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The Military The Almighty Buck

Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology 275

Posted by timothy
from the f35s-cost-more-than-$300-million-each dept.
AbrasiveCat (999190) writes "In the continuing game of cat and mouse between offensive and defensive technologies of war, the technology of radar stealth may have been matched by new multiple frequency radar systems. U.S Naval Institute News reports the Chinese and Russians may be developing such systems. The present radar systems use high frequency waves for accurately locating an incoming target. Stealth aircraft are designed to adsorb or reflect these waves away from the receiver. It turns out longer wave radars can see the stealth aircraft. The longer wave radar lacks the precision of the high frequency radar, but when the two are combined, as the Russians, Chinese (and U.S.) are doing, you can produce accurate targeting radar. The F117 may have been in a golden age for stealth technology, it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives too late to be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems."
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Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

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  • by CajunArson (465943) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:16PM (#47631931) Journal

    Articles like this have been around since the 1980s and have appeared on Slashdot before in regards to practically every stealth aircraft in existence including at least the F-117 and the B2.

    Here's the kicker though: The long-wave radars that can sort of track stealth aircraft aren't able to track them with the precision needed to get a missile up there to shoot one down. If an adversary already knows that you are sending planes into a general geographic region, then the long-wave radar doesn't really tell them anything that they didn't know already.

    Anyone in the military who has dealt with stealth technology will tell you that "stealth" is much more than a coating or wing shape that magically makes your airplane disappear. It's a whole strategy that uses technology + suitable tactics to make stealth work in practical situations. Stealth aircraft are not completely invisible and do not have to be completely invisible to be effective.

  • by spiritplumber (1944222) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:18PM (#47631967) Homepage
    It won't. The F35 is the classic "it tries to do 255 things, so it does none of them well" thing. It needed rethinking for all sort of other reasons already, but by now it has too much political inertia. You'd have to get too many people to admit they made a mistake.
  • by pastafazou (648001) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:33PM (#47632091)
    First off, the F-35 has forced China and Russia to commit a large amount of time and resources to try and counter it's superiority. From an economic standpoint, if you're forcing potential enemies to dedicate time and resources to try and counter your technology, it's a win. Secondly, just because Russia and China are able to develop technology to detect it doesn't mean it's useless. There are numerous other potential uses that don't involve Russian and Chinese radar.
  • by lgw (121541) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:36PM (#47632129) Journal

    If it's the case that the Russians and Chinese now have radar systems that remove that radar superiority, the F-35 now looks like even more of a gigantic waste of money

    The F-35 was designed to be stealthy, not stealth. It doesn't need to be undetectable, as it's not a strategic bomber, it just needs to be able to get missile lock on it's foes before they get missile lock on the F-35. That doesn't seem like to change any time soon.

    While any new military project whatsoever will be ridiculed as a colossal waste of money by the left ("it doesn't cost anything to just be nice to everyone!"), the main problem with the cost of most of the recent programs is a large R&D cost that isn't spread across enough planes/ships/whatever. I'm not the biggest fan of the F-35, but at least the idea of having one plane that will be used for many roles and by many allies keeps the per-unit cost from being insanely high - it's a wise procurement approach in a time of quickly falling defense budget.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2014 @03:28PM (#47632561)

    It won't.

    The F35 is the classic "it tries to do 255 things, so it does none of them well" thing. It needed rethinking for all sort of other reasons already, but by now it has too much political inertia. You'd have to get too many people to admit they made a mistake.

    Wrong! The F-35 does exactly what it was designed to do very well: Provide almost half a trillion dollars in corporate welfare to the aerospace industry spread across 45 states. So what if it's not safe to fly, doesn't do what it was meant to do, and is incredibly expensive over its projected lifetime? Gotta keep Lockheed Martin, insider trading Congressional staffers and Senators, et alia, in Cadillacs and Mink coats...

  • by SydShamino (547793) on Friday August 08, 2014 @04:16PM (#47633001)

    First off, the F-35 has forced China and Russia to commit a large amount of time and resources to try and counter it's superiority. From an economic standpoint, if you're forcing potential enemies to dedicate time and resources to try and counter your technology, it's a win. Secondly, just because Russia and China are able to develop technology to detect it doesn't mean it's useless. There are numerous other potential uses that don't involve Russian and Chinese radar.

    Not if it costs 1000x more to create the technology than it does to counter it. Nor if the money to build it was borrowed in part from that potential enemy.

  • by delcielo (217760) on Friday August 08, 2014 @05:02PM (#47633427) Journal
    Yes.

    Dogfighting hasn't been important for a while because none of the top tier militaries have squared off against each other. U.S. vs Iraq was never going to produce a serious air war. Neither would U.S. vs Iran, or North Korea, etc.

    But, if the U.S. and Russia ever squared off, you would see dogfighting. Our fighters would try to eliminate their close support and ground attack aircraft. They would send fighters to attack ours. Both would send fighters after each other to suppress them.

    The asymmetrical nature of modern wars has kept it from happening, but we would be foolish to ignore that component of air superiority just because we haven't needed it in 40 years. After all, who were we fighting back then? Oh yeah, Russia by proxy.
  • by kqs (1038910) on Friday August 08, 2014 @06:20PM (#47634079)

    Welfare to the poor: bad because it removes the incentive to improve oneself. Welfare to the rich: fantastic!

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

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