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Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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kimjongnumbaun

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Unread post18 Nov 2019, 05:05

“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post18 Nov 2019, 09:29

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
ricnunes wrote:But something tells me that since "Jamming" is "Active" that it can be counter-detected (as opposed to "passive"/real stealth).

Absolutely. That becomes a battle of "how discreetly can my jammer work to not trigger the other guys EW?" which I would think is a function of the RCS being hidden and range. Hiding an F-35 is childs play, hiding an F-16 isn't too hard, but hiding a B-52 might well be impossible for a Barracuda.


You are correct that jamming effectiveness (required jamming power) is a function of RCS and range. Naturally there are other things that affect jamming effectiveness like jamming type and techical capabilties of jammer and radar.

I don't think that hiding even a B-52 would be impossible for Barracuda depending on radar, but it would require jammer to be closer and/or B-52 being further away from the radar than when protecting F-16. If we assume that B-52 has 100 times higher RCS than F-16 and F-35 doing stand-off jamming from 100 km away from the radar and let's say it can mask the F-16 until it gets 50 km away from the radar. Then B-52 would be masked further than about 160 km away from the radar if my quick calculation is correct. Or in other words the F-35 doing jamming would need to be about 15 km away from the radar to mask a B-52 50 km away from the radar.

The importance of low RCS is clear when F-35 could get to something like 5 km from the radar in the above example. We have to remember than frontal RCS of F-16 is actually a lot closer to B-52 than it is to F-35.

Of course putting more wattage in jammer system can also give added effectiveness but B-52 would require 100 times more power than F-16 for the same performance. Or possibly something like million times more power than F-35! :shock:

I can easily see why F-35 is said to be so very powerful jamming system. VLO stealth means it can get a lot closer to threat radars than almost any other aircraft with significant jamming capabilities. That directly multiplies the effects of jamming. Naturally the sensor system and excellent SA gives ability to position the aircraft to advantageous position without revealing itself.
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ricnunes

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Unread post18 Nov 2019, 15:41

kimjongnumbaun wrote:Active stealthis what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.


DITTO!

P.S - Can I use your post/sentence as my new signature?
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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kimjongnumbaun

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 05:10

ricnunes wrote:
kimjongnumbaun wrote:Active stealthis what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.


DITTO!

P.S - Can I use your post/sentence as my new signature?



Please do.
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ricnunes

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 11:25

kimjongnumbaun wrote:
ricnunes wrote:
kimjongnumbaun wrote:Active stealthis what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.


DITTO!

P.S - Can I use your post/sentence as my new signature?



Please do.


Thanks :thumb:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 12:08

ricnunes wrote:
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:A Barracuda suite can hide blue F-16s from red F-16s without being detected itself. That is as operationally close to "active stealth" as you can get. It's here now, and it is not in a pod.


Yes, and aircraft like the Growler can do similar things, although the F-35 is likely more effective since it can get closer to the enemy radar sources (due to stealth).

But something tells me that since "Jamming" is "Active" that it can be counter-detected (as opposed to "passive"/real stealth).


Yes it is and larger output power and nondirectional transmissions make it easier to detect. Of course jamming techniques used also affect this.

Required output power is basically directly proportional to RCS of the object to be protected by the jammer. To "hide" a VLO aircraft like F-35 which is said to have RCS of something like -40 dB or better, required jamming power is at least 4 orders of magnitude lower than what is required to hide a non-VLO fighter aircraft. Very likely the difference is even larger especially considering that radars have trouble detecting and tracking so low RCS targets even without any EW effects. This is because it requires extreme sensitivity and signal purity to filter out such targets.

Actually F-35 likely has easily the best "active stealth" of all aircraft due to having excellent passive stealth properties (so only very low power is required) and highly directional jamming system making it very difficult for ESM systems to pick up the jamming signals. They can definitely use slowly increasing noise jamming at very, very low power levels when they go closer to threat radar. It would be difficult to detect the jamming signals and radar system would start compensating for the increased background noise. Background noise levels fluctuate a lot from natural phenomena and it would be very difficult to tell that kind of jamming from natural sources. When the radar compensates for the background noise levels, it becomes less sensitive as it has to have large enough Signal to Noise ratio to work effectively.
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ricnunes

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 12:52

Thanks for the heads up and detailed explanation hornetfinn :thumb:

So basically, not only "Active Stealth" is BS since in fact it's ECM/EW (but this I already knew for ages) but the fact is that even in the "Active Stealth department" the F-35 is still stealthier and much better! Someone should forward this to all the "brilliant minds" claiming "Active Stealth" lurking out there, specially those "living" on the planets Saab and Dassault...
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 13:08

You're welcome! :D

Yes, for "Active Stealth" (ECM/EW) to work well, having Passive Stealth is extremely beneficial. I think nobody really even understands just how powerful combo the VLO passive stealth with high powered and very directional EW system (especially in fire control radar frequencies) is. We are talking about several orders of magnitude difference. Not forgetting Situational Awareness which helps to maximize the effects of both passive stealth and EW. No wonder F-35 pilots describe the EW capabilties the way they do like that quote in Combat Aircraft magazine October 2015:

‘This jet isn’t just about the weapons — it’s a game-changing capability. The Tornado GR4 can’t just stroll into a
double-digit SAM MEZ [missile engagement zone] In the F-35 I can generate a ‘worm-hole’ in the airspace and lead everyone through it. There isn’t another platform around that can do that. This isn’t all about height and supercruise speed — it’s the ability to not be seen.’


I'd say that description fits perfectly what "Active Stealth" proponents are telling us. Basically F-35s can "stealthify" 4th gen jets using "Active Stealth" i.e. sophisticated electronic warfare. That must be both very strange and comforting to 4th gen aircraft pilots.
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ricnunes

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 13:26

hornetfinn wrote:
‘This jet isn’t just about the weapons — it’s a game-changing capability. The Tornado GR4 can’t just stroll into a
double-digit SAM MEZ [missile engagement zone] In the F-35 I can generate a ‘worm-hole’ in the airspace and lead everyone through it. There isn’t another platform around that can do that. This isn’t all about height and supercruise speed — it’s the ability to not be seen.’


I'd say that description fits perfectly what "Active Stealth" proponents are telling us. Basically F-35s can "stealthify" 4th gen jets using "Active Stealth" i.e. sophisticated electronic warfare. That must be both very strange and comforting to 4th gen aircraft pilots.


Yes indeed. The problem 4th gen-fighter proponents/F-35 naysayers and "Active Stealth" proponents is that they claim that a 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft could create such 'worm-hole' as an alternative to the F-35.
But the problem is like you and sprstdlyscottsmn correctly said, in order for one of those 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft to have the same/similar effect/defectiveness as the F-35 it's ECM/EW suite (pod or whatever) must be transmitting at much higher power output which means that it is much likely to be counter-detected and thus all the concept of "Active Stealth" with 4th gen emitter aircraft goes "bananas"...
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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steve2267

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 13:34

hornetfinn wrote: No wonder F-35 pilots describe the EW capabilties the way they do like that quote in Combat Aircraft magazine October 2015:

‘This jet isn’t just about the weapons — it’s a game-changing capability. The Tornado GR4 can’t just stroll into a
double-digit SAM MEZ [missile engagement zone] In the F-35 I can generate a ‘worm-hole’ in the airspace and lead everyone through it. There isn’t another platform around that can do that. This isn’t all about height and supercruise speed — it’s the ability to not be seen.’




Then why spend $$ on Growler?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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steve2267

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 13:44

The only thing that makes sense is either
  • USA won't sell me F-35 (but then will then sell me Growler?

--OR--

  • To artificially increase the noise floor

Yeah, the enema knows someone is out there because they KNOW there's a sh*t ton of jamming, but because the noise floor is (artificially) raised so high, it makes it so much more easier for VLO aircraft (i.e. F-35) to slip through.

But again... "game changing" and "worm holes"... why spend the $$ on Growler if you can get it all (and more) with the F-35?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 13:55

steve2267 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote: No wonder F-35 pilots describe the EW capabilties the way they do like that quote in Combat Aircraft magazine October 2015:

‘This jet isn’t just about the weapons — it’s a game-changing capability. The Tornado GR4 can’t just stroll into a
double-digit SAM MEZ [missile engagement zone] In the F-35 I can generate a ‘worm-hole’ in the airspace and lead everyone through it. There isn’t another platform around that can do that. This isn’t all about height and supercruise speed — it’s the ability to not be seen.’




Then why spend $$ on Growler?


Well, Growler can do things even F-35 can't at the moment. It can jam lower frequency radars effectively and also has communications jamming and EA against communications systems. They also need that capability now and number of naval F-35s will remain rather small in the near future. F-35 might get those capabilties in the future, with NGJ.
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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 17:00

hornetfinn wrote: They can definitely use slowly increasing noise jamming at very, very low power levels when they go closer to threat radar. It would be difficult to detect the jamming signals and radar system would start compensating for the increased background noise. Background noise levels fluctuate a lot from natural phenomena and it would be very difficult to tell that kind of jamming from natural sources. When the radar compensates for the background noise levels, it becomes less sensitive as it has to have large enough Signal to Noise ratio to work effectively.


The return signal from the target back to the radar will go up in magnitude as a function of range to the 4th power so the jamming power would have to increase by the same to match it.

When radars are setup and calibrated clutter maps and baseline S/N measurements are made.
The ECCM function of the Radar would probably not be fooled by an ever increasing noise floor.
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kimjongnumbaun

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Unread post19 Nov 2019, 22:48

This is the issue and why 5th gens are difficult to deal with.

591A79F6-6D03-4F70-9A2A-119C754B2311.gif


This is what a radar scope looks like. A plane will appear as a spike. In this case, a 4th gen will show up as letter A. A stealth fighter has a lower RCS so it’s “spike” will be below the dashed line and discounted as background radiation. It gets lost in the clutter. A non stealth plane can hide itself using ECM. One method is barrage jamming which fills the air with EM radiation and raises the noise floor to hide its spike. Radars have ways of dealing with this using ECCM. One method is using missiles with home on jam capability. They also can just “burn through”, which is increasing the radar power and causing a stronger return and thus getting a larger spike on the non stealthy aircraft. That’s why you need multiple jammers to hide 4th gens because they need to over power the enemy ground radar, which is typically larger and has more energy to utilize.

For these reasons, that’s why 5th gets have a tremendous advantage. It takes less power to hide them in the noise floor. Typically, they aren’t even detected. If they are detected by long wave radar, a FC radar still needs to use X-band to target them. 5th gens are designed specifically to defeat high frequency radar and bounce the energy away to specific angles. So trying to increase the radar energy and burn through jamming is not effective either. Even if there is a receiver located at the specific angle where the energy is being deflected to, because the plane is moving in a 3D space, any spike will be temporary and not long enough to get a track or firing solution. The F-35 has a very comprehensive EM management suite which shows the pilot where the energy is being directed away to, and can thus manage their EM profile and stay in the enemy’s blind spots. This is part of the sensor fusion which is a major evolution to 4th gen fighters.
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Unread post20 Nov 2019, 04:01

steve2267 wrote:Then why spend $$ on Growler?

Growler will be important going forward (and I'm kind of surprised USAF doesn't have an equivalent... maybe Compass Call?). One likely red team tactic is to use VHF band surveillance radars (eg. Nebo M) to direct and cue shorter wavelength tracking/fire control radars that have been spatially displaced in a way that allows them to paint F35 et al from suboptimal RCS angles (eg side-on). This would improve the range at which they could obtain a viable firing solution, albeit one that could be interrupted by F35 defensive maneuvering & aspect optimisation.

Image

Bear in mind that J20/Su57/red air would likely be datalinked to the local surveillance radars and using that to cue their own sensors/weapons & generally coordinate themselves. Growler and NGJ should provide the important ability to jam these radars prior to their direct destruction.

I think it's worth pointing out that newer radars like Nebo M are mobile and correspondingly more difficult to pin down and kill. Against a peer adversary they would be protected by a layered IADS so there could well be a protracted period of IADS rollback before they are gone. I think it would be wise to expect the F35 to have to operate in their presence for some time - even more reason to have friendly wide-band standoff jamming (eg. Growler) in the mix.
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