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Anti-aircraft warfare

Flak redirects here. For other uses, see Flak (disam- use rotary autocannons).
Anti-aircraft redirects here. For the arcade game, see
Anti-Aircraft (arcade game).
Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is de- 1 Terminology
The term air defence was probably rst used by Britain
when Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB) was created
as a Royal Air Force command in 1925. However, arrangements in the UK were also called 'anti-aircraft', abbreviated as AA, a term that remained in general use into
the 1950s. After the First World War it was sometimes
prexed by 'Light' or 'Heavy' (LAA or HAA) to classify a type of gun or unit. Nicknames for anti-aircraft
guns include AA, AAA or triple-A, an abbreviation of
anti-aircraft artillery; "ack-ack" (from the spelling alphabet used by the British for voice transmission of
AA);[2] and archie (a World War I British term probably coined by Amyas Borton and believed to derive via
the Royal Flying Corps from the music-hall comedian
George Robey's line Archibald, certainly not!"[3] ).

American troops mount a Swedish Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun

near the Algerian coastline in 1943

NATO denes anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) as measures taken to defend a maritime force against attacks
by airborne weapons launched from aircraft, ships, submarines and land-based sites.[4] In some armies the term
All-Arms Air Defence (AAAD) is used for air defence by non-specialist troops. Other terms from the
late 20th century include GBAD (Ground Based AD)
with related terms SHORAD (Short Range AD) and
MANPADS (Man Portable AD Systems": typically
shoulder-launched missiles). Anti-aircraft missiles are
variously called surface-to-air missile, abbreviated and
pronounced SAM and Surface to Air Guided Weapon

ned by NATO as all measures designed to nullify or

reduce the eectiveness of hostile air action.[1] They include ground-and air-based weapon systems, associated
sensor systems, command and control arrangements and
passive measures (e.g. barrage balloons). It may be used
to protect naval, ground, and air forces in any location.
However, for most countries the main eort has tended
to be 'homeland defence'. NATO refers to airborne air
defence as counter-air and naval air defence as antiaircraft warfare. Missile defence is an extension of air
defence as are initiatives to adapt air defence to the task
of intercepting any projectile in ight.

Non-English terms for air defence include the German Flak (Fliegerabwehrkanone, aircraft defence
cannon,[5] also cited as Flugabwehrkanone), whence
English ak, and the Russian term Protivovozdushnaya oborona (Cyrillic: ),
a literal translation of anti-air defence, abbreviated as
PVO.[6] In Russian the AA systems are called zenitnye
(i.e. pointing to zenith) systems (guns, missiles etc.).
In French, air defence is called DCA (Dfense contre les
aronefs, aronef being the generic term for all kind
of airborne device (airplane, airship, balloon, missile,
Until the 1950s, guns ring ballistic munitions ranging rocket, etc.)).
from 20 mm to 150 mm were the standard weapon; The maximum distance at which a gun or missile can enguided missiles then became dominant, except at the very gage an aircraft is an important gure. However, many
shortest ranges (as with close-in weapon systems, which dierent denitions are used but unless the same deIn some countries, such as Britain and Germany during
the Second World War, the Soviet Union and NATOs
Allied Command Europe, ground based air defence and
air defence aircraft have been under integrated command
and control. However, while overall air defence may be
for homeland defence including military facilities, forces
in the eld, wherever they are, invariably deploy their own
air defence capability if there is an air threat. A surfacebased air defence capability can also be deployed oensively to deny the use of airspace to an opponent.


nition is used, performance of dierent guns or missiles

cannot be compared. For AA guns only the ascending
part of the trajectory can be usefully used. One term
is 'ceiling', maximum ceiling being the height a projectile would reach if red vertically, not practically useful
in itself as few AA guns are able to re vertically, and
maximum fuse duration may be too short, but potentially
useful as a standard to compare dierent weapons.
The British adopted eective ceiling, meaning the altitude at which a gun could deliver a series of shells against
a moving target; this could be constrained by maximum
fuse running time as well as the guns capability. By the
late 1930s the British denition was that height at which
a directly approaching target at 400 mph (=643.6 km/h)
can be engaged for 20 seconds before the gun reaches
70 degrees elevation.[8] However, eective ceiling for
heavy AA guns was aected by non-ballistic factors:

when Britain created an integrated system[10] for ADGB

that linked the ground-based air defence of the armys AA
Command, although eld-deployed air defence relied on
less sophisticated arrangements. NATO later called these
arrangements an air defence ground environment, dened as the network of ground radar sites and command
and control centres within a specic theatre of operations which are used for the tactical control of air defence
Rules of Engagement are critical to prevent air defences
engaging friendly or neutral aircraft. Their use is assisted
but not governed by IFF (identication friend or foe) electronic devices originally introduced during the Second
World War. While these rules originate at the highest authority, dierent rules can apply to dierent types of air
defence covering the same area at the same time. AAAD
usually operates under the tightest rules.

NATO calls these rules Weapon Control Orders (WCO),

The maximum running time of the fuse, this set the they are:
maximum usable time of ight.

The capability of re control instruments to determine target height at long range.

weapons free: a weapon control order imposing a

status whereby weapons systems may be red at any
target not positively recognised as friendly.

The precision of the cyclic rate of re, the fuse

length had to be calculated and set for where the target would be at the time of ight after ring, to do
this meant knowing exactly when the round would

weapons tight: a weapon control order imposing a

status whereby weapons systems may be red only
at targets recognised as hostile.

General description

weapons hold: a weapon control order imposing a

status whereby weapons systems may only be red
in self-defence or in response to a formal order.[1]

Until the 1950s guns ring ballistic munitions were the

standard weapon; guided missiles then became dominant,
except at the very shortest ranges. However, the type
of shell or warhead and its fuzing and, with missiles the
guidance arrangement, were and are varied. Targets are
not always easy to destroy; nonetheless, damaged aircraft
may be forced to abort their mission and, even if they
manage to return and land in friendly territory, may be
out of action for days or permanently. Ignoring small
arms and smaller machine-guns, ground-based air dehave varied in calibre from 20 mm to at least
Throughout the 20th century air defence was one of the fence guns
fastest-evolving areas of military technology, responding
to the evolution of aircraft and exploiting various en- Ground-based air defence is deployed in several ways:
abling technologies, particularly radar, guided missiles
and computing (initially electromechanical analog com Self-defence by ground forces using their organic
puting from the 1930s on, as with equipment described
weapons, AAAD.
below). Air defence evolution covered the areas of sensors and technical re control, weapons, and command
Accompanying defence, specialist aid defence eleand control. At the start of the 20th century these were
ments accompanying armoured or infantry units.
either very primitive or non-existent.
Point defence around a key target, such as a bridge,
Initially sensors were optical and acoustic devices develcritical government building or ship.
oped during the First World War and continued into the
1930s,[9] but were quickly superseded by radar, which in
Area air defence, typically 'belts of air defence to
turn was supplemented by optronics in the 1980s. Comprovide a barrier, but sometimes an umbrella covmand and control remained primitive until the late 1930s,
ering an area. Areas can vary widely in size. They
The essence of air defence is to detect hostile aircraft and
destroy them. The critical issue is to hit a target moving in
three-dimensional space; an attack must not only match
these three coordinates, but must do so at the time the
target is at that position. This means that projectiles either have to be guided to hit the target, or aimed at the
predicted position of the target at the time the projectile
reaches it, taking into account speed and direction of both
the target and the projectile.

may extend along a nations border, e.g. the Cold
War MIM-23 Hawk and Nike belts that ran north
south across Germany, across a military formations
manoeuvre area, or above a city or port. In ground
operations air defence areas may be used oensively
by rapid redeployment across current aircraft transit
Air defence has included other elements, although after
the Second World War most fell into disuse:
Tethered barrage balloons to deter and threaten
aircraft ying below the height of the balloons,
where they are susceptible to damaging collisions
with steel tethers.
Searchlights to illuminate aircraft at night for both
gun-layers and optical instrument operators. During
World War II searchlights became radar controlled.

In Britain and some other armies, the single artillery

branch has been responsible for both home and overseas
ground-based air defence, although there was divided responsibility with the Royal Navy for air defence of the
British Isles in World War I. However, during the Second
World War the RAF Regiment was formed to protect airelds everywhere, and this included light air defences.
In the later decades of the Cold War this included the
United States Air Force's operating bases in UK. However, all ground-based air defence was removed from
Royal Air Force (RAF) jurisdiction in 2004. The British
Armys Anti-Aircraft Command was disbanded in March
1955,[13] but during the 1960s and 1970s the RAFs
Fighter Command operated long-range air -defence missiles to protect key areas in the UK. During World War II
the Royal Marines also provided air defence units; formally part of the mobile naval base defence organisation, they were handled as an integral part of the armycommanded ground based air defences.

Large smoke screens created by large smoke can- The basic air defence unit is typically a battery with 2
isters on the ground to screen targets and prevent to 12 guns or missile launchers and re control elements.
accurate weapon aiming by aircraft.
These batteries, particularly with guns, usually deploy in a
small area, although batteries may be split; this is usual for
Passive air defence is dened by NATO as Passive mea- some missile systems. SHORAD missile batteries often
sures taken for the physical defence and protection of deploy across an area with individual launchers several
personnel, essential installations and equipment in or- kilometres apart. When MANPADS is operated by speder to minimize the eectiveness of air and/or missile cialists, batteries may have several dozen teams deployattack.[1] It remains a vital activity by ground forces and ing separately in small sections; self-propelled air defence
includes camouage and concealment to avoid detection guns may deploy in pairs.
by reconnaissance and attacking aircraft. Measures such
as camouaging important buildings were common in the Batteries are usually grouped into battalions or equivaSecond World War. During the Cold War the runways lent. In the eld army a light gun or SHORAD battalion
is often assigned to a manoeuvre division. Heavier guns
and taxiways of some airelds were painted green.
and long-range missiles may be in air-defence brigades
and come under corps or higher command. Homeland
air defence may have a full military structure. For exam3 Organization
ple, the UKs Anti-Aircraft Command, commanded by a
full British Army general was part of ADGB. At its peak
While navies are usually responsible for their own air de- in 194142 it comprised three AA corps with 12 AA difence, at least for ships at sea, organizational arrange- visions between them.[14]
ments for land-based air defence vary between nations
and over time.
The most extreme case was the Soviet Union, and this
model may still be followed in some countries: it was a
separate service, on a par with the navy or ground force.
In the Soviet Union this was called Voyska PVO, and had
both ghter aircraft and ground-based systems. This was
divided into two arms, PVO Strany, the Strategic Air defence Service responsible for Air Defence of the Homeland, created in 1941 and becoming an independent service in 1954, and PVO SV, Air Defence of the Ground
Forces. Subsequently these became part of the air force
and ground forces respectively[12]

4 History
4.1 Earliest use

The use of balloons by the Union Army during the American Civil War compelled the Confederates to develop
methods of combating them. These included the use
of artillery, small arms, and saboteurs. They were unsuccessful, but internal politics led the Unions Balloon
Corps to be disbanded mid-war. The Confederates ex[15]
At the other extreme the United States Army has an Air perimented with balloons as well.
Defense Artillery branch that provided ground-based air The earliest known use of weapons specically made for
defence for both homeland and the army in the eld. the anti-aircraft role occurred during the Franco-Prussian
Many other nations also deploy an air-defence branch in War of 1870. After the disaster at Sedan, Paris was
besieged and French troops outside the city started an
the army.


attempt at communication via balloon. Gustav Krupp

mounted a modied 1-pounder (37mm) gun the Ballonabwehrkanone (Balloon defence cannon) on top of
a horse-drawn carriage for the purpose of shooting down
these balloons.[16]
Ballonabwehrkanone by Krupp
Ballonabwehrkanone by Krupp
By the early 20th century balloon, or airship, guns, for
land and naval use were attracting attention. Various
types of ammunition were proposed, high explosive, incendiary, bullet-chains, rod bullets and shrapnel. The
need for some form of tracer or smoke trail was articulated. Fuzing options were also examined, both impact 1909 vintage Krupp 9-pounder anti-aircraft gun
and time types. Mountings were generally pedestal type,
but could be on eld platforms. Trials were underway
in most countries in Europe but only Krupp, Erhardt,
Vickers Maxim, and Schneider had published any information by 1910. Krupps designs included adaptations of
their 65 mm 9-pounder, a 75 mm 12-pounder, and even
a 105 mm gun. Erhardt also had a 12-pounder, while
Vickers Maxim oered a 3-pounder and Schneider a 47
mm. The French balloon gun appeared in 1910, it was
an 11-pounder but mounted on a vehicle, with a total uncrewed weight of 2 tons. However, since balloons were
slow moving, sights were simple. But the challenges of
faster moving airplanes were recognised.[17]
By 1913 only France and Germany had developed eld
guns suitable for engaging balloons and aircraft and addressed issues of military organization. Britains Royal A Canadian anti-aircraft unit of 1918 taking post
Navy would soon introduce the QF 3-inch and QF 4inch AA guns and also had Vickers 1-pounder quick ring
pom-pom"s that could be used in various mountings.[18] The British recognised the need for anti-aircraft capability a few weeks before World War I broke out; on 8 July
The rst US anti-aircraft cannon was a 1-pounder concept 1914, the New York Times reported that the British govdesign by Admiral Twining in 1911 to meet the perceived ernment had decided to 'dot the coasts of the British Isles
threat of airships, that eventually was used as the basis for with a series of towers, each armed with two quick-ring
the US Navys rst operational anti-aircraft cannon: the guns of special design,' while 'a complete circle of towers
3"/23 caliber gun.[19]
was to be built around 'naval installations and 'at other especially vulnerable points.' By December 1914 the Royal
Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) was manning AA guns
4.2 First World War
and searchlights assembled from various sources at some
On 30 September 1915, troops of the Serbian Army nine ports. The Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) was
observed three enemy aircraft approaching Kragujevac. given responsibility for AA defence in the eld, using moSoldiers shot at them with shotguns and machine-guns but torised two-gun sections. The rst were formally formed
failed to prevent them from dropping 45 bombs over the in November 1914. Initially they used QF 1-pounder
city, hitting military installations, the railway station and pom-pom (a 37 mm version of the Maxim Gun).
many other, mostly civilian, targets in the city. During
the bombing raid, private Radoje Ljutovac red his cannon at the enemy aircraft and successfully shot one down.
It crashed in the city and both pilots died from their injuries. The cannon Ljutovac used was not designed as an
anti-aircraft gun, it was a slightly modied Turkish cannon captured during the First Balkan War in 1912. This
was the rst occasion in military history that a military
aircraft was shot down with ground-to-air re.[20][21][22]

All armies soon deployed AA guns often based on their

smaller eld pieces, notably the French 75 mm and Russian 76.2 mm, typically simply propped up on some sort
of embankment to get the muzzle pointed skyward. The
British Army adopted the 13-pounder quickly producing new mountings suitable for AA use, the 13-pdr QF
6 cwt Mk III was issued in 1915. It remained in service throughout the war but 18-pdr guns were lined down
to take the 13-pdr shell with a larger cartridge produc-


First World War

A French anti-aircraft motor battery (motorized AAA battery)

that brought down a Zeppelin near Paris. From the journal
Horseless Age, 1916.

A Maxim anti-aircraft machine gun.

German air attacks on the British Isles increased in 1915
and the AA eorts were deemed somewhat ineective,
so a Royal Navy gunnery expert, Admiral Sir Percy Scott,
was appointed to make improvements, particularly an integrated AA defence for London. The air defences were
expanded with more RNVR AA guns, 75 mm and 3-inch,
the pom-poms being ineective. The naval 3-inch was
also adopted by the army, the QF 3 inch 20 cwt (76 mm),
a new eld mounting was introduced in 1916. Since most
attacks were at night, searchlights were soon used, and
acoustic methods of detection and locating were develThe rst issue was ammunition. Before the war it was oped. By December 1916 there were 183 AA Sections
recognised that ammunition needed to explode in the air. defending Britain (most with the 3-inch), 74 with the BEF
Both high explosive (HE) and shrapnel were used, mostly in France and 10 in the Middle East.[26]
the former. Airburst fuses were either igniferious (based
on a burning fuse) or mechanical (clockwork). Igniferi- AA gunnery was a dicult business. The problem was
ous fuses were not well suited for anti-aircraft use. The of successfully aiming a shell to burst close to its tarfuse length was determined by time of ight, but the gets future position, with various factors aecting the
burning rate of the gunpowder was aected by altitude. shells predicted trajectory. This was called deection
The British pom-poms had only contact-fused ammuni- gun-laying, 'o-set' angles for range and elevation were
tion. Zeppelins, being hydrogen lled balloons, were tar- set on the gunsight and updated as their target moved. In
gets for incendiary shells and the British introduced these this method when the sights were on the target, the barwith airburst fuses, both shrapnel type-forward projec- rel was pointed at the targets future position. Range and
tion of incendiary 'pot' and base ejection of an incendi- height of the target determined fuse length. The diculary stream. The British also tted tracers to their shells ties increased as aircraft performance improved.
for use at night. Smoke shells were also available for The British dealt with range measurement rst, when it
some AA guns, these bursts were used as targets during was realised that range was the key to producing a beting the 13-pr QF 9 cwt and these proved much more
satisfactory.[24] However, in general, these ad-hoc solutions proved largely useless. With little experience in the
role, no means of measuring target, range, height or speed
the diculty of observing their shell bursts relative to the
target gunners proved unable to get their fuse setting correct and most rounds burst well below their targets. The
exception to this rule was the guns protecting spotting balloons, in which case the altitude could be accurately measured from the length of the cable holding the balloon.


ter fuse setting. This led to the Height/Range Finder

(HRF), the rst model being the Barr & Stroud UB2, a
2-metre optical coincident rangender mounted on a tripod. It measured the distance to the target and the elevation angle, which together gave the height of the aircraft. These were complex instruments and various other
methods were also used. The HRF was soon joined by
the Height/Fuse Indicator (HFI), this was marked with
elevation angles and height lines overlaid with fuse length
curves, using the height reported by the HRF operator,
the necessary fuse length could be read o.[27]
However, the problem of deection settings 'aim-o'
required knowing the rate of change in the targets
position. Both France and UK introduced tachymetric
devices to track targets and produce vertical and hori- A No.1 Mark III Predictor that was used with the QF 3.7 inch AA
zontal deection angles. The French Brocq system was
electrical, the operator entered the target range and had
displays at guns; it was used with their 75 mm. The
British Wilson-Dalby gun director used a pair of trackers and mechanical tachymetry; the operator entered the
fuse length, and deection angles were read from the
By the start of World War I, the 77 mm had become the
standard German weapon, and came mounted on a large
traverse that could be easily picked up on a wagon for
movement. Krupp 75 mm guns were supplied with an
optical sighting system that improved their capabilities.
The German Army also adapted a revolving cannon that
came to be known to Allied iers as the "aming onion"
from the shells in ight. This gun had ve barrels that Shooting with anti-aircraft gun in Sweden 1934
quickly launched a series of 37 mm artillery shells.[30]
As aircraft started to be used against ground targets on the
battleeld, the AA guns could not be traversed quickly
enough at close targets and, being relatively few, were
not always in the right place (and were often unpopular with other troops), so changed positions frequently.
Soon the forces were adding various machine-gun based
weapons mounted on poles. These short-range weapons
proved more deadly, and the "Red Baron" is believed to
have been shot down by an anti-aircraft Vickers machine
gun. When the war ended, it was clear that the increasing capabilities of aircraft would require better means of
acquiring targets and aiming at them. Nevertheless, a pattern had been set: anti-aircraft weapons would be based
around heavy weapons attacking high-altitude targets and
lighter weapons for use when they came to lower altitudes.


Inter-war years

World War I demonstrated that aircraft could be an important part of the battleeld, but in some nations it was
the prospect of strategic air attack that was the main issue,
presenting both a threat and an opportunity. The experience of four years of air attacks on London by Zeppelins
and Gotha G.V bombers had particularly inuenced the
British and was one of if not the main driver for form-

ing an independent air force. As the capabilities of aircraft and their engines improved it was clear that their
role in future war would be even more critical as their
range and weapon load grew. However, in the years immediately after World War I the prospect of another major war seemed remote, particularly in Europe where the
most militarily capable nations were, and little nancing
was available.
Four years of war had seen the creation of a new and
technically demanding branch of military activity. Air
defence had made huge advances, albeit from a very low
starting point. However, it was new and often lacked inuential 'friends in the competition for a share of limited defence budgets. Demobilisation meant that most
AA guns were taken out of service, leaving only the most
However, there were lessons to be learned. In particular the British, who had had AA guns in most theatres in
action in daylight and used them against night attacks at
home. Furthermore, they had also formed an AA Experimental Section during the war and accumulated a lot of
data that was subjected to extensive analysis. As a result,
they published, in 19245, the two volume Textbook of
Anti-Aircraft Gunnery. It included ve key recommendations for HAA equipment:


Inter-war years

Shells of improved ballistic shape with HE llings Wrzburg radar was capable of providing data suitable for
and mechanical time fuses.
controlling AA guns and the British AA No 1 Mk 1 GL
radar was designed to be used on AA gun positions.[33]
Higher rates of re assisted by automation.
The Treaty of Versailles prevented Germany having AA
Height nding by long-base optical instruments.
weapons, and for example, the Krupps designers joined
Bofors in Sweden. Some World War I guns were retained
Centralised control of re on each gun position, diand some covert AA training started in the late 1920s.
rected by tachymetric instruments incorporating the
Germany introduced the 8.8 cm FlaK 18 in 1933, 36 and
facility to apply corrections of the moment for me37 models followed with various improvements but balteorological and wear factors.
listic performance was unchanged. In the late 1930s the
More accurate sound-location for the direction of 10.5 cm FlaK 38 appeared soon followed by the 39, this
was designed primarily for static sites but had a mobile
searchlights and to provide plots for barrage re.
mounting and the unit had 220v 24 kW generators. In
Two assumptions underpinned the British approach to 1938 design started on the 12.8 cm FlaK.
HAA re; rst, aimed re was the primary method and
this was enabled by predicting gun data from visually
tracking the target and having its height. Second, that the
target would maintain a steady course, speed and height.
This HAA was to engage targets up to 24,000 feet. Mechanical, as opposed to igniferous, time fuses were required because the speed of powder burning varied with
height so fuse length was not a simple function of time
of ight. Automated re ensured a constant rate of re
that made it easier to predict where each shell should be
individually aimed.[31]
In 1925 the British adopted a new instrument developed
by Vickers. It was a mechanical analogue computer Predictor AA No 1. Given the target height its operators
tracked the target and the predictor produced bearing,
quadrant elevation and fuse setting. These were passed
electrically to the guns where they were displayed on repeater dials to the layers who 'matched pointers (target
data and the guns actual data) to lay the guns. This system of repeater electrical dials built on the arrangements
introduced by British coast artillery in the 1880s, and
coast artillery was the background of many AA ocers.
Similar systems were adopted in other countries and for
example the later Sperry device, designated M3A3 in the
US was also used by Britain as the Predictor AA No 2.
Height nders were also increasing in size, in Britain, the
World War I Barr & Stroud UB 2 (7 feet optical base)
was replaced by the UB 7 (9 feet optical base) and the
UB 10 (18 feet optical base, only used on static AA sites).
Goertz in Germany and Levallois in France produced 5
metre instruments. However, in most countries the main
eort in HAA guns until the mid-1930s was improving
existing ones, although various new designs were on drawing boards.[32]
From the early 1930s eight countries developed radar,
these developments were suciently advanced by the late
1930s for development work on sound locating acoustic
devices to be generally halted, although equipment was
retained. Furthermore, in Britain the volunteer Observer
Corps formed in 1925 provided a network of observation posts to report hostile aircraft ying over Britain.
Initially radar was used for airspace surveillance to detect approaching hostile aircraft. However, the German

The USSR introduced a new 76 mm M1931 in the early

1930s and an 85 mm M1938 towards the end of the
Britain had successful tested a new HAA gun, 3.6-inch,
in 1918. In 1928 3.7-inch became the preferred solution,
but it took 6 years to gain funding. Production of the QF
3.7-inch (94 mm) began in 1937; this gun was used both
on mobile carriages with the eld army and transportable
guns on xed mountings for static positions. At the same
time the Royal Navy adopted a new 4.5-inch (114 mm)
gun in a twin turret, which the army adopted in simplied
single-gun mountings for static positions, mostly around
ports where naval ammunition was available. However,
the performance of both 3.7 and 4.5-in guns was limited
by their standard fuse No 199, with a 30-second running
time, although a new mechanical time fuse giving 43 seconds was nearing readiness. In 1939 a Machine Fuse Setter was introduced to eliminate manual fuse setting.[36]
The US ended World War I with two 3-inch AA guns
and improvements were developed throughout the interwar period. However, in 1924 work started on a new 105
mm static mounting AA gun, but only a few were produced by the mid-1930s because by this time work had
started on the 90 mm AA gun, with mobile carriages and
static mountings able to engage air, sea and ground targets. The M1 version was approved in 1940. During the
1920s there was some work on a 4.7-inch which lapsed,
but revived in 1937, leading to a new gun in 1944.[37]
While HAA and is associated target acquisition and re
control was the primary focus of AA eorts, low-level
close-range targets remained and by the mid-1930s were
becoming an issue.
Until this time the British, at RAF insistence, continued
their World War I use of machine guns, and introduced
twin MG mountings for AAAD. The army was forbidden
from considering anything larger than .50-inch. However,
in 1935 their trials showed that the minimum eective
round was an impact fused 2 lb HE shell. The following year they decided to adopt the Bofors 40 mm and a
twin barrel Vickers 2-pdr (40 mm) on a modied naval
mount. The air-cooled Bofors was vastly superior for land
use, being much lighter than the water-cooled pom-pom,


and UK production of the Bofors 40 mm was licensed. using HE or wire obstacle warheads was introduced rst
The Predictor AA No 3, as the Kerrison Predictor was to deal with low-level or dive bombing attacks on smaller
ocially known, was introduced with it.[38]
targets such as airelds. The 3-inch was in development
The 40 mm Bofors had become available in 1931. In the at the end of the inter-war period.
late 1920s the Swedish Navy had ordered the development of a 40 mm naval anti-aircraft gun from the Bofors
company. It was light, rapid-ring and reliable, and a mobile version on a four-wheel carriage was soon developed.
Known simply as the 40 mm, it was adopted by some
17 dierent nations just before World War II and is still
in use today in some applications such as on coastguard
Rheinmetall in Germany developed an automatic 20 mm
in the 1920s and Oerlikon in Switzerland had acquired the
patent to an automatic 20 mm gun designed in Germany
during World War I. Germany introduced the rapid-re 2
cm FlaK 30 and later in the decade it was redesigned by
Mauser-Werke and became the 2 cm FlaK 38.[39] Nevertheless, while 20 mm was better than a machine gun and
mounted on a very small trailer made it easy to move,
its eectiveness was limited. Germany therefore added
a 3.7 cm. The rst, the 3.7 cm FlaK 18 developed by
Rheinmetall in the early 1930s, was basically an enlarged
2 cm FlaK 30. It was introduced in 1935 and production stopped the following year. A redesigned gun 3.7 cm
FlaK 36 entered service in 1938, it too had a two-wheel
carriage.[40] However, by the mid-1930s the Luftwae realised that there was still a coverage gap between 3.7 cm
and 8.8 cm guns. They started development of a 5 cm
gun on a four-wheel carriage.[41]
After World War I the US Army started developing a
dual-role (AA/ground) automatic 37 mm cannon, designed by John M. Browning. It was standardised in 1927
as the T9 AA cannon, but trials quickly revealed that it
was worthless in the ground role. However, while the
shell was a bit light (well under 2 lbs) it had a good effective ceiling and red 125 rounds per minute; an AA
carriage was developed and it entered service in 1939.
The Browning 37mm proved prone to jamming, and was
eventually replaced in AA units by the Bofors 40 mm.
The Bofors had attracted attention from the US Navy,
but none were acquired before 1939.[42] Also, in 1931
the US Army worked on a mobile anti-aircraft machine
mount on the back of a heavy truck having four .30 caliber water-cooled machine guns and an optical director.
It proved unsuccessful and was abandoned.[43]

Second World War

Rendering of a ak burst and damage in slow motion, not all

fragments are visible but hits to the aircraft and pieces of it register as red squares

Polands AA defences were no match for the German

attack and the situation was similar in other European
countries. Signicant AA warfare started with the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. 3.7-inch HAA
were to provide the backbone of the groundbased AA
defences, although initially signicant numbers of 3-inch
20-cwt were also used. The Armys Anti-aircraft command, which was under command of the Air Defence
UK organisation, grew to 12 AA divisions in 3 AA corps.
40-mm Bofors entered service in increasing numbers. In
addition the RAF regiment was formed in 1941 with responsibility for aireld air defence, eventually with Bofors 40mm as their main armament. Fixed AA defences,
using HAA and LAA, were established by the Army in
key overseas places, notably Malta, Suez Canal and Singapore.

While the 3.7 inch was the main HAA gun in xed defences and the only mobile HAA gun with the eld army,
4.5-inch, manned by artillery, was used in the vicinity of
naval ports, making use of the naval ammunition supply.
4.5-inch at Singapore had the rst success in shooting
down Japanese bombers. Mid war 5.25-inch HAA gun
started being emplaced in some permanent sites around
London. This gun was also deployed in dual role coast
The Soviet Union also used a 37 mm, the 37 mm M1939,
defence/AA positions.
which appears to have been copied from the Bofors 40
mm. A Bofors 25 mm, essentially a scaled down 40 mm, Germanys high-altitude needs were originally going to
be lled by a 75 mm gun from Krupp, designed in colwas also copied as the 25 mm M1939.[44]
laboration with their Swedish counterpart Bofors, but the
During the 1930s solid fuel rockets were under developspecications were later amended to require much higher
ment in the Soviet Union and Britain. In Britain the inperformance. In response Krupps engineers presented a
terest was for anti-aircraft re, it quickly became clear
new 88 mm design, the FlaK 36. First used in Spain durthat guidance would be required for precision. Howing the Spanish Civil War, the gun proved to be one of the
ever, rockets, or 'unrotated projectiles as they were called
best anti-aircraft guns in the world, as well as particularly
could the used for anti-aircraft barrages. A 2-inch rocket
deadly against light, medium, and even early heavy tanks.


Second World War

German 88 mm ak gun in action against Allied bombers.

German Soldier with MG34 Anti-aircraft gun in WW2

After the Dambusters raid in 1943 an entirely new system was developed that was required to knock down any
low-ying aircraft with a single hit. The rst attempt
to produce such a system used a 50 mm gun, but this
proved inaccurate and a new 55 mm gun replaced it. The
system used a centralised control system including both
search and targeting radar, which calculated the aim point
for the guns after considering windage and ballistics, and
then sent electrical commands to the guns, which used
hydraulics to point themselves at high speeds. Operators
simply fed the guns and selected the targets. This system,
modern even by todays standards, was in late development when the war ended.
The British had already arranged licence building of the
Bofors 40 mm, and introduced these into service. These
had the power to knock down aircraft of any size, yet were
light enough to be mobile and easily swung. The gun became so important to the British war eort that they even
produced a movie, The Gun, that encouraged workers on
the assembly line to work harder. The Imperial measurement production drawings the British had developed were
supplied to the Americans who produced their own (unlicensed) copy of the 40 mm at the start of the war, moving
to licensed production in mid-1941.

B-24 hit by ak over Italy, 10 April 1945

tracers. At long range, the aircraft remains in ring range

for a long time, so the necessary calculations can in theory be done by slide rules - though, because small errors
in distance cause large errors in shell fall height and detonation time, exact ranging is crucial. For the ranges and
speeds that the Bofors worked at, neither answer was good
Service trials demonstrated another problem however: enough.
that ranging and tracking the new high-speed targets was The solution was automation, in the form of a mechanialmost impossible. At short range, the apparent target cal computer, the Kerrison Predictor. Operators kept it
area is relatively large, the trajectory is at and the time pointed at the target, and the Predictor then calculated
of ight is short, allowing to correct lead by watching the the proper aim point automatically and displayed it as a


Aircraft. Although of less power than Germanys 20 mm
systems, the typical 4 or 5 combat batteries of an Army
AAA battalion were often spread many kilometers apart
from each other, rapidly attaching and detaching to larger
ground combat units to provide welcome defence from
enemy aircraft.

British QF 3.7 inch gun in London in 1939

pointer mounted on the gun. The gun operators simply

followed the pointer and loaded the shells. The Kerrison
was fairly simple, but it pointed the way to future generations that incorporated radar, rst for ranging and later
for tracking. Similar predictor systems were introduced
by Germany during the war, also adding radar ranging as
the war progressed.

Indian troops manning a Bren light machine gun in an antiaircraft mount in 1941.

AAA battalions were also used to help suppress ground

targets. Their larger 90 mm M3 gun would prove, as did
the eighty-eight, to make an excellent anti-tank gun as
well, and was widely used late in the war in this role. Also
available to the Americans at the start of the war was the
120 mm M1 gun stratosphere gun, which was the most
powerful AA gun with an impressive 60,000 ft (18 km)
altitude capability. No 120 M1 was ever red at an enemy
aircraft. The 90 mm and 120 mm guns would continue
to be used into the 1950s.
US Coast Guard sailors in the South Pacic man a 20 mm antiaircraft cannon

A plethora of anti-aircraft gun systems of smaller calibre were available to the German Wehrmacht combined
forces, and among them the 1940-origin Flakvierling
quadruple-20 mm-gun antiaircraft weapon system was
one of the most often-seen weapons, seeing service on
both land and sea. The similar Allied smaller-calibre airdefence weapons systems of the American forces were
also quite capable, although they receive little attention.
Their needs could cogently be met with smaller-calibre
ordnance beyond using the usual singly-mounted M2
.50 caliber machine gun atop a tanks turret, as four
of the ground-used heavy barrel (M2HB) guns were
mounted together on the American Maxson rms M45
Quadmount weapons system (as a direct answer to the
Flakvierling),which were often mounted on the back of
a half-track to form the Half Track, M16 GMC, Anti-

The United States Navy had also put some thought into
the problem, and came up with the 1.1"/75 (28mm) gun
to replace the inadequate .50 caliber. This weapon had
the teething troubles that most new weapons have, but
the issues with the gun were never sorted out. It was
replaced by the Bofors 40 mm wherever possible. The
5"/38 caliber gun turned out to be an excellent antiaircraft weapon, once the Proximity fuse had been perfected.
The Germans developed massive reinforced concrete
blockhouses, some more than six stories high, which were
known as Hochbunker High Bunkers or "Flaktrme"
ak towers, on which they placed anti-aircraft artillery.
Those in cities attacked by the Allied land forces became
fortresses. Several in Berlin were some of the last buildings to fall to the Soviets during the Battle of Berlin in
1945. The British built structures such as the Maunsell
Forts in the North Sea, the Thames Estuary and other
tidal areas upon which they based guns. After the war


Second World War


A B-24 bomber emerges from a cloud of ak with its no. 2 engine


One of six ak towers built during World War II in Vienna

A British North Sea World War II Maunsell Fort.

end of the war. The Germans missile research was the

most advanced of the war as the Germans put considerable eort in the research and development of rocket
systems for all purposes. Among them were several
guided and unguided systems. Unguided systems involved the Fliegerfaust (literally aircraft st) as the rst
MANPADS. Guided systems were several sophisticated
radio, wire, or radar guided missiles like the Wasserfall
(waterfall) rocket. Due to the severe war situation for
Germany all of those systems were only produced in small
numbers and most of them were only used by training or
trial units.

Flak in the Balkans, 1942 (drawing by Helmuth Ellgaard).

most were left to rot. Some were outside territorial wa- Another aspect of anti-aircraft defence was the use of
ters, and had a second life in the 1960s as platforms for barrage balloons to act as physical obstacle initially to
pirate radio stations.
bomber aircraft over cities and later for ground attack airSome nations started rocket research before World War craft over the Normandy invasion eets. The balloon, a
II, including for anti-aircraft use. Further research started simple blimp tethered to the ground, worked in two ways.
during the war. The rst step was unguided missile sys- Firstly, it and the steel cable were a danger to any airtems like the British 2-inch RP and 3-inch, which was craft that tried to y among them. Secondly, to avoid the
red in large numbers from Z batteries, and were also t- balloons, bombers had to y at a higher altitude, which
ted to warships. The ring of one of these devices dur- was more favorable for the guns. Barrage balloons were
ing an air raid is suspected to have caused the Bethnal limited in application, and had minimal success at bringGreen disaster in 1943. Facing the threat of Japanese ing down aircraft, being largely immobile and passive deKamikaze attacks the British and US developed surface- fences.
to-air rockets like British Stooge or the American Lark The allies most advanced technologies were showcased
as counter measures, but none of them were ready at the by the anti-aircraft defence against the German V-1



cruise missiles (V stands for Vergeltungswae, retaliation weapon). The 419th and 601st Antiaircraft Gun
Battalions of the US Army were rst allocated to the
Folkestone-Dover coast to defend London, and then
moved to Belgium to become part of the Antwerp X
project. With the liberation of Antwerp, the port city immediately became the highest priority target, and received
the largest number of V-1 and V-2 missiles of any city.
The smallest tactical unit of the operation was a gun battery consisting of four 90 mm guns ring shells equipped
with a radio proximity fuse. Incoming targets were acquired and automatically tracked by SCR-584 radar, developed at the MIT Rad Lab. Output from the gun-laying
radar was fed to the M-9 director, an electronic analog
computer developed at Bell Laboratories to calculate the
lead and elevation corrections for the guns. With the help
of these three technologies, close to 90% of the V-1 missiles, on track to the defence zone around the port, were


The introduction of the guided missile resulted in a signicant shift in anti-aircraft strategy. Although Germany
had been desperate to introduce anti-aircraft missile systems, none became operational during World War II. Following several years of post-war development, however,
these systems began to mature into viable weapons systems. The US started an upgrade of their defences using
the Nike Ajax missile, and soon the larger anti-aircraft
guns disappeared. The same thing occurred in the USSR
after the introduction of their SA-2 Guideline systems.


A 1970s-era Talos anti-aircraft missile, red from a cruiser

Post-war analysis demonstrated that even with newest

anti-aircraft systems employed by both sides, the vast majority of bombers reached their targets successfully, on
the order of 90%. While these gures were undesirable
during the war, the advent of the nuclear bomb considerably altered the acceptability of even a single bomber
reaching its target.
The developments during World War II continued for a
short time into the post-war period as well. In particular the U.S. Army set up a huge air defence network
around its larger cities based on radar-guided 90 mm
and 120 mm guns. US eorts continued into the 1950s
with the 75 mm Skysweeper system, an almost fully automated system including the radar, computers, power,
and auto-loading gun on a single powered platform. The
Skysweeper replaced all smaller guns then in use in the
Army, notably the 40 mm Bofors. In Europe NATOs
Allied Command Europe developed an integrated air defence system, NATO Air Defence Ground Environment
(NADGE), that later became the NATO Integrated Air
Defence System.

A three-man JASDF reteam res a missile from a Type 91 Kai

MANPAD during an exercise at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
as part of Red Flag - Alaska.

As this process continued, the missile found itself being used for more and more of the roles formerly lled
by guns. First to go were the large weapons, replaced
by equally large missile systems of much higher performance. Smaller missiles soon followed, eventually becoming small enough to be mounted on armored cars and
tank chassis. These started replacing, or at least supplanting, similar gun-based SPAAG systems in the 1960s, and
by the 1990s had replaced almost all such systems in
modern armies. Man-portable missiles, MANPADs as
they are known today, were introduced in the 1960s and
have supplanted or even replaced even the smallest guns
in most advanced armies.
In the 1982 Falklands War, the Argentine armed forces
deployed the newest west European weapons including
the Oerlikon GDF-002 35 mm twin cannon and SAM
Roland. The Rapier missile system was the primary

GBAD system, used by both British artillery and RAF
regiment, a few brand-new FIM-92 Stinger were used by
British special forces. Both sides also used the Blowpipe
missile. British naval missiles used included Sea Dart and
the older Sea Slug longer range systems, Sea Cat and the
new Sea Wolf short range systems. Machine guns in AA
mountings was used both ashore and aoat.
During the 2008 South Ossetia war air power faced o
against powerful SAM systems, like the 1980s Buk-M1.
In Somalia, militia members sometimes welded a steel
plate in the exhaust end of an unguided RPG's tube to
deect pressure away from the shooter when shooting upwards at US helicopters. RPGs are used in this role only
when more eective weapons are not available.

AA warfare systems

Although the rearms used by the infantry, particularly

machine guns, can be used to engage low altitude air targets, on occasion with notable success, their eectiveness
is generally limited and the muzzle ashes reveal infantry
positions. Speed and altitude of modern jet aircraft limit
target opportunities, and critical systems may be armored
in aircraft designed for the ground attack role. Adaptations of the standard autocannon, originally intended
for air-to-ground use, and heavier artillery systems were
commonly used for most anti-aircraft gunnery, starting
with standard pieces on new mountings, and evolving to
specially designed guns with much higher performance
prior to World War II.

widespread use due to their low cost and ability to quickly

follow the target. Classic examples of autocannons and
large caliber guns are the 40 mm autocannon and the 8.8
cm FlaK 18, 36 gun, both designed by Bofors of Sweden.
Artillery weapons of this sort have for the most part been
superseded by the eective surface-to-air missile systems
that were introduced in the 1950s, although they were still
retained by many nations. The development of surfaceto-air missiles began in Nazi Germany during the late
World War II with missiles such as the Wasserfall, though
no working system was deployed before the wars end,
and represented new attempts to increase eectiveness of
the anti-aircraft systems faced with growing threat from
[bomber]s. Land-based SAMs can be deployed from
xed installations or mobile launchers, either wheeled or
tracked. The tracked vehicles are usually armoured vehicles specically designed to carry SAMs.
Larger SAMs may be deployed in xed launchers, but
can be towed/re-deployed at will. The SAMs launched by
individuals are known in the United States as the ManPortable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS). MANPADS of the former Soviet Union have been exported
around the World, and can be found in use by many armed
forces. Targets for non-ManPAD SAMs will usually be
acquired by air-search radar, then tracked before/while a
SAM is locked-on and then red. Potential targets, if
they are military aircraft, will be identied as friend or
foe before being engaged. The developments in the latest and relatively cheap short-range missiles have begun
to replace autocannons in this role.

The ammunition and shells red by these weapons are

usually tted with dierent types of fuses (barometric,
time-delay, or proximity) to explode close to the airborne
target, releasing a shower of fast metal fragments. For
shorter-range work, a lighter weapon with a higher rate of
re is required, to increase a hit probability on a fast airborne target. Weapons between 20 mm and 40 mm caliber have been widely used in this role. Smaller weapons,
typically .50 caliber or even 8 mm rie caliber guns have
been used in the smallest mounts.

Fire of anti-aircraft guns deployed in the neighborrhood of St

Isaacs cathedral during the defence of Leningrad (former Petrograd, now called St. Petersburg, ) in 1941.

The interceptor aircraft (or simply interceptor) is a type

of ghter aircraft designed specically to intercept and
destroy enemy aircraft, particularly bombers, usually relying on high speed and altitude capabilities. A number
of jet interceptors such as the F-102 Delta Dagger, the F106 Delta Dart, and the MiG-25 were built in the period
A Soviet WW II-era armoured train with anti-aircraft gunners
starting after the end of World War II and ending in the
late 1960s, when they became less important due to the
Unlike the heavier guns, these smaller weapons are in shifting of the strategic bombing role to ICBMs. Invari-



ably the type is dierentiated from other ghter aircraft However, as stealth technology grows, so does anti-stealth
designs by higher speeds and shorter operating ranges, as technology. Multiple transmitter radars such as those
well as much reduced ordnance payloads.
from bistatic radars and low-frequency radars are said to
The radar systems use electromagnetic waves to iden- have the capabilities to detect stealth aircraft. Advanced
tify the range, altitude, direction, or speed of aircraft forms of thermographic cameras such as those that inand weather formations to provide tactical and opera- corporate QWIPs would be able to optically see a Stealth
tional warning and direction, primarily during defensive aircraft regardless of the aircrafts RCS. In addition, Side
operations. In their functional roles they provide target looking radars, High-powered optical satellites, and skyscanning, high-aperture, high sensitivity radars such as
search, threat, guidance, reconnaissance, navigation,
instrumentation, and weather reporting support to com- radio telescopes, would all be able to narrow down [48]
location of a stealth aircraft under certain parameters.
bat operations.
The newest SAMs have a claimed ability to be able to detect and engage stealth targets, with the most notable being the S-400, which is claimed to be able to detect a target with a 0.05 meter squared RCS from 90 km away.[49]
Another potential weapon system for anti-aircraft use is
the laser. Although air planners have imagined lasers
in combat since the late 1960s, only the most modern
laser systems are currently reaching what could be considered experimental usefulness. In particular the Tactical
High Energy Laser can be used in the anti-aircraft and
anti-missile role. If current developments continue, some
believe it is reasonable to suggest that lasers will play a
major role in air defence starting in the next ten years.
The future of projectile based weapons may be found in
the railgun. Currently tests are underway on developing
systems that could create as much damage as a Tomahawk
(missile), but at a fraction of the cost. In February 2008
A Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer is a highly advanced anti-air the US Navy tested a railgun; it red a shell at 5,600
miles (9,000 km) per hour using 10 megajoules of energy.
Its expected performance is over 13,000 miles (21,000
km) per hour muzzle velocity, accurate enough to hit a
5-meter target from 200 nautical miles (370 km) away
5.1 Future developments
while shooting at 10 shots per minute. It is expected to be
If current trends continue, missiles will replace gun sys- ready in 2020 to 2025. These systems while currently
tems completely in rst line service. Guns are being in- designed for static targets would only need the ability to
creasingly pushed into specialist roles, such as the Dutch be retargeted to become the next generation of AA sysGoalkeeper CIWS, which uses the GAU-8 Avenger 30 tem.
mm seven-barrel Gatling gun for last ditch anti-missile
and anti-aircraft defence. Even this formerly front-line
weapon is currently being replaced by new missile systems, such as the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, 6 Force structures
which is smaller, faster, and allows for mid-ight course
correction (guidance) to ensure a hit. To bridge the gap Most Western and Commonwealth militaries integrate air
between guns and missiles, Russia in particular produces defence purely with the traditional services, of the milithe Kashtan CIWS, which uses both guns and missiles tary (i.e. army, navy and air force), as a separate arm or as
for nal defence. Two six-barrelled 30 mm Gsh-6-30 part of artillery. In the United States Army for instance,
Gatling guns and 9M311 surface-to-air missiles provide air defence is part of the artillery arm, while in the Pakfor its defensive capabilities.
istan Army, it was split o from Artillery to form a sepUpsetting this development to all-missile systems is the
current move to stealth aircraft. Long range missiles depend on long-range detection to provide signicant lead.
Stealth designs cut detection ranges so much that the aircraft is often never even seen, and when it is, it is often too
late for an intercept. Systems for detection and tracking
of stealthy aircraft are a major problem for anti-aircraft

arate arm of its own in 1990. This is in contrast to some

(largely communist or ex-communist) countries where
not only are there provisions for air defence in the army,
navy and air force but there are specic branches that deal
only with the air defence of territory, for example, the Soviet PVO Strany. The USSR also had a separate strategic
rocket force in charge of nuclear intercontinental ballistic





6.1.1 Layered air defence

Soviet AK-630 CIWS (close-in weapon system)

RIM-67 intercepts Firebee drone at White Sands 1980

Air defence in naval tactics, especially within a carrier

group, is often built around a system of concentric layers with the aircraft carrier at the centre. The outer layer
will usually be provided by the carriers aircraft, specically its AEW&C aircraft combined with the CAP. If an
attacker is able to penetrate this layer, then the next layers would come from the surface-to-air missiles carried
by the carriers escorts; the area-defence missiles, such as
the RIM-67 Standard, with a range of up to 100 nmi, and
Model of the multirole IDAS missile of the German Navy, which
the point-defence missiles, like the RIM-162 ESSM, with
can be red from submerged anti-aircraft weapon systems
a range of up to 30 nmi. Finally, virtually every modern
warship will be tted with small-calibre guns, including a
Smaller boats and ships typically have machine-guns or CIWS, which is usually a radar-controlled Gatling gun of
fast cannons, which can often be deadly to low-ying between 20mm and 30mm calibre capable of ring sevaircraft if linked to a radar-directed re-control system eral thousand rounds per minute.[52]
radar-controlled cannon for point defence. Some vessels
like Aegis cruisers are as much a threat to aircraft as any
land-based air defence system. In general, naval vessels
should be treated with respect by aircraft, however the 6.2 Army
reverse is equally true. Carrier battle groups are especially well defended, as not only do they typically consist
Armies typically have air defence in depth, from inteof many vessels with heavy air defence armament but they gral MANPADS such as the RBS 70, Stinger and Igla
are also able to launch ghter jets for combat air patrol
at smaller force levels up to army-level missile defence
overhead to intercept incoming airborne threats.
systems such as Angara and Patriot. Often, the highNations such as Japan use their SAM-equipped vessels to
create an outer air defence perimeter and radar picket in
the defence of its Home islands, and the United States also
uses its Aegis-equipped ships as part of its Aegis Ballistic
Missile Defense System in the defence of the Continental
United States.

altitude long-range missile systems force aircraft to y at

low level, where anti-aircraft guns can bring them down.
As well as the small and large systems, for eective air defence there must be intermediate systems. These may be
deployed at regiment-level and consist of platoons of selfpropelled anti-aircraft platforms, whether they are selfSome modern submarines, such as the Type 212 sub- propelled anti-aircraft guns (SPAAGs), integrated airmarines of the German Navy, are equipped with defence systems like Tunguska or all-in-one surface-tosurface-to-air missile systems, since helicopters and anti- air missile platforms like Roland or SA-8 Gecko.
submarine warfare aircraft are signicant threats. The On a national level the United States Army was atypical
subsurface launched anti-air missile was rst purposed by in that it was primarily responsible for the missile air deUS Navy Rear Admiral Charles B. Momsen, in a 1953 fences of the Continental United States with systems such
as Project Nike.




Air force

F-22A Raptor 03-4058

Air defence by air forces is typically taken care of by

ghter jets carrying air-to-air missiles. However, most air
forces choose to augment airbase defence with surface-toair missile systems as they are such valuable targets and
subject to attack by enemy aircraft. In addition, countries
without dedicated air defence forces often relegate these
duties to the air force.


The Russian Pantsir-S1 can engage targets while moving, thus

achieving high survivability.

on a eet of vehicles. In general, a xed system can be

identied, attacked and destroyed whereas a mobile system can show up in places where it is not expected. Soviet systems especially concentrate on mobility, after the
lessons learnt in the Vietnam war between the USA and
Vietnam. For more information on this part of the conict, see SA-2 Guideline.

Area air defence

7.2 Air defence versus air defence suppresArea air defence, the air defence of a specic area or locasion
tion, (as opposed to point defence), have historically been
operated by both armies (Anti-Aircraft Command in the
British Army, for instance) and Air Forces (the United
States Air Force's CIM-10 Bomarc). Area defence systems have medium to long range and can be made up of
various other systems and networked into an area defence
system (in which case it may be made up of several short
range systems combined to eectively cover an area). An
example of area defence is the defence of Saudi Arabia
and Israel by MIM-104 Patriot missile batteries during
the rst Gulf War, where the objective was to cover populated areas.



Most modern air defence systems are fairly mobile. Even

the larger systems tend to be mounted on trailers and are
designed to be fairly quickly broken down or set up. In
the past, this was not always the case. Early missile systems were cumbersome and required much infrastructure; many could not be moved at all. With the diversication of air defence there has been much more emphasis
on mobility. Most modern systems are usually either selfpropelled (i.e. guns or missiles are mounted on a truck or
tracked chassis) or easily towed. Even systems that consist of many components (transporter/erector/launchers,
radars, command posts etc.) benet from being mounted

AGM-88 and AIM-9 on Tornado

Israel, and The US Air Force, in conjunction with the

members of NATO, has developed signicant tactics
for air defence suppression. Dedicated weapons such as
anti-radiation missiles and advanced electronics intelligence and electronic countermeasures platforms seek to
suppress or negate the eectiveness of an opposing airdefence system. It is an arms race; as better jamming,
countermeasures and anti-radiation weapons are developed, so are better SAM systems with ECCM capabilities and the ability to shoot down anti-radiation missiles
and other munitions aimed at them or the targets they are



Insurgent tactics

Rocket-propelled grenades can beand often areused

against hovering helicopters (e.g., by Somali militiamen
during the Battle of Mogadishu (1993)). Firing an RPG
at steep angles poses a danger to the user, because the
backblast from ring reects o the ground. In Somalia,
militia members sometimes welded a steel plate in the exhaust end of an RPGs tube to deect pressure away from
the shooter when shooting up at US helicopters. RPGs
are used in this role only when more eective weapons
are not available.

[13] Beckett 2008, 178.

[14] Routledge pg. 396397
[15] Spring 2007 issue of the American Association of Aviation Historians Journal
[16] Essential Militaria: Facts, Legends, and Curiosities About
Warfare Through the Ages, Nicholas Hobbs, Atlantic
Monthly Press 2004, ISBN 0-8021-1772-4
[17] Bethel pg 5680
[18] Routledge pg 34

For insurgents the most eective method of countering [19] New American Aerial Weapons Popular Mechanics,
December 1911, p. 776.
aircraft is to attempt to destroy them on the ground, either
by trying to penetrate an airbase perimeter and destroy [20] How was the rst military airplane shot down. National
aircraft individually, e.g. the September 2012 Camp BasGeographic. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
tion raid, or nding a position where aircraft can be en[21] Ljutovac, Radoje. Amanet Society. Retrieved 5 August
gaged with indirect re, such as mortars.

See also

[22] Radoje Raka Ljutovac rst person in the world to shoot

down an airplane with a cannon. Peat. Retrieved 5 August 2015.

Air supremacy

[23] Routledge pg 45


[24] Routledge pg 6

Gun laying

[25] The Ministry of Munitions pg 4041

List of anti-aircraft weapons

[26] Routledge pg 817

Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon

[27] Routledge pg 14, 15

The bomber will always get through

[28] Routledge pg 14, 20

[29] The Ministry of Munitions pg 11


[30] aming onions?". Theaerodrome.com. Retrieved 19

June 2010.

[1] AAP-6

[31] Routledge pg 4849

[2] ack-ack, adj. and n.. OED Online. September 2013.

Oxford University Press. (accessed September 14, 2013).

[32] Routledge pg 4950

[3] A E Borton_P. Rafweb.org. Retrieved 19 June 2010.

[4] .AAP-6
[5] ak. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved
30 June 2008.
[6] Bellamy pg 219
[7] le petit Larousse 2013 p20-p306
[8] Hogg WW2 pg 99100
[9] Huge Ear Locates Planes and Tells Their Speed Popular Mechanics, December 1930 article on French aircraft
sound detector with photo
[10] Checkland and Holwell pg. 127

[33] Routledge pg 9597

[34] Hogg German WW2 pg 14, 162177
[35] Hogg Allied WW2 pg 127130
[36] Hogg Allied WW2 pg 97107
[37] Hogg Allied WW2 pg 114119
[38] Hogg Allied WW2 pg 108110
[39] Hogg German WW2 pg 144147
[40] Hogg German WW2 pg 150152
[41] Hogg German WW2 pg 155156
[42] Hogg Allied WW2 pg 115117

[11] Routledge pg. 456

[43] Uncle Sams Latest Weapons For War In the Air, December 1931, Popular Mechanics

[12] Bellamy pg 82, 213

[44] Hogg Allied WW2 pg 131



[45] Routledge pg 56
[46] Cruise Missile Defence: Defending Antwerp against the
V-1, Lt. Col. John A. Hamilton
[47] The Defence of Antwarp Against the V-1 Missile, R.J.
Backus, LTC, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 1971
[48] http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/
[49] Carlo Kopp (November 2003). Asias new SAMs
(PDF). Australian Aviation: 30. Archived (PDF) from the
original on 23 July 2006. Retrieved 9 July 2006.
[50] Image and comments. Dvice.com. 2 February 2008.
Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 19
June 2010.
[51] Will the New Submarines Rule the Seas?" Popular Mechanics, August 1953, pp. 74-78, see page 78.
[52] What it takes to successfully attack an American Aircraft
carrier - Lexington Institute



AAP-6 NATO Glossary of Terms. 2009.

Bellamy, Chris. 1986. The Red God of War
Soviet Artillery and Rocket Forces. London:
Bethel, Colonel HA. 1911. Modern Artillery in the
Field. London: Macmillan and Co Ltd
Checkland, Peter and Holwell, Sue. 1998. Information, Systems and Information Systems making
sense of the eld. Chichester: Wiley
Hogg, Ian V. 1998. Allied Artillery of World War
Two. Malborough: The Crowood Press ISBN 186126-165-9
Hogg, Ian V. 1998. Allied Artillery of World War
One Malborough: The Crowood Press ISBN 186126-104-7
Hogg, Ian V. 1997. German Artillery of World
War Two London: Greenhill Books ISBN 185367-261-0
Routledge, Brigadier NW. 1994. History of the
Royal regiment of Artillery Anti-Aircraft Artillery
191455. London: Brasseys ISBN 1-85753-0993
Handbook for the Ordnance, Q.F. 3.7-inch Mark II
on Mounting, 3.7-inch A.A. Mark II Land Service.
1940. London: War Oce 26|Manuals|2494
History of the Ministry of Munitions. 1922. Volume X The Supply of Munitions, Part VI AntiAircraft Supplies. Reprinted by Naval & Military
Press Ltd and Imperial War Museum.

Flavia Foradini:
2/2006, Milano


I bunker di Vienna, Abitare

Flavia Foradini, Edoardo Conte: I templi incompiuti

di Hitler, catalogo della mostra omonima, Milano,
Spazio Guicciardini, 17.2-13.3.2009

11 External links
Flak (1943)" on YouTube
1914 1918 war in Alsace - The Battle of Linge 1915
- The 63rd Anti Aircraft Regiment in 14 18 - The 96th
poste semi-xed in the Vosges
Archie to SAM: A Short Operational History of
Ground-Based Air Defense by Kenneth P. Werrell
(book available for download)
Japanese Anti-aircraft land/vessel doctrines in
2nd/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment



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