F-35 Stealth masking

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gergf-14

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Unread post05 Jul 2014, 20:52

On the F-35's surface you see attached "blocks", 2 on top surfaces - area in front of vertical stabilizes as well as 2 on under surfaces centre line aft on internal weapon bays.

Are these "blocks" used to allow radar to track during training and future deployments?

Is it a future risk if these "blocks" are not fitted, that the extremely small radar cross
section is given away, allowing future potential enemies to optimize radar receivers?

As it has been found altering frequencies on radars you can potentially pick up stealthy
Aircraft.

Is the F-35's stealth as good as advertised?

:roll:
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Unread post05 Jul 2014, 22:12

I dunno about the last question - nor would anyone say on this forum - except there is a recent public statement by Gen. Hostage (search forum) that says that the stealth is good and many references on this forum that the stealth is up to the requirements. Until someone official says otherwise then the stealth is good to go and will keep on stickin' on despite wear and tear.

Another search the forum task would be for the discussions about Luneberg or Luneburg Lens. Civilian radar needs to track the F-35 and as you say the Lens distort any other 'listeners' from knowing the real signature. The number and position can vary by the way and one of the searches will reveal that info.

A goodly bunch of forum links at this URL: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=15013&p=268540&hilit=Luneberg#p268540
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Unread post05 Jul 2014, 22:48

Thanks for the HU on luneburg lens!

At air shows it's a must most likely, probably an unwritten rule!

:D
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Unread post05 Jul 2014, 23:02

This is a stealth aircraft. The civilian equivalent of JPALS will be able to see the aircraft for ATC purposes but that is different to NOT being able to be seen if the Luneberg Lens are not fitted so that ordinary radars are able to see the aircraft.

JPALS [search forum titles for JPALS] is a must for flat deck aviation although the USAF were involved for budget reasons they have discontinued their work with JPALS for the time being as I understand. At moment even CVN radars cannot see the F-35 properly for precision approaches. These are mentioned in the carrier testing thread today [ viewtopic.php?f=57&p=274699#p274699 ] however the ICLS is only a stop gap measure (if otherwise 'ICLS' was shorthand for 'JPALS'?). Anyway the X-47B used its version of JPALS to get aboard, so JPALS is well on the way to being fitted to CVNs in the next few years. Remembering that USN IOC is not until 2018.
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Unread post05 Jul 2014, 23:17

Thanks again :mrgreen:

Yeah I get that, it's just that I would imagine "other parties" at air shows would try and get a signature of sorts.
Is it known if all stealth aircraft flown at air shows have had an"luneburg lens" attached?

:shock:
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Unread post05 Jul 2014, 23:22

Back in the F-35 stealth dream time on this forum are several posts about 'spies' using gear near airfields to measure stealth characteristics. I'll guess this issue has been overcome - especially since 9/11 times. However being in another country I have not been to any stealthy airshows but would guess for the same reasons outlined above - ATC - the luneberg lens need to be fitted with the obvious other benefits.
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 00:59

spazsinbad wrote:Back in the F-35 stealth dream time on this forum are several posts about 'spies' using gear near airfields to measure stealth characteristics. I'll guess this issue has been overcome - especially since 9/11 times. However being in another country I have not been to any stealthy airshows but would guess for the same reasons outlined above - ATC - the luneberg lens need to be fitted with the obvious other benefits.

Remember Spaz, most ATC uses secondary radar.

During early F-35 testing, the requirement of having a F-16 or F/A-18 wingman was partly due to the lack of transponder functionality.

When the F-22 crashed at Tyndall after an in-flight fire, there was some confusion in Approach Control about which jet was which, and the F-22 crashed before it could land. If this can happen at a F-22 home base, I'd imagine the F-22 (or F-35) would need the transponder working before civilian ATC could hope to find it.

Observing RCS at airshows using handheld equipment without security noticing is fantasy, the power requirements are too high unless they are within feet of the jet. Not to mention the jet is gear down etc. while static displayed.

There used to be a joke at small airports. How do you make a Cessna 150 like a F-117? Turn off the transponder.
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 01:56

I get the point about radars. Here is an article for Ozzians about Primary and Secondary Radars and other doodads for today. I used to fly a stealth jet called the Vampire. It had metal wings but mostly balsa wood (with spruce stringers) for the small fuselage (engine was made of metal I believe). It would disappear from ATC radar in any kind of precipitation.

http://www.airwaysmuseum.com/Surveillance.htm

Not only are the Lens useful for ATC but for getting the aircraft on a precision approach which - without the lens - is not possible ashore or afloat. I gather the ICLS will take advantage of the Lens for the ship trials and any CVNs not having JPALS installed (a long shot for sure) by the time the F-35C arrives. I guess the first LHA with F-35Bs will have JPALS installed?
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 02:31

spazsinbad wrote:I get the point about radars. Here is an article for Ozzians about Primary and Secondary Radars and other doodads for today. I used to fly a stealth jet called the Vampire. It had metal wings but mostly balsa wood (with spruce stringers) for the small fuselage (engine was made of metal I believe). It would disappear from ATC radar in any kind of precipitation.

http://www.airwaysmuseum.com/Surveillance.htm

Not only are the Lens useful for ATC but for getting the aircraft on a precision approach which - without the lens - is not possible ashore or afloat. I gather the ICLS will take advantage of the Lens for the ship trials and any CVNs not having JPALS installed (a long shot for sure) by the time the F-35C arrives. I guess the first LHA with F-35Bs will have JPALS installed?

My understanding is the F-35 RCS is a lot higher with the landing gear down.

The current ICLS is pretty accurate, and quite suitable for everything except the X-47B. JPALS is a 2-way link, with the LSO able to wave-off the X-47B automatically. ICLS requires the pilot to fly the wave-off.

For a non-coupled manual approach in a F-35C, the pilot can fly the ball in. For the F-35B, since ICLS isn't intended for VL, they would probably use JPALS in the future.

Its worth noting that the MQ-8 uses a different system for precision vertical landing, UCARS. Basically precision approach radar and a data-link, just like JPALS.
http://www.auvsishow.org/auvsi2014/Cust ... n767_1.pdf
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 04:29

Not what I have read about the capability of ICLS for F-35C. The long thread on JPALS has info from USN officials about this. They have said the current radars are not suitable hence the need for JPALS.
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 04:47

spazsinbad wrote:Not what I have read about the capability of ICLS for F-35C. The long thread on JPALS has info from USN officials about this. They have said the current radars are not suitable hence the need for JPALS.

I got the impression that it had something to do with the distance aircraft have to be detected within the carrier' airspace I. e. F-35C challenges current radars at distances where there would be no issue with other aircraft.
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 04:51

'popcorn' has it. Looking at my quotes I see that 'JPALS' is used as a wider term than just for precision approaches. I tend to lump it all in because diagrams show JPALS range extending outwards a LONG WAY. Anyway here are two that reinforce the 'popcorn' statements.
"...the Joint Precision Approach Landing System (JPALS) test team successfully performed the first global positioning system (GPS)-based automatic landing to an aircraft carrier. Based on GPS, JPALS is intended for military aircraft including manned and unmanned fixed-wing, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and rotary-wing aircraft, and is designed to replace tactical air navigation (TACAN) systems and augment the current automatic carrier landing system (ACLS) and instrument carrier landing system (ICLS).”

"JPALS will replace legacy radar-based PAL systems SPN-46 SPN-35 TACAN"


Source: http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/71.htm

JPALS: Not Just LAAS in Navy Uniform
01 Oct 2002

"...Extraordinary Environment
But the seagoing JPALS will be a horse (or a LAAS) of a different color. One of the biggest differences will be its data links. For, as development has evolved, carrier-based JPALS has become a generic term applied to a wider data link environment than just the automatic landing portion.... In fact, the Navy’s seagoing JPALS will be the centerpiece of a dedicated, data link-based, communications, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system, which will be aboard each of its 12 carriers. The Navy needs such a capability to provide safety, airspace management and, of course, surveillance protection against adversaries, as the vessel moves away from the mainland and across oceans, often towards unfriendly territory.

In a way, it will be like picking up a complete FAA air route traffic control center (ARTCC) from the main-land, along with all its radars and infrastructure, and shoehorning it into an aircraft carrier. And since the carrier’s raison d’etre is to extend military air power in all weather, you could even say that the seagoing JPALS’ ultimate purpose is to thread the tip of an autolanding aircraft’s arrester hook through an imaginary 9-square foot (0.83-square meter) box centered precisely 14 feet (4.3 meters) above the pitching and rolling stern of a carrier in very low visibility, by day or night...."

Source: http://www.aviationtoday.com/print/av/i ... 12893.html

EMALS TESTING Carrier Launch System Passes Initial Tests
07 Jun 2010 Bill Sweetman

“...The carrier will be part of the process of introducing a landing guidance system to the Navy: the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (Jpals). It will be one of the first ships with Jpals, which is slated to be on all carriers and large amphibious transports by 2018. The second Ford-class ship, CVN-79, is due to be the first carrier without SPN-41 and SPN-46 radars, which provide carriers with an automatic landing capability.

Adoption of Jpals is urgent for the Navy because current radars will not be supportable after the early 2020s. Jpals is also associated with the F-35C, because the fighter's reduced radar cross-section means that current radar-based autolanding systems cannot acquire it. The installation of Jpals on carriers will match service entry of the F-35C...."

Source: http://www.anahq.org/articles/Bullhorns ... 10.htm#F35

U.S. Navy Completes JPALS Ship-Based EMD Phase
03 Jan 2014 BILL CAREY

"Arinc, which served as lead technical contractor to the Navy during technology development of the system, said Jpals will integrate with the AN/TPX-42 air traffic control console, the AN/SPN-46 automatic carrier landing system, the AN/SPN-41 instrument landing system, the landing signal officer display system, the improved Fresnel lens optical landing system, the aviation data management and control system, and the Moriah Wind System. Last year, Rockwell Collins acquired Arinc...."

Source: http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/ ... -emd-phase

NavAirSysCom Core Avionics Master Plan 2011

"...3. Funded Enhancements and Potential Pursuits.
Digitally Augmented GPS-based Shipboard Recovery (JPALS). (2015)
JPALS is a joint effort with the Air Force and Army. The Navy is designated as the Lead Service and is responsible for implementation of shipboard recovery solutions (Increment 1). JPALS will be installed on the newest carrier and its air-wing aircraft (F/A-18E/F, EA18G, E-2C/D, and MH-60 R/S). F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Block 5 will be equipped with a temporary solution that will provide needles to the operator to enable a “JPALS assisted” approach. However, the interim solution will not equip the aircraft to broadcast its position in a manner that can be monitored by JPALS equipment on the ship. Legacy radar will have to be used for the shipboard monitoring of the approach. JPALS will eventually replace the ACLS on carriers, SPN-35 radars on LH Class Amphibious ships, and ILS, TACAN, and Precision Approach Radar (PAR) systems at shore stations. JPALS will be interoperable with civil augmentation and FAA certifiable. Shipboard JPALS will use Differential GPS (D-GPS) to provide centimeter-level accuracy for all-weather, automated landings. D-GPS provides a SRGPS reference solution for the moving landing zone. A JPALS technology equipped F/A-18 has demonstrated fully automated recoveries to the carrier. JPALS will also enable silent operations in Emission Control (EMCON) environments...."

Source: http://www.navair.navy.mil/pma209/_Docu ... p_2011.pdf

Navy Completes Initial Development of New Carrier Landing System
22 Nov 2013 Dave Majumdar

"...While the initial development is now complete, the Navy still has work to do to finish all seven increments of the JPALS capability. The system will also eventually support flight operations onboard amphibious assault ships and U.S. Air Force airfields.

NAVAIR’s immediate focus however will be to continue developmental work for supporting the F-35C and unmanned aircraft onboard a carrier. JPALS is particularly important for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program...."

Source: http://news.usni.org/2013/11/22/navy-co ... ing-system
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 05:34

spazsinbad wrote:Not what I have read about the capability of ICLS for F-35C. The long thread on JPALS has info from USN officials about this. They have said the current radars are not suitable hence the need for JPALS.

ICLS is basically ILS for aircraft carriers. The F-35C might not be cleared for ICLS capability, but it isn't due to the RCS of the jet.

The current AN/SPN-46 radar might not be able to detect a F-35C in clean config, but apparently it will with the gear down close enough for the LSO to wave them in. What is not as well known is that the AN/SPN-46 is used to provide final approach vectors in Case III, well before LSO hand-off. Even with F/A-18s, the AN/SPN-46 might not get a lock on the jet far enough out to be in the slot for a Case III approach, and they get waved off. There is stories of jets completely missing the approach. The margin for an F-35C isn't enough to satisfy the Navy.

This is all minor details, as they have JPALS on two carriers already. This should get the F-35C to initial CQ.
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 05:53

Are these two carriers CVNs the ones used already for X-47B flight testing? Will a JPALS CVN be used for initial F-35C testing? It may not matter for daytime but may be useful if the weather goes sour. I'll attempt to be more precise about what JPALS will do next time but don't count on it. I'm not going to use it - ever. JPALS is one amazing all-encompassing system for ATC anywhere it will be installed. OMG USAF may be able to do curved approaches - wow. [I did not put that part of a quote in earlier.] :devil:

For those unfamiliar with 'the modes' here is a NATO look - minimums can be provided also as required....

For the record forty years ago HMAS Melbourne was (one of?) the first with the CCA - similar to GCA (carrier/ground controlled approach). Onboard the radar was a Sea Venom job mounted aft on island top, otherwise radar used in the Sea Venom aircraft for the pilot to be guided by the Observer to the airborne target; and to get VERY CLOSE in any weather. In my A4G time the CCA was used to guide us to 1NM with operator guidance chatter usually continuing (but not officially) because it was really difficult to see the bright ball detail in the mirror at that distance. There was no other way to carry out night approaches - not even by TACAN - which during the A4G era was a First For Australia (temporarily). TACAN at the start did not have the same precision that TACAN is supposed to have today - not that it would be suitable for a carrier night approach except probably an emergency - when you are desperate you take what you can....

http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public//PubFull ... 162-07.pdf (c.2005)
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Unread post06 Jul 2014, 06:18

spazsinbad wrote:Are these two carriers CVNs the ones used already for X-47B flight testing? Will a JPALS CVN be used for initial F-35C testing? It may not matter for daytime but may be useful if the weather goes sour. I'll attempt to be more precise about what JPALS will do next time but don't count on it. I'm not going to use it - ever. JPALS is one amazing all-encompassing system for ATC anywhere it will be installed. OMG USAF may be able to do curved approaches - wow. [I did not put that part of a quote in earlier.] :devil:

Same two carriers as the X-47B.

They'll be using JPALS with the F-35C. The Navy would like to use JPALS on the fleet F/A-18E/F too because AN/SPN-46 can be unreliable with multiple aircraft on approach if the jets are not spaced properly.
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