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View Full Version : How long would it take to scramble our defenses



MDSchafer
12-31-2014, 05:49 AM
Hey former or current military people I've got a question for you.

So let's just say on an otherwise peaceful Friday night Charleston comes under attack from Cobra, from G.I. Joe. How long would it take for the military to scramble some assets and what would those assets be?

I was thinking Shaw Air Force Base would obviously scramble F-16s but what about the Apache attack squadron at Hunter Army Airfield? I figure the F-16s would be there in minutes and the Apaches could be their in maybe 45 minutes or so? What sort of things would be deployed to counter an ongoing, and unknown terrorist attack, and how long would it take them to get on site?

Duncan J Macdonald
12-31-2014, 06:31 AM
I'd first have to have a situation where we have a heightened state of alert. That would put crews in ready rooms, and would have the aircraft prepped and ready to fly.
Otherwise, on a Friday night, you'll have to send the MPs out to the local strip joints to find the crews.

What would be deployed will depend on what the attack is, and the response time will depend on what has been pre-staged and from how far away it can get there.

Most shore-based airfields won't have a ready-launch section available to scramble. If you really need fighter overhead, have a navy carrier off the VACAPES doing an air-wing work-up. They'll have a ready 5 (can launch in five minutes, which means the bird is hot on the catapult and the pilot is briefed and strapped-in) that can get to Charleston fairly quickly. Of course, they won't be armed.

The US military isn't designed to respond quickly and in force here in the states. Police, SWAT, and National Guard go first.

PeteMC
12-31-2014, 02:04 PM
It's much the same here as well - after the July attacks in London there were heavily armed police everywhere almost immediately but the tanks didn't show up at Heathrow until the next day or maybe even the day after that.

The military is generally for fighting abroad, not at home, although I'm sure I remember reading about fighters being scrambled from somewhere when a plane stopped answering ATC. I can't remember if that was UK or US though.

cornflake
12-31-2014, 02:28 PM
Hey former or current military people I've got a question for you.

So let's just say on an otherwise peaceful Friday night Charleston comes under attack from Cobra, from G.I. Joe. How long would it take for the military to scramble some assets and what would those assets be?

I was thinking Shaw Air Force Base would obviously scramble F-16s but what about the Apache attack squadron at Hunter Army Airfield? I figure the F-16s would be there in minutes and the Apaches could be their in maybe 45 minutes or so? What sort of things would be deployed to counter an ongoing, and unknown terrorist attack, and how long would it take them to get on site?

I'm not military so maybe I don't understand something here, but as I read what you've got I don't get why a squadron of anything, or a bunch of planes would go after a rogue helicopter, or why people would consider it an unknown terrorist attack and not a rogue guy took a helicopter?

I'm probably missing something but I don't get it?

Locke
12-31-2014, 03:29 PM
Major correct-me-if-I'm-wrong territory as I'm just a civilian who really wanted to join the AF or Army but couldn't.

Given current aerospace laws and how often jets are scrambled domestically, I'd say that having a few jets fueled and ready to go is fairly believable. Even if they aren't at their full payload, a pair of stingers and a full cannon aren't outside the suspension of disbelief IMHO.

An air response in Charleston wouldn't need to scramble from Shaw, though. Charleston has its own base (technically, a joint base), which from what I'm looking at online does regularly have interceptors on alert from the Air National Guard (who operates F-16 CJ's). Even if it didn't, there's no less than six bases who are within operational range. If you wanted to plan an air assault on US soil, the east coast would be a pretty bad place to start. About the only way you could do it is sneak into the midwest through Canada. IMHO if a terrorist wants to make a point in Charleston then all they'd need to do is bring down the Ravenel bridge, which they could do with a few boats rigged to explode. You'd need a lot of boom, though.

None of that, though, is accounting for a potential ground response. Remember that Charleston is a Navy port as well, and those ships have fairly impressive anti-air capabilities. Then there's the National Guard and Army bases which can respond with SAM's (both shoulder-fired and vehicle-mounted). The only thing really limiting the military's response to this isn't readiness, it's the potential for civilian casualties. They'll want to draw the fight away from population centers to avoid that problem if at all possible. But I guess an Apache crashing into a home is preferred to that same Apache dumping its entire payload into a hospital and getting away without a fight.

waylander
12-31-2014, 05:36 PM
The military is generally for fighting abroad, not at home, although I'm sure I remember reading about fighters being scrambled from somewhere when a plane stopped answering ATC. I can't remember if that was UK or US though.

The RAF maintains quick reaction aircraft at all times. They've intercepted a lot of Russian long range aircraft is the last year or so.
https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/moray/350290/raf-lossiemouth-launch-first-quick-reaction-alert/

PeteMC
12-31-2014, 07:40 PM
Ah that must be what I'm thinking of, cheers.

Damn but Typhoons are cool :)

ClareGreen
12-31-2014, 10:07 PM
Yeah, the RAF always has someone on standby to go investigate - and I know the Russians didn't stop checking with the end of the Cold War.

(Typhoons may be cool, but the English Electric Lightning was just flat-out amazing. A friend saw two Lightnings scramble by whacking open the throttles and winding up the wheels.)

WeaselFire
01-02-2015, 07:58 PM
How long would it take for the military to scramble some assets and what would those assets be?
How long does your story need and what assets does your story need? Work back from that.

Jeff

Once!
01-03-2015, 03:09 PM
What is the state of readiness? If it's the first time that Cobra attacked we would probably be unprepared. If it is something that it happening all the time, we would get ourselves ready for it.

So I don't think there is any one answer. It will depend on when you set the story.