What's the F-35's VCS compared to other aircraft

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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post30 Apr 2016, 18:21

We all know every aircraft has a RCS (Radar Cross Section) value.

But what is an aircraft's VCS (Visual Cross Section) value for observation by the good ole Mk.I Eyeball or Electro-Optical sensors.

Every Aircraft should generally be detectable at a different range.

Does anybody even quantify this on Aircraft?
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XanderCrews

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Unread post30 Apr 2016, 18:24

Not really because it depends on too many factors. Not least of which is the pilots eye sight it will vary. Even in WWII there were pilots who were given the lead because they had a knack for spotting enemy aircraft first. Today the first to see gets Th3 lead
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Unread post01 May 2016, 19:37

Salute!

Great question and the "fighter mafia" rep that briefed us one day at Hill had a simple estimate that seems to work. It was Riccione and he was selling the F-20 and more of Boyd's theories to we new Viper folks.

The rule of thumb was the square root of the sum of the squares. Side view and plane view areas were squared and added. Some of us postulated we needed to add in frontal area, but at least he presented a starting point.

You get some decent numbers to start with, and they will not surprise you.

As many that have flown in Red Flag or the real world long ago when we still had furballs, first planes you see are F-14's, then F-15's, then F-4's then Hornets/Vipers then finally F-5's.

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count_to_10

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Unread post01 May 2016, 20:05

Gums wrote:Salute!

Great question and the "fighter mafia" rep that briefed us one day at Hill had a simple estimate that seems to work. It was Riccione and he was selling the F-20 and more of Boyd's theories to we new Viper folks.

The rule of thumb was the square root of the sum of the squares. Side view and plane view areas were squared and added. Some of us postulated we needed to add in frontal area, but at least he presented a starting point.

You get some decent numbers to start with, and they will not surprise you.

As many that have flown in Red Flag or the real world long ago when we still had furballs, first planes you see are F-14's, then F-15's, then F-4's then Hornets/Vipers then finally F-5's.

Gums sends...

Has anyone done one of those split comparative frontal area images for the F-14, F-14 and the F-35? I've only seen the F-35 against the euro-canards and the SH.
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Unread post01 May 2016, 21:46

Salute!

The frontal area appears to be much more important these days for RCS than visual. Seems most folks have significantly reduced the frontal RCS.

Visually, I would rate the F-5 and then the Mig-21 as the all-time needle nose enema. Never saw the Mig-21, but were had by the Aggressor F-5 folks a few times. RHAW does not work if the other guy ain't emitting.

Looking out my back door, Stubby is smaller than the Eagle. It has a planform smaller than an Eagle (or Raptor by a long shot). Head on, it appears about like a Viper or Hornet.

I am not real worried about the visual cross section.

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Unread post02 May 2016, 05:14

Interesting subject and comments. If I remember right Chuck Yeager said he could see German Fighters 20 miles away in a clear sky. BF-109s, or FW-190s are a lot smaller then modern jet fighters. I don't know about the VCS ranges in Korea, or Vietnam. A question I've had from the start is about the F-35 color scheme. Is that dark gray an effective camouflage against a blue sly?

In WWII our aircraft were army green. The Germans, and Japanese also used dark colors. Late in the war many U.S. aircraft were striped of paint, and just had a shiny aluminum color. At that point we weren't trying to hide, we wanted them to come up and fight, and they felt the weight savings were worth the sun glinting off our planes revealing their presence. In Vietnam we had many fighters painted in green and brown, was that effective camouflage?
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35_aoa

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Unread post02 May 2016, 05:52

F-5 is pretty hard to see…….as is a Viper nose on. I think there is probably not too much science to this question…….more like how big is the frontal area of an F-35 compared to other aircraft, and therein lies your answer.
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Unread post02 May 2016, 06:46

tincansailor wrote:Interesting subject and comments. If I remember right Chuck Yeager said he could see German Fighters 20 miles away in a clear sky. BF-109s, or FW-190s are a lot smaller then modern jet fighters.


Probably not the first to do so, but I will wave the BS flag on his claim. I have pretty good vision, 20/15 even, and I have never seen a fighter sized aircraft at 20 miles, even knowing where to look. Anyone who has spent any time looking through a canopy trying to find a dude will agree with the absurdity of that claim. The average guy is lucky to get a 5 mile tally. Guys who have been doing this longer, and have built up a good technique might see someone a few miles sooner/farther out, particularly if we are talking something big like an F-15.
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Unread post02 May 2016, 09:11

This issue has been studied quite a bit and here is one from 1965 made by RAND for USAF:

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_memoranda/2006/RM4562.pdf

Basically detecting a fighter sized aircraft beyond 5-6 km or about 3 nm is really, really difficult when not knowing exactly where to look and when the aircraft altitude is high enough. This means larger area is visible to observer. Of course this is for ground observers and looking at higher altitude might theroretically give somewhat longer detection range. But ground observers have very stable platform that without any obscuration (canopy glass for example) and can consentrate 100 percent of their visual and mental capacity to finding the target visually. Same is not true for fighter pilots, so I'd say ground observers have far better probability of finding aircraft visually than pilots at same distance. Ground observers also almost always see the target against sky background whereas fighter pilots will often see the targets against earth as background which makes it even more difficult as the contrast and signal-to-noise ratio are much lower.
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Unread post02 May 2016, 13:02

count_to_10 wrote:Has anyone done one of those split comparative frontal area images for the F-14, F-14 and the F-35? I've only seen the F-35 against the euro-canards and the SH.


Here you go:

Image

Image
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Unread post02 May 2016, 13:12

Here are some little guys

LIttleGuys.jpg
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Unread post02 May 2016, 14:57

Appears to be the same front wise as an F-16.

That's pretty good IMO, especially given the fuselage had to be wide/"thick". A comparison to the Mig-29/SU-27/30/35 would be more appropriate IMO. I'd imagine it must match up favorably.

In the youtube "dogfights" of Desert Storm series, it was stated many times that our F-15 drivers waited until the merge to visually ID Mig-29's. I think it happened with Mig-25's too, where they asked if anyone in the flight was in burner. Nobody was, and that's how he ID'd the aircraft he was pursuing as a Mig-25.

I can understand now this statement: "In an F-35, I can be far more offensive than I ever was in an F-16...". Sounds like a hell of an advantage, and that's just WVR - not even its wheelhouse.
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krorvik

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Unread post02 May 2016, 17:48

35_aoa wrote:
tincansailor wrote:Interesting subject and comments. If I remember right Chuck Yeager said he could see German Fighters 20 miles away in a clear sky. BF-109s, or FW-190s are a lot smaller then modern jet fighters.


Probably not the first to do so, but I will wave the BS flag on his claim.


Not too sure, they tended to stay in formations of some kind, and probably generated some trails. He might not have been talking about single aircraft. Don't have the source though :)
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Unread post02 May 2016, 17:56

krorvik wrote:
35_aoa wrote:
tincansailor wrote:Interesting subject and comments. If I remember right Chuck Yeager said he could see German Fighters 20 miles away in a clear sky. BF-109s, or FW-190s are a lot smaller then modern jet fighters.


Probably not the first to do so, but I will wave the BS flag on his claim.


Not too sure, they tended to stay in formations of some kind, and probably generated some trails. He might not have been talking about single aircraft. Don't have the source though :)

Agree, I recall the statement being about seeing formations of fighters and back in the day that could mean 50 or more.
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Unread post02 May 2016, 18:41

First two here seem more similar:

Russian1.jpg
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