rhw
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Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:59 pm

Hello everyone,

I recently came across a video of two russian base jumpers using a steel cable spanned between two mountains as their 'launch platform'.
The region is South Caucasus, 'Nagorno-Karabakh' within the lesser caucasus mountain range.

The area is part of an ongoing conflict betweet Armenia and Azerbaijan. ( Further Details; 'Nagorno-Karabakh conflict / war' ).
Various articles exist on the jump itself however none i've read so far explain the cable.

One video claims that said cable is basically an Anti Aircraft System installed 'by local armenians to stop enemy jets'.

I presume the intention is to directly crash enemy aircraft or force them to fly higher / leave radar shadow ?
I've found little to no information on this subject so far.

Does anyone here know more about this?
I am hoping that there might be users with aviation/military background who might explain this?


Article:
https://www.elitereaders.com/man-almost ... s-zipline/

Video: ( Has been featured on many platforms / channels )
https://vimeo.com/137568559


Hoping for some thoughts,
Regards, rhw.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:25 pm

that would be an expensive and stupid way to down a/c, but certainly possible. Better and cheaper to use a manpad.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
VSMUT
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:05 pm

Dutchy wrote:
that would be an expensive and stupid way to down a/c, but certainly possible. Better and cheaper to use a manpad.


It doesn't look that stupid actually. There is what looks like 2 cables strung across the valley at different heights, with additional cables hanging down from them. It would make a real mess of a Mi-24 or Su-25 that attempts to skirt through the valley. It also has a deterring effect too. Once it becomes known that it exists, no pilot would be stupid enough to avoid air defences by flying through a valley.
 
rhw
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:13 pm

I just never heard about a thing like this before.

Research brought up several articles on accidents with cables mostly involving the 'usual' things; power lines, lift cables ( e.g. in the alps ) etc.

Haven't found one thing about using them as defense or as VSMUT put it a 'deterrent'.
 
cumulushumilis
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:34 pm

The only incident I have heard about is the Cavalese cable car disaster when a US Marines EA-6B Prowler severed a cable. Plane kept on flying.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalese_cable_car_disaster_(1998)
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:36 pm

At least two Dutch AH-64D's have severed power lines, they landed but didn't really crash. Q-01 was severely damaged but was repaired and Q-29 also had a controlled landing. Both caused a power outage though.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
rhw
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:18 pm

cumulushumilis wrote:
The only incident I have heard about is the Cavalese cable car disaster when a US Marines EA-6B Prowler severed a cable. Plane kept on flying.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalese_cable_car_disaster_(1998)


Exactly, this is also among the first and seemingly one of the worst aircraft cable accidents i came across when searching for cable related incidents. Still - not connected to intentional destruction of aircraft.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:32 pm

The closest idea I can think of is the Barrage Ballon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrage_balloon

But that was more to defend against early WWII era fighters. Precision stand off weapons would essentially ignore these short of a golden BB where they actually hit the thing. And there are other examples above of cases where aircraft have hit cables. You'd have to get the cable to hit in a pretty precise spot around the fusalage to stand a reliable chance of downing an aircraft. And that's assuming the break happens away from the impact point. Otherwise the aircraft will get a nasty dent and keep going.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:50 pm

Switzerland has serious trouble with all these cables mountain farmers use to transport hay or wood. In unpopulated areas, every man-made object higher than 25 meters must be declared to the FOCA, the federal office of commercial aviation. The trouble is that we have thousands of these cables which are dangerous to helicopters - but many of them are legal as they don't exceed the 25 meters.

So the Swiss Air Ambulance, the Rega, started their own project to catalogue all these objects, and the Air Force helps to remove them (if they're not needed anymore).

David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
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Balerit
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:07 pm

The SAAF has just had an Oryx (modernized Puma) hit some power lines that were recently installed near one of their routes which hadn't been reported by the company installing them. Wires are damn hard to spot unless you know that they are there.

Image

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50162
Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (retired).
 
Ozair
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:17 pm

Balerit wrote:
The SAAF has just had an Oryx (modernized Puma) hit some power lines that were recently installed near one of their routes which hadn't been reported by the company installing them. Wires are damn hard to spot unless you know that they are there.

That is why some helicopters including US military are equipped with a wire strike protection system.

The wire strike protection system (WSPS) (Developed for the OH-58 / Bell 206 in 1979) is a system of components designed to mitigate the risk of wire strikes while flying helicopters at nap-of-the-earth altitudes, as well as takeoffs and landings.

The system is mounted around the front of many U.S Marine Corps, U.S Navy, U.S Air Force, U.S Army,[1] and some civilian helicopters. The larger CH-46 and CH-47 tandem rotor helicopters have no WSPS installed.

The WSPS appears as two guidance swords at the upper and lower front of the cabin protruding forward at 45° above and below the horizontal. In each of the inner corners to the cabin a large fixed, pair of scissors made of hardened steel is mounted whose opening angle is so small that a speedy or forced incoming steel cable is cut through.

These swords are often mistaken for radio antennas. The entire system may include upper and lower cutter assemblies, a non-electrically conductive abrasive strip wire scoring device along the center of the divided windscreen and windshield wiper protector frames to keep wires from hanging up on wiper motor shafts.[2] The WSPS is designed to channel a wire or cable into the cable cutter to score and weaken it as it travels into the cutter assembly and "cut" a wire before it can entangle the rotor system. The U.S. Army Safety Center at Fort Rucker, AL, claims that in a single wire strike 90% survivability is achieved by using WSPS. The more wires encountered at a given time the less likely WSPS will help the aircraft survive the encounter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wire_stri ... ion_system

Image

Image

I'd guess that the cables in South Caucasus are not your average power or communication cables though and are probably thicker, stronger and better anchored if the intent is to damage aircraft.
 
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Balerit
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:40 am

Those cutters might be ok for thin gauge telephone cables but I'm sure flying into a thick steel cable will bring anything down and has done so often. The SAAF Oryx was carrying a spare engine and it might have been slung under the chopper.
Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (retired).
 
Ozair
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:26 am

Balerit wrote:
Those cutters might be ok for thin gauge telephone cables but I'm sure flying into a thick steel cable will bring anything down and has done so often.

Agree. I've heard varied reports in the effectiveness and the angle, speed and mass as well as thickness of the cable make a difference. A great study on the effectiveness of the WSPS was conducted in 2008 and can be found here, http://www.tc.faa.gov/its/worldpac/techrpt/ar0825.pdf

Various incidents show some helicopters being successful at cutting steel cables while others struggled with sometime terrible results. While the WSPS isn't perfect and not a solution in all cases it is better than nothing.


Balerit wrote:
The SAAF Oryx was carrying a spare engine and it might have been slung under the chopper.

Angle, speed, mass and thickness again.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:04 pm

Ozair wrote:
it is better than nothing.


Exactly. Air ambulance crew I have spoken with said they're not sure if they help. But better have something than nothing...

But there are already trials with laser detection of such cables. A research paper said that in 1991, an experimental detector was able to spot a one-inch cable up to 200 meters away.


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
meecrob
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:34 am

flyingturtle wrote:

A research paper said that in 1991, an experimental detector was able to spot a one-inch cable up to 200 meters away.


200 metres away while flying 100+knots isn't exactly advance warning. Not trying to put you down, flyingturtle, just that the technology still needs to be developed.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:51 am

meecrob wrote:
flyingturtle wrote:

A research paper said that in 1991, an experimental detector was able to spot a one-inch cable up to 200 meters away.


200 metres away while flying 100+knots isn't exactly advance warning. Not trying to put you down, flyingturtle, just that the technology still needs to be developed.


No, you didn't put a turtle down. :crazy:

Yes. At least it helps when approaching an accident scene, e.g. for rescue helis. We can only guess what the military has already developed. The 1-inch cable at 200 meters was 1991 technology, anyway.


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
Ozair
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:29 am

flyingturtle wrote:
meecrob wrote:
flyingturtle wrote:

A research paper said that in 1991, an experimental detector was able to spot a one-inch cable up to 200 meters away.


200 metres away while flying 100+knots isn't exactly advance warning. Not trying to put you down, flyingturtle, just that the technology still needs to be developed.


No, you didn't put a turtle down. :crazy:

Yes. At least it helps when approaching an accident scene, e.g. for rescue helis. We can only guess what the military has already developed. The 1-inch cable at 200 meters was 1991 technology, anyway.


David

So there are systems such as that available. Leonardo has the following, http://www.leonardocompany.com/documents/63265270/65001629/mm07792_LOAM_LQ_.pdf?download_file which claims an accuracy of a 5 mm cable at 620m at 10km visibility or 500m at 1km visibility Max detection range: 2km and is installed on Danish EH101 and ordered for Italian NH90, CH-47 and AW-101.
 
smithbs
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:25 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
The closest idea I can think of is the Barrage Ballon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrage_balloon

But that was more to defend against early WWII era fighters. Precision stand off weapons would essentially ignore these short of a golden BB where they actually hit the thing. And there are other examples above of cases where aircraft have hit cables. You'd have to get the cable to hit in a pretty precise spot around the fusalage to stand a reliable chance of downing an aircraft. And that's assuming the break happens away from the impact point. Otherwise the aircraft will get a nasty dent and keep going.


The barrage balloon and the British rocket/parachute system was to deter low-level bombers. In WW2, high-level bombers would be challenged to hit the broad side of your county. But if they came in at tree-top level, they could absolutely demolish your installation very quickly.

The British rocket/parachute was triggered when bombers were coming in. When the bomber got in close to the British airfield, the trigger was pulled and a line of rockets took off vertically, pulling cables behind them. They would then pop a parachute and drift down. If an aircraft snagged a cable, it would rip it off the ground and deploy another parachute from the bottom of the cable, in the hope that the combined drag of the cable with parachutes on both ends would stall the aircraft.

So cables to keep low-level aircraft away is certainly effective if you have nothing else. The deterrence alone probably makes it worthwhile. Better than randomly firing your AK into the air....
 
rhw
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:51 pm

Interesting replies - although it seems noone has further information on the actual cables.
Wire strike protection and laser detection systems are interesting - however i doubt these can currently protect jet aircraft flying at higher speeds ?
 
GDB
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:15 pm

Wasn't a young US Navy Panther pilot called Neil Armstrong almost brought down by AA cables in the Korean War?
 
GRIVely
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:49 pm

As a young American Army warrant officer flying nap of earth in the near vicinity of the DMZ in Korea in the 1970’s we took cables across valleys and draws very seriously indeed. We were resupplying installations near, or even in, the Administrative Nofly Zone. You had to be really careful as US and ROK military units were always stringing commwire all over the place and in pre-GPS days it was very hard to know just what terrain feature you were actually in so one pilot had their head in the chart and the pilot flying was scanning for hazards. Everybody else was highly motivated to be careful lookouts.

It was very easy for the crew to not quite know just where they were and be tempted to just pop up for a quick look around. Always dangerous as the KORCOMS had lots of light triple-A actually in the DMZ on their side. We only had very simple alert receivers, ALR-46 I think, and nothing focused your attention if you got even a little high like getting lit by a WHIFF, FIRECAN or FIREWHEEL. We had several aircraft fired on by 37mm’s but not hits in the year I was there.

A sister company on our airfield, A511, had one of their CH-47s forced down on the North Korean side of the Imjin River. He got lost and popped up to find his position and was fired on by ROK Marines trying to warn him away from the DMZ. Thinking they were the North Koreans he turned away and instead flew directly into NK. Shot up a bit by NK triple-A he made a combat landing on the riverbank and they were seized by North Korean Army forces. Three of the crew were KIA and the wounded co-pilot was taken prisoner. The incident was 15 July 1977. I reviewed the incident report in the Aviation Safety database and was surprised at the lack of information compared to Army Aviation Command circular that described the whole thing.
 
rhw
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:25 pm

GRIVely wrote:
As a young American Army warrant officer flying nap of earth in the near vicinity of the DMZ in Korea in the 1970’s we took cables across valleys and draws very seriously indeed. We were resupplying installations near, or even in, the Administrative Nofly Zone. You had to be really careful as US and ROK military units were always stringing commwire all over the place and in pre-GPS days it was very hard to know just what terrain feature you were actually in so one pilot had their head in the chart and the pilot flying was scanning for hazards. Everybody else was highly motivated to be careful lookouts.

It was very easy for the crew to not quite know just where they were and be tempted to just pop up for a quick look around. Always dangerous as the KORCOMS had lots of light triple-A actually in the DMZ on their side. We only had very simple alert receivers, ALR-46 I think, and nothing focused your attention if you got even a little high like getting lit by a WHIFF, FIRECAN or FIREWHEEL. We had several aircraft fired on by 37mm’s but not hits in the year I was there.

A sister company on our airfield, A511, had one of their CH-47s forced down on the North Korean side of the Imjin River. He got lost and popped up to find his position and was fired on by ROK Marines trying to warn him away from the DMZ. Thinking they were the North Koreans he turned away and instead flew directly into NK. Shot up a bit by NK triple-A he made a combat landing on the riverbank and they were seized by North Korean Army forces. Three of the crew were KIA and the wounded co-pilot was taken prisoner. The incident was 15 July 1977. I reviewed the incident report in the Aviation Safety database and was surprised at the lack of information compared to Army Aviation Command circular that described the whole thing.


Hey GRIVely, thanks for the great answer. You're actually the first one having experienced something like that in this thread.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:49 pm

smithbs wrote:
So cables to keep low-level aircraft away is certainly effective if you have nothing else. The deterrence alone probably makes it worthwhile. Better than randomly firing your AK into the air....


Yep. Just knowing that the cables are there is enough to deter any sane pilot from trying his luck. Being able to detect a cable from up to 5 nm away is also irrelevant if the valley twists and turns in a way that doesn't give you 5 nm line of sight.
 
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Balerit
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Re: Steel Cables between Mountains as Anti Aicraft Measure ?

Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:55 pm

Just a quick video on the SAAF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMEsEbTf0Fk
Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (retired).

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