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The Military The Almighty Buck

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

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 Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:08PM (#47631835)

    A few months ago, 60 Minutes aired a series of interviews with Air Force personnel who were behind the F-35 program. All of them said more or less the same thing about the F-35: it doesn't matter if the F-35 is less powerful or doesn't handle as well as other jets, because it was built around radar superiority and being able to detect Russian and Chinese fighters before they could detect it.

    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.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:17PM (#47631941)

    It still might have an edge against fighters, at least for the time being. It sounds like the dual radar systems are being installed on larger surface vehicles, but there could always be a smaller version for fighters on the way. Of course, if the fighters are able to receive targeting data from the ships then it wouldn't matter (as long as that targeting data isn't being jammed).

  • by Zeorge ( 1954266 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:18PM (#47631969)
    I should say, former Eastern Block, that is. But, this is nothing new and has been known for some time now. They have these huge deployable radar arrays that operate in the VHF and UHF bands. Originally, it was due to their limited technology capability but then it was realized that there was specific advantages to using those bands. Notably, no one else is looking for radar in VHF and UHF so you could be being tracked and have no idea.

    This is also how they took down a stealth fighter over Kosovo, they used 900MHz-band cell towers, tuned ground radar station to look for the return, and then manually guided the missiles until they were close enough (probably for the heat signature to become evident) to lock on.

    I really hope this was all factored into the design of these multi-billion money pit of an aircraft.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2014 @06:38PM (#47634201)

    Physics may prevent the antennas needed for long wave radar from working on fighters fast and maneuverable enough to be a threat to the F-35.

    Nothing prevents a fighter from towing a long thin wire through the air . . .

  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @07:43PM (#47634761) Journal

    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.

    Everyone seems to not understand that that's exactly what the F35 requirements were. Unlike previous so called multi-role aircraft, which typically were designed for the Air Force and then poorly adapted to other roles, the F35 is a true Swiss army knife. The criticism seems to be heaviest for the Air Force version, probably because as I mentioned, multi-roles it replaces were initially designed for them. It cannot take on air-superiority fighters in combat, penetrate or evade advanced air defenses but that is not its role, we have specialized fighters and bombers to do that. The role I see for the Air Force F35 is to support the specialized aircraft, mop up remnants and to take over as front line fighter only when air superiority is achieved. It seems terribly expensive for that role now, but this is a Aircraft that's being designed to have the largest and longest production run in history.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @09:09PM (#47635177) Journal

    The real purpose of stealth isn't to be invisible, but is to avoid being visible enough to hit. The bird [] I worked on, the HAWK missile [] was a semi-active radar homing missile operating in the military portion of the x-band, 10GHzish and was 37 cm, or 14.5 inches in diameter which is about 10 wavelength in diameter which is the rule of thumb for getting enough angular resolution for to hit what your shooting at. By having to go long-wave any semi-active homer isn't going to be able to resolve the target clearly enough to really hit it, having missiles flying close misses to your aircraft is still freaky enough to make a pilots asshole tighten considerable just like you don't want a blind man throwing knives at your sound, which brings us to the other components of stealth which are not being where your expected to be and not doing what your expected to be doing.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun