A2/AD and the missile threat - systems, countermeasures and models

FFI-Report 2021

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Report number

21/00638

ISBN

978-82-464-3333-2

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3.5 MB

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Lars Musland
In this report we discuss the (relatively) novel military term A2/AD, which is an acronym for Anti- Access/Area Denial. We cover both general aspects related to how the term should be understood, Russian A2/AD capabilities in terms of long range precision missiles, and measures for defending against such capabilities. A2/AD can be understood both as a capability and as a strategy, ranging in both cases from a weaker (AD) to a more encompassing (A2) version. An AD strategy is a strategy of denial, utilizing attrition and suppression in order to end the war by showing the enemy that the cost of winning is too great. On the other hand, an A2 strategy aims at maintaining complete control over an area, by denying all access to the enemy. A2/AD capabilities may be used to suppress or deny enemy access within these strategies. Clearly, almost any offensive or defensive capability can thus be referred to as an A2/AD capability. However, the introduction of the term A2/AD is strongly connected with certain novel technologies, particularly long range precision missiles (LPVs), and in the remainder of the report we focus on these. Russia has a plethora of different long range missile systems of various ages, some of which are of the modern high precision type. Particularly famous are the Iskander-M short range ballistic missile, the Kalibr land attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, and the S-400 air defence system. Other new developments are the Bastion-P coastal defence system, the Kinzhal air launched ballistic missile, the Kh-101 air launched cruise missile and the 9M729 land based cruise missile, which allegedly caused the dissolution of the INF treaty. These must be considered in combination with a considerable amount of shorter range rocket artilleries, a large number of older cruise missiles with ranges measured in thousands of km, and several older air defence systems. All in all this adds up to a considerable long range fire power, which may be utilized if Russia were to establish an A2/AD zone. There are multiple measures for defending against long range precision missiles. In addition to more offensive measures, attacking launch platforms, C3 networks or sensors, we describe in this report several defensive measures. These consist of physical protection, air defences, concealment, deceptive measures, manoeuvring, dispersal and damage mitigation. We discuss these in the context of defending airborne, naval and land based units as well as stationary infrastructure. In the final section of the report we develop a simple quantitative model for evaluating defensive measures. The model is not primarily intended as a predictive model, but as an illustration of the individual and cumulative effects of different defensive measures. We make an assessment of our model in four example cases: defence of radar stations, patrol aircraft, manoeuvring army units and operational headquarters. Among these the model is best suited for the first case, where it may even be of some use for prioritizing between different measures.

About publication

Report number

21/00638

ISBN

978-82-464-3333-2

Format

PDF-document

Size

3.5 MB

Download publication

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