Are Boeing AEW&C customers looking for alternatives?

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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boogieman

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Unread post22 Jul 2020, 22:02

marauder2048 wrote:Not sure I understand; AWACS do have defensive suites for a reason.

Of course, just wondering whether the addition of MSDM to the defensive suites of existing AWACS aircraft will be sufficient to allow them to function in the presence of a peer threat equipped with modern LO aircraft and VLRAAM 10-15 years from now. There is a decent run-down of the problem I am referencing here: (eg. p118)

isr.jpg

https://csbaonline.org/research/publica ... lication/1
marauder2048 wrote:This is based on what exactly?

The fact that they are ~40 year old PESA designs and that more modern EW systems like Krasukha 2 & 4 have been developed specifically to target them (ref p52):

https://www.foi.se/rest-api/report/FOI-R--4625--SE

Details are scarce on whether or not the PRC has similar EW assets at its disposal but, then again, information on Chinese EW platforms is scarce in general. Suffice it to say I wouldn't be shocked to find they have similar systems in their inventory. I would have expected a shift to more modern AESA arrays on E3 by now for improved jam resistance, LPI/LPD etc. (?)
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marauder2048

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Unread post22 Jul 2020, 23:12

CSBA is assuming that the E-3 is hosting some GMTI radar which will necessarily enhance its vulnerability
to both ground based jammers and enemy interceptors given typical GMTI collection geometries.

APY-2 was practically compute limited until very recently. I've got more confidence in 30 years of STAP development
providing high resistance to ground based jammers (which have to shoot-and-scoot to have any hope of survival).

If survivability against ground based jammers really becomes a concern you'll see lower operating altitudes for AWACS;
that's perfectly fine since Red's land attack threat tends not to be of the very-low altitude/very low observable
type. And performance against higher altitude threats won't be much impacted.
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boogieman

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Unread post22 Jul 2020, 23:52

marauder2048 wrote:APY-2 was practically compute limited until very recently. I've got more confidence in 30 years of STAP development
providing high resistance to ground based jammers (which have to shoot-and-scoot to have any hope of survival).

...as well as sit behind layers of red IADS rings. There are of course airborne jammers to add to the equation as well (GX-11, Il22-PP, Su34, J-15D/16D). FWIW I do take your point - for example a ground based jammer would have to be within ~210nm of an AWACS aircraft operating at FL30 to achieve LOS and jam it - but I am still left wondering what those same 30 years of STAP development could achieve on a more modern AESA set. Perhaps it is not seen as a needed capability for now.

marauder2048 wrote:If survivability against ground based jammers really becomes a concern you'll see lower operating altitudes for AWACS;
that's perfectly fine since Red's land attack threat tends not to be of the very-low altitude/very low observable
type
. And performance against higher altitude threats won't be much impacted.

Hmm I'm not so sure about that. The Russians continue to invest in Kalibr/Kh555/59/101 variants, and the Chinese have plenty of CJ10s and their derivatives to throw around. Granted, there seems to be greater investment in supersonic/ballistic land attack missiles, but the LACM threat is still very much there.
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marauder2048

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Unread post23 Jul 2020, 02:01

boogieman wrote:...as well as sit behind layers of red IADS rings. There are of course airborne jammers to add to the equation as well (GX-11, Il22-PP, Su34, J-15D/16D). FWIW I do take your point - for example a ground based jammer would have to be within ~210nm of an AWACS aircraft operating at FL30 to achieve LOS and jam it - but I am still left wondering what those same 30 years of STAP development could achieve on a more modern AESA set. Perhaps it is not seen as a needed capability for now.


They've been waiting on affordable element-level digital beam forming + T/R modules of sufficient
power density at S-band that also meet volume, weight and mil spec durability reqs.

Last I checked, they still aren't there at least per what the usual T/R module suspects & Co. advertise or describe in papers.


boogieman wrote:Hmm I'm not so sure about that. The Russians continue to invest in Kalibr/Kh555/59/101 variants, and the Chinese have plenty of CJ10s and their derivatives to throw around. Granted, there seems to be greater investment in supersonic/ballistic land attack missiles, but the LACM threat is still very much there.


None of those are VLO right?

It doesn't look they've yet followed the route the US took starting with ACM against the emerging Soviet AWACS threat.
The Navy envisions facing a VLO/VLA threat since in the open ocean (with no terrain masking) the options come down to
that or high-speed/higher altitude with an optional low-alt terminal phase.
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boogieman

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Unread post23 Jul 2020, 02:25

marauder2048 wrote:They've been waiting on affordable element-level digital beam forming + T/R modules of sufficient
power density at S-band that also meet volume, weight and mil spec durability reqs.

Last I checked, they still aren't there at least per what the usual T/R module suspects & Co. advertise or describe in papers.

Ah hah! Now this makes more sense. Given what has been accomplished with the UHF band AN/APY-9 on E2D, I would have expected something similar to appear on the E3.
marauder2048 wrote:None of those are VLO right?
It doesn't look they've yet followed the route the US took starting with ACM against the emerging Soviet AWACS threat.
The Navy envisions facing a VLO/VLA threat since in the open ocean (with no terrain masking) the options come down to
that or high-speed/higher altitude with an optional low-alt terminal phase.

Kh101 and Kh59MK2 are definitely LO, although I am not sure if their RCS figures qualify them for VLO status. CJ10 family are non-VLO Tomahawk analogues. Knowing the PRC an LO equivalent shouldn't be too far away.
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element1loop

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Unread post23 Jul 2020, 08:21

loke wrote:Interestingly Australia seems to start thinking about Wedgetail replacement already.


Wedgetail's Phase 6 upgrade is pending approval and is due to go to a competition in 2028. While the initial replacement project phase is not scheduled to commence until 2029, probably in service somewhere around 2040. i.e. a planned replacement of worn out aircraft in the 2040s. Wedgetail's a completely different development and integration direction to whatever the Koreans or Turks did with it.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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element1loop

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Unread post23 Jul 2020, 08:37

weasel1962 wrote:An option that a few users are reviewing are aerostats (whether tethered or otherwise). Although it can't fly far, the aerostat provides persistent long ranged AEW over the course of days, and not hours. Maintenance costs etc are far cheaper.


I don't see how aerostats hold station in a +100 knot jetstream flow for days without consuming a whole lot of fuel and requiring a much heavier structure against moderate to severe turbulence. Altitude matters, so flying at lower level is out, and you'd just need 4 times as many aerostats. And now you're flying in even more convective and disrupted air. I don't think aerostats can ever be that solution, nor can they withdraw at 480 knots to survive.

BTW, some of the highest speed and most persistent jetstream flows on earth pass directly over South Korea.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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boogieman

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Unread post23 Jul 2020, 12:28

Pretty sure Singapore uses an aerostat based radar system as part of their national IADS set-up, albeit at 2000ft which is a little less ambitious than JLENS was. Gives a radar horizon of ~55nm which might work for such a tiny place.

Article.pdf
(1.6 MiB) Downloaded 144 times

EL/M-2083 is supposed to sit at 13k feet and seems to work? No clear indication that it doesn't anyway. Not sure who uses it so hard to say how capable it is or isn't.
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marauder2048

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Unread post23 Jul 2020, 20:44

element1loop wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:An option that a few users are reviewing are aerostats (whether tethered or otherwise). Although it can't fly far, the aerostat provides persistent long ranged AEW over the course of days, and not hours. Maintenance costs etc are far cheaper.


I don't see how aerostats hold station in a +100 knot jetstream flow for days without consuming a whole lot of fuel and requiring a much heavier structure against moderate to severe turbulence. Altitude matters, so flying at lower level is out, and you'd just need 4 times as many aerostats. And now you're flying in even more convective and disrupted air. I don't think aerostats can ever be that solution, nor can they withdraw at 480 knots to survive.

BTW, some of the highest speed and most persistent jetstream flows on earth pass directly over South Korea.


None of the tethered aerostats are designed to operate in 100 knot winds but they are designed to survive in them.
The TARS array in the US with an L-band radar designed for cruise missile defense has a CPFH* of $950.
That's with an onboard 100 gallon diesel generator at 1 gallon/hour consumption for the radar.

Things like JLENS which are tethered powered are better by virtue of larger, more efficient ground-based generators.
The typical appeal of aerostats is that you can re-use variants of existing ground-based radars since they are
only contending with stationary clutter.

A JLENS orbit (Surveillance + FCR) was to be in the $250 million range with a CPFH of $10,000 which was dominated
completely by military personnel costs so YMMV. Typical AWACS CPFH is ~$40,000.

With JLENS you get a dual-band system with FCQ quality tracks so it's really not comparable to, AFAIK, any
AWACS out there.

* Yes..it's a bad metric but it's easier that posting the detail O&S breakdowns.
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