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Archive for November 24th, 2012

Are stealth aircraft really required for dealing with air defenses

Posted by picard578 on November 24, 2012

While it is indeed correct that, as many stealth proponents point out, air defense networks are becoming more advanced, it does not mean that stealth is necessary.

For the past years, development and proliferation of IRST and long-wavelength radars has continued. QWIP IRST, like one on Eurofighter Typhoon, can detect subsonic aircraft from 90 kilometers head-on. Long-wavelength (VHF, HF) radars can detect VLO aircraft from same distance as non-LO ones. In particular, Russians are selling Nebo VHF radars.

Modern VHF radars have resolution good enough to engage intruding aircraft, and even older ones can be used to successfully guide SAMs equipped with IR seekers close enough for them to engage stealth aircraft.

Moreover, SAM networks have never proven very effective against enemy aircraft, with missile Pk regularly being below 0,5%. Thus, it is wrong to suggest that “only”stealth aircraft can survive against advanced SAMs. In fact, during Kosovo war and intervention in Bosnia, non-stealth F-16s have proven more survivable in face of SAMs than stealthy F-117s – one F-16 was shot down by SAM out of 4 500 sorties, as opposed to 1 F-117 shot down and 1 F-117 mission killed out of 1 300 sorties – both F-117 losses happened due to a single SAM battery using low frequency signals to detect F-117s and guide IR SAMs until missiles IR seeker could take over. In Gulf War I, F-117 flew only at night; neither night-flyingF-117s or two A-10 squadrons that also flew only at night suffered any casualties.

Against VHF or HF radars, both legacy and stealth aircraft will have to use same tactics and have support of same assets to get the job done, thus removing only possible advantage of stealth. While B-2 may be large enough to avoid detection against VHF radars, it is easily detected by IR sensors, and reports have surfaced that suggest it is nowhere as stealthy as USAF says. It is also too expensive and maintenance internsive (1,14 billion USD flyaway, 3,36 billion USD unit procurement, 93 400 USD per hour of flight – all values in 2012 USD). Additionally, radar it uses for low-level flying can be easily detected by enemy passive sensors, and its stealth coating is vulnerable to rain. It carries only four times more payload than F-16, and entire 21-ship B-2 fleet was able to deliver one sortie per day during Kosovo war.

As such, jammer+limited LO+airframe performance combination has been proven superior to far more expensive all-aspect LO/VLO option. That is especially true as modern QWIP IRST can detect VLO aircraft from ranges upwards of 80 kilometers, even from front. Such sensors are already mounted on aircraft such as Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, and possibly PAK FA, J-20 and J-10.

As far as defense against enemy fighters is concerned, non-VLO fighters are superior in that aspect too, due to better airframe performance (not compromised by stealth requirements), higher numbers, higher sortie rates, easier maintainability and larger payload of missiles.

In future, due to proliferation of two-way fighter-missile datalinks, anti-radiation missiles and passive sensors, fighter radars are likely to stay passive, with fighters using IRST and ambient EM noise to detect each other. In such environment, stealth fighters will be as detectable as next thing in the sky. If they choose to use radar, they will be giving up their position at far greater range than they can detect a legacy fighter even if they use LPI mode.

To conculde, advanced 4-th generation aircraft with all characteristics of 5-th generation aircraft with exception of radar VLO are best choice for air defense, and are also no worse than stealth aircraft for offense operations against advanced enemies.

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On AviationIntel F-22 vs Typhoon article

Posted by picard578 on November 24, 2012


While author is indeed correct that training sorties do not necessarily mean that one type of aircraft is superior, multiple sorties can, when analyzed properly and assuming that setup is known, provide some information about respective fighter’s capabilities.

Huge control surfaces and thrust vectoring are useful for high-altitude and low-speed maneuvers, not in types of maneuvers required for close-in combat (transsonic low-altitude maneuvers). In fact, thrust vectoring is dangerous as it bleeds off energy, leaving fighter defenseless if it does not manage to get a kill immediately upon using it Secondly, German Typhoons in the exercise had no helmet-mounted sights, and as such had to point nose at F-22s to get a lock.

Modern radar warners, such as those carried by the Typhoons, are very capable of detecting even newest LPI radars. In any scenario where IRST-less Typhoon and F-22 went against each other with no AWACS support, both sides would be limited to visual detection.

In the end, visual-range combat is more likely than not to be decisive between fully equipped 4,5-th/5-th generation aircraft. As such, while F-22 is a capable dogfighter, it cannot be counted on to have a major impact in a war due to high cost and low sortie rate.

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Al-Quaeda now a US ally in Syria

Posted by picard578 on November 24, 2012

(article follows)

While we reflect on the 11th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on American soil, there is a blinding light that may obscure our view: this sworn enemy now fights hand in hand with the US against the Syrian regime.

The historic State of the Union address by US president George W. Bush on September 20, 2001 is loaded with morals and principles about good and evil.

The president’s ultimatum was clear: either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

In Syria, there is mounting evidence that Al Qaeda and its allies are actively deploying terror tactics and suicide bombers to overthrow the Assad regime.

Syrian citizens who prefer the secular and stable state to the prospect of an Iraqi-style sectarian state may well be turning this same question around to the US government: are you with us, or with the terrorists?

This week, head of the Salafi jihad and close ally of al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, pledged ”deadly attacks” against Syria as ”our fighters are coming to get you” because ”crimes” by the regime ”prompts us to jihad”.

Bush referred to al Qaeda as the enemies of freedom: ”the terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews”. But Sheikh Muhammad al Zughbey proclaimed that ”your jihad against this infidel criminal and his people is a religious duty … Alawites are more infidel than the Jews and Christians”. Because the new jihad targets Alawites rather than Jews and Christians, does this render them better bed fellows?

By his own admission, Bush stated that al Qaeda was ”linked to many other organisations in different countries … They are recruited from their own nations … where they are trained in the tactics of terror … They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction”.

Yet this is precisely how the foreign jihadists in Syria have been described by reporters. They are funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And they collaborate with the Free Syrian Army which is aided and abetted by the US.

Bush condemned the Taliban regime because they were ”sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder”. Eleven years later, the parallels produce an uncomfortable truth.

If only the Syrian uprising was as simple as the Arab Spring narrative where citizens seek democracy and freedom. But those unarmed protests have long since been hijacked by a cocktail of agendas which have little to do with Syrian democracy, and more to do with a proxy war to create a sectarian Sunni state that weakens Shi’te Iran’s main partner in the region.

Bush was correct in claiming that al Qaeda ”want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan” – who were all US-Israel allies at that time.

But his list stopped short of mentioning Syria or Iraq, the real targets of al Qaeda. Why does overthrowing Syria, using the same terror tactics, fail to attract the same degree of outrage?

Bush continues: ”We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.”

This pledge appears to have fallen on its own sword, given the funding of the jihadists in Syria. The terrorists have bred and spread across borders, which is the opposite of Bush’s prophecy.

The US administration must come clean about its financial aid. It cannot use one hand to sign a blank cheque to the rebels, and the other hand to cover its eyes to their immoral and illegal tactics. It cannot hide behind ”the end justifies the means” as there are too many innocent lives at stake.

Bush rode off on his high horse: ”We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them … may God grant us wisdom”.

If the principles and morality are to be taken seriously, then they need to be applied consistently.

The US regime should be actively and publicly distancing itself from the foreign terrorists and Salafist jihadists that are proliferating within sovereign Syria.

It should be condemning al Qaeda for its militant intervention. It should be condemning the Saudi sheikhs who issue fatwas for an Alawite holocaust.

The wisdom that we see is grief over the al Qaeda crime 11 years ago, yet covert collaboration with this sworn enemy today.

Perhaps the US is applying another principle that they may have learned from their pragmatic Arab allies – the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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