La Syrie, tombeau de la diplomatie du Tomahawk ?
Un petit texte que je lis sur Asia Times :
"It was announced that the American attack on Syria would be conducted with an opening salvo of several hundred Tomahawk missiles launched from US Navy ships deployed in the Mediterranean sea. This is a tactic usually used by the US against an adversary with a credible air defense system. Only after enemy air defenses are degraded to the point that losses of manned aircraft are unlikely does aerial bombing start, followed if necessary by ground troops or local US allies. This approach allowed the US to conduct its recent campaigns in Iraq and Libya with astonishingly low losses.
The Tomahawk is a weapon that is not suitable for area bombing due its high cost. Its use makes sense only for precise destruction of high-value targets. At an announced US$1.5 million per shot, even the US cannot afford to use more than several hundreds of these weapons. In contrast, the cost of an aviation bomb, including delivery, is probably in the tens of thousands of dollars.
The claimed accuracy of Tomahawk is to 10 meters. It is further claimed that 90% of engaged targets are destroyed. How is this precision achieved?
The Tomahawk has multiple guidance systems - GPS (Global Positioning System), INS (Inertial Navigation System), TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching), DSMAC (Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation). TERCOM uses radar altimeter data to compare with a stored map of the terrain. It is clear that it cannot work over flat terrain or over water, and even over a more feature-rich terrain it probably has a large probability of loosing orientation.
DSMAC is based on comparing a stored image of the target area with the image produced by the on-board optical camera. DSMAC may work to identify an isolated building in a desert, but this author doubts it works reliably in complex scenery, especially in an urban environment. (...)
We can suppose that Syria learned from Iraqi and Libyan experience and obtained a sufficient amount of GPS jamming devices from Russia. Hundreds or thousands of these devices can easily cover a large area around Damascus and other important areas, so that cruise missiles would fly off course by hundreds of kilometers. The GPS jamming zone can start over water, where TERCOM and DSMAC guidance surely do not work. With the use of small boats, a jamming zone can be extended hundreds kilometers from the shore.
An additional restriction is that the presence of advanced anti-ship missiles supplied by Russia does not allow American ships to come close to Syrian shores for the attack, so missiles have to fly long distances over water, likely without a GPS signal, and this will lead to difficulties in resuming TERCOM navigation when overland.
In these conditions, Pentagon generals could not guarantee the clean and impressive victory Obama had expected. Of course, nobody can predict the results of Tomahawk strikes with complete certainty, but in all likelihood it would be inconclusive at best. What could the poor generals do next? Send bombers into mostly intact anti-aircraft defenses and risk substantial aircraft losses and further embarrassment? "
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