Navy: F-35C Will Be Eyes and Ears of the Fleet

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Unread post23 May 2014, 19:29

Another long article best read at source - MAJOR bits have been left out from only excerpts below....
Navy Considers it’s Beyond-the-Horizon Future 22 May 2014 Kris Osborn

"The Navy is in the early phases of considering new sensors, aircraft and weapons it could add to its beyond-the-horizon strike and cruise missile intercept system, service officials said.

The system, called Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air, or NIFC-CA, uses a Standard Missile 6 and an E-2D Hawkeye aircraft as an airborne sensor to track and destroy approaching cruise missiles at much longer distances than existing technologies can.

NIFC-CA uses an airborne sensor and the SM-6 missile to enable ships to locate and destroy approaching threats from distances well beyond the existing radar horizon, Navy officials said.

Although still in the middle of a rigorous testing regiment in preparation for deployment in 2015, the NIFC-CA system is showing promise and leading Navy thinkers, developers and futurists to contemplate additional uses for the technology.

“Can we develop other sensors which we can incorporate into the architecture of the future? What are future platforms going to have to do with NIFC-CA? Is the Joint Strike Fighter going to have a role with NIFC-CA? [IS IT WOT!] Is there a UAV component that we could use in the future?” Capt. James Kilby, Deputy for Ballistic Missile Defense, AEGIS Combat Systems and Destroyers in the Surface Warfare Directorate, told Military​.com in an interview.

Working in tandem with airborne sensors, the SM-6 missile uses an active and semi-active seeker to locate and guide itself toward targets beyond the horizon, said Michael Campisi, senior director, SM-6, Raytheon.

“The SM-6 is a multi-mission missile. It uses active and semi-active modes that are part of the ability to intercept beyond the line of sight. The booster gives you the range and the active mode gives you the over-the-horizon ability,” Campisi said.

The Navy has more NIFC-CA tests planned in coming months....

...NIFC-CA could allow ships to be closer to the shore in some instances because the ship would have the technology to thwart or destroy land-launched anti-ship cruise missiles. At the same time, there may be instances where NIFC-CA would enable a ship to operate and accomplish its mission objectives at greater distances, Kilby added.

One analyst said NIFC-CA extends the Navy’s strategic range....

...“The concept of integrated fire control is it is all about breaking what has been a slavish relationship between the sensor and the shooter; integrated fire control allows you to employ weapons to their max kinematic ranges,” he said....

...Developing NIFC-CA is an integral part of the Navy’s broader post-Iraq and Afghanistan strategy which seeks to return the service to a more pronounced surface warfare emphasis and what’s called blue-water combat. This involves a re-balance to the Pacific as well a focus on anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and integrated air and missile defense, among other things."

SOURCE: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/05/22/navy- ... on-future/
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 post23 May 2014, 23:18

One hole Navy has to address is how to benefit from,NIFC-CA when no CVN is present. Forward-deployed DDGs and CGs not forming part of a CSG, perhaps part f an,ESG or operating autonomously, will not be able to maximize the reach of their SM-6s.
Add edit - perhaps AF may help plug the capability gap. Also, DARPA,is,working on a Predator-szed UAV that LCS-2 can launch and recover..,fit that thing out with conformal,AESAs,and the Surface Combatants exponentially expand their reach and coverage.
Last edited by popcorn on 24 May 2014, 00:40, edited 1 time in total.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post24 May 2014, 00:02

They have launched SM-6 missiles based on Army radar guidance (the big blimps)

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=69829
http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/jlens/
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Unread post24 May 2014, 00:43

SpudmanWP wrote:They have launched SM-6 missiles based on Army radar guidance (the big blimps)

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=69829
http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/jlens/

Indeed, a positive sign of the increased,emphasis on improving interoperability. No reason why USAF AWACs and similar aircraft like Oz Wedgetails can't contribute as well.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post24 May 2014, 00:43

There's one thing I never got about this article -- why use the F-35s just as ISR nodes? Why not just add JDAMs and ditch the whole "Super Hornets with standoff weapons" thing? I mean, when you think about it, the F-35s are going to have to fly over the hostile area to gather target information anyways, so you're not gaining any survivability advantage by using Super Hornets with JASSMs or other cruise missiles. If anything, you're decreasing survivability by forcing the F-35 to loiter over the area to wait for the cruise missile to get there and provide targeting information. You're also using a potentially million dollar plus cruise missile instead of a $25,000 JDAM, and using two different kinds of aircraft increases logistics costs, so you're not exactly saving money or reducing manpower/logistics requirements.

To me, it just seems like a Rube Goldberg solution. Instead of using a single aircraft with a single pilot to drop a $25,000 JDAM on a target and get out of dodge, you're using two different aircraft with three pilots to drop a $1.5 million cruise missile that requires targeting data links and has a much lower reliability than a JDAM (smsgtmac has a pretty good graphic displaying the discrepancy between the reliability of JDAMs with developmental software and the reliability of cruise missiles), as well as reducing the F-35's survivability and adding an extra point of failure (the Super Hornet being shot down by a CAP or some other enemy activity) to boot.

EDIT: I just checked for the Super Hornet's maximum loadout, and it can carry two JASSMs to use in a "standoff" configuration. The F-35, on the other hand, can carry two JDAMs or eight SDBs in a stealth configuration (and still carry two A2A weapons), if you choose to use it directly instead of using the Super Hornet. So, you're not getting any advantage in terms of the number of weapons that can be delivered per sortie by using the Super Hornet as a standoff weapons platform, either. In fact, if you're trying to hit "lighter" targets that don't need to be hit by a 1,000 lb warhead, you can use the SDB instead, and destroy four times as many targets with the F-35 as you could with a cruise missile-carrying Super Hornet.

As an aside, you're not getting any range benefit either, both because the Navy's plan requires the F-35 to actually get to the target area, and because the F-35 has a greater range than the Super Hornet.

It seems to serve no purpose other than trying to kludge the Super Hornet into the equation to try to make it seem useful.
Last edited by exosphere on 24 May 2014, 01:41, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post24 May 2014, 01:00

exosphere wrote:There's one thing I never got about this article -- why use the F-35s just as ISR nodes? Why not just add JDAMs and ditch the whole "Super Hornets with standoff weapons" thing? I mean, when you think about it, the F-35s are going to have to fly over the hostile area to gather target information anyways, so you're not gaining any survivability advantage by using Super Hornets with JASSMs or other cruise missiles. If anything, you're decreasing survivability by forcing the F-35 to loiter over the area to wait for the cruise missile to get there and provide targeting information. You're also using a potentially million dollar plus cruise missile instead of a $25,000 JDAM, and using two different kinds of aircraft increases logistics costs, so you're not exactly saving money or reducing manpower/logistics requirements.

To me, it just seems like a Rube Goldberg solution. Instead of using a single aircraft with a single pilot to drop a $25,000 JDAM on a target and get out of dodge, you're using two different aircraft with three pilots to drop a $1.5 million cruise missile that requires targeting data links and has a much lower reliability than a JDAM (smsgtmac has a pretty good graphic displaying the discrepancy between the reliability of JDAMs with developmental software and the reliability of cruise missiles), as well as reducing the F-35's survivability and adding an extra point of failure (the Super Hornet being shot down by a CAP or some other enemy activity) to boot.


Navy had to come up with a solution that can make use of their large SH fleet, even if it is going to be limited primarily to,a stand-off role. Still useful aircraft ... I like them as aerial tankers.,This means downplaying the role of the F-35, stressing it's ISR and networking facets which are game-changing, though as you correctly point out it could do kinetic strike missions more cost-effectively than the Rhino.

The AF OTOH has made it very clear they want to,transition to an all,5Gen force sooner than later..,"Invest in the future, not in the past" what fmr.,Gen. Dave Deptula used to say.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post30 May 2014, 14:47

Apologies if some of this info is elsewhere on forum but it gets confuzin' after the long downtime. :mrgreen:
Navy seeks links for denied environments 28 May 2014 Michael Peck

“The U.S. Navy is seeking secure data links for operating in denied environments.

The Navy is concerned about the growing problem of data link being interrupted by either hostile jamming or interference from friendly radio sources. So the Navy has put out a small business innovation research solicitation for secure data links to support both wideband radio and laser communications.

"Recent advancements in both WB [wideband] RF (2 Ghz–15 Ghz) and Lasercom technologies could be used to overcome many of the challenges," the Navy suggested. "WB RF and/or Lasercom technologies can be used for providing anti-jam and low probability of interception and detection (LPI/LPD) communications."

The Navy also wants a digital data link, operating at electro-optic/infrared EO/IR sensor system frequencies, that supports encryption and two-way communications. The technology would eventually be tested on the F/A-18 and F-35.”

Source: http://www.c4isrnet.com/article/M7/2014 ... vironments

Legacy Fighters Share Fifth-Gen Toys 28 May 2014

“F-22 and F-35 fighters translated and passed fifth-generation sensor and communication data to legacy aircraft on the Link 16 network during a series of recent demo flights at Nellis AFB, Nev., and Edwards AFB, Calif., Northrop Grumman announced May 27. The Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, known as Jetpack, "implemented a system to allow fourth-generation fighters to access the bounty of sensor information from the fifth-generation aircraft," said Jeannie Hilger, vice president of the company's communications division. The internal or pod-carried system "leverages Northrop Grumman's F-35 avionics development to provide a production-ready, affordable solution for our joint forces," added Hilger. The JCTD program to develop the system is sponsored by Air Combat Command, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and US Pacific Command. Test flights from Nellis were successfully completed in March and the final phase at Edwards wrapped up last month, according to the company.”

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pa ... -Toys.aspx
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Unread post09 Jun 2014, 15:55

MOre On the NIFC-CA now with more powerful radars for E-2Ds. Long article - only last bit below....
The U.S. Navy’s Secret Counter-Stealth Weapon Could Be Hiding in Plain Sight
09 Jun 2014 Dave Majumdar

"...Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin appear to have overcome the traditional limitations of UHF-band radars in the APY-9 by applying a combination of advanced electronic scanning capability together with enormous digital computing power in the form of space/time adaptive processing. The Navy would not directly address the issue, but service officials did say the APY-9 provides a massive increase in performance over the E-2C Hawkeye 2000’s radar.

“The E-2D APY-9 radar provides a significantly enhanced airborne early warning and situational awareness capability against all air targets including threat aircraft and cruise missiles,” said Naval Air Systems Command spokesman Rob Koon in an emailed statement to USNI News.

“The modern technology of the APY-9 radar provides a substantial improvement in performance over the E-2C’s APS-145 radar whose heritage dates back to the 1970s.”

But the Navy openly talks about the E-2D’s role as the central node of its Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) (pronounced: nifk-kah) construct to defeat enemy air and missile threats—Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, the Navy’s director of air warfare, described the concept in detail to USNI News last December.

Under the NIFC-CA ‘From the Air’ (FTA) construct, the APY-9 radar can act as a sensor to cue Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles for Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets fighters via the Link-16 datalink.

Additionally, the APY-9 also acts as a sensor to guide Standard SM-6 missiles launched from Aegis cruisers and destroyers against targets located beyond the ships’ SPY-1 radars’ horizon via the Cooperative Engagement Capability datalink under the NIFC-CA ‘From the Sea’ (FTS) construct. And thus far, all live-fire NIFC-CA missile shots have been successful.


The first increment of NIFC-CA is set to be fielded later this year when the first E-2D squadron, VAW-125, is set to declare initial operating capability in October 2014. NIFC-CA will be declared operational concurrently with that squadron.

The APY-9 is a unique design in many respects, NAVAIR and Northrop brag that the radar is a “two-generation leap” over the APS-145 in an information booklet the service has been distributing. While externally the radar appears to be no different than the purely mechanically-scanned AN/APS-145—also built by Lockheed Martin–internally it is an another matter entirely.

While the APY-9 does rotate inside the E-2D’s dish-shaped radome to achieve 360-degree coverage, the crew of the aircraft can control the antenna rotation speed to focus on an area of interest according to NAVAIR. Further, the 18-channel passive phased-array ADS-18 antenna has the ability to steer its radar beam electronically. It also incorporates an electronically-scanned identification friend or foe system.

The transmitter and receiver hardware are located inside the aircraft’s fuselage and connect to the antenna via high power radiofrequency transmission lines and a high power radiofrequency rotary coupler. Thus, it is not an active electronically scanned array radar.

The APY-9 has three distinct radar modes, Advanced Airborne Early Warning Surveillance, Enhanced Sector Scan, and Enhanced Tracking Sector.

Advanced Airborne Early Warning Surveillance is the normal operating mode for the radar to provide uniform 360-degree, simultaneous air and surface coverage with long-range detection of low radar cross-section targets. The antenna rotates 360 degrees every ten seconds or so when it is operating in this primarily mechanically scanned mode.

The Enhanced Sector Scan mode merges traditional mechanical scanning with steerable electronic scanning to leverage the benefits of both technologies while simultaneously mitigating the shortcomings of either methodology. The antenna rotates mechanically, but the operator can select a specific sector where the rotation of the antenna is slowed to focus on an area.

Enhanced Tracking Sector is a pure electronically scanned mode, where the antenna is geographically stabilized or following a particular target. This mode provides enhanced detection and tracking in a selected sector by stopping the antenna and scanning purely electronically. This mode is particularly useful against low-observable targets due to its rapid track updates.

The APY-9 has a range of at least 300 nautical miles and seems to be limited only by the performance of the E-2D airframe–which normally operates at 25,000ft.

The Navy ultimately hopes to buy a total of 75 E-2D with the last examples entering the fleet in the 2020s."

Source: http://news.usni.org/2014/06/09/u-s-nav ... lain-sight
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 post09 Jun 2014, 23:01

Strange, I always thought the Advanced. Hawkeye used AESA but the article explicitly says otherwise.

The transmitter and receiver hardware are located inside the aircraft’s fuselage and connect to the antenna via high power radiofrequency transmission lines and a high power radiofrequency rotary coupler. Thus, it is not an active electronically scanned array radar.
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Unread post10 Jun 2014, 00:10


Yep, clear enough now. I guess years back when AESA was beginning to become a buzzword, some,writer just assumed any new Hawkeye radar would be AESA and this myth was picked up and replicated thru media, blogs, forums.. the few in the actual know probably felt no,compunction to steer the herd... regardless of tech, quite impressive performance and am,wondering how much of the tech will pollinate over to E-3 AWACS?
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Unread post10 Jun 2014, 04:26

Is there any advantage of using PESA over AESA in the E-3 Hawkeye?
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Unread post10 Jun 2014, 05:15

The issue is the rotating connector in the hub.

An AESA would require MAY more connectors and increase cost & complexity SUBSTANTIALLY.
Last edited by SpudmanWP on 10 Jun 2014, 06:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post10 Jun 2014, 05:19

SpudmanWP wrote:The issue is the rotating connector in the hub.

An AESA would require MAY more connectors and increase cost & complesity SUBSTANTIALLY.



Good thing E-3 wasn't stealthy to begin with, so having PESA wouldn't really compromise much.
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Unread post05 Aug 2014, 03:43

On earlier pages of this thread is info on ATDL - this snippet of news does not seem to have appeared on this forum and it is a bit late - is that a Spanish/Mexican Siesta thing? But anyway....
delivered an innovative new communications antenna
04 Aug 2014 HONEYWELL AEROSPACE

"Contract Awarded for delivered an innovative new communications antenna that will enable the U.S. Military to conduct highly secure communicationsbetween new and older generation aircraft - Contract Awarded Date: May 2014

Part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Emerging Capability & Prototyping s Jetpack 5th to 4th Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program, the technology enables secure communications between the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor aircraft. It also provides a secure communication link between these aircraft and other key platforms such as legacy fighters, bombers, and airborne battlefield management, command and control aircraft.

Officially named the dual-band advanced tactical data link (ATDL) antenna, the system was developed in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman Freedom 550 Joint Enterprise Terminal and supports both the F-22 Intra-flight Data Link (IFDL) and F-35 Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) data communications. The ATDL antenna system uses Honeywell's expertise in data communications to provide customers a more efficient solution and requires a dramatically smaller installation footprint than alternatives."

Source: http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2014/8/ ... ntenna.htm
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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