A few notes on stealth
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A few notes on stealth
Saturday, April 11, 2009 (10:28 PM)

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Posted by
MarlboroManX (48)
A few notes on stealth
Okay, it seems we have a few people who don't really understand the concept of stealth. Since I find myself with some free time allow me to go into a few details.

#1 Stealth, Latin: To Steal

#2 The goal of Stealth in aircraft never has been, and never will be to make an aircraft completely undectable to radar, not possible with modern era technologies.

#3 the goal of Stealth is to either
A) Make the object undetectable until it has accomplished its mission.
B) Make the object undetectable until it is too late to stop it from accomplishing its mission.

C) Make it unfeasible to detect the aircraft with common field-deployable tools.

The original stealth aircraft was a World War II experimental night-fighter created by the Horton brothers. It was designed as a jet-powered flyiing wing for purposes of aerodynamics. The US captured the only prototypes during the invasion of Germany.

First generation stealth was built almost entirely on this design but included new Radar Absorbant Materials, the exact composition of which has never been released.

Second generation stealth like the F-22 are an evolution of the concept. The F-22 uses a less and newer RAM, applying it to only a few key locations. The F-22 maintains stealth shaping, but it is less obvious. Stealth is also tailored to the job the aircraft is designed for.

The F-22 exists to kill other aircraft, all other concerns are secondary. Going back to the list I gave earlier, the F-22 is designed to carry an AMRAAM missile so close to a target that it cannot escape, and launch it before the aircraft is detected. This is why the stealthiest aspect of the F-22 is from the front.

Look at the F-22 from the side, it is surprisingly stealthy in shape given its canted oblique angles, and narrow profile. Look at it from above and below. Doesn't look very stealth does it? Close inspection shows numerous "sawtooth" edges especially on the outer planes. Sawtooth patterns clearly visible on the F-117 disperse radar, so that it travels away from its source, and thus is not detected. The F-22 is actually most detectable from directly behind, namely because the engine blades refect radar, and RAM cannot survive the heat of an active engine.

The F-22 relies on its ability to supercruise to compensate for its rear line of sight's larger RCS, as even the fastest aircraft will have great difficulty keeping pace with a supercruising aircraft, you can never have too much fuel.

An F-22 is detectable when it goes into a high speed turn for the following reasons.
#1 The shifting profile creates numerous returns. Even though each return is small, so many returns are created it shows up. However it is only visible in the turn which even on an AESA radar may not show up on the observer's screen, and if it does it will be so brief, it would look like a glitch. (Talk about creating paranoia)
Pilot #1: "I saw a blip"
Pilot #2: "Oh, shit, there could be an F-22"
Pilot #1: "Oh sorry, it was a pigeon"

#2 Air disturbance can magnify Radar return, the large air disturbance creating by a turning aircraft will magnify radar return, thus temporarily making the aircraft visible.

#3 The attitude shift ahead of a radar pulse will result in more of the aircraft's volume being exposed, and thus creating a larger return.

The biggest threat to stealth are two things.
Long wave radar
Multiple air-born radars

Long wave radar is just as susceptible to RAM as short wave, however Long Wave is less susceptible to dispersion by saw-teeth, as more wave means more return even if dispersed. The downside to long-wave radars is the presence of a non-stealth aircraft can create so much return that it completely obscures the image.

Now, multiple airborne radars are a threat for the following reasons. First the more radars throwing out waves, the greater the odds someone will pick up not only his own diminished return, but the scattered return of someone else. More return means more imaging. Secondly air-brone radars have longer effective range, and are simply more clear because of the rules of line of sight.

A radar blip leads to the belief an F-22 is on approach.
6 MiG-31's are scrambled to intercept.

MiG-31's assume a staggered formation across multiple altitudes overlapping their radar coverage ahead, to maximize radar projection on the target area.

Lone F-22 approaches (why he is by himself I don't know, but its just a scenario)

F-22 AESA radar and passive system detect the presence of 6 approaching MIG-31's.

The F-22 pilot must now contemplate the following.

Can I get in missile range before they see me?
At the velocity they are traveling toward me, what is the no escape envelope?
Should I risk detection to get close enough to to fire
Should I use ECM, thus confirming my presence, but ensuring they will be unable to target me?

The F-22's best strategy is to slowly bank so that he is on a direc

Posted by
MarlboroManX (48)
RE: A few notes on stealth
Posted: April 11, 2009 (10:29 PM)
The F-22's best strategy is to slowly bank so that he is on a direct approach to the incoming MiG-31's, idenitfy their exact positions with active detection, and FLIR.
-Approach no-escape envelope, with missiles ready.
-Engage ECM, and launch missiles. ECM confirms the F-22's presence but cuts MiG-31's chances for radar lock, and possibly obscures the launch of the missiles.
-Immediately break away and go super-cruise while MiG-31's are attempting to evade the missiles.

Possible result One
All MiG-31's destroyed, F-22 turns back and continues on its way.

Possibility Two
Some of the MiG-31's are destroyed, others survive. F-22 pushes afterburner increasing the distance between the two, possibly beyond the ability of the MiG-31's to catch up, after having gone erratic to avoid missiles.

Possibility Three
All MiG-31's survive, but are now scattered across the sky. F-22 pushes afterburner making it unlikely that the Mig-31's will be able to reform, pursue, and catch-up. (MiG-31 may be fast, but acceleration is more important in this scenario, and after-burner drain combined with compounding distance of velocity difference makes catch-up difficult)

In this event there is a 2 out of 3 chance that at least one MiG-31 will survive, and the F-22 is now out of BVR missiles. There is also a 2/3 chance the MiG-31's take heavy casualties.

Most likely end result
F-22 inflicts heavy casualties, but is forced to withdraw
Net result
A tie, F-22 inflicts heavy casualies but is forced to leave. MiG-31's stop F-22 from passing, but take heavy losses doing so.

Don't get lost in the hype, the F-22 is an incredible aircraft, but there is no substitue for numbers, and good tactics. Its mean, but its not invincible.

Stealth gives you an advantage, but it doesn't win the day.

Think of it this way
1 Sniper
5 Spetznaz

Unless the Siper gets lucky and kills all five Spetznaz at the onset, he is likely to inflict casualties but be forced to flee.

In the end, stealth is there to provide the element of surprise, and enable escape.

Posted by
MarlboroManX (48)
RE: A few notes on stealth
Posted: April 11, 2009 (10:41 PM)

The above scenario is based on the following assumptions.

The F-22 is not the only aircraft in the sky, thus diminishing ground-based longwave usefulness.

The F-22 has to attempt to pass through the area covered by the MiG's (when in reality he is more likely to simply go around them)

The MiG's know the previous location, and direction of the F-22 in order to know where to search which a simple radar blip may not provide.

All aircraft are using the most current BVR systems (radar and missiles)

As such it is simply a hyopthetical

Posted by
Sukhoy (488)
RE: A few notes on stealth
Posted: April 13, 2009 (3:17 AM)
Interesting scenario.

But how it is started?

F-22 come close to russian teritory alone only to see if russians are ready 24/24. Eventually it entered on russian teritory. If there are 6 Mig-31 in the sky then F-22 was detected by another aircraft or by radar station. If it is so.then F-22 is detected and for MiG-31 is easier to lock it and fire a missile. MiG-31 was the only aircraft in the world that destroied a target 300km far away, so I think it can detect an F-22 and fire a missile to it from about 50km. F-22 to be sure that its missile will destroy MiG-31 it should fire a missile from a distance less than 80km I think. If there is an A-50 too, F-22 have less chance to survive and to shoot down MiG-31s.However, MiG-31 like F-22 can use ECM too. I supose SAM will not be present in this scenario.

I have a question: If MiG-31 fire an R-33 which is SARH and there is an A-50, so the missile can be directed to the target by AWACS? I think about MiG-31 have a missile come to it and it is forced to turn off the radar and turn at 90 degree from the incoming missile.

Posted by
MarlboroManX (48)
RE: A few notes on stealth
Posted: April 13, 2009 (10:27 AM)
You're making the scenario a bit more complicated than it was intended to be Sukhoi.

- This is assuming that no AWACKS or A-50 is present, as they are a high priority target for both sides, and have either been destroyed or grounded.

- SAMs have been removed from the scenario for 2 reasons. One is simplicity, 2 is while I have a great deal of respect for Russian missile technology, so far there is no concrete evidence that Russian missile would be able to engage an aircraft that is both stealth, and supercruising. Namely because until the F-22 it wasn't an issue, aircraft had either speed, or stealth, but not both. So rather than deepen the hypotheticals they have been left out for simplicity's sake.

I have left out ground-based radars as a whole because excluding events like those in Serbia where the Air Force gets lazy, they have demonstrated an exceptional capability, to locate, and track radar sources, and thus plot points through the weakest coverage. This scenario assumes that either another plane, or a ground based radar caught a glimpse of the F-22, but has been unable to completely track it thus the MiG's have been sent up to search for it.

By 50km the MiG's might be able to track and target the F-22, I say might because the minimum RCS tracking of the MiG-31 is a lot bigger than the RCS of the F-22, but with six working together, they have good odds of doing so. (Keep in mind the F-14 Radar shared with later version F-15's and F-15's with new AESA radars were unable to track the F-22 effectively, radars which are more poweful than Zaslon) However 50KM is well within the no escape envelope of an AIM-120C if it is fired from an F-22, and far within that of an AIM-120D. Remember missiles fired from the F-22 have greater effectiveness because of altitude and supercruising launch platform. While the altitude may not help against intercepting MiG-31's, supercruise will make a difference.

I excluded the ECM capabilities of the MiG's because the AMRAAM missile has demonstrated the ability to switch from active to passive homing to destroy ECM sources, which in this case would be themselves. So far Russians have not demonstrated this capability, nor the capability to prevent it. It is one of the things I am watching curiously to see if the PAK-FA makes any strides in that direction. I am also discounting the ECM of the Migs as against the newer and more advanced AESA radar (more powerful than the Zaslon) and the computing capabilities of each F-22 I see their ECM as being far less effective.

Again this is just a hypothetical scenario and not meant to detail the events of a real-world engagement.

In reality a single F-22 wouldn't be flying alone, and in reality if a lone F-22 were placed in this situation his tactic would assuredly be to utilize his stealth to sneak around the MiG's rather than engage them.

Posted by
Sukhoy (488)
RE: A few notes on stealth
Posted: April 14, 2009 (4:02 AM)
I am pretty agree with your analyses. Such a scenario could happened at Venezuela borders - Su-30MKV vs F-22. I didn't hear about any incident like that but I think was already happened or will happen soon. Of course there are not MiG-31s but Su-30MKV which are maybe little better than MiG.

Posted by
JuniorKilat (26)
RE: A few notes on stealth
Posted: May 21, 2010 (3:59 PM)
So far F-22 really owns the sky. But when it comes to maneuverability, The Russian's Fighter Jets is more superior. However, maneuverability is only effective on Dog Fights and dog fights in today's air warfare is the last options if for example either Migs, Sus' or F-22s have no other choice. The most effective way to win especially today's high-tech digital air warfare is to have the best radar and the best Air-to-air Missiles for which F-22s have them in its arsenal.

The bottom line is "First see first kill" and I think F-22 is more likely have that capability above others.

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