Hello defence lovers! In the ongoing Israel Palestine conflict, thousands of rockets have been fired from the Gaza strip. Due to the intensity of the attacks, the Israeli Iron dome air defence system is getting saturated with targets. In this article, we are going to discuss what saturation air attacks are and Indian armed forces can defend against such attacks.
What Are Saturation Attacks?
Let us understand what a saturation attack is. When an air defence system is saturated by targets it’s known as a saturation attack. There are two types of saturation attacks.
Time saturation: In Time saturation, a large number of targets approach the air defence system in a small amount of time, so that the system does not gets enough time to respond to each and every target.
Number saturation: In number saturation, a very large number of targets saturate the air defence system such that it is not able to track each and every target. The air defence system runs out of kinetic weapons (missiles and bullets) to neutralize a large number of incoming threats.
Current Air defence Systems
Like Israel, India also has two hostile neighbours. So the possibility of future confrontations cannot be ruled out. Thus we might be ready for such saturation attacks from our hostile neighbours. All are present air defence system is likely to run out of missiles in case of a saturation attack. A typical Akash air defence system operates 3 to 4 launcher and each launcher carries 3 missiles. The LRSAM launcher batteries carry 8 missiles each, The case is similar for other systems. All our present systems are vulnerable to such saturation attacks where a large number of unguided targets are fired in a small duration of time.
To deal with such targets, Land-based versions of Close-in- weapon-system (CIWS) can be deployed at key military installations to protect them against saturation attacks.
Barren Land Buffers Against Saturation Attacks
In India, we have massive barren land buffers. In the east, we have the mighty Himalayas which for centuries have protected us from foreign invaders. In the west, we have the Thar desert. Generally, in saturation attacks, a large number of unguided projectiles are fired. These unguided weapons do not have extended ranges as not having any guidance will make them inaccurate over long ranges. Thus the barren land buffers protect most of the areas of our country from such attacks.
Deterrence of Massive Retaliation
The fear of massive retaliation acts as a credible deterrence for the enemy. Both the hostile neighbours know very well that if attacked by missiles or rockets, India will retaliate with its lethal rockets and missiles which are not just kept to display in the republic day parade.
Moreover, India possesses nuclear weapons and also has a nuclear triad. Few nuclear warheads can wipe out the entire enemy nation in a couple of minutes.
Swarm Drones – A New Emerging Threat
The Swarm Drone technology is an emerging threat for the current air defence systems. All nations have joined the race to develop swarm drone technology. Swarm drones are cheap and easy to produce and control. Thus these drones can be manufactured in huge quantities. These swarm drones can be used to saturate enemy air defence system, as it will be impossible for any system on earth to take out every drone attacking the system like a swarm of angry bees.
Directed Energy Weapons
Directed Energy weapons like high power lasers are the future of air defence systems. These systems would not be limited by the physical quantity of Kinetic energy weapons such as missiles and bullets. Moreover, light travels at a speed of 3 lakh kilometres per second. Thus lasers can take out any incoming target almost instantaneously making time saturation almost impossible.
India is believed to be working on such directed energy weapons, but not much information about this is available in the public domain. We only know that India has already developed the powerful Kali family of lasers and Kali 2000 is believed to be the strongest of these.