Skip to comments.Measuring the F-22 Advantage - (compared to European fighters; Rafael, Eurofighter, and Gripen?)
Posted on 05/15/2005 6:58:54 PM PDT by CHARLITE
How far ahead of the pack is the F-22? Especially when compared to European fighters like the Rafael, Eurofighter, and Gripen? This is something that matters a lot to the Air Force, which thinks the F-22 is vital to maintaining air superiority replacing the F-15C as soon as possible, even at the expense of reducing the buy of the F-35. How valid is the Air Forces claim?
First, one needs to look at how visible the aircraft in question are on radar. The F-15C is probably the most visible, entering service just as Lockheed began work on the F-117 Nighthawk. The Rafael and Eurofighter have taken steps to reduce their radar-cross section from the front. The Gripen has not had as much work on this front. The F-22, however, has the lowest radar-cross section and has it on all aspects. It also has another major advantage in this regard when compared to these European fighters: the F-22 carries its weapons internally, while all three of the European fighters carry the weapons externally. While some missiles like the Storm Shadow and SCALP have reduced radar cross-sections, some weapons still reflect radar well. This means that the Rafael and Eurofighter will still be at a huge disadvantage.
The next question is how good the radars are. The F-15s APG-70 has been upgraded over the years, to the point where it can distinguish an aircraft using Non-Cooperative Target Recognition (NCTR). The Air Force does not reveal much about the system, but NCTR is said to be capable of revealing the model and even variations on a given model of a target being tracked by radar. The Rafaels RBE2 is capable of searching out and tracking targets in the air and on the ground or sea, as well as classifying those targets, and it also is a low-probability of intercept radar, which means that it can track targets with less chance of the target knowing it is a target. The Eurofighters CAPTOR (a variant of the Blue Vixen used on the retiring Sea Harrier F/A.2s) has a unique three-channel system that gives it additional ability in electronic counter-counter measures (ECCM) as well as air-search and surface-search capabilities. The F-22s radar is designed to use spread spectrum transmission to locate and track targets before they even know the F-22 is there. The F-22 also has the most advanced NCTR system put into a fighter aircraft.
Finally, how good are the countermeasures? The Rafael, Gripen, and Eurofighter rely on active jamming systems. These put out energy to distract radar. However, these systems will still advertise the presence of the aircraft and provide ample warning. These days, missiles can be programmed to home in on jamming and that means life could be exciting and short for pilots who use them. The F-22, on the other hand, does not rely on jammers as much as they rely on diverting and absorbing radar waves. Comparing these systems is difficult, since information about systems used in electronic warfare (including jamming and systems like NCTR) is usually classified.
Even though stealth is wrapped in cloaks of secrecy, two things are apparent: First, the United States has a significant head start on stealth technology mostly because of the head start of ten to fifteen years that was gained by the successful protection of the F-117s gestation. France is working on a stealthy UAV, which will supposedly have a lower RCS than the F-22 or F-35, but that is not yet proven. The United Kingdom is also rumored to be working on a stealth aircraft called HALO, with D-Notices allegedly being issued to press outlets to keep sightings from making news. Second, the stealth race is on, and efforts are being made to catch up with the United States.
Those weapons could be re-designed for stealth, no? Plus the internal design of the F22 weapons can be a limitation -- meaning no fancy optical, FLIR, secret-gizmo equipment can be mounted in place of a weapon.
how is it that you find all this good stuff, CHARLITE?
Second, the stealth race is on, and efforts are being made to catch up with the United States.
I'm sure the 'Rat / Lib crowd is, you know, 'deeply concerned' or 'deeply saddened' over this stunning announcement.
Rumor has it that the top 'Rat think tank has said, "should we gain power again, we will certainly stop all research and development in this area. It is vital, for global relations, that the USA does not intimidate - by virtue of technological prowess - even the lowly third world members of our global community! Everyone must be treated fairly, so they don't feel bad or left out!"
Charl finds them through magic...
"Not only that, but SELLING such technology for DNC campaign income would interest the rats also."
I believe this sentence needs to be in the past tense, since Clinton already did that with China in the 90s.
"how is it that you find all this good stuff, CHARLITE?"
Not familiar with CHARLITE's MO, but just going to Strategy Page is the easiest way I know to find great information on all military matters.
CHARLITE bags all kinds of good stuff.
it is a puzzlement
And since they got away with it, we can expect more treachery.
So why are our European "friends" so eager to produce a fighter which can beat ours?
Doesn't matter. That's why ours have to be the best.
So they can sell to the Chi-Coms first.
I look around for interesting articles almost 24/7. I'm a "seeker!"
Thanks for your comments!
That is PRECISELY what their position is, à la Janeane Garafalo, Michael Moore, Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins.......that whole rancid group. They've all loudly and publicly expressed their "dismay" that there isn't a super power in the world which equals our strength!
"Plus the internal design of the F22 weapons can be a limitation -- meaning no fancy optical, FLIR, secret-gizmo equipment can be mounted in place of a weapon."
Sure it can. Besides, once forward air superiority is established the need for max stealth is mitigated, and anything that needs to be mounted externally can be. (Or can be ran in on other airframes.)
Strategypage is an interesting site, but many of the "articles" (some linked in this story alone) are pretty questionable. (The discussion of whether U.S. stealth is really "so" ahead of European, for example, begins by discussing a Swedish stealthy ship design that reports say has interested the U.S., which underscores a tremendous lack of understanding of the reasons why the U.S. might express interest in the design and instead leaps to the idea that we simply aren't able to accomplish the same thing ourselves.)
Redesigning those weapons for stealth takes time and matters little. The European aircraft themselves are flying radar reflectors...and their radars and jammers (think: giant radio transmitting beacon for a HARM) actively broadcast their location, day and night.
To be competitive in the air wars of today and the near future, winning fighters will all have at least ONE of the following traits:
1. Stealth (active and passive),
2. Amazing peak speed,
3. Be unmanned, and/or
4. Have an orbital or sub-orbital capability.
The European aircraft have NONE OF THE ABOVE.
"CHARLITE bags all kinds of good stuff.
it is a puzzlement"
Innate brilliance probably helps a bit.
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