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Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 16:25 (GMT+7)
Establishment of air defence posture in modern warfare
In the cause of national defence consolidation and safeguarding the Homeland, the Air Defence - Air Force is entrusted with huge tasks which require them to exercise constant vigilance, maintain high combat readiness, and successfully respond to any situations, including the enemy’s high-tech warfare. To solve this problem requires establishment of air defence posture capable of satisfying demand of modern warfare.
Posture and in particular air defence posture is the synthesis of many elements ranging from weapon systems, technical equipment to combat competence of warring parties. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully scrutinise subjective and objective conditions, which lays the foundation for establishment of air defence posture and firm maintenance of the initiative to ensure victory in modern warfare and strong defence of the skies in any situations.
First, research on air defence posture against the U.S. air raids on the North, especially the battles to defend Ha Noi, Hai Phong, and some adjacent areas in the Air Defence Campaign in late 1972, has shown that the building of air defence posture must satisfy the demand for solidity, devilishness, interconnectedness, and in depth.
Second, research on recent wars in the world reveals that methods of warfare, size of force, weapons and equipment, opportunities, and targets are verydiversified, depending on the nature, missions, and requirements. Thus, it can be said that air raids today and in the future are still major methods in modern warfare.
Third, the rapid development of science and technology, especially of military science and technology, has and will result in many types of modern aerial weapons and equipment with high precision and lethality such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and hypersonic weapons. In recent years, our weapons and equipment have also made great strides. They have been improved, digitalised, modernised, and highly mobile; can be deployed rapidly on all types of terrain; simultaneously track and destroy many aerial targets in a range up to hundreds of kilometres.
Fourth, drastic economic growth and rapid urbanisation result in deformation of natural terrain, exerting a tremendous impact on air defence posture. However, the situation also presents many opportunities. Economic development strategies of industries and localities are clearly planned and carefully appraised by military bodies at relevant levels. The provincial, municipal defence zones and defence posture of military regions are increasingly potent. The infrastructure is developed, which facilitates movement of forces, flexible transformation of posture, and so on.
Evidence consistently indicates that effective counterattack against air strikes requires establishment of robust air defence posture, whose air defence systems are positioned sensibly to create a multi-layered tactical air defence shield over the entire Vietnamese territory, especially over the strategic targets and areas, ensuring successful response in any situations without letting the Homeland be taken by surprise. On the basis of characteristics, developments of situation, short-and-long-term advantages and disadvantages, the three-element air defence force with the Air Defence – Air Force as the key needs to undertake further research in order to enable the Central Military Commission (CMC) and Ministry of National Defence (MND) to advise the Party and State to establish air defence posture capable of meeting requirements of modern warfare and national defence.
First, building potent air defence posture which can stand ground in the face of any enemy attacks and be ready to fight enduring battles. To achieve this goal requires building a system of solid bunkers and fortifications of all kinds capable of accommodating various air defence systems right from peacetime to secure victory in any situations, including the complex ones. Robust air defence posture does not only mean the building of solid battlegrounds which can stand ground in the face of enemy’s fierce attacks, but maintenance of secrecy and leverage of devilish terrain, posture of people’s air defence force within defence zones, posture of Army’s air defence force, posture of military region’s defence zone, most notably “people’s heart and mind posture” and widespread posture of people’s warfare. Currently, the system of air defence battlegrounds is being encroached upon by some organisations and individuals, which has influence on operational activities or becomes useless. Meanwhile, if the war occurs, the enemy will resort to high-tech weapons with much greater accuracy and destructive power to launch standoff attacks, thus requiring strong battlegrounds and airports for missile, radar, air defence, and air force. A powerful air defence posture can only be established when it is kept secret, creates surprise for the enemy, and enables our forces to seize initiative. This is the vital foundation for making our position increasingly solid, our force increasingly powerful, our combat effectiveness higher, the number of casualties decrease, our forces stronger after each battle. When facing our robust air defence posture, it will take them a long time to find suitable countermeasures and select types of bombs, ammunition, and missiles. They will have to repeat their courses of action, thus costing them more money while failing to use opportunities, exposing weaknesses, being incapable of exploiting the superiority of modern weapons and equipment, even falling into passivity, suffering great losses, and ending up in failure.
Second, establishing devilish air defence posture. When establishing air defence posture, it is important to fully exploit craggy terrain, people’s air defence posture in defence zones, and defence posture of military regions with the aim of creating a widespread, multi-layered posture to protect strategic targets and areas as well as the entire national territory, ensuring the capability to engage the enemy anytime, anywhere, any altitude, and driving them into unforeseen circumstances and passivity. Establishment of devilish posture needs to consider the position of an interlocked pattern between the people’s air defence force within a defence zone and those of military regions, army corps, and commands with building the posture of the Air Defence – Air Force as the key. This will serve to break the enemy aircraft’s combat formation and reduce their cohesion from afar, still on route to bombing targets. Additionally, it will enable us to engage the enemy’s flanks or rear; attack the enemy aircraft on route from and to the targets; reduce the enemy’s strength and capitalise on their weaknesses, making them fall into passivity, get bogged down, and end up in failure. If necessary, the Air Defence – Air Force can set up a cluster of air defence systems to concentrate firepower to overwhelm the enemy if they coordinate cruise missile and drone swarm attacks on our strategic targets.
Third, building an interconnected air defence posture to ensure that the air defence force and air force collaborate closely with each other to engage targets, one after another, from far and near, from high altitude to low altitude. They also can engage many targets on the same route simultaneously without decreasing capabilities of weapons and equipment; provide support to each other, tap into their strength, minimise their weaknesses, and avoid any actions that may hamper each other during operations. The posture must enable us to track, target, and destroy enemy aircraft extensively; to quickly concentrate firepower to destroy major targets when needed; and to mobilise sufficiently strong forces for key areas and decisive strategic campaigns with a view to inflicting great losses on the enemy’s aerial weapons and equipment. This is a difficult question which requires in-depth research, anticipation of plans, training, and rapid deployment should any situation arise.
Fourth, setting up an in-depth air defence posture. This posture is established by putting air defence force and air force at various lines starting from border areas, forward islands to deep inside our land, which helps to create a multi-layered aerial shield for our Homeland, especially for strategic targets and areas. Accordingly, different types of weapon systems and equipment will be arranged at each line and each layer to form clusters of air defence systems, which ensure early detection and timely destroy of the enemy’s air weapons ranging from cruise missiles, tactical fighters to next-generation strategic bombers on any scales, even drone swarms. Units can engage targets, one after another, or concentrate on a single route to repeatedly attack and create problems for the enemy’s air weapons prior to their approaches to the targets. Units must immediately locate and destroy enemy drones when they suddenly appear near strategic targets and areas.
Fifth, establishment of flexible air defence posture is a new, difficult matter because, in modern warfare, both sides use high-tech weapons, thus raising an important question about force security. To satisfy this demand requires setting up posture with many elements, including route of maneuver, area of deployment, surrounding area, etc., which serves to facilitate flexible movement, force security, shift of combat formation and posture but maintains mutual protection and support among units. Our forces are even able to concentrate firepower to engage major targets and inflict heavy losses for the enemy air weapons. The most important thing is to establish air defence posture which can accommodate many types of air defence systems while bringing into play capabilities of these weapons. Given the established posture, we can act flexibly to make the enemy incapable of anticipating how our air defence and air force are arranged, thereby falling into passivity and ending up in failure.
Firm protection of national airspace requires establishing a potent, devilish, interconnected, in-depth, and flexible air defence posture right in peacetime, ensuring that the three-element air defence force with the Air Defence – Air Force as the key is ready to successfully defeat the enemy air raids in modern warfare.
Senior Colonel, Master, Do Hai Au
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