Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I&A December

I&A's December issue will start to go out tomorrow. If you got an e-mail tonight, Google Documents did something weird and I managed to re-send everyone the November issue.

Oops. Sorry about that!

I did at least manage to send everyone the right KML file.


The correct download link just went out to the first set of subscribers. Everyone else will get the download link and the KML file tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I&A in 2012

By this point many of you have a good idea of what I&A is all about. The goal for 2012 is to continue to increase the scope and depth of the content. Ergo, here are a few items to bring to your attention:

1. Additional contributors are always welcome. If you think you have something to say, send me an e-mail with "Contributor" in the subject line. While imagery analysis will always play a big part of I&A, other features are certainly welcome as well.

2. I'm starting to prepare a general outline of topics for 2012 to begin getting things organized. To that end, feel free to reply here with a comment if there is a subject area or specific topic that you want to see covered. As the list grows I'll add them at the bottom of this post.

3. The large-size image format received an upgrade in the December issue. I'll be toying with a few more templates over the next few weeks, and will post some examples here to see which one you believe works out the best overall.

Potential Topics For 2012
Air Defense - The DPRK
Air Defense - Japan
Facility Analysis - The RoK's ADD complexes
Facility Analysis - individual 2nd Artillery Corps garrison complexes
Software Review - Falcon View
Strategic Warfare - European SSBN Facilities
Tech Notes - The S-500

I&A Volume 1 (2011)

Below you will find a link allowing you to download all eleven issues of I&A from 2011, containing over 400 pages of analysis in total. At the end of each year, my plan is to make the previous volume available in this fashion to allow anyone unfamiliar with I&A to take a look and potentially subscribe. Recent subscribers can now enjoy access to the back issues as well. They have all been formatted in a manner allowing them to be employed as source material for research. The issues are contained within a standard Windows .zip file, hosted at Mediafire.

Click here to download Volume 1

Here are the major contents of each issue, in chronological order. Articles authored by contributors are noted with the author's name following the title. All issues also feature a Links article looking at various relevant websites, a complete list of references for each article, and the What Is It? analysis exercise on the back cover.

Download! Print! Read! Distribute! And if you haven't already, subscribe. It's free!

February 2011 (V1N1, 17 pgs)
Overview - Feature Overview
Overview - I&A: What Is It?
Tech Notes - The J-20's Real Impact
Current Events - The J-20 In Imagery
Air Defense - Nagorno-Karabakh
Historical Perspective - Analysis Over Time

March 2011 (V1N2, 33 pgs)
Current Events - Latakia Port Facility
Air Defense - China's Hybrid SAM Sites
Historical Perspective - OTH-SW Deployment in China
Strategic Warfare - Iranian SSM Facilities
Software - Facility Drawings in GIMP
Reading List - High-Tech Reading List

April 2011 (V1N3, 51 pgs)
Current Events - The Libyan Lesson
Air Defense - The S-300P/S-400
Air Defense - Contact Line (Masis Ingilizian)
Strategic Warfare - War of the Weird
Historical Perspective - SAM Modernization in China
Facility Analysis - The Price of Nuclear Rennaissance (Raj Kumar)
Reading List - Military Classics

May 2011 (V1N4, 23 pgs)
Current Events - Pakistan and Bin Laden
Air Defense - Armenian Air Defenses (Masis Ingilizian)
Strategic Warfare - Pakistani Nuclear Facilities (Raj Kumar)
Historical Perspective - SAM Site Analysis
Book Review - Ken Alibek's Biohazard

June 2011 (V1N5, 45 pgs)
Current Events - PRC NAVAIR Developments
Imagery Highlight - Algerian FLANKERs
Air Defense - China's Strategic SAM Network
Strategic Warfare - Soviet/Russian ABM Systems
Software Review - Google Earth
Reading List - Tools for the IMINT Analyst

July 2011 (V1N6, 26 pgs)
Current Events - Iranian Silos "Unveiled"
Imagery Highlight - Shenyang
Facility Analysis - Karachi Port Facility (Daniel Videre)
Tech Notes - China's New AAM
Air Defense - Azerbaijan (Masis Ingilizian)
Strategic Warfare - Soviet/Russian BMEW
Tech Notes - IADS Classification

August 2011 (V1N7, 26 pgs)
Current Events - Azeri Favorit Spotted
Imagery Highlight - Zhukovskiy
IC Analysis - ODNI's New Mission (Marv Gordner)
Facility Analysis - Tabriz Silo Complex
Air Defense - Taiwan
Historical Perspective - Warsaw Pact SAM Sites
Software Review - SpaceEye

September 2011 (V1N8, 20 pgs)
Current Events - Varyag Begins Sea Trials
Tech Notes - The RVV-BD
Air Defense - PLA Airborne Surveillance (Raj Kumar)
Strategic Warfare - Assessing China's Type 094 SSBN Force

October 2011 (V1N9, 79 pgs)
Air Defense - Russia
Strategic Warfare - Space Surveillance in Russia
Strategic Warfare - Russia
Historical Perspective - Former Soviet ICBMs
Facility Analysis - Ashuluk
Facility Overview - Zhukovskiy
Reading List - Russian Aviation

November 2011 (V1N10, 21 pgs)
Current Events - Umm Aitiqah AB (Christopher Biggers)
Facility Analysis - The Playing Field (Daniel Videre)
Imagery Highlight - Vietnam's Vostok-E
Tech notes - Iran's Nahang SSC (Christopher Biggers)
Facility Analysis - Denial and Deception at Bandar-e-Abbas (Christopher Biggers)
Conflict Analysis - Deepening Tides of War (Masis Ingilizian)

December 2011 (V1N11, 68 pgs)
Strategic Warfare - The PLA's 2nd Artillery Corps
Strategic Warfare - PLA Ballistic Missile Launch Sites
Strategic Warfare - The PLAN SSBN Force
Air Defense - PLA SAM Modernization

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November/December I&A, Future Plans

The November I&A has begun to filter out to subscribers. Expect to find it in your inbox today or tomorrow.

The December I&A will feature numerous topics related to the PLA, similar to what was seen in October for Russia. Topics being worked on so far incldue the following:

-The PLA's 2nd Artillery
-PLA Ballistic Missile Launch Sites
-The PLAN's SSBN Force
-Current Chinese SAM Developments
-Iranian Ghadir SSC Production

Once the December issue goes out to subscribers, I will make the 11 issues completed to date available for download here, along with the KML files distributed with each issue. I'll also post a list of the complete contents of each issue.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I&A November Update

With the tehnical problems involving the distribution of October's issue in the past, I'm already putting together the November issue. The November issue is going to be largely contributor-driven, thanks to a large number of submissions waiting in the wings for Red October to get out of the way!

Topics being prepared by contributors are as follows:

Current Events: Umm Aitiqah AB, Libya (the lack of airstrikes)
Facility Analysis: SLOCs in the South China Sea
Tech Notes: Iran's Nahang SSC
Conflict Analysis (a new area): Nagorno-Karabakh
Facility Analysis: Denial and Deception at Bandar-e-Abbas

I may or may not insert the obligatory air-defense related piece. Right now, the issue doesn't seem to need it, but if I get a good idea there may be one stuck in there by the time the issue is released.

At any rate, November is looking very good so far! I'm very pleased with the work the contributors are doing to date, and I hope to see more from them in the future.

Oh, and sometime later this week, I'll update the SAM Site Overview file again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October's I&A

...has finally begun distribution. I ran into a few delays related to underestimating how long it would take to create the graphics, and real-life things to deal with (namely, the things I actually get paid for!).

November's I&A is shaping up nicely, with a host of contributor pieces and a few other interesting features. The good news is that lots of contributor features means that I can get started early on the centerpiece of December's I&A, a look at the PLA's 2nd Artillery.

EDIT: Yes, I know the link is broken. This is a problem with Google Documents, and apparently a common one following their "upgrade". However, I have defeated Google and figured out how to fix this. Everyone who got the link today will get the corrected version tomorrow, with the remaining subscribers getting the link on Sunday. Now, do I add "computer programmer" to my resume, or do I call it something else?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September's I&A

September's I&A has begun to go out to subscribers. If you did not get it in today's mailing, you will get it in tomorrow's. Remember to check your spam folder if you don't see it right away!

And what's this? I actually got one out on the 15th? Everyone head to your respective basements, as the end of the world is surely upon us!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I&A September Update, Other Notes

I&A's September issue has seen a few content changes to accomodate some things I've had going on around here, and is still on schedule to go out by the end of this week.

Here are the current topics being finalized:

-Current Events: The ex-Varyag goes to sea (and the implications thereof)
-Air Defense: China's Airborne Surveillance Platforms (a contributor piece, you'll get a charge out of this one!)
-Tech Notes: The RVV-BD (Russia's new BVR AAM, complete with fun graphics)
-Historical Perspective: China's Type 094 Force (assessing the force strength)

The October issue is still going to be Russian-centric. It will feature an air defense overview (including space surveillance and the fighter force), a nuclear forces overview (including bombers and SSBNs), facility analyses of Sary Shagan and Zhukovskiy (moved from September), and a historical look at former ICBM sites. The first two articles are already in progress, and will not be small!

In other news, expect a SAM Site Overview update to be posted later this week. Over 80 new sites have been incorporated, making this the largest update of the year by far.

Lastly, I am getting repeat requests for I&A subscriptions. If you think you've already subscribed, make sure you are checking your spam folder when I announce that the issue has gone out. Your e-mail provider might think I&A is spam since it is a mass e-mailing. Rest assured I add everyone who subscribes, so the problem shouldn't (in theory) be at my end.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I&A August Update, Notes

I&A's August issue just began distribution. If you didn't get it today, you'll get it tomorrow. Topics include Taiwan's SAM network, an analysis of the Tabriz S Silo Complex, and a new contributor piece by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Marv Gordner on intelligence integration.

A few other relevant notes:

1. Please stop asking for back issues when you subscribe! I don't have the time to process every single request, and you'll soon discover that when you get each month's subscription info, you get links to all of the back issues as well.

2. That being said, if you have a legitimate request for information, such as for doctoral or professional work, send me a separate e-mail outlining your request and I'll be happy to assist. I'm just trying to avoid a hundred people all asking for the back issues each month, when you're going to get them all anyway!

3. September topics: I haven't sorted out most of the content areas yet, but there will be a facility analysis of Zhukovskiy, and a software review piece on FalconView.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I&A: Subscribing & Contents So Far

It seems that the subscription info for I&A manages to be one of the most-requested items around here, so here it is again for those interested:

-Send an email to with Subscribe PDF in the subject line.

That's it!

Every month you get a link to download the current PDF file through Google Documents, with additional links to download all of the previous issues for those who weren't among the initial group of subscribers.

Here's an overview of the major features published in the last six months, broken down by content area:

Air Defense
-China's Hybrid SAM Sites
-China's Strategic SAM Network
-Contact Line: Armenia/Azerbaijan
-Nagorno Karabakh
-The S-300P/S-400

Current Events
-Iranian Silos "Unveiled"
-The J-20 in Imagery
-Latakia Port Facility
-The Libyan Lesson
-Pakistan and Bin Laden
-PRC NAVAIR Developments

Facility Analysis
-Karachi Port Facility

Historical Perspective
-Analysis Over Time
-OTH-SW Deployment in China
-SAM Modernization in China
-SAM Site Analysis

-Facility Drawings in GIMP
-Google Earth

Strategic Warfare
-Iranian SSM Facilities
-Pakistani Nuclear Facilities
-Soviet/Russian ABM Systems
-Soviet/Russian BMEW
-War of the Weird

Tech Notes
-China's New AAM
-IADS Classification
-The J-20's Real Impact

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I&A's Six Month Review

It occurs to me that I&A has now existed as a PDF version for about six months! With that in mind, I set my brain to work and I came to a few decisions about some of the PDF topics earlier today.

First off, the August air defense feature will cover Taiwan's SAM network. This will be an updated and expanded version of what I did here a while back. I've got a few updates and new site locations, and will rehash the old information to expand it and clarify a few things.

Additionally, future nationwide air defense topics may or may not showcase an individual nation. There are some clusters of nations where SAM sites are few and far between, predominantly in Africa. I plan to do a lot of them at once in a large feature. Or, they may all technically be listed separately, but I'll do a bunch at once for a given issue.

I'm still looking for additional content areas. Air Defense, Strategic Warfare, Facility Analysis...all are great focus areas, but I can always use more. That'll enable me to broaden the scope of each issue. So, if you have any ideas, let me know. Or better yet, write one and send it in!

This brings me to my next point: contributors. I'm extremely grateful for the effort put forth by I&A's current contributors, and hope they will continue to sumbit articles in the future. That being said, I'm certainly open to incorporating new authors into the system. Articles don't even need to have an imagery theme; the current issue has an article describing the PLAAF's new BVR AAM, for example. As long as it relates to either a military theme, or an application of imagery technology or analysis, it's more than welcome. You can even take a stab at the Links or Reading List content areas if you wish. So, if you have any ideas, contact me and we'll get talking.

As it stands now, the PDF has survived the first six months, and speaking for myself I'm definitely pleased with the results. My only two major gripes at this juncture are that 1) I could really use a bit more graphic design brainpower to, I don't know, give it a decent cover (and maybe an official I&A logo?), and 2) I need to try and make things more consistent in terms of length. Adding more features or additional topics in a given content area like Facility Analysis will help that, and I'm working on it. I'm also working on number 1, but don't hold your breath on seeing results anytime soon. Frankly you guys are lucky I can generate profile views of weapon systems, actual serious graphic design is another beast altogether!

That about sums everything up. Hopefully you're as pleased with everything as I am to this point. And if you aren't, drop me a line. As I mention in each issue, comments are always welcome and encouraged!

Oh, you may have noticed that the SAM Site Overview actually got updated yesterday...don't worry, it's still an active project and will always remain so. It's just that fewer and fewer new sites are being found, making it less important to update it every month when only, say, ten new EW sites have been ID'ed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July/August PDF updates

The July I&A PDF is being finalized right now and will begin distribution tomorrow afternoon. I'm basically working through the issue adding placemarks to the supplementary KMZ file right now.

August topics in the works so far are as follows:

-Facility Analysis: the Tabriz silo complex (far more detailed than what was presented in March)
-Software Review: SpaceEye
-Historical Perspective: Former Warsaw Pact nation SAM Sites
-Air Defense: Taiwan, maybe? The DPRK? Any other ideas?

More will be added as the process continues, but apart from the Tabriz piece and maybe the AD piece don't expect a gigantic amount of content. The idea is to actually get back on the "release these around the 15th of the month" schedule.

I'm also planning ahead for October, which I've decided will be a Russian-themed issue. That one will have a Facility Analysis of Sary Shagan, the Russian SAM Network, and the RVSN all in one gigantoid issue. I will probably keep the Russian SAM Network in October, updating it each year, with a different significant Facility Analysis.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Iranian Silos Unveiled

So Iran is conducting another wargame, Great Prophet 6. No big deal, everybody does it. Apart from the military and political benefits, they present fun opportunities for politicians and military officials to make bold, asinine, and non-credible statements to the press. Plus, you often get nice videos showing things like missile firings.

Speaking of videos and Iranian exercises, here's a link to a Youtube video purportedly showing some of the Great Prophet 6 exercise footage:


Pay attention to what shows up at the 15 second mark: that'd be the inside of an apparent Iranian missile silo. Iran claims that the silos are automated, allowing remote firing of the weapons.

For amusement, let's quote Lebanon's Daily Star:

"An officer in Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, which is in charge of the missile program, said Tehran has constructed “numerous” underground missile silos which satellites can’t detect."

Except, you know, for the ones near Tabriz.

Another Lebanese source, Al-Manar, claims that the silos were used on the 27th.

What does all of this mean? First off, it means that Iranian silo-based missiles should certainly be considered an operational element in the ballistic missile force. Additionally, it raises a few questions about Iranian silo-building capabilities. Why did it take this long for the capability to be revealed? Were there issues with the communication and control system? Will this prevent a more widespread deployment of silo-based weapons? Or was Iran merely taking its time to work everything out, prior to initiating a large-scale silo-based deployment system?

Whatever the answers, perhaps Iranian silo-based deployment concepts, including coffin-launched systems elsewhere in the nation, will now get more attention. Look for more on this to appear here in the future.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June I&A PDF Update (again...)


The June PDF is now being distributed. Depending on where you are on the list, you'll get it today or tomorrow. The delay was caused by an error in the PDF conversion process, requiring me to go back and recreate some of the graphics.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I&A June Update, July topics

I&A's June issue is being finalized today and tomorrow and should begin to be distributed on Saturday.

July topics are shaping up as follows:
Air Defense: Azerbaijan
Facility Analysis: The PN port in Karachi
Tech Notes: A new IADS classification methodology

More content will be incorporated into the July issue as soon as I decide what to include.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New I&A Features?

I&A subscribers: the April issue of I&A was pretty big. The May issue, not so much. The June issue is going to be bigger than the April issue, potentially by a significant margin, thanks to both the Soviet/Russian ABM feature and the Chinese Strategic SAM Network feature.

I'd be interested to hear any ideas for new feature types. Not specific topics (although those are also always welcome), but different feature types like Historical Perspective or Current Events.

My goal is to bring in a few new feature types to help flesh things out a bit and keep the issues "fuller". I don't want to type just for the sake of meeting a pagecount, or half-ass something to have something published. And yeah, some topics are just by nature going to be huge, like the two mentioned above, or the S-300P/S-400 feature from April. But some new features would be a nice set of additions to keep things a bit more interesting and help offset the times when the content just isn't going to be that huge.

One idea I will be debuting this month is basically similar to the old Image of the Week. My tentative title is Imagery Highlight. The idea is to focus on one specific image (maybe two if a comparison is in order), with a small bit of text describing the significance of what you see.

Any other ideas?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I&A May Update and June Topics

I&A's May PDF is being finalized and will begin to be distributed on Wednesday. The text is complete, right now I'm annotating and inserting imagery. There's been one change: the Soviet/Russian ABM piece has been pushed back to the June issue. I was basically faced with the choices of rushing it and not really doing anything substantial, or pushing it back to allow it to be fully developed. Fortunately one of I&A's contributors submitted an article on Armenian air defenses to replace the ABM piece, so the overall content of the May issue will not suffer.

The June issue is shaping up nicely (and will be released on time and on target around the 15th of June) and should feature the following topics:

Current Events: Chinese Naval Air Power developments
Air Defense: China's Strategic SAM Network
Strategic Warfare: Soviet/Russian ABM Systems
Historical Perspective: undecided for now
Software Review: Google Earth
Reading List: Resources for the IMINT Analyst
And the usual extra bits.

Some of you might ask why I'm doing a software review of Google Earth, a program that should at this point be well known to everyone. The reason for doing Google Earth first is to establish a baseline for comparison. In the future I'll start reviewing and examining some other programs and tools, and being able to compare them to Google Earth will make their usefulness and unique features far more apparent. Plus, evaluating a well-known program first will allow me to focus more on the format and content of the Software Analysis piece, making future entries that much easier to generate.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I&A May 2011

The May I&A PDF may be a week late due to the fact that it's the end of the semester here. I've been giving exams and am now due to work on submitting final grades and whatnot. Add to that the fact that I've had exams of my own, and it's been a bit busy! That being said, I'll do my best to get everything done on time, and this won't affect the release of the June PDF.

Here are the current topics for the May PDF:

-Current Events: seriously, do you need to ask?
-Air Defense: Russian ABM systems (prepare for this one to be large, it's covering current and historical systems, deployment, performance, etc)
-Strategic Warfare: Pakistani Nuclear Facilities (contributor feature)
-Historical Analysis: SAM Site Analysis
-Book Review: Biohazard
-May 2011 Links, Source List, and What Is It?
-May 2011 PDF

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I&A April 2011

The April PDF is in the process of being distributed. I have now found a whole new problem: GMail limits the number of messages I can send in a 24 hour period. So, about half of the subscribers got it today, and about half of you will have to wait until tomorrow. Next month I will try and figure out how to do this using YET ANOTHER method, to get around GMail's rule. Someone suggested Google Groups as an option, that may work but may be a bit irritating to have to deal with multiple Google whatsits just to send out a web link. If you've got any ideas, let me know. I can't simply host the PDF file here or release it for open download through Google Docs as it'd evaporate my bandwidth limit in about 0.2 seconds.

Anyway, here's what the April issue ended up containing:

-Current Events: The Libyan Lesson
-Air Defense: The S-300P/S-400
-Air Defense: Contact Line (Contributor Feature)
-Strategic Warfare: War of the Weird
-Historical Analysis: SAM Modernization in China
-Facility Analysis: Fukushima (Contributor Feature)
-Reading List: Military Classics
-April 2011 Links, Source List, and What Is It?
-April 2011 KML file

All for now. Back to trying to figure out GMail.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Falcon Missile

A while ago I mentioned that I was working on a history of the Hughes Falcon missile family. Well, after about a decade or so of (gradual) research and writing, I now have a finished product.

Anyone interested in this facet of Cold War history can download the PDF file here: click

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April I&A PDF Update

Just a brief update regarding the April I&A PDF. The S-300P feature looks to be longer than the March issue all by itself! As for Current Events, I decided to actually look at Libya, but from a different perspective. The Current Events feature will focus on the need for nations like Syria and Iran to upgrade their IADS after witnessing how easily the UN forces took down Libya's network.

Furthermore, I&A will feature its first two contributor-authored pieces in April. These will consist of a current look at Nagorno-Karabakh in light of some recent political developments, and an analysis ofthe damage to the Fukushima reactor complex in Japan. Hopefully these will be the first of many contributor-authored pieces!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Media amusement

According to US Army (R) Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, who was just spotted on FOXNews while flipping through the channels on the TV, TLAM is a term meant to describe "putting iron on target". Seriously? He just described TLAMs and Tomahawks being used "to strike 20 targets" in Libya. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, TLAM is Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. Translation: it's a Tomahawk used to target ground targets, as opposed to the UGM-109B TASM, or Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile. It's not a big deal, but I did find it funny. Maybe next time it'd be a good idea to ask someone more likely to have a clue what they're talking about to deal with current operations. What a terrorism expert can offer about direct action between nation states is beyond me, and in this case it was very little. The best part is that not five minutes later a reporter accurately referred to TLAM Tomahawks!

So, the lesson for today is to take whatever you hear from an "expert" with a grain of salt. I'm not removing myself from that category either; if you found me describing something outside my own fields of study, I'd expect to be treated the same way.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Other Updates

Here's a few other relevant updates:

1. For the time being, Libyan SAM systems will remain in the SAM Site Overview file. Yes, most of them have probably been obliterated by now. But, my policy has always been to base the file on available overhead imagery, not speculation. As newer post-strike imagery filters into Google Earth, Terra Server, and other online sources, I'll adjust the sites in the file accordingly. Given Google's quick release of GeoEye imagery relating to the crisis in Japan, that may happen sooner rather than later.

2. Here are the forthcoming topics for the April issue of the I&A PDF:

Current Events: undecided at this point. Will not deal with Libya as the issue has been dealt with extensively here, and frankly it won't be truly current by the mid-April release date anymore.
Air Defense: The S-300P/S-400 This is an expanded, updated version of this feature.
Historical Perspective: SAM Modernization in China A chronological look at the modernization of China's SAM network as newer systems became available through import or native development.
Strategic Warfare: War of the Weird Presenting a look at two thoroughly different development paths intended to field a survivable cruise missile during the latter stages of the Cold War. This will compare and contrast the US SENIOR PROM and the USSR's Meteorit.
Reading List: Military Classics Self-explanatory, really. I'll be providing an overview of selected military classics such as Clausewitz's On War, Guderian's Achtung! Panzer, and others.

The obligatory Links, Sources, and What Is It? features will also appear. If you wish to subscribe:

-Send an e-mail to imintandanalysis AT
-Enter Subscribe PDF in the subject line
-Non-US readers may subscribe, but bear in mind that the product will be produced in the English language.

3. What's missing from the last time I posted subsription info? US .gov and .mil e-mail addresses may now subscribe to the service. In order to do this, enter Subscribe PDF MIL in the subject line of your e-mail. I'm going to try this out by keeping a separate mailing list. One of the reasons these addresses were initially "banned" was because I used to have one! Often e-mail links were deleted and certain websites could not be acessed, potentially preventing a subscriber from a) receiving the download link or b) accessing the download site. By keeping them separate, I can try this out and then manage a separate distribution system should it be required (currently Google Documents is used, and I have no clue if a .gov or .mil user would be able to access the site). Plus, by doing this now, the major influx of initial subscriber e-mails has already been processed, saving me the trouble of having to sift through hundreds of e-mails.

Lastly, welcome to all of the new readers here. As various media outlets and websites linked to the Libyan analysis pieces, site traffic has exploded over the last four days, resulting in a month's worth of traffic since Friday. Even more amusing is the #1 search result for Libyan NFZ in Google!

Libyan Update

Following the initial cruise missile strikes on 19 March, the Pentagon released a document illustrating the general areas where targets were attacked. As expected for an attack on Libyan IADS architecture, the strike locations corresponded to regions with deployed EW assets and S-75, S-125, and S-200 missile batteries.

The graphic below illustrates the post-strike state of the Libyan IADS, presuming that all SAM systems were disabled in regions targeted by cruise missile strikes.
While the Qaddafi regime is no longer assessed to control operational strategic SAM batteries in the NFZ region, numerous EW facilities still remain. These facilities allow the regime to maintain a degree of situational awareness, provided they are not under constant electronic attack. Furthermore, no effort was made to strike S-75 or S-125 batteries deep inland. Sabha is still defended by an S-75 and S-125 battery, and contains a garrison facility which could be used to reconstitute SAM units damaged or destroyed in the March 19th attacks.

If the coalition is unwilling to strike targets outside the established NFZ, the Qaddafi regime may be able to transport SAM components to its periphery. This would theoretically enable targets operating in the southern portions of the NFZ to be engaged, creating an interesting scenario where the coalition would have to either restrict flight in sections of the NFZ or attack targets outside of the NFZ to maintain its integrity. Such a course of action could potentially see increased protest from nations such as China and India, bringing into question the continued value and effectiveness of the NFZ as a whole. Also, Western nations attacking targets outside of the NFZ could result in a significant loss of support from the Arab League.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the March 19th decapitation strikes on Qaddafi's IADS, it is that nations relying on Soviet-era SAM systems no longer pose a significant threat to a modern, well-equipped military arm. While current-generation Russian-made SAM systems rank among the most sophisticated and capable in the world, the era in which nations could rely on elderly Soviet-era systems such as the S-75 or S-200 to provide a credible degree of air defense capability has decisively ended. Claims by the Pentagon that Libya possessed a high-threat IADS network were technologically unfounded, in much the same way that the same claims made about iraq in 1991 were also proven to be extreme exaggerations.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Libya Update; Graphing

As we are all aware by now, UN-backed military action is being taken against Libya. As predicted earlier, the opening salvo consisted primarily of cruise missile strikes against the air defense network, opening the door for allied aircraft to operate over Libya in a lower threat environment.

In an amusing development, here's CNN's John King saying pretty much the exact same thing I did once he gets around to talking about the air defenses: VIDEO Readers have already noted that the range rings and color schemes used to identify Libyan SAM sites are the same ones I used in the SAM Site Overview! It appears that my SAM Site Overview file is now a CNN media source, they even used the native system designators that I do rather than the more common Westernised names usually found in the Western press and media when dealing with Soviet-era systems. My attempts to control the world are clearly moving ahead as planned. Seriously, if anyone else notices something like this, let me know. I do track stuff like this, in part to make my resume more amusing and in part because it adds credibility when I am asked to provide organizations with information.

In an unrelated note, who knows of a good graphing program? I want to make a graph showing SAM system engagement envelopes similar to the HQ-2 graph done here that I used a while back:
What I want to do (ignoring the text bits) is show the engagement zone as an area graph, but be able to overlay multiple zones on top of each other. Picture the blue part of the above HQ-2 zone overlaid on top of a different colored HQ-9 zone, for instance, showing the disparity in capabilities. Using a graphing or charting application will allow me to do this in much less time than having to draw the entire thing manually, which is what I did for the HQ-2 graph. Either MS Excel is not cooperating, or I have no clue what I'm doing. Either one is possible. So if you have an idea of a program that I can use to graph areas like that, with set minimum and mazimum values in the X (range) and Y (altitude) axes, let me know. Just don't bring up gnuplot; I tried that one and it made my programming-illiterate brain hurt.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libyan NFZ: The SAM Threat


On 17 March 2011 the UNSC voted to enforce a No-Fly Zone (NFZ) over Libya, in response to the conflict between Qaddafi's regime and separatist forces. The Libyan military operates numerous Soviet-era strategic SAM systems which represent the most likely threat to allied aircraft enforcing the NFZ. Libyan SAM systems include the S-75 (SA-2 GUIDELINE), S-125 (SA-3 GOA), and S-200 (SA-5 GAMMON). Numerous AAA, MANPADS', and tactical SAM systems are also operated, but represent a considerably reduced threat given their limited effectiveness above 20,000 feet.


The graphic presented below illustrates the pre-conflict state of Libyan strategic air defenses. Major military airfields, active EW radar sites, and operational strategic SAM coverage zones are marked. It should be noted that the graphics presented here depict identified dedicated EW facilities. Many SAM batteries possess their own organic EW elements; simply targeting the known EW facilities does not necessarily prevent the SAM force from receiving the target track data necessary to prosecute an engagement.
The majority of contested territory is along the northern coastline of Libya, shown in the graphic below. This is advantageous to any allied aircraft entering the theater of operations, as they do not have to travel deep into Libya to enforce the NFZ in support of separatist forces. Furthermore, ISR and support aircraft can be operated offshore under the protection of CAPs and naval air defense systems.
Separatist forces are concentrated along the eastern coastline of the nation from Benghazi to Tobruk and the Egyptian border. As the air defense forces in these regions are likely no longer under Qaddafi's control, the graphic below indicates the likely pro-Qaddafi SAM threat picture facing NFZ operations.
Numerous SAM garrisons and unoccupied, prepared strategic SAM sites present an opportunity for pro-Qaddafi forces to reinforce their positions prior to the start of NFZ operations. Reinforcing the strategic SAM network in this fashion will present an increased SAM threat to allied aircraft and offer increased overlapping coverage zones around key military installations. A potential reinforced pro-Qaddafi SAM network is illustrated in the graphic below.
The majority of the command and control facilities for the pro-Qaddafi regime, as well as the seat of power, are consolidated in and around the capital of Tripoli. The following two graphics depict the current operational SAM network around Tripoli, as well as a potentially reinforced network employing currently inactive positions.

The true nature of the SAM threat to NFZ operations will become apparent when operations commence. Should allied forces choose to enforce the NFZ over the entire region, it is likely that SEAD or DEAD operations will commence against the bulk of identified pro-Qaddafi SAM sites. However, should NFZ enforcement be limited initially to protecting separatist-controlled areas in the eastern portion of the nation, it is possible that few of the pro-Qaddafi SAM sites would be targeted as they would be unable to engage allied aircraft.

The exception to the latter scenario is the S-200. The S-200 enjoys a 250 km range against cooperative targets such as ISR and support aircraft. Given that allied aircraft will likely be based out of European territories or operate from USN CVNs, heavy use of inflight refueling should be expected. Eliminating pro-Qaddafi S-200 batteries would enable allied ISR and support aircraft to operate much closer to the Libyan coastline.

Should allied forces choose to enforce the NFZ over the entire nation and consequently engage active S-75 and S-125 SAM batteries, the capability of the pro-Qaddafi SAM network could be significantly degraded with a relatively small number of sorties. The Libyan SAM inventory is constrained by the reliance on Soviet-era systems. The S-75, S-125, and S-200 are limited by the fact that each engagement radar can only prosecute a single target. S-200 batteries are often bolstered by multiple 5N62 (SQUARE PAIR) engagement radars to allow the battery to engage multiple targets, but the single-target limitation significantly reduces the effectiveness of the network as a whole. Furthermore, over-reliance on aging technology places the network at significant risk for electronic warfare interference. The US military, for example, has faced the S-75 and S-125 over Iraq and the former Yugoslavia and is well-versed on countertactics and electronic attack procedures to mitigate the threat posed by such systems. While measures may have been taken to allow the S-75 and S-125 to remain viable in Libyan service, at this point they do not present significant risks to a modern military force. That is not to suggest that they present no risk whatsoever, but rather that they are no longer considered to be high-threat systems based on their age and known technical performance.

Aerial attacks against separatist positions appear to have been curtailed in favor of ground assault and artillery bombardment. In this light, the provision of the NFZ calling for protection of civillian under threat from pro-Qaddafi forces could allow operations over regime-controlled areas. A potential military campaign could begin with strikes against SAM positions and EW facilities, followed by strikes against pro-Qaddafi forces threatening or engaged with separatist forces, particularly those near Benghazi. Given the limited number of SAM sites located in territory held by the Qaddafi regime, it is likely that the capability of the strategic SAM network to prosecute targets could be significantly curtailed within 24 hours. Cruise missiles could be employed to strike identified SAM sites, forgoing the expense of a significant SEAD or DEAD operation and allowing combat aircraft to be tasked to protect separatist forces.


With the decision to enact a NFZ over Libya, the strategic SAM network represents the most significant threat to allied aircraft tasked with its enforcement. However, due to the single-target engagement capability of Libyan S-75 and S-125 batteries, the network is far less capable than it appears at first glance. Libya negotiated for the purchase of S-300PMU-2 (SA-20B GARGOYLE) advanced SAM systems from Russia in 2010 but at this date no sale has been completed and no deliveries have been reported. Had Libya moved to upgrade its air defense network in recent years, the issue of allied aircraft enforcing a NFZ could have become a far more complicated task. Once again, a nation relying on an aged air defense network will potentially be at risk in large part because it failed to upgrade its capability. As an interesting footnote, it will be important to monitor Iran following the cessation of action against Qaddafi's regime. Perhaps the destruction of yet another aging air defense network will be the final catalyst pushing Iran to modernize it's own defenses.


Positional information derived from Google Earth. Range data used to create engagement zones sourced from Jane's Land-Based Air Defence. Graphics created using GIMP 2.0.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Libyan No-Fly Zone

Apparently, I seem to have once again been useful. Back in 2010, I wrote about Libya's SAM Network. Over the past week or so media outlets all over the world have picked it up as a source regarding the then-potential UN No-FLy Zone. One reader even noticed it mentioned live on the air on Al Jazeera. In light of the fact that there aren't any other significant references out there yet, I'm working on something which will be posted here later Friday (much later, it's almost 2AM right now...expecting to see something in two hours will result in disappointment) dealing with the potential impact of Libya's SAM systems on a NFZ.

This is taking a little bit longer as I am generating all of my own amusing images for this one from scratch. As a preview, here's an example:
Check back later on today (maybe late tonight/early Saturday, I teach Friday evenings) to see what I can come up with.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Type 094 in PLAN NSF

A recent Google Earth imagery update indicates that the Chinese Type 094 SSBN may have reached operational service with the North Sea Fleet of the PLAN. The imagery, captured in August of 2010, decpicts a Type 094 SSBN dockside at Jianggezhuang Submarine Base near Qingdao. Previously, the sole operational Type 094 hull was reportedly based at a submarine facility on Hainan Island with the PLAN's South Sea Fleet.

At least three Type 094 hulls have been constructed, with one based at Hainan and two others remaining pierside at Huludao in imagery dated March of 2010. A Type 094 SSBN has been sighted in imagery at Xiaopingdao SLBM test facility as recently as April of 2009, likely in conjunction with JL-2 SLBM trials.

The presence of a Type 094 hull at Jianggezhuang rather than Xiaopingdao indicates that the hull is operational with the North Sea Fleet. The bulk of China's nuclear submarine force, including the sole Type 092 SSBN, resides at Jianggezhuang. The Type 092 was recently noted in imagery to be undergoing refit or repair using the installation's drydock, occupying the drydock between 2005 and 2007.


-Imagery courtesy of Google Earth

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I&A March 2011

The March 2011 issue of the I&A PDF has now been released to subscribers. Following on the request of numerous people joining the mailing list following the release of the first issue, both issues are available for download. The previous issues will always be available for download each month, until the new calendar year when Volume 2 begins. So, if you sign up late, you won't ever have to worry about missing anything! Well, until the end of the year. At that point I will compile the entire year's worth of issues into a separate volume and release it to the global community rather than the subscribers.

Here are the features found in the March issue:

-Current Events: The Latakia Port Facility
-Air Defense: China's Hybrid SAM Sites
-Historical Perspective: OTH-SW Deployment in China
-Strategic Warfare: Iranian SSM Facilities
-Software: Facility Drawings in GIMP
-Reading List: High-Tech Warfare
-March 2011 Links, Source List, and What Is It?

Also, a supplementary KML file is being sent with the download link to allow readers to view the locations discussed in the March issue. This will be a standard feature from now on.

Lastly, yes, I am still going to update the SAM Site Overview file. Preparing the Chinese Hybrid SAM Sites article actually led me to discover some errors that needed to be corrected, apart from the usual adding of new sites. I've got the file compiled, it will be uploaded tomorrow morning here, along with the update information. And now that I have the whole PDF thing sorted out, you'll start to see some more content here as well. My intent was never to get rid of this site entirely, just to change things up a bit!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I&A PDF Launched

The first issue of the new I&A PDF monthly publication is in the process of being distributed to subscribers! Once I finish entering the latest batch of subscribers to the mailing list, everything will be finished and cleared for launch.

All the topics mentioned yesterday made it into the issue. Some are a bit longer, some are a bit shorter, but expect the content to expand in the coming months now that I've figured out a preliminary layout and method of presentation. This first example was all about getting the kinks out of the system and allowing a bit of time for the mailing list to populate, so it should be vastly improved with #2!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Brief Update

Just a quick update. I've been busy preparing the first PDF edition for release, and working on a few other info requests. The contents of the first PDF edition, to be distributed within the next few days, are as follows:

-Feature Overview
-I&A, What Is It?
-Tech Notes: The J-20's Real Impact
-Current Events: The J-20 In Imagery
-Air Defense: Nagorno-Karabakh
-Historical Perspective: Analysis Over Time
-February 2011 Links
-February 2011 Sources
-February 2011 What Is It?

Beyond that, I do have an updated SAM Site Overview file to upload here as soon as the initial PDF issue has been distributed. One interesting new location is an S-300V deployment near Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

All for now!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

IMINT & Analysis via PDF

IMINT & Analysis is moving to a monthly, PDF-based system. The new format will entail the monthly distribution of a PDF publication featuring numerous articles of interest. Topics covered will include:

-Latest analysis of military systems development and deployment
-Imagery-based analysis of:
--Worldwide SAM Network overviews
--Strategic Warfare Systems
--Military Facilities
--Various other topics warranting an imagery-based analysis
-Historical analysis of military systems deployment and/or development
-Updates to features previously posted online
-Links to pertinent or interesting source material online

The PDF format will enable the use of far more editing and formatting options than the limited system used online, and allow for the inclusion of more extensive analytical pieces with greater ease.

The current goal is for the premiere issue to be published in mid-February 2011, containing a representative sampling of topics leading to the first full issue's dissemination in the first week of March of 2011. Corresponding issues will be produced on a monthly basis, with mailings taking place during the first week of each month.

Individuals or organizations interested in subscribing to the IMINT & Analysis PDF format should do the following:

-Send an e-mail to imintandanalysis AT
-Enter Subscribe PDF in the subject line
-At this time, US .gov and .mil addresses will be denied subscription to the service. Queries can be directed to the e-mail address above, but do not enter "Subscribe PDF" in the subject line to ensure a timely reply.
-Non-US readers may subscribe, but bear in mind that the product will be produced in the English language.

Individuals wishing to serve as monthly, annual, or recurring contributors are asked to send an e-mail to the address provided above with "Contributor" in the subject line to open discussions regarding the type and frequency of content. Content is not required to be in the form of imagery-based analysis provided it serves the interest of the readers, relating to a relevant military analysis issue.

E-mail addresses will not be released to any outside party, and products will be mailed to subscribers using a blind copy to preserve privacy.

Some Changes Being Made

Some of you might have figured out that there hasn't been an update since last year! Well, apart from either getting stuck in weather or having to get organized to start teaching and going back to class, I've been working out a few changes around here.

First off, no SAM Site Update yet, because there's apparently been no Google Earth imagery update yet this year. Nowhere new to go snooping around, you know how it is.

Second, I'm working on moving from web publishing to PDF publishing via a subscription system. No, it won't cost anything, I know what you were thinking there. This is going to basically entail a monthly publication via PDF format, distributed using a mailing list. More to follow on this later, but basically you'll still get the standard monthly content, just in an easier to read format. The thin-style Blogger format is getting old, and I'm getting more adept with the PDF thing. This will work just like the SAM Site Overview mailing list worked a while ago when I was having download issues. Certain things will still be published here, certain things will show up in the monthly PDF file. As a result you'll notice that a lot of things are being pulled from this site to undergo updating and PDF formatting. I think the end result will be a far more polished product, one that you can more easily retain for future reference.

Third and final, I'll be uploading a text-based piece analyzing the J-20 from a rather different perspective, either today or tomorrow, whenever I get it finalized. See, I haven't just been sitting here watching you all visit the site and wondering where the updates are! I'll also upload details for the mailing list/subscription thing shortly so I can start building the address list, in anticipation of getting something out for February.

Questions or comments, post 'em in the Comments section below.