F-35 vs AEW&C

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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loke

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Unread post02 Mar 2018, 17:26

The F-35 will have amazing sensors, including a very good AN/APG-81 AESA radar, however in addition there is also sensor fusion and the data links.

Add to this that potential adversaries in the future will work very hard to target high-value targets like AEW&C a/c; would it not make more sense to stop buying them and buy a few more F-35 (plus some more tankers) instead?

For example, why did Australia buy six expensive Wedgetails? Was it because they were still unsure about the F-35 capabilites at the time?

Or will Wedgetails and other similar aircraft still have sufficient advantages that some may prefer to reduce the number of F-35 and buy some of them instead?

How many F-35 per Wedgetail?
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spazsinbad

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Unread post02 Mar 2018, 17:50

Wedgetail aircraft are in service (and crewed by combined ADF members, though RAAF mostly) and have served overseas operationally and in exercises. They serve all ADF (Australian Defence Force) assets including NAVY and ARMY. RAAF plan to use F-35As in formations of 4-5 operationally with or without Wedgetail support and/or all the other support available using RAAF assets, tankers etc.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post02 Mar 2018, 18:07

loke wrote:How many per Wedgetail?

Up to 24
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rheonomic

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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 00:39

From commentary I've heard / read from Red Flag and similar, the Wedgetail is a beast. IIRC the RAAF (probably rightly) considers it part of their 5th generation force.
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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 01:15

No 'probably' required. Our RAAF are transitioning to an all 5th Generation Force - Growlers are SUPPORT AIRCRAFT - so Super Hornets are IFFY. References will be in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=23043
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white_lightning35

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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 01:20

SpudmanWP wrote:
loke wrote:How many per Wedgetail?

Up to 24

What does this mean?
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weasel1962

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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 01:52

The wedgetail was procured at A$3.43b in 2003 budget dollars which represents roughly US$500m a plane so we're talking about 5-6 more F-35s each wedgetail.

AWACS has definitely a major role in peacetime operations and despite the stealth threat, still represents a force multiplier particularly in the provision of situation awareness & C&C. imho, the multiplier effect is less when the "force" is an F-35 fleet. The concept of operating without AEW support is not new. Networked su-27s is an example.

In the stealth world, force planners will just see AWACs as another asset to protect and plan accordingly. The use of AESA technology does mean that the old way of using AWACS like GCI radar may not apply to the stealth world. Instead controlled emissions using algorithms to manage battlespace visibility will render AWACS less detectable and hence more survivable. So in peacetime, the AWACs operate as a GCI radar, in wartime, its a network aggregator + another eye in the sky. It is still useful to have a C&C asset in the air, where static GCI is more vulnerable.
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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 01:56

What does this mean: "The wedgetail was procured at A$3.43b in 2003 budget dollars which represents roughly US$500m a plane so we're talking about 5-6 more F-35s each wedgetail...." Please explain.
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 02:00

spazsinbad wrote:What does this mean: "The wedgetail was procured at A$3.43b in 2003 budget dollars which represents roughly US$500m a plane so we're talking about 5-6 more F-35s each wedgetail...." Please explain.


How I'm reading the 1st post in the thread is the assumption that if wedgetail isn't effective, then the difference is cost savings of not buying a wedgetail is to procure more F-35s. So the question of how many F-35 per wedgetail. If we're talking about a different matric then the 1st poster should clarify.

For the benefit of the 1st poster, I'm reading Spudman's post is probably a reference to how many F-35s a wedgetail will support in an operation.
Last edited by weasel1962 on 03 Mar 2018, 02:05, edited 1 time in total.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 02:04

Yep length is short and width is short - I agree - Confucius says.
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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 02:09

China and Russia all claim that they can shoot US's AWACS down with super long range missiles (range 300 km) but no test to demonstrate this so far.

They always tend to use missile to compensate for the incompetence of plateform (sensor, VLO)
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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 02:27

AWACS have longer wave 360 degree radar so such aircraft will still be needed for the panoramic view.
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weasel1962

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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 02:29

In wartime, the new working assumption is that the panoramic view (from a single AWAC radar) need to be sacrificed to improve survivability and replaced with another panoramic view (this time from a networked, distributed nodal system).
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post03 Mar 2018, 02:59

white_lightning35 wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:
loke wrote:How many per Wedgetail?

Up to 24

What does this mean?

The MADL data link is designed for 25 nodes in the "local network". This will typically be 6x4 plane groups with the 25th node (ie Wedgetail) serving as a gateway to the rest of the network.

Also, imagine the benefit of Wedgetail (ie an ESA array) when they figure out how to do airborne bistatic radar.
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