Gadhafi Fires a Scud, Misses Wildly

So yesterday Gadhafi’s forces fired a scud missile that missed its likely target, the city of Brega, by about 50 miles. How’d this happen? Not the miss, the Soviet-designed Scud’s have been around since the 50s and aren’t exactly prescision-guided weapons. No, how does Gadhafi still have stockpiles of them? I know they’re mounted on mobile launchers and that we had a hell of a time finding Saddam Hussein’s real ones during the ’91 Gulf War (he used dummy missiles to confuse coalition pilots and targeteers) but still, NATO has owned the skies over Libya for months now. We’ve got drones and a bunch of other recce aircraft scouring the nation for targets. A Scud and it’s launcher are pretty big objects and you’d think we’d have the intel on were they were marshalled and the locations of their possible dispersal and launch sites. This could have simply been one of a few missiles that has miraculously survived NATO’s air campaign (the alliance specifically targeted Gadhafi’s Scud storage facilities early in the campaign in an attempt to neutralize them as a threat). If this is just the first of many launches it could show just how tough it is to wipe out a military that has become smart in the art of dispersing its heavy weapons. My guess is that it was just a last ditch effort to lash out at the rebels and that we won’t see many more launches like this.

  • jamesb

    WTF does his forces STILL have these missiles???????

    I’m with you guys…..
    This a tactical screw-up….
    BIG TIME…..

    • PMI

      It’s not a tactical screw up. It’s merely illustrative of the limitations of air power.

      • Will

        Absolutely. It doesn’t take a tactical genius, just a warehouse or even a barn big enough to fit enough 1 of these vehicles. Maybe even less, if the tractor can be separated from the trailer . Then throw a tarp over the missile for the drive between the hide site & the launch site.

        • joe

          Agreed. Ultimately, that quote from the Simpsons remains valid: “all we’ve ascertained from satellite photos is that it’s not on the roof…”

  • Alex

    Take a look at the no-fly zone, It might look like a small area but you are wrong, It is very possible to hide scuds. And I’m talking about just Lybya, not the no-fly zones to the east and west. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/…

    • Alex

      In terms of area we patrol heavily.

  • ed!

    We have not had a confirmed kill of a Scud TEL yet in combat. Why do you think we would have one now? These may be big vehicles but they have great cross-country mobility. Drive off the beaten path and hide in a ravine or perhaps even some cave or valley out there for your hide site, then drive out to the firing position, launch, then run like hell from the plume of smoke that is like a finger pointing to you.

  • Aubrey

    Libya is big

  • Andrew

    I would think that, like the article says, he just had a couple left in storage for a last-ditch effort. Remember, the rebels are within about a 30-minute drive from Tripoli, and Gadhafi is talking to the people in Tripoli about how they must all rise up and take up arms to “protect” Libya. Calls like this are reminiscent of Berlin 1945, and generally smack of desperation.

    • david brown

      gadaffi is no hitler. that is a silly comparison. he has not invaded anyone and has done much for his country eg highest living standards in africa. free education, health. equal rights for women. why do you think hes popular? who are the rebels? jihadists and islamic militants who will not bring peace or democracy. they will sell off there country to the colonial powers. militarily they are weak without nato. and nato will not be there forever. taking tripoli is pure fantasy. the closer they get the the more powerful the reaction. the tribes in the region all support gadaffi. and his heavy weapons and best troops will come out. then it is all over red rover. even if they took tripoli a guerilla war would follow and anarchy. you should hope they sue for peace asap. for their sake and libyas sake

      • blight

        Way to forget poor Chad, or are you going to say Chad invaded Libya with Toyota trucks?

  • George

    They missed a city by 50 miles folks, they’ve probably been forgoten in the desert somewhere to rot. Missiles come in organized units, if they were mothballed somewhere in the midde of nowhere then they are probably more dangerous to their handlers.

  • MCQknight

    Well, if Brega was actually the target then it was a huge miss. If it was the rebel stronghold and staging area of Ajdabiya, however, which is about 50 miles from Brega, then it might not have been as far a miss as is implied.

    • stef

      It fell on the other side of Brega so if the target is Ajdabiya, that’s about 100 miles from target

  • Lance

    The war isn’t over as some say bits being close too. Dictators like Qaddafi always have a few aces up his sleeve and I wouldn’t underestimate him.

  • STemplar

    Ha! Take that you big empty spot of desert!

  • el barto

    the allies owned the skies over france post d-day yet entire divisions of panzers still managed to maneuver and engage allied forces.

    we might have come a long way technologically but we still can’t watch everywhere at once, even if we have the camera’s, we don’t have a budget big enough to put a man at a monitor for every grid square of battlespace at the same time.

    • STemplar

      Actually we can watch an entire battle space at once, a single J-STAR can watch 19,000 sq miles and track hundreds of targets. That’s one.

      • Matt

        Yeah but that’s an American weapon system, European nations are leading the No Fly Zone.

        • STemplar

          If you call leading using US officers to staff the air warfare center, US tankers to provide mid air re-fueling, US growlers and drones suppressing mobile SAMs, and US ISR assets, like J-STARS, sure, it’s a European thing.

          • ed!

            J-STAR is used for finding convoys. A scud travels alone for the most part, so try to find 1 vehicle moving on that. Now try to differentiate that one vehicle from normal traffic on the road. A big truck looks like a big truck to radar.

          • tiger

            It’s a desert. Can’t be that much traffic?

          • Matt

            STemplar: fair enough… I wasnt sure how many US assets were still in use overthere.

      • Letsallbefriends

        Apparently not though.

  • Thomas L. Nielsen

    “Gadhafi Fires a Scud, Hits Target with Pin-point Accuracy”: News.

    “Gadhafi Fires a Scud, Misses Wildly”: Not news.

    Regards & all,

    Thomas L. Nielsen
    Luxembourg

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406050476 Mandeep

      veramente incredibile i miogalrimenti grafici che hanno fatto in questi ultimi mesi.E pensare che questo Quantum 3 sfrutta solo in parte le vere potenzialit della Wii, almeno stando alle parole del capoccia capo del progetto.Infatti stanno lavorando ad una versione ancora pi ottimizzata del motore Quantum 3, e sui loro futuri progetti hanno detto che tecnicamente saranno molto meglio di quello che vedremo in the conduit. Speriamo anche perch non ho preso la Wii di certo per gli FPS.

  • blight

    Global security gives Scud A range as 130km (Wikipedia calls conventional warheads at 270) with a CEP of 4km, Globalsecurity gives Scud B 300km range and 0.9 km CEP, Scud C as same CEP but <= 600 km range, Scud D 700 km range and 50m CEP.

  • James

    Please stop using “so” to start off every post.

    Now on to the article. He still has these stockpiles because he’s storing the things right next to hospitals and large civilian areas. His military moves them out when they need to use them and then try to return them before the UK jets armed with US munitions arrives on target.

    • blight

      “…Yesterday, Gadhafi’s forces fired a scud missile…”

      Wonder who’s writing these without an attribution line.

      I don’t know if hiding these things /near/ hospitals is sufficient anymore. The CEP of guided weapons is dropping, and the explosive payloads as well (SDB). And much earlier, Eurocopters were reported as being deployed to Libya, which means direct-fire capability, lowering CEP even more.

  • Mastro

    I think the best tactic against Scuds is to completely ignore them. If you get anything out of Gulf War One- that’s it.

    Of course - easier said than done when one gets lucky and takes out a school or barracks or something.

  • TLAM Strike

    If it missed by so much I wonder if we are jamming GPS in the region so they can’t get precise coordinates when they prepare for launch.

    • blight

      I’ve always wondered how one could deny GPS to receivers in a specific geographical area, only using the constellation of satellites in orbit (without additional equipment)

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      You don’t need GPS jamming to make a SCUD miss. It’s entirely capable of doing that all on it’s own.

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

      • blight

        That’s what the nuke is for.

  • gary

    NATO are actually the nazis in this situation. Bombing from 20000 feet. Targeting civilians and wrecking the place. Their crimes are to be investigated. Expect indictments to follow. They are also dumb to get involved. Getting their arses kicked in Afghanistan has taught them nothing. This will be their last adventure. They are a dud. A tool of the corporations and weapons dealers. True evil

  • GARY

    ACTUALLY GADAFFI IS VERY POPULAR WITH HIS PEOPLE. AND HAS THE BACKING OF MOST TRIBES IN THE WEST. THE REBELS CANNOT EVEN TAKE BREGA. THEIR HOPES OF TAKING TRIPOLI ARE EXACTLY ZERO. THE WESTERN MEDIA HAVE SHOWN COLONIAL BIAS IN THIS CONFLICT. THEY ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED. LIBYA HAS THE HIGHEST LIVING STANDARDS IN AFRICA. FREE HEALTH AND EDUCATION AND WOMEN HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS. A FAR CRY FROM THE ALLIES OF THE WEST EG SAUDI ARABIA, BAHRAIN. OUR HYPOCRISY KNOWS NO END. NO WONDER THE WEST IS DESPISED. PROBABLY FAR MORE THAN GADAFFI.

    • blight

      The HDI List:
      1 Libya0.755
      2 Mauritius0.701
      3 Tunisia0.683
      4 Algeria0.677

      Strange how 3 of the top 4 are part of Arab Spring. As stated before, Libya has attacked Chad, Egypt and apparently Tanzania(?)

      On the domestic front, Libya is investing its oil wealth into social services, a similar game plan as seen in Iran and Venezuela. I have nothing against revenue being used for the commonwealth, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is the flavor of the month for regime change. If we were hunting AQ in Africa, he would be our number one ally. But as it is, we aren’t…

      • ben

        It was a joke blight… “GARY” is a sarcastic parody of “gary”

  • roland

    We probably need to buy one of this from the rebel side, so we will know what we were up against in future conflict.

    • Muzzlehatch

      The 125 GIs who were killed and wounded by an Iraqi Scud at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia on 2/25/91 could tell us all we need to know.