Stealthy external pod seen on a F-22

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disconnectedradical

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Unread post28 Apr 2022, 01:50

So, IRST is better than no IRST, but for how much money is going into F-22 upgrades, they can’t do better than a pod? What’s preventing them from doing something like this Super Hornet concept? It’s not like they lack money, $10.8 billion to 2031.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post28 Apr 2022, 02:45

BDF wrote:Gen Kelly just dropped a tweet with a very interesting image on it: Link. It shows the what we think are IRST pods and the new external tanks being tested for the Raptor.

Image



Interesting indeed..........Yet, to carry them the F-22 would have to give up some performance and RCS.
Last edited by Corsair1963 on 28 Apr 2022, 04:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post28 Apr 2022, 03:33

BDF wrote:the new external tanks being tested for the Raptor.

Could be. But I’ll throw out it could also be new stealthy external weapons pods (EWPs), based how the missile’s position and plume is more in line with the right pod.

Let’s say the pod can carry 4 AIM-260 JATM missiles. Along with 6 AIM-120Ds and 2 AIM-9Xs, a single F-22 would carry 14 medium / long range missiles and with the way the F-22 normally employs the 9Xs, it has an additional 2 near BVR.

And the jet will still be completely stealthy and with the pod’s aerodynamics, should reduce overall drag compared to weapons hanging out in the open.

I can also imagine in a 4-ship F-22 flight, only two jets are carrying the EWPs. The other two are completely clean, optimized for max performance. That gives the flight an additional 16 medium / long range missiles (48 missiles total). The clean F-22s could go further down range and do cooperative targeting for the EWP jets. Any stragglers could be met with additional shots or engaged by the clean jets. With the upcoming optimized Scorpion HMD designed for the F-22, it’s just going to get worse for those potentially having to face the beast.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post28 Apr 2022, 04:54

F-22 Raptor’s Future Upgrades Appear In Art Posted By Air Force General

The art shows us new features the Raptor is gaining, including stealthy fuel tanks and special underwing pods, as well as a new missile.

The head of the U.S. Air Force's Air Combat Command, Gen. Mark Kelly, has posted a very interesting piece of art on his Instagram page. It shows a trio of F-22s outfitted with unique-looking fuel tanks and faceted pods under their wings. One is also firing off a missile we have never seen before.

The first is the pair of faceted underwing pods attached to the F-22's outer underwing hardpoints. These pods are in flight testing now, as we had reported on earlier. While it isn't perfectly clear what their exact purpose is, our analysis points to them being a long-promised infrared search and track system and possibly an electronic warfare pod. The same faceted aperture that was seen on one of the real-life pods is depicted in the newly released Raptor concept art, as well.

(FULL STORY HERE)

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/f ... ce-general
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Unread post28 Apr 2022, 09:04

Regarding the IRST capability, I would have just removed the AN/AAR-56 MLD and in its place install the new Raytheon developed/built DAS that will come integrated with future F-35s (starting with Lot 15 aircraft):
Image

Yes, this new Raytheon DAS is not a pure, dedicated IRST system like IRST21, which means surely it can't detect, track and ID targets as far away as a Legion Pod can, but it's still state of the art and when compared to a dedicated IRST under the nose or in an external pod, I see at least two things in its favor:
- no increase in RCS, drag, and weight;
- 360 degree coverage.
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Unread post28 Apr 2022, 11:55

Legion is a narrow FOV, whereas DAS is wide FOV. They do not compete.
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Unread post28 Apr 2022, 14:54

disconnectedradical wrote:So, IRST is better than no IRST, but for how much money is going into F-22 upgrades, they can’t do better than a pod? What’s preventing them from doing something like this Super Hornet concept? It’s not like they lack money, $10.8 billion to 2031.


Cheaper for sure which means you can use the money to do something else, likely also faster and lower risk without doing open surgery on airframe itself, without being built in you can transfer between aircrafts maybe even types, just off the top of my head. BTW they must also be having flashbacks the EOTS upgrade blunders.

I wouldn't be speculate too much what the inboard store is, it's meant to be ambiguous anyways if they're not saying, could be the flying missile rail thing for all we know. Other than they expect F-22 to fly combat missions with a lot of external stores, which deviate very much from my previous understanding.

I do wonder with all the external stores now does make me wonder if USAF judge we're going into post radar stealth age, at least for some manned aircraft for some roles. Or the kind of tradeoff will not be cost effective going into future.
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Unread post29 Apr 2022, 00:47

Sure but with external sensor pod you lose your all aspect VLO especially from the angles not directly in front. I don't know why they don't want to do some kind of sensor fairing under the nose, the IRST21 sensor itself is not that big, and even the front end of that sensor pod, it looks like you can put that under the nose without much impact.

This is just me playing with photoshop, but I was being generous and you can probably make it not protrude out as much, but even so it doesn't look like it would take that much space. Unless this pod is supposed to do more than just be IRST and also be EW, but it's still nice to be able to have an IRST without needing a pod that can degrade stealth especially from all aspects.
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Unread post29 Apr 2022, 01:13

disconnectedradical wrote:Sure but with external sensor pod you lose your all aspect VLO especially from the angles not directly in front. I don't know why they don't want to do some kind of sensor fairing under the nose, the IRST21 sensor itself is not that big, and even the front end of that sensor pod, it looks like you can put that under the nose without much impact.

This is just me playing with photoshop, but I was being generous and you can probably make it not protrude out as much, but even so it doesn't look like it would take that much space. Unless this pod is supposed to do more than just be IRST and also be EW, but it's still nice to be able to have an IRST without needing a pod that can degrade stealth especially from all aspects.


My understanding is the F-22 was originally designed with an internal IRST and there is actually empty avaliable space inside the airframe where it was going to be located?
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Unread post29 Apr 2022, 05:40

disconnectedradical wrote:Sure but with external sensor pod you lose your all aspect VLO especially from the angles not directly in front. I don't know why they don't want to do some kind of sensor fairing under the nose, the IRST21 sensor itself is not that big, and even the front end of that sensor pod, it looks like you can put that under the nose without much impact.

This is just me playing with photoshop, but I was being generous and you can probably make it not protrude out as much, but even so it doesn't look like it would take that much space. Unless this pod is supposed to do more than just be IRST and also be EW, but it's still nice to be able to have an IRST without needing a pod that can degrade stealth especially from all aspects.

The double pod configuration is probably so that you can do triangulation and measure distance with a single plane.
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Unread post29 Apr 2022, 12:36

dtmdragon wrote:My understanding is the F-22 was originally designed with an internal IRST and there is actually empty avaliable space inside the airframe where it was going to be located?

In the wing roots, not under the nose. Maybe they don't want to have to do all the structural tests that would be required of adding new internal components. Maybe it can't generate enough on-board power for it to be internal. Maybe the pods are dual purpose (as many have said). There are many reasons they could be going with dual pods instead of internal.
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Unread post01 May 2022, 03:20

Possibly, just seems like this is a less than ideal compromise. I mean it seems like some work on an internal IRST was already done back in the day under the nose.

https://twitter.com/MIL_STD/status/1481 ... 23u0MU8YTA

Something that was talked about was USAF considering an NGAD optimized for the Pacific and another NGAD optimized for Europe. With NGAD technology used to upgrade F-22s, wouldn't that be adequate for European NGAD requirements, where range is not as big of a factor?
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