The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Roland and the SA-8 "Red Storm Rising"

  This is a continuation of my "Red Storm Rising" post that I was doing.   In the book, the SAMS were a major target for the Tanks and TOW systems that were used to protect the NATO forces.  In the book, the A10 was a major nemesis of Soviet Armor and the mobile SAM system were used to try to protect the advance of the Armored formations.    I actually do have experience with the "Roland" system.   During Frankonian Shield  and more information was here.
     This was my first field problem and it was a big exercise, we had Americans, Germans, French,  that I knew of.  We were running around the countryside doing our thing and we were in one of these...
   We were on a hilltop and we were DFing equipment and the Germans put some tanks and infantry on the hill we were at along with a couple of Roland Missile systems to protect the tanks.   I had a few minutes so I walked over to say "hi" and practice my real bad German, I was already trying to learn the language.   I was speaking to the "Herr Feldwebel" or the NCO in charge and he was showing how it worked.  He had me climb in and set in the seat and turn the system on and it used a joystick on the side to turn and a turnwheel at the tip of the joystick and that is used to fine tune the radar on the target.  Well I was moving it around there was a blip and the NCO hit a button and I guess it interrogated the IFF system and it came back "French",

well the French was aggressors and they had launched a push for the hill and the one next to us.  Well I got a lock on the helicopter and he hit a button and it was registered a "kill".  Man that was some real neat stuff, let me tell you. 

Well the French got upset I suppose and sent in more Helicopters to take out the tanks and Rolands on the hill we were on.  Well the Germans called in the Phantoms,
Well Helicopters cannot operate when Jets are around and they left.  so the French assault on our hill failed.   We were cut off for 3 days surrounded by the French and it was great being away from our first sergeant trying to sneak up on us.   Needless to say, this really set the bar high for subsequent field problems.  This one was still one of my favorite exercises.    The Soviets used an integrated SAM system to protect their Armored Formations with overlapping systems going from low to the Ground up to the high altitudes that bombers like to fly.  

The Roland is a Franco-German mobile short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. The Roland was also purchased by the U.S. Army as one of very few foreign SAM systems.
Roland was designed to a joint French and German requirement for a low-level mobile missile system to protect mobile field formations and fixed, high-value targets such as airfields. Development began in 1963 as a study by Nord Aviation of France and Bölkow of Germany with the system then called SABA in France and P-250 in Germany. The two companies formed a joint development project in 1964 and later (as Aérospatiale of France and MBB of Germany) founded the Euromissile company for this and other missile programs. Aerospatiale took primary responsibility for the Roland 1 day/clear-weather system while MBB took primary responsibility for the Roland 2 all-weather system. Aerospatiale was also responsible for the rear and propulsion system of the missile while MBB developed the front end of the missile with warhead and guidance systems. The first guided launch of a Roland prototype took place in June 1968, destroying a CT-20 target drone and fielding of production systems was expected from January 1970. The test and evaluation phase took much longer than originally anticipated with the clear-weather Roland I finally entering operational service with the French Army in April 1977, while the all-weather Roland II was first fielded by the German Army in 1978 followed by the French Army in 1981. The long delays and ever-increasing costs combined with inflation meant Roland was never procured in the numbers originally anticipated.

The Roland SAM system was designed to engage enemy air targets flying at speeds of up to Mach 1.3 at altitudes between 20 meters and 5,500 meters with a minimum effective range of 500 meters and a maximum of 6,300 meters. The system can operate in optical or radar mode and can switch between these modes during an engagement. A pulse-doppler search radar with a range of 15–18 km detects the target which can then be tracked either by the tracking radar or an optical tracker. The optical channel would normally be employed only in daylight against very low-level targets or in a heavy jamming environment.
The Roland missile is a two-stage solid propellant unit 2.4 meters long with a weight of 66.5 kg including the 6.5 kg multiple hollow-charge fragmentation warhead which contains 3.5 kg of explosive detonated by impact or proximity fuses. The 65 projectile charges have a lethal radius of 6 meters. Cruising speed is Mach 1.6. The missile is delivered in a sealed container which is also the launch tube. Each launcher carries two launch tubes with 8 more inside the vehicle or shelter with automatic reloading in 10 seconds.
For defense of fixed sites such as airfields the shelter Roland can be integrated in the CORAD (Co-ordinated Roland Air Defense) system which can include a surveillance radar, a Roland Co-ordination Center, 8 Roland fire units and up to 8 guns.
  • Roland 1 – This is the fair-weather daylight-only, version used by the French and Spanish armies on the AMX-30R chassis.
  • Roland 2 – This is the all-weather version employed on the AMX-30R and Marder chassis and also as a shelter mount in either a static location or mounted on a 6×6 or 8×8 all-terrain truck. Euromissile, MaK, IBH and Blohm and Voss of Germany in 1983 proposed the Leopard 1 tank chassis as a carrier for the Roland system to appeal to those countries who already used the Leopard I tank.
 Germany was to buy 12,200 missiles 340 Roland 2 fire units installed on the Marder (IFV) chassis to fully replace the towed Bofors 40 mm guns systems and Contraves Super Fledermaus fire control systems in service with the Bundeswehr Corps-level air defense regiments. Each regiment would have 36 fire units in 3 batteries of 12. Eventually 140 fire units were procured and equipped 3 regiments with one assigned to each army corps. The Luftwaffe had a requirement for 200 Roland 2 shelter systems mounted on MAN 8×8 trucks for the close-in defense of airfields and as mobile gap-fillers for the MIM-23 HAWK SAM systems. 95 systems were eventually procured from the mid-1980s with 27 of those used to defend American air bases in Germany. In 1998–99 10 Roland LVB systems were installed on MAN 6×6 trucks to be air-transportable in the Transall C-160 for the German rapid reaction forces. The German Navy also procured 20 truck-mounted shelter systems for defense of naval bases. In February 2003 the Bundeswehr cancelled a planned upgrade of Roland and announced it would phase-out all of its Roland systems. This was completed by the end of 2005. The Luftwaffe and Navy have also withdrawn Roland and it is no longer employed by Germany. The German Army will replace Roland with the new and much more capable development: LFK NG). A battery of German systems have been passed on to Slovenia.

he 9K33 Osa (English: wasp) is a highly mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system. "9K33" is its GRAU designation. Its NATO reporting name is SA-8 Gecko. Its export version name is Romb.

The SA-8 was the first mobile air defense missile system incorporating its own engagement radars on a single vehicle.
All versions of the 9K33 feature all-in-one 9A33 transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicles which can detect, track and engage aircraft independently or with the aid of regimental surveillance radars. The six-wheeled transport vehicles BAZ-5937 are fully amphibious and air transportable. The road range is about 500 km.
The 1S51M3-2 radar system on the SA-8 TELAR received the NATO codename Land Roll. It was derived from the naval `Pop Group' radar system but is smaller since it does not require the elaborate stabilisation system. An improved system designated the SA-8B `Gecko' Mod 1, was first seen in Germany in 1980. It had improvements added to the launcher configuration, carrying six missiles in ribbed containers. The system is reported to be of the frequency-agile monopulse type. It consists of an elliptical rotating surveillance antenna mounted on top of the array, operates in H band (6 to 8 GHz) and has a 30 km acquisition range against most targets. The large pulsed J band (14.5 GHz) engagement antenna is mounted below it in the centre of the array and has a maximum tracking range of about 20 km.
Mounted on either side of the tracking radar antenna is a small J band parabolic dish antenna to track the missile. Below that is a small circular antenna which emits an I band uplink capture beam to gather the missile shortly after launch. The final antennas in the array are two small white rectangular ones, one on either side of the array mounted alongside the I band. These are used for command uplink to the missile. This twin antenna system permits the 'Land Roll' radar to control up to two missiles simultaneously against a single target. Furthermore, the two missiles can be guided on different frequencies to further complicate ECM. There is also a tubular device fitted to and above the tracking radar; this is a 9Sh33 electro-optical tracker. It can be used to track the target when the main tracking radar is jammed by ECM.
A 9K33 battery comprises four 9A33B TELAR vehicles and two 9T217 transloader vehicles on BAZ-5939 chassis with reload missiles and a crane. A reload time of five minutes has been reported per TELAR.
In addition to the TELARs, each regiment is also assigned a single radar collimation vehicle 9V914 (initially on the BAZ-5938 chassis but more often found on the ZiL-131 truck). This vehicle assists in the alignment of the TELAR's radar systems, ensuring accurate target tracking and engagement.

Engagement range for the early versions is approximately 2–9 km (1.3-5.6 miles) and engagement altitudes of between 50–5000 m (164-16,400 ft). The 9M33M2 "Osa-A" missile extends the ranges out to 1500-10000m (1-6.2 miles) and engagement altitudes to 25–5000 m (82-16,400 ft). The 9M33M3 missile greatly enhances the altitude engagement envelope to 10–12000 m (33-42,500 ft), and as such are also able to fly further (about 15 km/9 miles) but the system is not able to engage targets at longer ranges, due to other factors such as the radar tracking of the missiles. The system is designed for use primarily against jet aircraft and helicopters in any kind of weather.
The 9M33 missiles are 3.158 m (10.3 ft) long, weigh 126 kg (278 lb) and use command guidance. There is also a backup low-light optical tracking system for heavy ECM environments. The latest 9M33M3 missiles have an increased total weight of 170 kg (375 lb) in order to provide the extended range coverage and larger warhead. Propulsion is provided by a dual-thrust solid fuel rocket motor. Both versions feature a missile speed of around Mach 2.4 (peaking at around Mach 3) for a maximum target engagement speed of around Mach 1.4 for the original missile and Mach 1.6 for the M2\M3 missiles. The warhead for the initial and M2 versions weighs 19 kg (42 pounds), increased to 40 kg (88 lb) in the M3 version to improve performance against helicopters. All versions have impact and proximity fuzes.
There have been unconfirmed reports of other possible versions of the missile with both infra-red and semi-active radar terminal homing seekers.
Each TELAR is able to launch and guide two missiles against one target simultaneously. Kill probability is quoted as being 0.35-0.85 for the Osa and 0.55-0.85 for the Osa-AK and Osa-AKM (presumably depending upon target aspect, speed, maneuverability and radar cross section). Reaction time (from target detection to launch) is around 26 seconds. Time to prepare for engagements from being in transit is around 4 minutes and missile reloading takes around 5 minutes. Each battery of four TELARs is usually accompanied by two reload vehicles carrying 18 missiles in sets of three, with a crane mounted on the reload vehicles to assist in moving the missiles.
When launched the booster motor burns for two seconds, this permits the radar to gather and control it at very short ranges (about 1.6 km). The sustainer motor has a 15-second burn, bringing the missile to a top speed of about Mach 2. Once launched the missile is command-guided for the whole flight, and the warhead is detonated by its proximity fuze or possible command. The warhead is said to have a lethal radius of 5 m at low altitude against a F-4 Phantom size target.

  • 1S51M3 ("Land Roll") - C band target acquisition radar, H band conical scan target tracking radar and two J band pulse mode fire control radars (range 35 km/22 miles for acquisition, 30 km/19 miles for tracking and 25 km/16 miles for guidance). Mounted on the TELAR.

  • P-40 ("Long Track") - E band early warning radar (also used by the SA-4 and SA-6, range 175 km/108 miles), mounted on a tracked vehicle (a modified AT-T).

  • P-15 ("Flat Face A") or P-19 ("Flat Face B") or P-15M(2) ("Squat Eye") - 380 kW C band target acquisition radar (also used by the SA-3 and SA-6, range 250 km/155 miles), mounted on a ZiL-131 truck.

  • PRV-9 or PRV-16 ("Thin Skin") - E band height finding radar (also used by the SA-4 and SA-6, range 240 km/148 miles), mounted on a KrAZ-255B truck.

Type Surface-to-air missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1971-present
Used by See list of present and former operator
Production history
Designer MKB "Fakel"
Designed 1960-1972
Manufacturer Znamya Truda Plant
Produced 1970-1988
Variants 9M33, 9M33M1, 9M33M2, 9M33M3, 9A33BM3
Specifications (9K33M3)
Weight 170 kg
Length 3158 mm
Diameter 209.6 mm
Warhead Frag-HE
Contact and proximity

Propellant Solid propellant rocket motor
15 kilometres (9.3 mi)
Flight altitude 12,000 metres (39,000 ft)
Boost time 2 s boost, then 15 s sustain
Speed 1020 m/s
dual-thrust rocket motor.
Accuracy 5 m

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