A simulation analysis of a Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) operation
Haugen, Nils K.
Gaver, Donald P.
Jacobs, Patricia A.
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Traditional SEAD operations rely on Wild Weasel aircraft equipped with Anti-Radiation missiles. This combination of real-time target acquisition capability with high precision weaponry has rendered surface-based radar systems vulnerable and ineffective. As a result, SEAD operations are decoupled from the slow and error-prone intelligence gathering and evaluation process proceeding conventional air-to- ground targeting. However, new technology allows modem air defense systems to combine increased mobility with a minimal use of radar, reducing the number of targets available to Wild Weasel aircraft. Consequently, more of the operational load is shifted over to conventional air-to-ground assets, making the SEAD operation more sensitive to the typical error and delay sources in the conventional targeting process. This thesis uses a 16w-resolution simulation model to evaluate the impact of information delay on a SEAD operation. The results show that the effectiveness of a SEAD operation is sensitive to information delay, but not to the anticipated degree. Not surprisingly, the dominating variable for the success of the SEAD operation is the number of allocated SEAD aircraft. Next, but an order of magnitude less influential, is the delay in the SEAD intelligence cycle. Finally, the frequency of movement of the air defense units seems to play a minor role.
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