Saturday, January 28, 2017

GaN-based AESA radar has killed stealth as we know it.

via Defense Systems.
The Navy’s new SPY-6 is 35-times more powerful than existing ship-based radar.
Compared to the legacy SPY-1 radar, Air and Missile Defense Radar will be able to see an airborne object half as big and twice as far and testing is proceeding apace at Pacific Missile Range Facility, where we have radiated at full power and cycle, Boxall added.
Boxall added that all new construction DDG Flight IIA ships, beginning with DDG-113, will be delivered with Aegis Baseline 9C.
This includes "identification Friend or Foe Mode 5, Close-In Weapons System Block 1B, Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program Block II, and the SQQ-89A (V) 15 Integrated Undersea Warfare Combat System Suite. Delivery of these capabilities will extend into the mid-term (2020-2030) and beyond," Boxall said.

via USNI News
The Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye maybe the U.S. Navy’s secret weapon against the emerging threat of enemy fifth-generation stealth fighters and cruise missiles.
The key to that capability is the aircraft’s powerful UHF-band hybrid mechanical/electronically-scanned AN/APY-9 radar built by Lockheed Martin. Both friend and foe alike have touted UHF radars as an effective countermeasure to stealth technology.
One example of that is a paper prepared by Arend Westra that appeared in the National Defense University’s Joint Forces Quarterly academic journal in the 4th quarter issue of 2009.
“It is the physics of longer wavelength and resonance that enables VHF and UHF radar to detect stealth aircraft,” Westra wrote in his article titled Radar vs. Stealth.
UHF-band radars operate at frequencies between 300MHz and 1GHz, which results in wavelengths that are between 10centimeters and one meter long.
Typically, due to the physical characteristics of fighter-sized stealth aircraft, they must be optimized to defeat higher frequencies in the Ka, Ku, X, C and parts of the S-bands.
There is a resonance effect that occurs when a feature on an aircraft—such as a tail-fin tip— is less than eight times the size of a particular frequency wavelength. That omni-directional resonance effect produces a “step change” in an aircraft’s radar cross-section.
Effectively what that means is that small stealth aircraft that do not have the size or weight allowances for two feet or more of radar absorbent material coatings on every surface are forced to make trades as to which frequency bands they are optimized for.
That would include aircraft like the Chengdu J-20, Shenyang J-31, Sukhoi PAK-FA and indeed the United States’ own Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and tri-service F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Only very large stealth aircraft without protruding empennage surfaces — like the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit or the forthcoming Long Range Strike-Bomber — can meet the requirement for geometrical optics regime scattering.

via Raytheon website
The Future of Air and Missile Defense
Global Patriot has a defined growth path that will ensure the system remains in service through 2048 and beyond. Recent enhancements include:
GaN-based AESA radar technology to increase detection range, power and enable 360 degree coverage
Common Command and Control to allow seamless operation with partner and allied systems
Ability to fire multiple missile types, matching the right missile to the threat
Solutions Based Approach
Raytheon's customers require a solutions based approach to defense – featuring next-generation systems designed with open architecture and tailored to their specific needs. Solutions that are co-developed and co-produced by a network of more than 2,800 global suppliers, using the latest innovations in technology and manufacturing.
Ready and reliable, Global Patriot Solutions are interoperable and can be integrated into existing systems to become part of a larger integrated air and missile defense architecture.

Everyone believes that stealth is the new boogie man in aerial combat.  If you ask F-35 proponents (fanboys) then they'll tell you that there is no way the Super Hornet can match their favorite because its not full stealth (ignoring the fact that the F-35 isn't "full stealth" either) and it has such advanced sensors.

Admittedly the Super Hornet isn't full stealth, but the planes sensors are BETTER than you'll find on the F-35.  Even worse for the fan club?

Stealth as we know it is dead.

We don't talk much about radar on these pages but I do like to monitor the current situation.  What you see above is just the tip of the iceberg.  GaN-based AESA radar technology is changing the equation when it comes to detecting stealth aircraft.  Additionally its not confined to just the Army and Navy (although they appear to have a big lead), the G/ATOR radar being bought by the USMC could easily receive the same upgrades to make it capable of detecting stealth missiles and aircraft.

All this brings me back to my point.  When discussing the F-35 take cost off the table and stop harping on it!  The program office, Lockheed Martin and the services will make sure that the pencil pushers will be able to come up with a scheme to make the plane appear cheaper than a Super Hornet.

Of course it'll be a lie but that's not the point!

The point is we need to start talking about capabilities.  The Super Hornet and especially its Growler version is the way forward.  You wanted to know who was right, the USAF pursuing stealth or the US Navy pushing a "payload over platforms"concept?  Long short the Navy.  The F-35 is truly obsolete in every way before its even entered REAL service.

Talk capabilities!

Want a kick in the pants?  The Marine Corps will soon give up on the stealth idea and probably hang Growler pods off the airframe in the near future.  I'm also betting that instead of emphasizing deep strikes and sensor nodes, we're gonna see UAVs doing that job while being quarterbacked by E-2D's and the paint on the F-35 allowed to go the way of the dinosaurs so that they can turn it into a bomb truck.

If the race is between hardware and software/computing power then never bet on the computer overlords.

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