|pic via AUSAirpower.net|
A flight of F-35's from the USS Wasp are conducting a fleet air defense tasking. Why? Because those same patriots were shot down when they stated that an LHA wasn't properly equipped to act as an aircraft carrier. 4 of the F-35's are airborne (stripping away the Ground Combat Element and its vehicles and helicopters allows 20 to be carried) and according to the proponents, this is sufficient. After all...the F-35 is a combat multiplier. Its capable of doing things that the Super Hornet can only dream about despite it being slower, lower flying and less maneuverable. Despite the fact that the Super Hornet carries a Rafael Pod that can identify, classify and sort aerial targets at BVR distance. Despite the fact that the Super Hornet had been upgraded with an AESA that equals the F-35.
No. The F-35 was the dancing, prancing all star. Unfortunately the fanboys assumed that a plane planned in the 80's delayed until 2020 before it reached full operational capability would still be viable.
They underestimated their enemies and now they would pay. Sensor fusion was suppose to be the saving grace of the air plane. A flight of 4 planes in spread formation, so far away from each other that they were out of sight, could sweep the sky and see the enemy before being seen. First see, first kill.
The Chinese aren't dummies. They were drinking the milkshake of these pilots as soon as they left the deck of the Wasp. The worse was yet to come. In a blatant display of uncharacteristic arrogance, the Chinese sent up one (1) J-20. It was loaded with six long range infra-red missiles in its cavernous hold. An additional two short range missiles were loaded in its cheek bays. They weren't needed. The F-35's didn't see its attacker, only the fact that four Mach 3 missiles were heading toward them. They turned to head away but the plane is slow. They showed their back to the enemy and it just made them easier targets. The missiles closed, the ship's air boss put his two MV-22's in the air because he knew that if he was lucky he'd be fishing his guys out of the ocean...but it wasn't to be. Remember the Rand report? The missiles continued to close and although skilled, the plane wasn't worthy of its pilots. The plane maneuvered like a B-17. Chinese arrogance was well founded. One J-20 sent four USMC F-35's to the bottom of the sea. The only thing left to do was to leave the area and notify the on-duty Casualty Assistance Officer....and the Chaplain. They had bad news to deliver to the Mother's of America. Sound far fetched? Check this out from Defense One.
“Our proposed absorber is almost ten times thinner than conventional ones,” said Wenhua Xu, one of the team members from China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology, in a statement.The next question we should ask is this. They're putting stuff like this in open source materials. What are they working on in secret?
In their paper, published today in the Journal of Applied Physics, the team describes a material composed of semi-conducting diodes (varactors) and capacitors that have been soldered onto a printed circuit board. That layer is sitting under a layer of copper resistors and capacitors just .04 mm thick, which they called an “active frequency selective surface material” or AFSS. The AFSS layer can effectively be stretched to provide a lot of absorption but is thin enough to go onto an aircraft. The next layer is a thin metal honeycomb and final is a metal slab.
The good news: the material isn’t locked away in a lab but published openly, so it’s not going to surprise anyone.