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Archive for December 15th, 2012

Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

In what should not be surprising news, report has found CIA’s harsher interrogation techniques worryingly ineffective. To elaborate, I am talking about torture here, whose use was banned in USA in 2008. Basically, four years CIA has been not only conducting severe human rights violations, but also severe violations of US law.

Report points out obvious: torture is not effective in gaining reliable intelligence, and is counterproductive in the long run.

Why it is not reliable? Reason is that person being tortured will have one of three basic responses, all of which can be detrimental to torturer: first, person may become defiant and not tell anything; second, person may lie so as to get at least some measure of revenge; third, person may break.

While person that has been broken by torture may tell the truth, it is still more likely they will simply lie in order to make torture stop, if even for a moment.

It is even more detrimental in long term: during Iraq occupations, soldiers have often observed that, if they caught and tortured someone not harboring any ill will towards the occupational forces, that quickly changed. Abu Ghraib prison has become seed-plot for resistance fighters, while tactics used by US and Iraqi troops in hunting potentional Taliban fighters have increased number of Taliban even more.

In fact, when torture has been used on people who have previously cooperated, in effort to either get more information or confirm information already given, it has failed. It also has a long history of failure, hailling from Middle Ages at the very least.

If person can be made to talk with normal methods, they will; if it doesn’t work, torture won’t work either. 90% of intelligence comes from spying, collaborators and similar sources, and even in case of remaining 10%, Colonel Stuart Herrington said that 9 out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk without the stress methods at all.

In fact, FBI documents from US naval base of Guantanamo Bay show that a prisoner who has been tortured by military intelligence has started cooperating with FBI, but would be uncooperative whenever military personnel were nearby.

Use of torture can be seen as a sign of institutional and moral decay of the side using it, and it in itself accelerates that decay by helping to turn country into the police state.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

AIM-120D vs MBDA Meteor

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Design requirements

AIM-120 was started as a project to replace painfully ineffective AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-54 Phoenix (which are only effective against heavy bombers and (in case of later-iteration AIM-54) non-maneuvering fighters). It was to be relatively small BVR missile, so as to be able to be carried by the F-16.

Meteor is a result of joint European project to develop BVR missile to replace BAe Dynamics Skyflash. It was to be capable of shooting down a variety of targets, including low-RCS UAVs and cruise missiles, as well as maneuvering fighters of Flanker family. Another requirement was compatibility with Typhoon’s semi-recessed fuselage hardpoints, originally designed for AIM-120.


AIM-120D is a further evolution of US AIM-120 BVR AAM series. It uses classic fuel+oxygen combustion mix, and does not rely on air flow from outside. In fact, it uses the same engine as AIM-120C, with improvements being mainly in electronics. However, it has been reported that engine malfunctions in cold environments – exactly where it is most likely to be used.

Meteor is a ramjet BVR AAM. As such, it does not carry onboard oxygen, but rather uses oxygen from surrounding air, allowing it to hold more fuel. Result is better acceleration, top speed, and range for a given missile size.

While Meteor may not have as large maximum range as AIM-120D (only figure I have for Meteor is “more than 100 km”, with 100 km being “optimal range”, versus public figure of 160 km for AIM-120D), it is faster, and thus more deadly at any range it can reach. This is important, as BVR missiles are never fired at maximum range due to meager Pk against fighter aircraft. However, range varies on altitude, with best range for both missile types being achieved in high-altitude rare-atmosphere conditions, where maneuverability is almost nonexistent; at sea level, range is not much more than visual. Velocity loss after burn-out also varies with altitude, with 25% of current velocity being lost every 150 s at 24 km, 25 s at 12 km and 5 s at sea level.

Range can be reduced even further if enemy uses jammers. Thus, large NEZ (no-escape zone) is far more important. (To explain terminology here, NEZ is NOT a zone where a hit is guaranteed; rather, it is a zone where enemy aircraft cannot outrun missile, waiting for it to run out of fuel, but rather has to outturn it). Higher speed allows it to reduce time to target, and thus opponent’s reaction time, as well as to retain energy for longer after engine has burned out.

In fact, Meteor’s NEZ was to be three times as large as that of AIM-120B. Active version of missile is equipped with radar Aster, designed to shoot down cruise missiles, which thus can be used against targets with low RCS.

However, both missiles are BVR, making their actual value questionable. In fact, jamming and IFF issues mean that BVR missiles are far more likely to be used as a WVR weapon than in their intended purpose. While AIM-120 did achieve 6 BVR kills out of 13 firings, all but one were against non-maneuvering targets with no ECM and no awareness of missile. By comparing difference in Pk between maneuvering and non-maneuvering targets for AIM-9, it can be concluded that AIM-120 will achieve Pk of at most 11%; however, it is larger and heavier than AIM-9, as well as more vulnerable to countermeasures, so even that is an optimistic estimate.

EDIT: Meteor is estimated to have a range of 250-300 km with ballistic flight path, which suggests an improvement over initially cited goal. That being said, best option is to wait for performance figures after it enters service.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

Vympel R-27

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Vympel R-27 is a Russian medium-range missile, normally used by Flanker and Fulcurum families of aircraft (Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-35 are called Flankers and MiG-29, MiG-35 are called Fulcrums by NATO).




Length: 4,08 m

Speed: Mach 4

Warhead: 39 kg

Range: 200 m – 80 km

Fuzes: radar proximity and impact

Launch platform: Fulcrum (MiG-29, MiG-35) and Flanker (Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-35) family aircraft; MiG-23, Yak-141



R-27R – semi-active radar homing

R-27T – infrared homing

R-27ER – semi-active radar homing

R-27ET – infrared homing

R-27AE – active radar homing

R-27EM – semi-active radar homing, naval version

R-27P – passive anti-radiation

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