President Clinton perplexedly wandered around the offices of the White House, unable to look into the harsh faces of the founding fathers of the United States.
“My son, you are sitting here for a second term, but you have not bombed anyone yet,” the statue of George Washington shook her head reproachfully.
“What do you say to Congress, the Pentagon, and representatives of the war industry?” - Thomas Jefferson echoed him. tanksleave your voters without a livelihood? ”
“A quick victorious war on foreign shores is the best remedy for the depression of the American nation,” the wise Benjamin Franklin joined the conversation. The war will be beneficial to America, it will once again weaken the Old World and emphasize the prestige of the United States. The war will strengthen your rating and unite the American nation in front of a common threat. Choose your opponent weaker; the one whom you have for many years been a stupor for economic sanctions and embargoes. They came upon him with all their might, tore apart and tear to pieces with the help of the "arsenals of democracy". America is waiting for its hero.
“I ... I tried my best,” Bill Clinton mumbled. A special operation in Somalia, air strikes on Iraq as part of Operation Desert Fox ... it's almost 600 sorties "
- "The leprosy of the unfit boy!" - sharply interrupted Lyndon Johnson. 600 sorties ?! What is this shit, soldier ?! My hawks dropped 6,7 million tons of bombs on Vietnam. This is a slaughter! There must be people dying every day! Or have you been chosen for the post of President of the United States so that you smear your snot? America needs war! Do you understand me, cowboy ?! ”
- Yes, sir!
- I can not hear.
- Yes, sir!
Steel fist in velvet glove
For war with small Serbia, the USAF and NATO countries concentrated a colossal amount of air attack weapons: more than 1000 attack aircraft, helicopters and combat support vehicles stationed in Italy (Aviano, Vicenza, Istrana, Ancona, Joey del Colet, Gedi, Piacenza airbases, Celivia, Brindisi, Sigonela, Trapani), France (Istres, Crosetta and Solenzar airbases on Corsica), Hungary (Tasar airbase), Spain (Rota airbase), Germany (Ramstein and Spangdalen airbases), United Kingdom (Theaford and Mildenhall air bases ). Also, the B-2 stealth bombers, operating from the United States (Whiteman Air Force Base), were involved in strikes.
Special operations forces were deployed at the border airfields of Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia: search and rescue and evacuation teams (Pave Hawk and Jolly Green helicopters), MC-130 combat aircraft, AP-64 attack helicopters and Apache helicopters and vehicles fire support AC-130 "Spectrum".
From the Adriatic Sea, the group was supported by four missile cruisers, two American and one British nuclear submarines, whose mission was to strike with cruise missiles — in the early days of the war, Tomahawks smashed the positions of Serbian air defense missiles, destroyed radar, headquarters buildings and command centers, decapitated and disorganized the army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
In addition to the carriers of cruise missiles, in the Adriatic were a number of other ships of the Sixth fleet and the Navy of NATO countries, however, their presence was limited only to the expression of moral support for aircraft flying over their masts. On the 12th day of the war, the nuclear carrier “Theodore Roosevelt” approached the shores of Yugoslavia, and its wing also joined in the work to destroy the Serbian state.
And we arrived. The wreckage of the F-16C Block 40D # 88-0550 fighter from Aviano air base. Museum aviation in Belgrade
The most important role was assigned to the information component of the operation: the NATO command sought to gain complete control over the situation on the ground and in the skies of Yugoslavia. The following were involved in the performance of reconnaissance flights:
- X-NUMX of E-9 “Sentry” flying radar and 3 of E-5 “Houkai” deck-based long-range radar detection aircraft to cover the air situation and coordinate the flights of NATO aviation.
- X-NUMX aerial reconnaissance aircraft E-2 “G-Stars” systems - long-range air observation systems for ground objects;
- 12 of electronic reconnaissance aircraft (EC-130, RC-135W, Navy EP-3C “Aries”) used for direction finding radio devices, searching for downed pilot beacons, building a radar map of the enemy and defining safe “corridors” in the enemy’s air defense system.
- X-NUMX high-altitude reconnaissance U-5 "Dragon Lady": soaring along the borders of the combat zone, these "birds" revealed all the movements and preparations of the Serbian army.
The orbital grouping of the USA was actively involved in the fulfillment of reconnaissance missions. As for the odious GPS system, the Yankees "clicked on the nose" the whole world, simply turning off the navigation satellites at the beginning of the war. The winged “Tomahawks” independently navigated by the terrain (TERCOM system), and NATO aircraft used specialized radio navigation systems. At the same time, GPS data could be used in the interests of the enemy, which resulted in the immediate shutdown of the system.
Note. During the invasion of Iraq (2003) and the air operation in Libya (2011) this was no longer observed - a lot of high-precision weapons appeared in service with American aircraft. weaponsusing in their work the GPS data.
During the 78 days of the air war, NATO aircraft made 38 000 combat sorties, including 10 484 shock. Aviation brought on the “wings of freedom” 23 614 aircraft ammunition, not counting sea-based cruise missiles (all American and British ships spent 700 “Tomahawks” order). The damage from the bombing exceeded 200 billion dollars.
The ruins of the General Staff building. Belgrade, our days
Weak aviation and outdated Serbian air defense systems failed to repel such a massive attack. Weakened by endless internal conflict, international economic sanctions and military embargoes, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was cruelly crucified by NATO vultures.
As part of the Air Force of the FRY, there were only the first generation 14 fighters of the first generation and two combat-training “Sparky” MiG-29UB without radar. In the absence of high-quality target designation and more than 29-multiple enemy superiority in fighter aircraft, few of the MiGs who dared to take to the air turned into easy targets for NATO pilots. The result - 20 machines lost in aerial combat, without any result.
In addition to the MiG-29, the Air Force of the FRY included 34 serviceable MiG-21 and the 100 order subsonic Galeb, Super Galeb and J-22 attack aircraft. Exposing such cars against modern F-15 and F-16 US Air Force would be pure suicide. The only confirmed air victory of the Serbian MiG-21 is the Tomahawk cruise missile, shot down by 24 March 1999 of the year.
Fighter F-16. On the fuselage there is a mark about the destroyed MiG
The Serbian air defense system included the 12 of the C-125М1Т Neva and 20 battalions of the Kub mobile air defense missile systems, 1970’s, with low noise immunity and low range, which is completely ineffective in modern conditions.
Also in service there was about 100 mobile systems "Strela-1" and "Strela-10", whose capabilities corresponded to MANPADS rather than full-fledged anti-aircraft missile systems.
However, even to suppress such a meager defense, NATO had to pretty much sweat: on the identified positions of the Serbian air defense missile systems, 743 "smart" AGM-88 HARM missiles were launched, targeting radar sources.
And the more striking is the following fact: in spite of the outdated and ineffective hardware, a huge number of HARM and ALARM anti-radar missiles launched, incessant bombardments and strikes with cruise missiles, the Serbia air defense system SAVED and was able to achieve several bright victories!
As soon as it comes to NATO air casualties in the operation against Yugoslavia, opinions are divided into two radical points of view:
1. NATO's real losses ranked in hundreds of cars.
2. The highly developed civilization of the West "bent" backward Slavs with a "dry" score - the losses of the Air Forces of the Coalition countries do not exceed a few units.
As for the author’s point of view, she recognizes the minimal losses of the NATO Air Forces, but draws completely different conclusions from this: surprisingly, how did the Serbs manage to achieve victories under such unfavorable conditions ?! And what would happen if the Slavic brothers had anything more serious than the Kub air defense system?
However, first things first.
It is obvious that the myths about the destruction of the Serbian air defense of hundreds of enemy aircraft, including the B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers, are nothing more than imagination of impressionable citizens. What kind of universal attention was surrounded by the downed "invisible" F-117 - its fragments are shown in the museum, books are written about it and films are shot. It is not difficult to imagine what a furore the fall of the X-NUMX-ton monster B-150 would produce. Alas ... the "downed" aircraft disappeared without a trace in the fantasies of conspiracy therapists.
Similar история comes with a list of destroyed tactical aircraft of NATO - dozens of F-15, F-16, Tornado, A-10 attack aircraft, helicopters with special forces ... Explanations of the difficulty of finding fragments in the mountains of Yugoslavia do not pass: Yugoslavia is a very densely populated country, what As for the “debris falling into the sea”, the damaged aircraft still need to fly to the sea - from Belgrade to the coast over 300 km.
It is also not possible to hide the fact of numerous aircraft crashes in the territory of neighboring states: despite the “evacuation of debris” and “bribing of witnesses”, this would sooner or later become known. Too enchanting event.
However, the pro-Western public rejoices early on how "NATO defeated the savages, losing the entire 2 aircraft."
In addition to knocked down F-117A "Nighthawk" and F-16С Block 40D "Fighting Folkan", whose fragments are exposed for everyone to see in the windows of the Aviation Museum in Belgrade, a number of incidents occurred that (attention!) Were recognized by the NATO command on official level. Some of them are openly given the status of "combat loss", the other part is disguised under the pretexts of various navigational accidents and technical reasons.
For example, the 1 of May 1999 of the year over the Adriatic Sea was lost aircraft AV-8 Harrier II (number 164568, 365-I squadron of the US Marine Corps). It goes without saying that the crash happened during the execution of the training flight - the Pentagon insists on this version.
AH-64A Apache Debris (# 88-0250, Company B of the 6th Battalion of the 6th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army)
No less sadly ended were two training flights of Apache helicopters - the shock machines crashed in the mountains on the border of Serbia and Albania on the night of April 26 and, accordingly, on May 5 of the year 1999. The first time there were no casualties, the second time the “Apache” killed both crew members. The reason for the fall? The Pentagon associates both disasters with navigation errors. This time, Americans are not far from the truth - to break a helicopter in the mountains in the dark is easier than to snap your fingers. Another question is how “educational” were these sorties?
2 May 1999 The Thunderbolt A-10 (81-0967) attacked the engine right over Serbia ... however, the Yankees didn’t hide anything at that time - the plane was shot down from Strela-2. . The explosion disfigured the right engine, but the surviving “bird” managed to reach the airport of Skopje (Macedonia).
Infrequently, there is a mention that there were at least two losses among the “invisibles”:
21 on April 1999 of the year with an F-117A aircraft (86-0837 number) performing a combat mission during a NATO operation against Yugoslavia, an “A-class incident” occurred. Under this name in the US Air Force are severe accidents, usually leading to the death / write-off of the aircraft.
Since there is no evidence of a plane crashing into the territory of the FRY or neighboring states, the aircraft most likely crashed during takeoff or landing at one of the NATO air bases. That does not exclude the impact on its design of enemy fire - the aircraft could get damaged over the target, which, ultimately, caused his death or heavy damage when trying to land.
But that's not all!
The exhibition of the Aviation Museum in Belgrade has several amazing exhibits:
- Lightweight French UAV Sagem Crecerelle;
- large American drone RQ-1 "Predator";
- fragments of a sea-based cruise missile BGM-109 "Tomahawk".
Representatives of NATO themselves officially acknowledge the loss of an unmanned aerial vehicle 21 in the skies over Yugoslavia, including the 2 heavy “Predator”:
- 13 in May 1999. The unmanned reconnaissance aircraft (onboard number 95-3019) shot down the Strela-1 air defense missile system in the area of Biba village;
- 20 in May 1999, another RQ-1 (95-3021) came under attack from the air defense system near the village of Talinovce.
There is a mention that the Serbs shot down several NATO UAVs by simply shooting them from a Mi-8 helicopter.
UAV RQ-1 Predator
As for cruise missiles, the Tomahawks were shot down by several dozen - a very commendable result for such a primitive air defense system as Serbia had at that time.
No bravura speeches and "capturing" moods. It has long been worthwhile to take off the "rose-colored glasses" and admit that the air defense system of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia failed its task: NATO aircraft brazenly walked over the heads of the Serbs, pouring them with a fiery shower of cluster munitions.
No unreasonable fantasies about heavy casualties among NATO aircraft — the Serbs did not shoot down a large number of enemy aircraft, and could not shoot them down due to the weakness of their air defense system. All 2 combat aircraft + a number of shot down / damaged turntables, UAVs and cruise missiles became the Serbian trophies.
Despite such a sad ending, the wreckage of black hawks from the Belgrade Aviation Museum clearly shows that powerful NATO aircraft are not invulnerable. It can and must be fought! Even primitive air defense complexes, in conditions of absolute numerical superiority of the enemy, made it possible to achieve high-profile victories - of course, this is about the F-117A: the destruction of an invisible plane was one of the most curious pages in the history of modern aviation.
For a moment we close our eyes and try to simulate the situation: instead of outdated "Cubes" and stationary C-125, the Serbs were in the hands ... no, not the famous C-300.
The “300th” anti-aircraft complex is too cumbersome and complex, besides in the conditions of mountainous Yugoslavia it loses its main advantages - mobility and long range.
Assume that the Serbian Air Defense has received 15-20 of the Buk-М1-2 medium-range air defense missile systems. In technical terms, the Buk-M1-2 is no less perfect than the C-300 SAM, and a smaller firing range is compensated for by the best stealth and mobility of the complex.
In addition to the “Bukam” - a hundred of the simplest ZSU-23-4 “Shilka” (or “Tunguska” - it’s impossible to dream of the С1 Shell ”): high-speed radar-guided anti-aircraft guns pose a deadly threat to low-flying airplanes (will not rise above” Beech").
Do not neglect the portable air defense systems - "Strela-2", "Needle", FIM-92 Stinger. And the number is more, more (because they are relatively cheap). The massive use of such "toys" will give confidence, and cause serious difficulties in the work of enemy aircraft.
Finally, there must be a powerful political will to use all these weapons, and the general support of the population.
If the Serbs had all the above conditions, I would venture to suggest that the bombing of Yugoslavia might not have taken place. Assessing all possible risks, the Americans would appoint another “whipping boy”, shifting their priorities towards Somalia, Afghanistan and other completely backward countries - where there is a chance to avoid serious resistance.
Small photo gallery:
The wreckage of "Apache" in Albania
Serbian anti-aircraft artillery fires barrage
Part of the second stage of the anti-aircraft missile that hit the "invisible" on Budanovtsi
Trophy French UAV Sagem Crecerelle
SLCMB "Tomahawk" in section