort), actually always flew escorted by both heavy SEAD assets (EA-6Bs husbanded
from the USN) plus fighter protection just in case. Overall, NATO pilots were never “Iraq-
confident”, and frequently had to operate in altitudes that hindered their effectiveness at
locating and engaging targets15. The results of the air campaign (limited damage to Serbian
ground forces, lots of decoys hit instead of real targets, many misses etc.) reflected this.

Exploit windows in the availability of VLO forces

Current operational stealth aircraft still represent the first few generations of VLO
technology. As already emphasized, they are still too expensive, and too maintenance-
intensive. This limits their sortie rate, leaving significant availability gaps in their task
scheduling unless a huge number of them is present in-theater (again an unlikely case). A
clever adversary will likely attempt to fully exploit these opportunities when not many (or
even better not any) of those precious assets are in the air. Ideally, information on the
operational status of these birds will originate from real-time intelligence sources such as
pre-inserted special-forces teams, high-resolution reconnaissance satellites or tactical
signal-intelligence units. This can allow for sufficient time to quickly coordinate actions of
opportunity by employing own assets deliberately set aside on moments-notice readiness,
e.g. strike aircraft already in the air or missile platforms in launch positions. It is up to the
air-ops commander to decide exactly how the window of opportunity is to be exploited:
Will friendly forces be used to their full effect against pre-planned targets without fear of
being massacred by invisible interceptors? Will the enemy’s non-VLO air assets be given

This was particularly true in the case of mobile targets such as tanks, trucks, mobile SAM elements etc.,
because no weapon similar to the JDAM GPS-guided bomb that could engage them, and high-altitude LGB
attacks were troublesome as a result of targeting pod limitations and frequent heavy cloud cover. One can
only hypothesize about what could happen if this air operation had to be performed a few years earlier (with
no all-weather PGM capability available to NATO at all, except for cruise missiles).

high priority, in order to reduce the support environment that his stealthy aircraft normally
enjoy? Or will the grounded silver-bullets themselves be targeted? The answer obviously
hinges on the dispositions, status and sensor coverage of friendly and enemy forces, and the
opportunities that these create. An E-3C patrol guarded by F-15Cs instead of the usual F-22
escort, for example, presents an interesting target – still a tough nut by any standards, but
less of a suicide mission than before.

Of course, the accuracy of the provided intelligence is of critical importance for such a
technique to work. An artful employer of VLO assets may well go the extra mile of
deliberately providing false cues as to the status and whereabouts of his forces, and then
spring a number of traps by luring his adversary into “target of opportunity” areas that in
reality are pre-selected kill-sacks. To follow the previous example, placing a pair of F-22s
offset well back from the E-3 & F-15 group can form such a trap quickly. A group of
fighters detecting only the AEW bird and the non-VLO escorts is likely to be tempted to
come-in blazing for a quick AWACS-kill; only to find themselves trapped-in and
outmatched as the E-3 pulls back and the Raptors and Eagles dash forward. Like many
aspects of warfare, this is a chess match of moves, countermoves and their endless

The Future
As we saw, stealth appears set to gradually follow the timeless pattern of novel war
principles, a cycle that has been repeated in the past with concepts such as the airplane, the
armored warship, the tank, the submarine, the nuclear weapon etc: Initially the “new way”
is met with resounding success, as there is virtually no counter for it in place, and is
frequently hailed as the precursor of a revolution in military affairs (said revolution
sometimes indeed happening, and sometimes not). Subsequently, as the lessons of it initial
uses sink in, solutions to dealing with it are explored and at the same time its operational
use is refined. Eventually, the new principle finds its true niche within the art of war and
becomes one more arrow in a full quiver, rather than the silver-bullet as originally

An interesting shift in counter-stealth research in the last few years is the increased western
attention in the field. This is understandable considering that, until quite recently, the west
held a decisive advantage in SEAD, VLO and cruise missile technologies, all resulting
from its superiority in electronics and miniaturization. As this gap however tends to shrink,
western military branches increasingly find themselves faced with potential threats that
may employ such technologies against them. Little wonder, then, that technologies such as
passive/covert radar systems or advanced long-range IR sensors are being generously
funded. Hard details on VLO programs in the east are usually hard to come by, but what is
known is enough to cause interest – and in some cases unrest. Technologies such as
plasma-stealth and active cancellation, prototypes with a clear LO inclination such as the S-
37, MiG-1.42 and even the still-shady J-10 and high-precision strike systems like the latest
generation of Russian, Chinese and Indian missiles are a clear indication of things to come.

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A possible view of the future: the HyperSoar bomber

At the same time, technologies previously reserved for high-value or silver-bullet forces
(primarily due to cost and complexity) are gradually trickling down to even-wider portions
of the air forces. Fitting phased-array radars to light combat aircraft or advanced trainers
was an absurd idea a decade ago for example, yet it is actively considered nowadays.
Similarly, stealth will likely find its way into such aircraft classes as multi-mission and
C4ISR platforms, transports, utility craft and maybe even trainers. At this point, no doubt
having lost much of its still-present glamour, it will have to compete with other principles
that may yet be beyond our grasp. Interestingly, the next “darling” principle may not have
to be something completely new, but rather a novel way of re-visiting already established
priorities. For example, the USAF is currently exploring the options for a future
endo/exoatmospheric hypersonic bomber, perhaps an indirect admission that stealth alone
will not cut it in the future. Going retro with the B-70/F-108 idea? Time will tell.

In Harpoon’s wargaming terms, a platform is every self-contained military unit: a ship, an aircraft, a
submarine, a land unit etc. Platforms are the core of Harpoon, as their strengths and weaknesses, properly
exploited, may well determine the outcome of any given scenario. This section deals with such platforms, as
they are modelled and represented in various versions of computer Harpoon. See an error in the data? Have
a favorite platform that you want to introduce to fellow users? Think you can write-up a platform profile as
good as (or better than) the ones you see here? Send your corrections, suggestions, comments & drafts to


By Dale Hillier

This issue’s profile is a bit different than usual. On the afternoon of November 21st, 2003 I
was sitting at my computer chatting on the #Harpoon IRC channel when the distinctive
sound of combat aircraft came through the open window. A quick look out the window
revealed the distinctive shape of a Tornado aircraft on an approach pattern to the
International Airport here in St. John’s.

It was a nice sunny day, so I grabbed my semi-new (September) digital camera and rushed
out the front door and started snapping pictures of the aircraft flying overhead.

A RAF Tornado flying overhead of my house in North-Eastern St. John’s on November 21st, 2003.

For the next several minutes I snipped about 8 to 10 pictures with the best result being what
you see above. Realizing that the airport was only a few minutes away, I grabbed my gear
and hopped in the car, hoping that I’d be able to get better pictures at the airport.

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St. John’s airport lies on the northern edge of the city and is the province’s primary air hub.
The airport itself is divided into two sections; the first is the passenger terminal with the
associated tower and fire-fighting facilities while the second area, farther to the East, is the
commercial aviation section where the government, military, and charter aircraft operate.
The chances were that the Tornados would go there.

Hangar #3 of the commercial section of St. John’s International Airport. This is the Government of
Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Transportation Hangar. A Tornado aircraft can be just
seen over and beyond it.

After arriving at the airport, I wandered around somewhat trying to get a handle on where
the aircraft might be. After parking the car, I walked up to the Revenue and Customs
Hangar where I could get a fix on what was happening. That was when I realized that the
airport’s fire department was deployed, and that the passenger terminal was very active
even for a weekend. The fact that the passenger terminal was active and that the fire
department was on the move meant that it was most likely one of the Tornados was having
some sort of in-flight problem. I managed to get some pictures of the airport facilities
through the fence but they never came out all that well.

Soon after taking the pictures of the airport facilities, a Tornado appeared out of the corner
of my eye and landed on Runway 29. The trees obscured my view but since there was no
smoke plume I assumed that it had landed safely. Several minutes later, I walked back to
the car and started to drive home.

About halfway home, I realized that the Tornados might be behind Hangar #4 which was
the Shell commercial hangar. I turned the car around and drove back to Hangar #4, where I

asked the receptionist if I could some pictures of the Tornado aircraft that just landed. I
was turned down. It would require the permission of the Airport Authority before I could
be allowed to take any pictures.

Ok, well the worst they can say is no…. So I got back in the car and drove to the other side
of the airport with the intention of talking to the SJIAA and getting up close and personal
with the Tornados.

After arriving at the airport terminal, I wandered around some trying to find the offices of
the SJIAA. It turns out that their offices were next to the observation lounge and I took the
chance to take another two pictures.

One of two pictures taken through the window of the observation lounge. The three Tornados can be
seen with the Shell Hangar #4 behind it.

Despite some initial confusion, the SJIAA were very helpful and told me that with the
permission of Airport Security, Shell, and the RAF pilots, they’d have no problem with me
taking pictures on the ramp. After thanking them for their help, I went in search of a
security guard. Considering this was the airport, it wasn’t too hard to find one and I
managed to contact through this guard’s superior, the Airport’s Safety & Security Manager.
After making sure I wasn’t with the press (an important question), permission was quickly
allowed for me to take the pictures. They even called ahead to let the management at the
Shell Hangar know that I was coming.

Well, that was easier than I thought….

I hopped back in my car and drove back to the other side of the airport where the Shell
Terminal Manager was waiting for me. She took me outside and I started snapping away.
Here is the final product:

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Three Tornado GR.4s on the ramp at Hangar #4 of St. John’s International Airport. RAF
Maintenance Personnel can be seen working on all three aircraft.

A head on picture of first Tornado in the picture above. The plane’s configuration
can be clearly seen in this picture.


The damaged Tornado being worked on by RAF Maintenance Crews.

The second GR.4 on the ramp.

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The same GR.4 with a look on its port side. A maintenance panel can be seen open
just under the intake.

A close up of the same GR.4. The laser designator can be seen under the cockpit as
can a Sidewinder Acquisition Round on the Port Inboard Pylon.


A Sky Shadow DECM pod next to a fuel tank on one of the Tornado's.

A BOZ-107 Chaff/Flare pod on the starboard outboard pylon.

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The Sidewinder Acquisition Round on the port inboard pylon along with a fuel tank.

While taking my pictures, I had a chat with the hangar manager. She has been working at
the hangar for over 15 years
and was quite helpful during
my picture spree. She
informed me that the problem
with the Tornado involved the
landing gear on the aircraft.
Apparently, when the pilot
lowered his landing gear, the
‘gear down’ light didn’t come
on. A flyby close to the tower
indicated that the Tornado’s
gear was indeed down but the
precaution was made to clear
the airspace and allow the
aircraft to land with emergency
crews standing by. A CH-149 Cormorant of the Canadian Air Force, landing at St.


Apparently, the airport facilities weren’t the only one alerted to the situation. As I was
snapping pictures of the Tornados, a CH-149 Cormorant (a variant of the EH.101) landed
about 30 meters from where I was standing. To say that this helo was noisy was a major
understatement. The helo landed behind the third Tornado in line on the ramp and then
taxied to the Government Hangar (#3).

The Hangar Manager and I continued to talk some after the pictures were finished. She
mentioned to me that the fourth aircraft of the group, a RAF L-1011 Tristar, was parked on
the other side of the hangar. Finally, some two hours after the first picture of the Tornado
flying over my house, I thanked the Hangar Manager for her help and left the building.

I then drove over to Hangar #3 where I could get a good view of the Tristar Tanker parked
in between the two hangars. The plane was parked in the open with a good view of the
tanking gear.

A Lockheed L-1011 Tristar tanker of the Royal Air Force.

While the view of the entire aircraft was partially obscured by the runway equipment the
twin refueling hoses were clearly visible on the aft section of the aircraft. As you can see
in the above picture, the fuel tanker was there so the RAF could avail themselves to some
extra go-juice. It’s important to note that the Tristar wasn’t only a tanker, it also carried the
maintenance crews and equipment required for the three Tornados. These were the last
pictures I took for the day. Aside from having them published here, I also plan to have this
article permanently installed on my own web pages sometime in the New Year.

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I must say that getting permission to take the

pictures was nowhere near as hard as I was
lead to believe. Everyone I spoke to was quite
helpful and friendly. I hope to have the time
to obtain their help again the next time some
unexpected aircraft drop in.

Special Thanks are to be extended to the St.

John’s Airport Authority, including Kelly
Jamieson, Airport Operations Manager,
A close-up of the refueling gear on the Tristar, Robert Nurse Safety & Security Manager, and
the baskets are just barely visible Kim Noseworthy, Manager of Hangar
Number 4, leased to Shell Aerocenter.

St. John’s International Airport Authority Web Site:

Royal Air Force Official Web Site:

Further information on the Panavia Tornado can be found at:

Further information on the Lockheed Tristar can be found at:

For every computer program there are certain questions that are being asked again and again, and a
complex simulation like the Harpoon series is no exception. Here we keep the most often asked questions
about all computer versions along with the best answers we have for them at the moment. It is a good idea to
check for updates in these sections as our collective knowledge increases. Have an oft-quoted question that
you don’t see being answered here? Ask us (, and we’ll post it as soon as we
have an answer for it. Still can’t find an answer? Ask us online, at the Yahoo H3 group
(, or alternatively at the Harpoon’s Point forums

Harpoon 2 / Harpoon 3
FAQ prepared by Ragnar Emsoy & Dimitris V. Dranidis

Where can I obtain a copy of Harpoon 3?
To purchase the full version of Harpoon 3 go to this page:

Which version of the simulator should I get? Harpoon II or Harpoon 3? What does
Harpoon 3 offer except from Windows-compatibility?
Harpoon 3 is the latest, most realistic, accurate and detailed version in the Harpoon series
of air/naval warfare simulators. Detailed information and screen shots on the various
versions of computer Harpoon can be found on the “What is Harpoon” page
Harpoon 3 offers much more than simply full Windows compatibility. Performance
increases of up to 500%-1000% have been recorded. Scenarios that would either crawl
(too much stuff happening on screen) or crash altogether (memory limits) now run like a
breeze. In addition, a mile-long list of bugs have been fixed and more are fixed with each
successive exe release. New versions have also added new features such as a detailed after-
action log, fully-working nuclear weapons, true thermal layer (which the AI subs use
deviously), fully-working terrain-following, custom GIS overlays and many others.
Harpoon 3 is a continuous work in progress and we would not be surprised to see features
in it that we’ve not dared imagine until now.
Is there a demo for Harpoon 3?
The Harpoon 3 demo for both Windows (Windows 95 / 98 / ME, NT 4.0, Windows 2000,
Windows XP) and Mac (OS and OSX) can be downloaded here:

Okay, I ordered the direct-download version. Now what?

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If you are using the Windows version, check this page: It has detailed instructions on what you
should do to ensure a smooth installation and registration. Mac users should have a look

I ordered the CD version. Anything I can do while waiting for the CD?

The instructions on the page linked above apply to you too. The huge zip file included on
the CD (which should have the name “Install Harpoon 3” or similar) is identical to the
direct-download file. Follow the same instructions and you should be fine.

What’s the deal with this weird lok-kee system?

It’s actually quite simple, if you follow some simple steps carefully. Take a look at this
page for a detailed explanation of the procedure and how to do it right:

What are the system requirements for Harpoon 3?

The simulator will work on Windows 95/98/ME, NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows
XP. Minimum requirements:
- 486DX2, 50 MHz processor.
- 190 MB hard drive space.
- Minimum RAM is whatever your version of Windows requires.
- DirectX version 3.
- Video card capable of running Windows at 800 x 600 x 256 colors.

Is there a Mac version?

Yes. The simulator will run on any PowerMac running System 7.1 or later, including
iMacs, G3s, G4s, and also older PowerMacs and PowerPC clones. Minimum
- 16 MB of Physical RAM
- QuickTime (requires 3.0 or later)
- 100MB of hard drive space

What is the performance like?

The faster your computer is, the better. For PC we recommend any Intel or AMD
processor running at 300MHz or faster, and 64MB of RAM. Playing larger and more
complicated scenarios Harpoon 3 will require a faster CPU and more memory to keep up.
Most scenarios play very well on a 1GHz Thunderbird, and run like a breeze on AMD
XP1600+. If you want to run at higher resolutions up to 1200x1024 it will require a better
video card. For Mac, Harpoon 3 will run fairly well on a PPC 601, runs great on a G3, and
screams on a G4.


Are there any known incompatibilities?

None in Windows. Harpoon3 and Mac PowerWindows don't work together. "G3/G4
Profiler" doesn't get along with Harpoon3 either, and should be disabled before playing.

I am running a scenario from the CD, together with the DB-2000, and there are
problems/crashes. Why?

IMPORTANT!!! The DB2000 will work ONLY with scenarios downloaded from the
HarpoonHQ. It will NOT work with any scenarios not written for the DB2000. The
changes and additions in the new database will cause conflicts and crashes if you try to use
it with scenarios found on the CD or elsewhere on the web (Harpooner Scenario
Warehouse, Dr. Who’s Harpoon page etc). Also, every time we release a major database
revision we regularly update the scenarios to reflect the new information. So when you
download a new scenario please take the time to download the most recent DB version as

Is there a printed manual for Harpoon 3 included with the CD?

No. But the manuals can be downloaded in printer-friendly Acrobat Reader and MS-Word
formats on the HarpoonHQ, in the Utilities section.

Is there a scenario editor manual for Harpoon 3?

Yes, see above.

Which battlesets are included on the Harpoon 3 CD?

The following battlesets are included:
- Tutorial
- Global Conflicts 1
- Global Conflicts 2
- Global Conflicts 3
- WestPac
- ColdWar
- Regional Conflicts 1
- Regional Conflicts 2


So, what is this DB2000 I’ve been hearing about?

Quite simply, the DB2000 is the most accurate, detailed and realistic dataset available for
any version of computer Harpoon at the moment. In short, it rocks ☺. Describing the
features of the dataset would easily eat up the entire space of this magazine. A summary of

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the database mechanics and features is available here:

Where do I find scenarios for this database? The original CD database may not be
hyper-accurate, but gives me plenty of scenarios to play with!

All the H2/3 scenarios available for download at the HHQ are DB2000-certified. Your
choice of DB2000-certified scenarios is as great and varied as of those on the CD: we have
updated about 50 of the original (CD) scenarios to work with the DB2000 (and also fixed
the AI and corrected the OOB), and also created over 100 normal-sized ones from scratch.
Then throw-in Klaus’ 30+ monster-sized scenarios (guaranteed to give you a migraine☺)
and you begin to see that the DB2000 is well-stocked with the scenarios to boot.
Furthermore, the stock CD scenarios are finite and numbered (nobody is developing
scenarios for the original H2AE database anymore – and good riddance!), while the
DB2000-compatible scenarios keep on coming ☺. You can download them from the H2/3

How can I use the DB2000 database and scenarios in Harpoon 3?

Details on how to set up the database and load new scenarios can be found here:

What about DB2000 database & scenario inconsistencies?

All scenarios posted on the H2/3 pages ( at any
given time are 100% certified for the latest version of the DB2000 database. The HHQ
webmasters keep track of all database changes and update the scenarios when needed. So
you do not have to worry about database-scenario inconsistencies as long as you always
make sure to use the LATEST database and scenario from the web. The DB2000 database
and scenarios are constantly updated and improved, and for example the latest database
may not necessarily work with a scenario downloaded two months ago, and vice versa.

When are you guys going to finish converting the rest of the older scenarios from the
Harpoon3 CD to DB2000? Is it not just a matter of re-loading them into the new
Not all scenarios are being converted; typically the first converted are the “classic" ones
from each of the original battlesets. There are many scenarios that one just revisits "one
more time" again and again for some reason or another (the Cold War-themed Atlantic-
convoy rounds or CVBG-vs-Kola slugfests being a good example), and these naturally
have priority in being made DB2000-compatible.
Rebuilding a scenario that was made with a different database is not all that simple. First
of all, we have to check for unit-reference inconsistencies. For example an US Navy Aegis
cruiser in the old database may be a Russian Sovremenny destroyer in the DB2000, and
the F/A-18 Hornets may end up being armed with a simple MiG-23 ground-attack loadout

instead of the intended AMRAAM air-to-air loadout. Next, we have to make sure that
every single ship, sub and land facility has its magazine rebuilt, we have to make sure the
weapon/sensor changes have been "understood" by the scenario, etc.etc.etc. And that's just
the "technical integrity" part. After that, we have to make sure that the changes haven't
unbalanced the scenario. If we have given side Blue a new super-weapon, for instance, we
somehow have to beef-up Red side and/or rewrite the scenario orders to compensate. And
of course we have to keep a "realism check" at hand (don't want to stuff 200 fighters in a
CVN accidentally...). So yeah, it's a long and unthankful process.
But our long-term goal is to rebuild the majority of the 110 scenarios with the DB2000.
We have converted 50 so far, you can download them on the H2/3 pages:

Harpoon 3 won't work with the latest DB2000 version. What is wrong?
IMPORTANT!!! The DB2000 will work ONLY with scenarios downloaded from the
HarpoonHQ. It will NOT work with any scenarios not written for the DB2000. The
changes and additions in the new database will cause conflicts and crashes if you try to use
it with scenarios found on the CD or elsewhere on the web (Harpooner Scenario
Warehouse, Dr. Who’s Harpoon page etc). Also, every time we release a major database
revision we regularly update the scenarios to reflect the new information. So when you
download a new scenario please take the time to download the most recent DB version as

There is an error in the database or in a scenario. What should I do?

Please e-mail us right away. On a normal day the problem will be fixed within 24 hours.
Please do not make the correction yourself and send the updated scenario to us. The
DB2000 database and scenarios are constantly updated, and the new files you send to us
will most likely be outdated by the time they arrive in our mailbox. Thanks.

A platform is missing from the database. How can I add it?

There are two ways.
1. Send us all the info you got on the platform and we will add it as quickly as
2. You make the platform yourself in Jon Reimer's Harpoon 3 Database Builder,
export it to a HCF (Harpoon Component File) and e-mail it to us. We'd appreciate if you
mail us in advance about any platforms you are planning to make, as they may already
exist in the database under a different name. To keep the database as small as possible, we
only add platforms that you are planning to use in a new scenario.

Why does the database appear to have multiple entries for the same platform?
The DB2000 has multiple database entries for the same platform to represent all operators,
main versions, subversions and weapon configurations over time. If you access the dataset
through the scenario editor or one of the DB editors, you will see that most units have a '|'
letter at the end of their name followed by a comment or note which describes each entry.
The comment holds information about the service entry year, operator/country, weapon

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upgrades, and so on. Harpoon 3 has been programmed to ignore everything written after
the '|' letter, and this extra information will only be displayed in the database editor and
scenario editor (for the benefit of the scenario/database designers), and not during actual
gameplay. For example, the unit named "F-14D Tomcat|1998/LANTIRN" will only appear
as "F-14D Tomcat" during gameplay. The "CG 52 Bunker Hill|2000/SM-2IIIB" will
appear as "CG 52 Bunker Hill". The “invisible” comment suggests this is the year 2000
version of the cruiser and uses the SM-2 Block IIIB missile as it's primary weapon.

Why are some variables like waypoints and terminal trajectory in the database never
The released version of Harpoon II (which is Harpoon 3's predecessor) is not even a
shadow of what it was originally planned to be. The simulator was supposed to have an
even more advanced ECM/ESM + radar simulation, waypoints and terminal trajectory for
weapons etc etc etc. But the original Harpoon II developers ran out of time and money and
all these features were eventually left out. And since neither Harpoon II nor Harpoon 3
currently supports these fields, we have never bothered to fill them in. However, Jesse's
Harpoon 3 project is aimed at implementing most if not all of these features eventually,
and in that case the database will definitely support them.

Why no TASM (Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile) after 1991?

The nuclear (TLAM-N) and anti-ship (TASM) variants of the Tomahawk were withdrawn
in the early 1990s as the Cold War came to an end. TASM was withdrawn because there
was no longer any chance of blue-water engagements against a navy with large, high-value
targets like the Soviets, and many of the missiles have been converted to land attack. The
TLAM-N was withdrawn as per a 1991 agreement with Russia to not deploy nuclear
weapons at sea (other than strategic ballistic missiles).

Why are later S-3 Viking variants not carrying ASW weapons?
The Viking's ASW role was removed in 1999. US aircraft carriers now deploy with four to
six S-3 Vikings; some for the tanker role, and two aircraft dedicated to ASuW armed with
iron bombs, Harpoons and Mavericks. The ASW mission is undertaken by Seahawks and

How does Stealth work with F-117A, B-2A etc?

Stealth and low-observable aircraft and ships in the database have smaller radar, visual and
IR signatures than other units. The F-117 is not all that difficult to detect with AEGIS and
other high-end air-search radar systems, and detection ranges approaching 40nm is not
uncommon. So you need to use active ECM if you want them to live through an attack on
a heavily defended target. The F-22 has a similar RCS (Radar Cross Section) in real life.
But in the DB2000 we've also taken into account the fact that the F-22 will use Active
Stealth (similar to Rafale’s Spectra active-cancellation system) in addition to passive
stealth, and the end result is a significantly smaller signature than that of the F-117.
Finally, there is the B-2 bomber which, thanks to its “cost-not-a-factor” stealth treatment,
is extremely difficult to detect even with the use of advanced sensors.


What is the best way to employ the ITALD, TALD loadouts?

The TALD and ITALD are just extra targets for SAM and radar sites, so just fire them
along with other ASMs or ahead of your strike aircraft. The hotkey to fire air-launched
decoys is Ctrl + F1 (the same key is also used for BOL-attacks). The AI cannot use

How can I deploy SEALs from SSNs?

All SpecOps submarines in the DB2000 carry SEAL teams. The SEALs work the same
way bombs do, and are deployed using the Attack menu. A limitation with this
implementation is that they cannot be retrieved afterwards.

Why do many guns have such a low PoK against aerial targets?
Anti-ship cruise missiles are extremely difficult to shoot down. And even if destroyed in
mid-air, the missile may still cause serious damage if the warhead detonates at ranges
closer than 500m from the target, or if the ship is hit by debris from a disabled missile. In
the Falklands War, only one of six Exocet missiles fired at British ships was shot down,
and this kill is not even 100% certain. PoK (Probability of Kill) in Harpoon 3 is calculated
for a burst of fire - this can be either just one round (for larger guns) or up to several
hundred (for Mk15, AK-630 etc) - and the chances of hitting a target within a given
amount of time. We are also taking into account limitations in the Harpoon 3 game engine.
There is no separate range figure against aerial targets and we're forced to use the max
anti-surface range. This gives the defender a 1/3 to 1/2 longer range than in real life, and
we have reduced the PoK to compensate for this.

Why do certain aircraft only have two speed settings?

The reason is that when an aircraft like the F-22, Tu-22M, MiG-25 and MiG-31 has
varying cruise speed (i.e. a high-Mach cruise speed that increases with altitude), the AI has
difficulties determining bingo fuel levels, and will run the aircraft out of fuel if using full
and reheat throttle settings. Therefore, you can not use other speed settings than cruise and

Sonar range circles are very small compared with the original database, in some
cases they are only 1nm in diameter. Why?
The DB2000 database has a completely redesigned sonar model, details can be found here: In addition, Harpoon 3 uses a
pretty weird formula for calculating the sonar range circles. So the circles in the simulator
are not actual sonar ranges, and it therefore recommended to play with sonar range circles

How do I kill the fast MiG-25 and MiG-31 interceptors?

When you decide to go after a group of MiG-25 or MiG-31 interceptors, it is important
that your fighters fly as high and as fast as possible. Due to the way Harpoon 3 calculates

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firing parameters and no-escape zones, the AIM-54A Phoenix has for example a launch
range of only about 40nm against these speeding targets. If your own fighters are traveling
at Mach 1.5, the enemy air-to-air missiles will have a reduced effective range too, about
25nm for the AA-6 and 40nm for the AA-9. If your fighters are flying at lower speeds you
give the enemy a big advantage as he can launch his missiles at longer ranges, in most
cases before you can.

How can I take a closer look at the DB2000 database?

To view the database you should use Jon Reimer's Harpoon2/3 Database Builder, which
can be downloaded here: This is a fast
and easy-to-use database editor that has lots of really great built-in aids and features. You
need MS Access to open the editor. Access is a program included in the Microsoft Office
Suite (which includes Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and
FrontPage).The database editor that comes with Harpoon 3 is based on that for Harpoon II
Admirals Edition, and is FULL of serious bugs, errors and shortcomings, and we do not
recommend you to use this tool.

Playing tips & misc. support

For a mile-long list of hints & tips to get the most out of Harpoon 2 and Harpoon 3, visit
this page:

The Harpooner’s Point forum ( is the single best

place for answering any questions you might have on playing H2/3. The Waypoint staff as
well as the rest of the HarpoonHQ webmasters, along with a community of myriads, are
ready to answer any sort of question and provide all the support you may need. “No
question is stupid, no call for help is lame” is our motto.

You can also chat live with leading members of the community on the Harpoint IRC
channel. You have to connect to a GameSurge server (for example
and then log on to the channel #harpoon. Chances are you’ll find someone there 24/7. So
go ahead and make your voice heard.

Harpoon Classic 97 & 2002

FAQ prepared by Bruce Fenster, HC2002 Lead Tester & Assistant HULL

What is Harpoon Classic 2002?

Harpoon Classic 2002 is the result of a 15 month (and counting ☺), all volunteer effort by
members of the Harpoon Community to improve the playability of the very popular
Harpoon Classic 97 Naval Simulation Game.


To refine HC97 and make it “the game we always wanted”, an open solicitation went out
to the Harpoon Community in August 2001. Dozens of suggestions and feature requests by
players the world over soon trickled in.

Next came the job of prioritizing the player feedback and delving deep into the source
code to determine what could be accomplished in a reasonable period of time. A game
plan soon emerged with three major goals:

1) Improving the AI, particularly in the areas of submarine and aerial warfare. We’ve had
nice feedback from numerous Harpoon players regarding HC2002’s aggressive new AI.

2) Resolving as many player-reported bugs as possible. The list was long, and while we
didn’t get them all, most are now history and the rest are in the cross hairs. More on bugs
in the upcoming issue as well.

3) Updating and correcting platform values, i.e., overhauling the database. This was never
anticipated when Harpoon Classic first appeared. The fact that it’s happening now speaks
volumes to the dedication of the lead members in the HC2002 Development team.

By November 2001, the programming of HC2002 was well underway. The challenge, of
course, was not to break anything while revamping the AI and squashing HC97’s bugs.
The game engine executable file (Winharp32.exe) was revised and tested countless times
to achieve goals 1 and 2 above. Finally, in September 2002, the development team made
the first public release of HC2002, 13 months after work had first begun on the project.

To date, there have been over 3,000 downloads of the two free Demo versions! Hundreds
more have purchased the HC97 Game Engine Upgrade, and many others have signaled
their intention to wait for the stand-alone HC2002 CD-ROM.

As of this writing, CD-ROM release is just around the corner. When ready, it will include
a new Platform Database (currently in Beta testing), and, for the first time ever in the
Harpoon Classic series, a Platform Editor. This feature will enable players to modify
existing platforms and to create new ones as well. The Scenario Editor has also been
revised to accommodate the new Platform Editor, and the HC2002 Game Engine will
likewise reside on the CD-ROM, eliminating the need for players to have a working
version of HC97 in order to enjoy HC2002. is a good place to start for

additional information on HC2002. There you’ll find some background information as
well as links for purchasing HC2002, installing it, and an HC2002 FAQ page. and are also great
Harpoon sites in general and good places to find scenarios specifically created for HC2002
that take advantage of the AI and game engine improvements.

Also, the Harpoon Users League List at is a

moderated discussion list for players of all versions of Harpoon and an excellent source of

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information on HC2002’s continued development. And finally, there is #Harpoon on IRC,

a moderated chat that usually has someone in it available to discuss the latest Harpoon