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All but dropping the weapon

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All but dropping the weapon

Old 8th Apr 2015, 18:46
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All but dropping the weapon

The thread about the Shack Co-Pilot offer got me thinking.


When I was young I was fascinated by the role Maritime Aircraft played in the NATO role. As a cabbage I knew about Oscars, Foxtrots, and Victors etc. and had a pretty good idea of how a NATO v Pact war at sea was meant to play out


I have the Tony Blackman book ‘Nimrod Rise and Fall’ and re-reading the prologue ‘The Hunt’ about how the crew of XV262 spent 10 hours in the air chasing a contact that SOSUS had not detected I could not help but think that the crew had done everything but dropped a weapon on the contact.


Would it be fair to say that the crews of 18 Group (as it was back in the Cold War days), especially the MPA aircraft, effectively operated in a state of a silent war?


By the way the book is a very good read.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 19:23
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The Deep Cold War....

......was a Panorama doco by Tom Mangold 1973/74 - ish which spelled it all out. This at a time when if one breathed a word about what we did the Spooks would have been down on one like a ton of bricks as some guys DID find out to their cost. This doco even had the imprimatur of Mr SACLANT himself Admiral Ike Kidd in a personal appearance

We, in maritime, did ourselves no favours at all because everything we did was classified up the yingyang. Even many years later I remember briefing a new VVSO on the multitude of Nimrod roles. At the end when I asked for questions he turned to his minder and asked "Why didn't I know ANY of this"? I had to bite my tongue quite hard to remain civil.

I'm convinced it was because at his level the only people they spoke to, or roles they had any understanding of, were the realm of the FJ pilot mafia.

The long term effect of this "myopia" is the current situation we find ourselves for the protection of our seas and approaches.

The short answer to your original question is "yes!" the aim was to be able to say at the end of the process "If I were to drop a weapon now this guy would be toast" AND WE WERE BLOODY GOOD AT IT!

I'll have the meds later nurse if you don't mind.

The Ancient Mariner
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 20:29
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Originally Posted by ExRAFRadar View Post

I have the Tony Blackman book ‘Nimrod Rise and Fall’ and re-reading the prologue ‘The Hunt’ about how the crew of XV262 spent 10 hours in the air chasing a contact that SOSUS had not detected I could not help but think that the crew had done everything but dropped a weapon on the contact.
SOSUS was good but its coverage may not have been total.

Then not every detection was based on SOSUS which is not to say SOSUS didn't also hold contact. SOSUS information, like ULTRA, was not always disclosed to crews and sometimes it was only briefed to selected crew members.

I just found the following link on the cobweb. Well worth a read. I am pleased to say there is an error but I am not going to say what it is
http://www.tacopshq.com/MBX/Globalth...GRU-SOSUS.html

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 9th Apr 2015 at 08:15.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 21:08
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Smile

was not always disclosed to crews and sometimes it was only briefed to selected crew members.

Bit like your missing link, Pontius
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 21:37
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Yes, there were quite a few deeply classified sources which were sometimes better than, or instead of, SOSUS. A year in JMIC at HQCC before joining the MR fleet taught me to go where the tasking said, and see what transpired. Even the outdated MR Shack could find things that others (such as P-3s) couldn't/didn't. The Nimrod was a massive step ahead and did so much more, and I still can't believe the shortsightedness of the demise of the role - a true MRCA

Yes Rossian, we were good, but we were, strangely, an extension of the silent service; very few outside the fleet knew more than a fraction of what really went on.

And now it has been thrown away.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 22:33
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The rules for nuclear release are, and always have been, pretty clear.

Cold War one thing. Shooting war altogether something else.

No one was patrolling looking for a kill, as long as everything was going OK.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 23:13
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As far as i am aware, there are very few units/platforms that routinely practice their wartime role with the potential enemy. We did this all the time, sometimes several times in a week. Sleep / fly / sleep /fly happened regularly, even in peacetime we would occasionally get close to max hours limits.
With the exception of dropping a weapon, proceedures were the same in war and peace.
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Old 8th Apr 2015, 23:18
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UKAD does it all the time.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 00:17
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The intelligence organisations were often out of kilter as well. I recall carrying out a surveillance task on the way to Keflavik in the late 70's . The brief was perfunctory, and the task boring - found nothing. On return two days later, we were given the same task, but briefed by the USN - totally different and we found all sorts going on. The intelligence officer at ISK had a WTF? moment, but was quicky shut up by 18Gp. We were told to forget everything in the USN brief ... Yep, very silent at times
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 00:20
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Dear Rossian and Shackman,

There are still a few of us left that are still "very bloody good" at the missions you describe.

Regards

RB.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 04:35
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One day the stories will be told without fear from the mob.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 08:15
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Taxydual, fixed, sorry about that.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 08:29
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PN. Thank You. Worth waiting for.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 09:42
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the aim was to be able to say at the end of the process "If I were to drop a weapon now this guy would be toast"
This pretty much sums up the cold war in a nutshell imo. Regardlesss of the platform (MRA, QRF, Subs, etc) the aim was to say to the Sovs "don't even think about it.."

p.s as an aside, I read somewhere once that when the wall came down and the ICBMs were coming off-line, a US observer to the decommissioning of Russian silos noted that half of them were filled with ground-water and wouldn't have fired anyway. It may have been that the USSR waged the cold war for 45 years mostly on hubris, but I guess it only took one Bear...
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 10:13
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Courtney Mil

"UKAD does it all the time."

Everyone knows about UKAD doing it. Few knew about Maritime doing it.
In the Cold War there were regularly pictures in the papers of Bears/Bisons being watched by Phantoms/Lightnings, but how can a photograph depict a Shackleton/Nimrod at work, unless the submarine obligingly surfaces to have its picture taken?
During the war, a photograph of a huge convoy carrying food, oil and tanks to Britain, being escorted by a Sunderland, conveyed to the public just what Coastal did. It is the lack of public knowledge of Coastal and 18 Gp's activities in the Cold War that has resulted in a lack of concern at the loss of MPA. If the public were told that there would in future be no UKAD they would be concerned, simply because of its greater visibility
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 10:14
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I knew Sosus was big, but looking at the maps, I hadn't realised just how big - thought it only tracked Russian subs coming out of port.
Didn't realise it covered the Atlantic Gap between UK and Greenland, as well as down past Spain!
The more one learns about the technology of the Cold War, the scope and scale is amazing.
The resources piled into operations like Chrome Dome.
Fractional Orbital Bombardment, SDI, IMINT and SIGINT.
And I'm sure us civilians still don't even know the half of it.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 15:00
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UKAD does it all the time
Just remind me what type of torpedo they can drop?
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 19:57
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As far as i am aware, there are very few units/platforms that routinely practice their wartime role with the potential enemy.
Shack,

Courtney was answering the point raised in the post immediately preceding his. His point is perfectly valid.
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Old 9th Apr 2015, 20:06
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UKAD might do it occasionally, i know recently they have been busy recently, but they never ever did it on anything near the same scale as the MPA. I think there would have been more 10 Bear badges on MPA crews than there was on the F4 crews, but thats another story that cannot be told.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 15:36
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What were Bear badges awarded for?

Assuming you don't have to kill me after telling me.
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