How stealthy is the F-35

Introduction

F-35 is the newest Western flying piano. Apparently US have already forgotten all the lessons of World War II and Vietnam war, where such impressive-on-paper-but-sluggish fighters ended up on mercy of far more nimble fighters and were thus relegated to ground attack roles. In fact, F-35 was designed as a ground attack aircraft, only to be pressed into service as “multirole” fighter after F-22 killed itself with cost overruns (how decision-makers figured that three-service aircraft would be better than a single-role single-service aircraft in that respect is beyond me, especialy after Aardvark disaster; only thing F-35 has for it is that it is lighter than the F-22, allowing for limited cost savings for some variants when compared to the F-22). And despite what some might think, F-16 was the first – and last – US fighter designed with maneuverability in mind; both P-51 and F-86 ended up maneuverable by pure luck, as they had to have low wing loading to function as high altitude bomber interceptors, and P-51 also got equipped with excellent British Merlin engine. F-22 is similarly a high-altitude bomber interceptor, and while it does have good maneuverability, it is not designed for it, as evidenced by the fact that it needs thrust vectoring to achieve angle of attack required for maximum lift; comparably low wing loading (about same as F-15C) and high thrust-to-weight ratios are features required by its role as a high-altitude fighter.

Due to this maneuverability shortcoming, F-35 has to rely on surprise attacks against the enemy: detect before being detected. That is, after all, entire purpose of stealth. But how stealthy is the F-35? Is it stealthy at all? What must be kept in mind is that stealth is not limited to just radar. For this reason, I will take a look at F-35s stealth in multiple areas.

F-35s stealth

Radar stealth

F-35 was designed from the outset to be less stealthy against X-band radar than the F-22. But it has characteristics which will reduce stealth level even further. Both F-35 and F-22 are only stealthy against enemy radars that are horizontal or few degrees from horizontal. Due to lower inclination of surfaces from the horizontal, this “stealth area” for the F-35 is far less than F-22s; and as soon as F-35 maneuvers, it becomes instantly unstealthy unless maneuvers are done only by vertical tail surfaces, keeping aircraft completely level. F-35 also has many irregularities in its surface – there is bulge above left wing, presumably where the gun is located on the A version, as well as bulges below wing root, on weapons bays doors, below the engine and below the nose where IRST is located. These all help increase F-35s RCS when it maneuvers away from horizontal plane.

VHF radars are radars with wavelengths in 1-3 meter range. For this, it is important to understand two terms: Rayleigh scattering region is region where wavelength is larger than shaping features of target or target itself. In that region, only thing that matters for RCS is actual physical size of target itself. Resonance occurs where shaping features are comparable in wavelength to radar, resulting in induced electrical charges over the skin of target, vastly increasing RCS.

F-35 in VHF band

As it can be seen, many F-35s shaping features are in either Rayleigh or resonance scattering region of VHF radars. Situation with early warning HF radars is even worse, as they not only have very long wavelengths, but also come from above after reflecting from the atmosphere. Situation is somewhat better with S and L band radars, but F-35s RCS against these is still far higher than against X band radars. Even against X-band radars, it is only stealthy (LO) from front and rear; against S-band radar, it is stealthy from narrow front aspect, while only limited reduction is achieved from direct front against L-band radar; this is in part thanks to nozzle design, whose segments act as Rayleigh or resonance reflectors in all bands with lower frequency than X band. Against ground-based X-band radars, its side RCS will likely be similar to that of conventional fighter.

When combined with lack of kinematic performance, it means that F-35 will be held back until F-22s and Growlers – or in European ventures, Rafales and Typhoons – have neutralized enemy air defenses. This removes only justification for all-aspect stealth.

IR stealth

There is an ongoing shift from radar to IRST as a primary sensor for air-to-air combat, and pilots fighting a competent opponent quickly learned to shut down radar. When it comes to ground threats, radar SAMs have had a disastrous performance, worse than IR SAMs. Consequently, IR stealth is far more important than radar stealth – even if it is not as flashy – and if somebody designs for radar stealth and not for IR stealth, he’s an idiot. Yet IR stealth is one of many areas where F-35 is sorely lacking.

In fact, F-35s IR stealth can be summed up in one word: nonexistant. It is the heaviest single-engined fighter in the world, and its single engine produces amount of thrust that equals that of many twin-engined fighters while having no IR signature reduction whatsoever (IR signature reduction measures were deleted to save weight). Its shape means large amount of drag, which also increases IR signature, as well as providing larger target for an IRST. Drag means that F-35 has to use afterburner to fly supersonically, increasing IR signature even further due to the large exhaust plume. Powerful radar also helps increase IR signature due to the cooling requirements.

Visual stealth

F-35 is comparably large aircraft. From top, its visual signature is comparable to that of F-2A, Dassault Rafale or Eurofighter Typhoon. However, its signature from side and especially front is larger than signatures of aircraft mentioned. As modern IR sensors are basically visual sensors, and are capable of detecting differences in temperature on order of few degrees Celzius, its visual signature will also have a role to play in IR detection.

Acoustic stealth

Acoustically, F-35 is far louder than the F-16 or Gripen, and in fact one of problems with basing is that it is so much noisier than the F-16 that air bases which were able to accomodate F-16s without causing undue discomfort to people living nearby cannot accomodate F-35 without displacing lare numbers of inhabitants nearby. There are two basic reasons for this.

First reason is that F-35 is a far heavier aircraft and thus needs far stronger engine. Stronger engine means more noise, and F-35s engine (F-135) is the most powerful engine in the world – it has to be as it pushes around weight more suitable for two engines. Second reason is that F-35 has aerodynamic performance of a brick. Its basic shape does not offer good aerodynamic performance, and it has many irregularities in surface, just like conventional fighters.

Emissions stealth

All stealth features are irrelevant if aircraft has to use its radar to detect the enemy. This is one of few areas where F-35 fares well, as it has very good coverage with numerous IIR sensors. As a result, F-35 will not have to use its radar to detect the opponent, relying instead on detecting opponent’s IR signature. However, this situation is still a loss-loss for the F-35: if it uses IR sensors, it will be at disadvantage against most other fighters equipped with IR sensors due to its IR signature, and if it uses radar, its emissions will be detected far sooner than it will detect the enemy by using the radar.

Conclusion

In real terms, F-35 is as stealthy as a pink elephant in the porculan store, far less stealthy than Saab Gripen, Dassault Rafale, F-16 or Eurofighter Typhoon. While it does have comparably low radar signature from some angles and to some frequencies, as well as good passive sensor suite, it is severely lacking in two most important measures of visibility – visual and infrared. But US military is disconnected from reality, as are most Western policymakers, who either can’t or don’t want to understand limitations and compromises of designing fighters for radar stealth.

Problem when facing enemy radar-guided SAMs is that F-35 can only jam radars that are in front of it (+-60 degrees off nose), and are within frequency coverage of its own radar. This frequency coverage excludes anything except X-band radars. Its reliance on – rather lacking – stealth characteristics of airframe itself has left it without robust countermeasure suite likes of DASS or SPECTRA, including lack of DRFM jammers.

Further reading

F-35 Analysis

Value of stealth aircraft

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72 thoughts on “How stealthy is the F-35

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. Just curious as well. Is it possible for a flight of F-35’s or F-35 accompanied by F-18G to utilize jamming and stealth to become a more potent mix. I was reading about electronic warfare earlier and understand that it is a combination of switching frequencies of high powered jamming or spreading your power throughout the entire range. So if the F-35 has poor radar aperture in some frequencies, is it possible to jam the remaining frequencies with a higher power? The F-35 is said to be a capable jamming platform although not as capable as a plane with the same equipment @ a larger size, ie F-18 or an F-22 (if they were to be made into jammers). Also in regards to the author of this article, you are correct and I was wrong about shaping and long range intercept radars. Although I still hold that your conclusion about this plane being as stealthy as a pink elephant to be oddly over presumptuous.

    • “Is it possible for a flight of F-35′s or F-35 accompanied by F-18G to utilize jamming and stealth to become a more potent mix. ”

      It is, but both of these are still inherently unstealthy on the IRST as well as too much oriented towards the air-to-ground.

      “So if the F-35 has poor radar aperture in some frequencies, is it possible to jam the remaining frequencies with a higher power?”

      Yes.

      “Although I still hold that your conclusion about this plane being as stealthy as a pink elephant to be oddly over presumptuous.”

      I am of belief that maximum stealth in one area is of no value if you have next to no stealth in another area. For example, F-35 is stealthy to enemy radars. But it has next to no IR signature reduction, and what it does have is ineffective due to its basic design. As a result, its radar stealth is neutralized (and since radar is an active sensor and as such unlikely to be used in combat, I’d say that IR stealth is more important).

  3. How would the X-band stealth of the F-35 compare to an F-15SE ?
    And which one would be least visible for SAM ?
    How does this compare to current fighters like the F-16 ?

    • 1) F-35s may or may not be better from the front, but it is definetly better from the side.
      2) F-35 vs X-band SAMs.
      3) F-35 is less visible against X band radars as long as it doesn’t maneuver from the horizontal, not necessarily against VHF and definetly not against HF radars.

      • http://theaviationist.com/2013/09/19/f-22-f-4-intercept/
        Iranian ground radar tracked and gave directions to Iranian F4s to intercept U.S. MQ-1 drone flying in international airspace off Iran, but Iran didn’t know about the drone’s F22 escort.

        “By international law, the notion of a country’s sovereign airspace corresponds with the maritime definition of territorial waters as being 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) out from a nation’s coastline.”

        Iran has 1L13 “Nebo” VHF radar, Kolchuga (VHF, UHF and SHF), Matla-ul-fajr (VHF), Gamma Radar (low frequency band), Vostok radar (VHF) and other radars, and it didn’t detect F22 threat.

        • We don’t know wether that particular radar was VHF, or how far out it was. VHF radar increases detection range v/s stealth aircraft, but it is still significantly lower than against non-stealth types.

  4. It should be noted that, contrary to what the article states, the F-35 employs a number of IR-reducing features. Based on public sources most notably the internals of the F135 engine, afterburner and cooling systems in the tailpipe and nozzle, partial masking of the jet plume by the tail fins and an IR-reducing topcoat.

    • Cooling systems and afterburner are common to most military jet engines and are not there specifically for IR signature reduction. Partial masking is as much for radar as for IR, and as for IR-reducing topcoat, most if not all IR reduction coats increase radar signature, and vice-versa. You could put an IR coat below the radar one, but heat still has to leave somewhere, and given that fuel is used as a heat sink for electronics already…

    • I’d really like to see these results. And no, at tactical engagement speeds aircraft with no supercruise capability will not have lower IR signature than one that does have it, simply because it will be forced to use afterburner, or else engage from subsonic speed.

      As for the link, it has quite a few of, at best, half-truths. Regarding specifically IR signature:
      1) Reduction of range in tail vs nose aspect is dependant on many factors, including IRSTs operating bandwidth and materials used in construction of IRST. OLS-35s range is indeed reduced to 30 vs 90 km nose/tail, but for OSF it is 80/130 km and for PIRATE it is 90/145 km. It also depends on altitude, OSF’s numbers are for 20.000 ft altitude, at low altitude for example range frops to 110 km from rear. Assuming proportional increase, at 40.000 ft OSF will have range of 95/154 km, and at 60.000 ft of 112/182 km.
      2) Using fuel as a heat sink does little to reduce engine and airframe IR signature, and absolutely nothing to Mach cone. F-35s fuel tank distribution is also connected more to its role of a strike aircraft and less to it being “stealth”.
      3) Cooling internal avionics is nothing specific for stealth fighters, all aircraft have to do it. If you have a PC, and I assume you have, you should have noticed that its performance when doing taxing work drops off as the ambient temperature in the room rises. It is same for all computers. Hence, cooling.
      4) Yes, at the time I wrote the article I did not know about the scoops.
      5) Nozzle spikes have little to do with IR signature. They help somewhat, but main reason is RF signature. If you want to see nozzles designed specifically for IR signature reduction, take a look at Dassault Rafale. F-22, F-117 and B-2 have flat nozzles which do reduce IR signature, even though RCS reduction was main concern there.

      • IMO the detection ranges of OLS-35, OSF, and Pirate aren’t that great, therefore hardly a “solution” to stealth. And whatever nose/tail detection ranges for these systems are, reduce them significantly for the F-35. And the range at which a target can be sufficiently and confidently identified to decide on weapon release is significantly inferior to the ‘detection’ range.

        And the F-35 does have an internal jammer apart from AESA jamming. I’ve seen the Marine Commandant’s testimony to that effect before a Congressional Committee. So there is jamming from other than the front.

        The latest news is that the F-35 is stealthier than the F-22, if General Carlisle is to be believed. Therefore the RCS is probably more like .0001m2 rather than the pretesting requirement of .001m2. And as we all know, jamming is synergistic with stealth.

        And so far, the F-35 has been in quite a few exercises, and has yet to be shot down, including Red Flag and Green Flag. And F-16s at Red Flag has been spotted with the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod. General Bogdan has said that some of the exercises would have resulted in a 33% to 50% loss rate among legacy fighters. Just one other testimony. Deputy Marine Air Chief, General Jon Davis, said that in a recent Marine exercise, F-35Bs when undetected against an advanced IADS, hit all targets, and shot down 24 of the covering fighters (probably F-18s), with no loss. General Davis said, “the F-35 was like a velociraptor going through. It killed everything in it’s path.” But maybe Americans are just too stupid to shoot down an F-35. They’re just not as smart as the Euros and Russians.

        • IRSTs detection range depends on altitude. At 60.000 ft, where stealth fighters operate, IRSTs detection range – especially against supersonic target – can be measured in hundreds of kilometers. I have a more extensive article about stealth coming in few months, it adresses the issue. And unlike radar, IRST at least can reliable identify target – even in ECM-intensive environment.

          There is no way F-35 is stealthier than the F-22. Stealth comes primarily from shaping, and compare F-22 to F-35: F-35 has far more bumps, uneven surface as well as a round nozzle. F-22 has much more even surface.

          Exercises are useless unless you know exact assumptions and set-up used. To trust them is idiotic. Only history shows what characteristics a weapon needs, and for that you need to look at history starting with World War I.

      • 1)” but for OSF it is 80/130 km and for PIRATE it is 90/145 km” => where are those numbers come from ? and what was the speed of aircraft being observed ?, if i recalled correctly the LFR for OSF is only 30km, so even with longer detection range , it can only generate firing solution at quite short distance
        2″ Nozzle spikes have little to do with IR signature. They help somewhat, but main reason is RF signature. If you want to see nozzles designed specifically for IR signature reduction, take a look at Dassault Rafale” => I have seen a document where they showed nozzle in F-35 styles help reduce IR signature, never seen anything about nozzle in Rafale styles help reduces IR signature, and i dont see why it should be superior to F-35 nozzle either.
        3)”Cooling internal avionics is nothing specific for stealth fighters” => That kind of true but you can’t deny that the number of cooling scope on F-35 is probably superior to every others fighter to date
        4)”At 60.000 ft, where stealth fighters operate” => this is nothing more than propaganda nonsense, i seen a few flight manual before, flying at 60k feet, you will be sitting duck with almost zero capabilities to dodge missiles launched at you
        5) “Stealth comes primarily from shaping, and compare F-22 to F-35: F-35 has far more bumps, uneven surface as well as a round nozzle” => F-35 has more lump than F-22, those lumps never complete a full circle or located at the edge , so even though surface wave still curve around those things , they do not came back to the source. Shapes composed of blended facets are not only more aerodynamic,but also allow currents to smoothly transition at their edges, reducing surface-wave emissions. Therefore, blended bodies have the potential for a lower RCS than fully faceted structures, especially at low frequencies regime
        https://basicsaboutaerodynamicsandavionics.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/radar-electronic-countermeasure/

        • “1)” but for OSF it is 80/130 km and for PIRATE it is 90/145 km” => where are those numbers come from ? and what was the speed of aircraft being observed ?, if i recalled correctly the LFR for OSF is only 30km, so even with longer detection range , it can only generate firing solution at quite short distance”

          I think I have sources in technology section, for OSF at least. Internet is killing me so I can’t search for sources right now. Ranges are against subsonic fighter aircraft, presumably Su-27 type as that would have been normal reference for the Cold War era designs.

          Firing solution is not necessarily dependant on rangefinder. For some types of missile tracking, range is not even necessary (albeit they are not too efficient), and rough rangefinding can be done passively with IRST through kinematic ranging, triangulation and few other techniques.

          “I have seen a document where they showed nozzle in F-35 styles help reduce IR signature, never seen anything about nozzle in Rafale styles help reduces IR signature, and i dont see why it should be superior to F-35 nozzle either.”

          Of course you wouldn’t see such document, Rafale is not US design… but if you take a look at M88 engine, inner nozzle is not only of lesser diameter than the outer nozzle, but it is also recessed relative to the outer nozzle. This means that, except for the rear quarter, the hottest part of the engine exhaust is not visible as outer nozzle masks it either partly or fully. F-35s serrations help mixing air somewhat, but there is no such masking except somewhat from the side by horizontal tail booms.


          “That kind of true but you can’t deny that the number of cooling scope on F-35 is probably superior to every others fighter to date”

          And so is its heat generation.

          “this is nothing more than propaganda nonsense, i seen a few flight manual before, flying at 60k feet, you will be sitting duck with almost zero capabilities to dodge missiles launched at you”

          It is not propaganda nonsense. Stealth fighters are supposed to stay out of the range, and higher altitude helps with that as it allows longer missile range while reducing opponent’s missile range. It is true that F-22s best cruise capability is at 38.000 ft (Mach 1,75), and that would be optimal for a conventional fighter with similar characteristics.

          “F-35 has more lump than F-22, those lumps never complete a full circle or located at the edge , so even though surface wave still curve around those things , they do not came back to the source. Shapes composed of blended facets are not only more aerodynamic,but also allow currents to smoothly transition at their edges, reducing surface-wave emissions. Therefore, blended bodies have the potential for a lower RCS than fully faceted structures, especially at low frequencies regime”

          I am well aware of that. But you have to be aware that more uneven surface creates more irregular radar reflections, which limits pilot’s options – particularly for maneuver – if he wishes to remain unseen. For stealth, ideal is a very regular shape similar to B-2 or YF-23.

        • “I think I have sources in technology section, for OSF at least. Internet is killing me so I can’t search for sources right now. Ranges are against subsonic fighter aircraft, presumably Su-27 type as that would have been normal reference for the Cold War era designs.” => I read your OSF section too , there isn’t any source regarding OSF range. The only source on internet that stated the estimated range of OFS is Flightglobal , however,they only stated that the range is 130 km, there is absolution no mentioned of target being subsonic, let alone more detail information like target aspect or target size. For all we know it could easily be a Su-27 in tail chase and full afterburner

          “Firing solution is not necessarily dependant on rangefinder. For some types of missile tracking, range is not even necessary (albeit they are not too efficient), and rough rangefinding can be done passively with IRST through kinematic ranging, triangulation and few other techniques” => for long range anti air missiles ,range is extremely important. Even though, technically you can use missiles in bearing only launch mode .Without range and lead intercept profiles most missiles cant even reach BVR, let alone hitting target. Triangulation between multiple aircraft give you range, however they get problem with determining instant target radical velocity, kinematic ranging can potentially measure range only if target doesn’t change their course and velocity for quite significant amount of time. Making both of them much inferior to LRF.

          “Of course you wouldn’t see such document, Rafale is not US design… but if you take a look at M88 engine, inner nozzle is not only of lesser diameter than the outer nozzle, but it is also recessed relative to the outer nozzle. This means that, except for the rear quarter, the hottest part of the engine exhaust is not visible as outer nozzle masks it either partly or fully.” => what you see on the Rafale is the “feather” feature on variable aperture thrust nozzle , which available on all capable jet engine. If you look at the cutaway of a F-100 PW229 ( with feather) or F-110 GE129 nozzle ( or practically any fighter engine ) , you will see that the inner structure follow convergent-divergent profile while the outer “feather” always have a separation distance from the inner nozzle. The only different on M88 nozzle is that the “feathers” structure and the inner convergent-divergent nozzle doesn’t meet.But it is not a masked feature

        • “for long range anti air missiles ,range is extremely important. Even though, technically you can use missiles in bearing only launch mode .Without range and lead intercept profiles most missiles cant even reach BVR, let alone hitting target. ”

          Most missiles are useless against targets that are aware of being tracked except at very short range, only exception are ramjet BVR missiles but these are the ones I was referring to when I said it is possible to attack at BVR without knowing the range. So radar or no radar, if you don’t have ramjet missiles you won’t be fighting at BVR unless the enemy is really inept. By the time normal missile reaches the target, it doesn’t have the energy to do anything except minute course corrections, and various errors in speed control, measurements, system damage during the launch etc. can lead to it missing even a straight-and-steady target.ahead

          And lead intercept profile can be done without having the range. In fact it is a feature already used in IR missiles. All that is needed is programming the missile (or IRST, or both) to target a point ahead of the actual target… say, 5° or 15° ahead. That way missile will be doing an intercept profile without needing the range. Of course, it is not as effective as with radar rangefinding, but it can be done.

          “Triangulation between multiple aircraft give you range, however they get problem with determining instant target radical velocity, kinematic ranging can potentially measure range only if target doesn’t change their course and velocity for quite significant amount of time. Making both of them much inferior to LRF.”

          That is true. But they are superior to both radar and laser rangefinding in that the target is not alerted to being targeted. Now, with ramjet missiles entering the service, having an unaware target isn’t as important as it used to be… but having accurate range isn’t as important as it used to be either.

          “what you see on the Rafale is the “feather” feature on variable aperture thrust nozzle , which available on all capable jet engine. If you look at the cutaway of a F-100 PW229 ( with feather) or F-110 GE129 nozzle ( or practically any fighter engine ) , you will see that the inner structure follow convergent-divergent profile while the outer “feather” always have a separation distance from the inner nozzle. The only different on M88 nozzle is that the “feathers” structure and the inner convergent-divergent nozzle doesn’t meet.But it is not a masked feature”

          Wether intended or not, it does help with masking the engine exhaust. But if it is not intended to do so, why would they leave it be? From aerodynamic standpoint, having a conventional nozzle is much better.

        • “F-35s serrations help mixing air somewhat, but there is no such masking except somewhat from the side by horizontal tail booms.” => serration nozzle help reduce exhaust gas length by around 40% , that quite a significant value, and there are quite significant distance between f-35 tail boom and its nozzle, making it a masking that actually work, unlike the feather feature on conventional engine which is less than an inch from the hot exhaust gas. I dont see how you could conclude Rafale is even equal in IR reduction, let alone superior to F-35.

          “And so is its heat generation.” => that arguable , F-35 avionic generate alot of heat because they are powerful, but still not as powerful as many aircraft, the massive radar on PAK-FA or F-15 will generate even more heat.And eventually others fighter will have capable avionics too , which mean heat sink will be necessary sooner or later .About engine, F-35 has a powerful engine, but it still get lenser thrust value than many twin engine aircraft and it also came with very high bypass ratio which will reduce exhaust temperature quite significantly. F-35 doesn’t even need the metal re-enforced on its engine top unlike any aircraft

          “It is not propaganda nonsense. Stealth fighters are supposed to stay out of the range, and higher altitude helps with that as it allows longer missile range while reducing opponent’s missile range”=> unless you fly a Mig-31 or SR-71 , no one cruise at 60K feet , it reduce your instantaneous G to 2-2.5 G and sustain G to even less.Not to mention the significant danger of flying at those altitude without pressure suits. USAF standard is about 1 minutes above 50K feet for F-15

          “But you have to be aware that more uneven surface creates more irregular radar reflections, which limits pilot’s options – particularly for maneuver – if he wishes to remain unseen. For stealth, ideal is a very regular shape similar to B-2 or YF-23.” => the uneven surface on F-35 is aligned with each others and they are not deflecting radar wave back at the source unless you looking at the aircraft from the side. So it still fit the bow tie signature of all others stealth aircraft. Talking about lump and bump , B-2 have massive lump too, especially the cockpit

        • ” that arguable , F-35 avionic generate alot of heat because they are powerful, but still not as powerful as many aircraft, the massive radar on PAK-FA or F-15 will generate even more heat.And eventually others fighter will have capable avionics too , which mean heat sink will be necessary sooner or later .About engine, F-35 has a powerful engine, but it still get lenser thrust value than many twin engine aircraft and it also came with very high bypass ratio which will reduce exhaust temperature quite significantly. F-35 doesn’t even need the metal re-enforced on its engine top unlike any aircraft ”

          Two engines will produce less IR signature than a single engine of same power because exhaust will mix more quickly with the hot air. Only problem is that single-engined aircraft are easier to aerodynamically optimize, but F-35 isn’t aerodynamically optimized anyway. F-35s exhaust was buckling the decks on amphibious assault ships, and I recall some other problems with the exhaust being way too hot.

          “unless you fly a Mig-31 or SR-71 , no one cruise at 60K feet , it reduce your instantaneous G to 2-2.5 G and sustain G to even less.Not to mention the significant danger of flying at those altitude without pressure suits. USAF standard is about 1 minutes above 50K feet for F-15”

          Yes, normal combat altitude is significantly lower. But even F-22 is supposed to stay out of the turning fight, and F-35 simply has to stay out of the turning fight. Stealth fighters were supposed to operate inside IADS, combining stealth, speed and altitude so that they wouldn’t *have* to turn because they would be out of range by the time anyone attacked. That’s the reason for F-22s supercruise and all-aspect stealth requirements.

          “the uneven surface on F-35 is aligned with each others and they are not deflecting radar wave back at the source unless you looking at the aircraft from the side. So it still fit the bow tie signature of all others stealth aircraft. Talking about lump and bump , B-2 have massive lump too, especially the cockpit”

          One massive lump is better than multiple small lumps, which is precisely what the F-35 has. As far as radar return goes, simpler shapes are generally the better, yet F-35s shape is extremely complex, for a stealth fighter anyway.

        • “Most missiles are useless against targets that are aware of being tracked except at very short range” => this is absolute nonsense, if that was the case they would never have produced long/ medium range missiles for SAM or fighter aircraft. Just because you are aware that you are being tracked doesn’t mean you can just out run or out turn the missiles.

          “only exception are ramjet BVR missiles but these are the ones I was referring to when I said it is possible to attack at BVR without knowing the range.” => firstly, F-35 can carry Meteor too. Secondly, ramjet missiles improve NEZ dramatically due to their better specific impulse, but even ramjet missiles have their limit in fuel and speed. Your missiles wont appear instantaneous at target location, without range you will subject to much longer course correction , and your missiles wont be able to follow a ballistic arcs to take advantage of gravity and thin air either.

          “And lead intercept profile can be done without having the range. In fact it is a feature already used in IR missiles. All that is needed is programming the missile (or IRST, or both) to target a point ahead of the actual target… say, 5° or 15° ahead. That way missile will be doing an intercept profile without needing the range.” => you cant just put a random number in the angle and tell your missiles to lead target. You need to know target radical velocity , distance and aspect angle to know how much your missiles need to lead. That the whole point of measuring range to target. Otherwise, you only have a bearing only launch, which pretty much only work again something at extremely close range or mostly stationary like a surface ship

          ” But they are superior to both radar and laser rangefinding in that the target is not alerted to being targeted” => That questionable, you can’t just triangulate with yourself. You need someone else to create the other point of the triangle with you, and you need a mean to communicate with that ally too. To communicate you will need to transfer information through datalink. With their Omni directional lobes , datalink are quite easily be tracked. Unless you have something like MADL

          “Wether intended or not, it does help with masking the engine exhaust” => i dont see how it help masked the exhaust any more than conventional feather feature, most jet engine have that.The outter layer is less than an inch from the internal flames

          ” But if it is not intended to do so, why would they leave it be? From aerodynamic standpoint, having a conventional nozzle is much better.” => There could be various different reason , from aerodynamics stand point PW229 is better with feather features, but most PW229 on F-15 doesn’t have them due to vibration of 2 engines and they want to reduce maintenance work.

          “Two engines will produce less IR signature than a single engine of same power because exhaust will mix more quickly with the hot air.” => That debateable, are the 2 engine have the same bypass ratio as the single engine ? higher bypass ratio mean higher percentage of fast cool air by definition. Do the 2 engine have serrated edge to help create unstable flow also ?, and so on. Most 2 engine fighters like PAK-FA , J-20 , Su-35 , F-15 have quite higher thrust level than F-35 too.

          ” but F-35 isn’t aerodynamically optimized anyway” => This is up to debate, F-35 got DIRCM , EOTS , DAS, ECM , and weapons all internally. It got massive range on internal fuel too. While still able to sustain 4.9G at 15k feet which is around F-16 with DI50 (about 6 aim-120 and 3 empty pylon on station 4,5 ,6). That is quite an achievement in my eye.

          “F-35s exhaust was buckling the decks on amphibious assault ships, and I recall some other problems with the exhaust being way too hot.” => that was the F-35B , its nozzle turn vertically down to the ship decks , if you ever look at the photo , you will see the distance between the nozzle and the ground is about a wheel diameter. That is alot closer than anyother aircraft, and for extended amount of time too

          ” But even F-22 is supposed to stay out of the turning fight, and F-35 simply has to stay out of the turning fight. Stealth fighters were supposed to operate inside IADS, combining stealth, speed and altitude so that they wouldn’t *have* to turn because they would be out of range by the time anyone attacked.” => stayed out of turning fight is not the same as flying at altitude where it is practically sucide if they shot something at you

          “One massive lump is better than multiple small lumps, which is precisely what the F-35 has” => if many small lumps are not careful oriented then yes, one big lump is better.However, in F-35 case all its lumps are careful designed to have similar deflection angle. The reason i said it is better than B-2 is also because the massive lump on B-2 actually have very while curves, almost circular. Which mean the specular reflection angle of that would be ways worse than the one on F-35.

        • “this is absolute nonsense, if that was the case they would never have produced long/ medium range missiles for SAM or fighter aircraft. Just because you are aware that you are being tracked doesn’t mean you can just out run or out turn the missiles.”

          Your lack of understanding does not make it nonsense. Even against unaware targets, no kill has been achieved beyond 50 kilometers that I am aware of. Original reason for development of long-range missiles and SAMs was shooting down of enemy strategic bombers, and that is the role they can fulfill well. But shooting down fighters is something completely different. I have a more detailed post elsewhere, but basically, AIM-120D is completely useless past 36 kilometers if the enemy knows it is coming. Majority of BVR missiles today have engine that burns for few seconds, rest is inertia, and the moment they have to start to maneuver they bleed off energy extremely quickly. That is in fact part of a reason for long range, because with traditional missile design, extreme nominal range is absolutely necessary to get effective range which is even marginally beyond visual range.

          And since OSFs laser ranging capability is 33 kilometers, it is fully capable of utilizing e.g. AIM-120Ds maximum effective range. Of course, using rangefinder presents similar problem to using the radar.

          “firstly, F-35 can carry Meteor too. Secondly, ramjet missiles improve NEZ dramatically due to their better specific impulse, but even ramjet missiles have their limit in fuel and speed. Your missiles wont appear instantaneous at target location, without range you will subject to much longer course correction , and your missiles wont be able to follow a ballistic arcs to take advantage of gravity and thin air either.”

          As I have said before, knowing the range is not necessary for engagement. Even IR missiles are capable of flying an intercept pattern. It is not as efficient, true, but that is made up by the fact that missile’s approach does not get detected until MAWS notices it.

          “you cant just put a random number in the angle and tell your missiles to lead target. You need to know target radical velocity , distance and aspect angle to know how much your missiles need to lead. That the whole point of measuring range to target. Otherwise, you only have a bearing only launch, which pretty much only work again something at extremely close range or mostly stationary like a surface ship”

          I didn’t say it is as good as with knowing the range. But it works, and having imperfect constant bearing is better than having a continuously changing bearing due to the enemy knowing the missile is inbound as a consequence of fighter’s or missile’s active radar.

          “That questionable, you can’t just triangulate with yourself. You need someone else to create the other point of the triangle with you, and you need a mean to communicate with that ally too. To communicate you will need to transfer information through datalink. With their Omni directional lobes , datalink are quite easily be tracked. Unless you have something like MADL”

          Actually, you can. Kinetic ranging via IRST works by figher flying a weaving pattern. And when triangulating with multiple fighters, directional data link still has far lesser possibility of being noticed than active radar because emissions are a) far weaker and b) are not hitting the target directly. Even omnidirectional link is superior to radar in that area.

          “i dont see how it help masked the exhaust any more than conventional feather feature, most jet engine have that.The outter layer is less than an inch from the internal flames ”

          Inner nozzle is recessed compared to the outer nozzle, and unlike the feather feature you cite, Rafale’s outer nozzle does not point inwards. This means that the hot inner nozzle is either partly or completely hidden from view except from the rear quarter, and the hottest part of the exhaust plume is also hidden from the view from front quarter at least. When looking from the rear, 45* off-axis, half of the inner nozzle is hidden from view (see links). And with the modern longwave IRST, hot aircraft parts are even more of a problem than the engine exhaust itself due to different emissive frequencies. Even comparatively marginal skin heating makes it possible to detect aircraft at very long range. Feather feature you mention does not hide engine exhaust, and due to proximity to that same exhaust it too gets heated up more than outer nozzle would.


          There is also the fact that the M88 engine itself has additional cooling layer (one of reasons for its low TWR), meaning that heating of the airframe around the engine is reduced.

          “There could be various different reason , from aerodynamics stand point PW229 is better with feather features, but most PW229 on F-15 doesn’t have them due to vibration of 2 engines and they want to reduce maintenance work.”

          ^^See above.

          “That debateable, are the 2 engine have the same bypass ratio as the single engine ? higher bypass ratio mean higher percentage of fast cool air by definition. Do the 2 engine have serrated edge to help create unstable flow also ?, and so on. Most 2 engine fighters like PAK-FA , J-20 , Su-35 , F-15 have quite higher thrust level than F-35 too.”

          I was talking as a matter of general principle. F135 does have higher bypass ratio than M88-2, but it is also far more powerful and has higher working temperature. And since F-35 has lower TWR than Rafale (1,07 vs 1,20), it would require higher percentage of thrust for any given flight regime. Also, M88-2 has some IR signature reduction measures completely lacking on F135 while in other areas both engines have reduction measures but take a different approach.

          “This is up to debate, F-35 got DIRCM , EOTS , DAS, ECM , and weapons all internally. It got massive range on internal fuel too. While still able to sustain 4.9G at 15k feet which is around F-16 with DI50 (about 6 aim-120 and 3 empty pylon on station 4,5 ,6). That is quite an achievement in my eye.”

          Aerodynamically speaking, internal weapons are actually disadvantage compared to conformal missile carriage. F-16 typically carries two wingtip missiles because they improve L/D ratio, and missile rail itself improves L/D ratio. Rafale has two wingtip missile rails and two conformal body stations, while Typhoon has four conformal body stations. So aerodynamically clean configurations for Rafale, Typhoon and F-35 are basically identical (4 missiles each), except F-35 can be clean when carrying two bombs as well. But F-35 pays for that with greater total frontal profile relative to engine frontal profile and less efficient aerodynamic design.

          Rafale can sustain 5 g at 15.000 ft with one supersonic fuel tank and in full dry power, and 9 g in same payload configuration at unknown altitude (presumably cca 5.000 ft from test description) and trust level.
          https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/flight-test-dassault-rafale-rampant-rafale-334383/

          Basically, Rafale’s sustained turn capability in dry thrust is better than F-35s sustained turn capability in afterburner.

          “that was the F-35B , its nozzle turn vertically down to the ship decks , if you ever look at the photo , you will see the distance between the nozzle and the ground is about a wheel diameter. That is alot closer than anyother aircraft, and for extended amount of time too”

          I am aware of that but Harrier never had similar problems (albeit it does have different configuration). So it does point to the F-35 having uncommonly hot exhaust, maybe not the hottest there is but definetly hotter than expected.

          “stayed out of turning fight is not the same as flying at altitude where it is practically sucide if they shot something at you”

          True. In fact, F-35 is supposed to fight at 20.000 ft. However, higher altitude does increase missile range, so it is advantageous to take initial shots from as high altitude as possible. Which means that aircraft’s cruise altitiude, climb rate, service ceilling and descent rate all come into play.

          “if many small lumps are not careful oriented then yes, one big lump is better.However, in F-35 case all its lumps are careful designed to have similar deflection angle. The reason i said it is better than B-2 is also because the massive lump on B-2 actually have very while curves, almost circular. Which mean the specular reflection angle of that would be ways worse than the one on F-35.”

          Both F-35 and B-2 are very good when level, and F-35 may be better if for nothing else than size. But the moment F-35 banks, all the bumps it has are revealed to the radar. And no, they are not designed for similar deflection angle, not all of them. In fact, they are rather curved, as is F-35 as whole. Modern stealth aircraft, from B-2 onwards, only reduce front and side, and in most cases rear, signature. Top and down are generally left as-is for the most part in order not to compromise aerodynamics, and F-35s underside is rather uneven as well.

        • “Your lack of understanding does not make it nonsense.”=> oh iam understand fine, no need for your concern

          “Even against unaware targets, no kill has been achieved beyond 50 kilometers that I am aware of” => How about the Irain Tom Cat unit ? ,In 1999 there was a Dutch F-16 shoot down Serb Mig-29 from 33 km too and FYI it was an F-16AM with shitty APG-66 and AIM-120B, current AIM-120D , Meteor along with APG-81 is significantly better

          “Majority of BVR missiles today have engine that burns for few seconds” => no shit Sherlock , of course they do, how long do you think a rocket motor should burn ?

          ” the moment they have to start to maneuver they bleed off energy extremely quickly” => not really , course correction at high altitude doesn’t bleed energy that much, air is very thin there after all. Big maneuver at terminal phase do consume alot f energy but the aircraft will have to deal with more than 1 missile

          “And since OSFs laser ranging capability is 33 kilometers” => actually according to Flightglobal the LRF of OSF is 12 nm which is around 22 km this is similar to LRF distance of OLS-35 on Su-35S

          “As I have said before, knowing the range is not necessary for engagement.”=> if you want to shoot down target from BVR it is

          “Even IR missiles are capable of flying an intercept pattern. It is not as efficient, true” => this would only work at visual range , and even then significantly inferior to range lead intercept

          “missile’s approach does not get detected until MAWS notices it” => if you send data link information to the missiles until the terminal phase instead of making it turning on the homming seeker from the start then enemy wont notice the missiles either

          ” having imperfect constant bearing is better than having a continuously changing bearing due to the enemy knowing the missile is inbound as a consequence of fighter’s or missile’s active radar.” => You conclusion base on the assumption that you are somehow invisible and enemy cant detect your existance when you use IRST. That may be the case for stealth fighter sneak in close but simply not the case for a conventional aircraft. Fly close to enemy ( 100-200 km aways) and they will be detected regardless whether they use their radar or not

          “Kinetic ranging via IRST works by figher flying a weaving pattern” => kinematic ranging would only work if the enemy aircraft follow a fixed course meaning a fixed velocity , same direction , same altitude , no acceleration , no decent or climbing. The moment they themselves start to get into firing position , then accuracy of kinematic ranging is trash. Not to mention the much longer time to achieve

          “And when triangulating with multiple fighters, directional data link still has far lesser possibility of being noticed than active radar because emissions are a) far weaker and b) are not hitting the target directly. Even omnidirectional link is superior to radar in that area.” => or a smarter decision when you have several fighters is to let one of them use their radar and share information with the rest. Much better accuracy as well as targeting time.

          “Inner nozzle is recessed compared to the outer nozzle” => But the flame doesn’t just disappear when it came out of internal “nozzle” , it keep going

          “unlike the feather feature you cite, Rafale’s outer nozzle does not point inwards” => the direction of the feather feature change accordingly to the thrust level , that where their name came from.

          ” Even comparatively marginal skin heating makes it possible to detect aircraft at very long range. Feather feature you mention does not hide engine exhaust, and due to proximity to that same exhaust it too gets heated up more than outer nozzle would.” => both the outer nozzle on Rafale and the Feather features on conventinal fighter have physical connection with the inner nozzle , look at your photo again, they are not just empty space, and they are only an inch from the internal flames, it not like the outter nozzle is more than a meters from inner ring

          “There is also the fact that the M88 engine itself has additional cooling layer” => F-35 has them too, in fact it even have 2 cooling scopes for nacelle bay ventilation

          ” F135 does have higher bypass ratio than M88-2, but it is also far more powerful and has higher working temperature” => The majority of F-135 extra thrust came from its fan rather than the inner core

          .” since F-35 has lower TWR than Rafale (1,07 vs 1,20) ” => i dont think this is true. F-35 with same fuel percentage as Rafale can simply fly much longer because most of its fuel is stored internally. A good comparision would be their T/W when they are fuel for the same mission profile

          “it would require higher percentage of thrust for any given flight regime” => not really, being a stealth aircraft , F-35 will actually have a much more relax time when it fly into enemy air space, it will have to use afterburner much less frequent compared to Rafale

          “M88-2 has some IR signature reduction measures completely lacking on F135 while in other areas both engines have reduction measures but take a different approach.” => i see it in opposite way, F-135 has serrated nozzle for flow break down , M88 doesn’t. F-35 has 2 nacelle bay ventilation scopes while Rafale doesn’t , F-35 has top coat while iam not sure if Rafale has anything similar
          F-135 has higher bypass ratio while M88 use lower thrust for lower IR signature. You can argue that the feather features on M88 help shield the inner nozzle IR signature, but the same can be said aout F-35 stabilizor, it may not cover all direction but from the direction that it does , it do a much better job simply due to the much bigger physical distance along with the size different

          “F-16 typically carries two wingtip missiles because they improve L/D ratio, and missile rail itself improves L/D ratio. Rafale has two wingtip missile rails and two conformal body stations, while Typhoon has four conformal body stations. So aerodynamically clean configurations for Rafale, Typhoon and F-35 are basically identical (4 missiles each)” => but missiles load out are not just wing tip missiles, there are plan for 6 internal air to air missiles on F-35 at block 5 too.

          “I am aware of that but Harrier never had similar problems ” => harrier engine has massive bypass ratio, much bigger than F-135, its nozzle also a bigger distance from ground.

          “True. In fact, F-35 is supposed to fight at 20.000 ft. However, higher altitude does increase missile range, so it is advantageous to take initial shots from as high altitude as possible. Which means that aircraft’s cruise altitiude, climb rate, service ceilling and descent rate all come into play. ” => F-35 is supposed to operate between 20-35k feet. That the best place not only because the air is thick enough to maneuver but also the air condition will help reduce the detection range of optical system.

          ” But the moment F-35 banks, all the bumps it has are revealed to the radar.” => when stealth pilots want to maintain his stealthy , he will yaw to turn , not bank to turn. Banking is used when you want a fast turn. And when F-35 banking , its airframe is a much bigger reflection surface than those small bumps

          “And no, they are not designed for similar deflection angle, not all of them. In fact, they are rather curved” => they are as curvy as the massive cockpit on B-2. Curve is only a big problem if it complete a full circle such as on F-16 nose.

          ” Modern stealth aircraft, from B-2 onwards, only reduce front and side, and in most cases rear, signature. ” => you are mistaken here, most if not all stealth fighter follow bow tie signature design , which mean the majority of effort concentrated on the front and rear

        • “In 1999 there was a Dutch F-16 shoot down Serb Mig-29 from 33 km too and FYI it was an F-16AM with shitty APG-66 and AIM-120B, current AIM-120D , Meteor along with APG-81 is significantly better”

          Serb Mig-29s had inoperable ECM suites, no RWR or MAWS and in most cases radar and optics were inoperable as well. Hardly a representative case against a first-world enemy, especially since in few cases MiGs were literally climbing into the missiles. That is about as representative as clubbing baby seals.

          “no shit Sherlock , of course they do, how long do you think a rocket motor should burn ?”

          Forgive me for not knowing what you do or do not know. In the case you are not aware, most people are not telepaths.

          “not really , course correction at high altitude doesn’t bleed energy that much, air is very thin there after all. Big maneuver at terminal phase do consume alot f energy but the aircraft will have to deal with more than 1 missile”

          Missile’s ability to maneuver at high altitude is also nearly nonexistant so that too helps in not bleeding off much speed, but with the exception of some specific interception missions, fighters typically don’t fly at extreme altitudes.

          Missiles are fired in a salvo, but even with delay between the missiles, they all risk falling for the same set of countermeasures and evasive maneuvers unless missiles in a salvo have different seeker types (e.g. a salvo consisting of an active radar, infrared and antiradiation missile or radar missile in a home-on-jam mode). There is also the ever present possibility of a missile malfunctioning. Either way, a fighter needs to have a large payload of missiles of different types for the salvo firing to be utilized to its full capacity, something that Western fighters typically lack. Rafale does have IR and RF BVR missiles but it typically carries only six missiles. Typhoon and F-22 carry more missiles but only have RF BVR missiles. Only Russian Flankers have both the seeker diversity and the payload necessary to fully take advantage of said diversity.

          “actually according to Flightglobal the LRF of OSF is 12 nm which is around 22 km this is similar to LRF distance of OLS-35 on Su-35S”

          Majority of sources I have managed to find give Rafale’s LRF ranging distance of 33 km, including Flightglobal. Problem is that many of these sources are now offline.

          http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles/1999/06/09/51953/Seeker+gets+on+track.html
          The TV provides tracking, identification and three-dimensional acquisition for weapons lock-on (using the laser ranging function).
          it is understood that at 20,000ft, for example, in air-to-air mode, the system will have an infrared detection capability of around 130knm, while laser ranging is possible out to about 33km, and the TV is capable of looking out to 45km.

          I even found some claims of 40 km range for LRF, but I do not know how reliable they are. This might be interesting as well, I can’t see the page though as my flash player is out of date and I can’t update it due to crappy connection 😛 so you’ll have to tell me what is actually on the damn page (should be near the end):
          http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aw/dti0407/index.php?startpage=46

          “if you want to shoot down target from BVR it is”

          It reduces engagement range, it does not prevent engagement. Even from BVR, if one is using modern missiles.

          “this would only work at visual range , and even then significantly inferior to range lead intercept”

          Wrong, it can be done from BVR as well, only difference is that figher will be sending data from IRST as opposed to radar. And even IRST is capable of rough range estimate.

          “if you send data link information to the missiles until the terminal phase instead of making it turning on the homming seeker from the start then enemy wont notice the missiles either”

          It will notice fighter’s own radar emissions, so you will have to use IRST anyway.

          “You conclusion base on the assumption that you are somehow invisible and enemy cant detect your existance when you use IRST. That may be the case for stealth fighter sneak in close but simply not the case for a conventional aircraft. Fly close to enemy ( 100-200 km aways) and they will be detected regardless whether they use their radar or not”

          You are assuming that fighter’s sensors are all seeing. But even modern fighter radar cannot cover the entire sphere around the aircraft, in fact only sensors that do provide full 360* situational awareness are RWR, LWR and MAWS. Best case scenario, a fighter utilizing swashplate AESA (e.g. Typhoon F.3, Gripen E/F) will have frontal half of the sphere covered. With a normal AESA radar, only 1/9 of the sphere is covered. And in a war scenario, all the jamming and interference flying around will reduce radar’s range as well as increase false alarm rate.

          “kinematic ranging would only work if the enemy aircraft follow a fixed course meaning a fixed velocity , same direction , same altitude , no acceleration , no decent or climbing. The moment they themselves start to get into firing position , then accuracy of kinematic ranging is trash.”

          If they don’t know the enemy is around, they have no reason to change heading. And that is IRST’s primary advantage. Using radar for rangefinding is fine if the enemy is already maneuvering, but if the enemy is maneuvering then probability of hitting is significantly reduced. The optimal scenario is surprise, which means passive detection, passive tracking, passive identification and passive engagement. Which means IRST + IR BVRAAM.

          “or a smarter decision when you have several fighters is to let one of them use their radar and share information with the rest. Much better accuracy as well as targeting time.”

          It is not smarter decision because it warns the enemy of your presence, and radar itself can be jammed, leaving you with no BVR capability. It is good decision if you are pressed for time or the enemy is already aware of your presence.

          “But the flame doesn’t just disappear when it came out of internal “nozzle” , it keep going ”

          No, it does not disappear. But the flame is not equally hot, it cools down, and especially from frontal sector both exhaust emissions and hot inner nozzle are shielded from view. And when it comes to long-range detection at high altitude nozzle is quite important as well since it emits in longwave IR whereas exhaust itself emits in short- to mid- -wave IR.

          ” the direction of the feather feature change accordingly to the thrust level , that where their name came from.”

          True, but there is no spacing between feathers and actual nozzle, meaning that tips of feathers get as hot as the nozzle itself.

          “both the outer nozzle on Rafale and the Feather features on conventinal fighter have physical connection with the inner nozzle , look at your photo again, they are not just empty space, and they are only an inch from the internal flames, it not like the outter nozzle is more than a meters from inner ring”

          They have physical connection, but there is difference between physical connection and direct contact with the hot exhaust. M88-2 has inner and outer nozzle, and inner and outer tube, with air passing between them for cooling. This is additional cooling layer when compared to most engines.

          “The majority of F-135 extra thrust came from its fan rather than the inner core”

          But it also means that it has worse thrust-to-drag ratio.

          “i dont think this is true. F-35 with same fuel percentage as Rafale can simply fly much longer because most of its fuel is stored internally. A good comparision would be their T/W when they are fuel for the same mission profile”

          Actually, F-35 with full internal fuel has combat radius of 1.082 km compared to Rafale’s combat radius of 925 km (+17%). This is despite having significantly higher fuel fraction (0,385 vs 0,332 or +16%) and total fuel capacity (8.280 vs 4.750 kg). If you take a look at percentages, F-35 with the same fuel fraction as Rafale will have similar combat radius. At same fuel fraction (15%), Rafale has wing loading of 261 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,266, and F-35 has wing loading of 384 kg/m2 (+47%) and TWR of 1,191 (94%). And do note that larger aircraft typically has longer range even with the same fuel fraction, meaning that 17% increase in range for 16% higher fuel fraction is very bad performance and points to F-35 having worse lift-to-drag and thrust-to-drag ratios than Rafale. Now, to achieve same *effective* fuel fraction Rafale would need 5.978 kg of useful fuel, which is to say addition of 2.456 kg / 3.070 l of total fuel. Or two-and-half 1.250 l supersonic tanks. This would give AtA takeoff weight of 18.028 kg, wing loading of 394 kg/m2 and TWR of 0,84. This is still better than the F-35A which at AtA takeoff weight of 22.329 kg has wing loading of 522,9 kg/m2 and TWR of 0,874. At full internal fuel and no drop tanks Rafale has wing loading of 327,6 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,007 compared to F-35 which at combat weight (50% fuel) has wing loading of 425,5 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,074. Considering Rafale’s significant wing loading advantage and better aerodynamics, F-35s marginally higher TWR will not help it.

          “not really, being a stealth aircraft , F-35 will actually have a much more relax time when it fly into enemy air space, it will have to use afterburner much less frequent compared to Rafale”

          I was talking about flight regimes, e.g. cruise, combat etc., not frequency of use. And Rafale is primarily air superiority fighter, but it is also designed to fly both through (SPECTRA) and below (low-level strike mode) enemy defenses.

          “i see it in opposite way, F-135 has serrated nozzle for flow break down , M88 doesn’t. F-35 has 2 nacelle bay ventilation scopes while Rafale doesn’t , F-35 has top coat while iam not sure if Rafale has anything similar
          F-135 has higher bypass ratio while M88 use lower thrust for lower IR signature. You can argue that the feather features on M88 help shield the inner nozzle IR signature, but the same can be said aout F-35 stabilizor, it may not cover all direction but from the direction that it does , it do a much better job simply due to the much bigger physical distance along with the size different ”

          Where F-135 has serrated nozzle, M88-2 has the outer nozzle and second cooling layer. Where F-35 has external nacelle bay scoops, Rafale uses the air from primary air intakes for the same purpose. Rafale also has IR-suppression topcoat. But Rafale has the outer nozzle while F-35 tries to hide its nozzle with horizontal tail booms which is half-solution at best. Rafale can cruise at Mach 1,4 at dry thrust compared to Mach 0,95 for F-35 (Mach 1,2 if you believe LM), meaning that it will achieve higher speed for any given engine setting – or rather, be able to fly at the same speed with lower percentage of thrust – and part of the reason is precisely F135s higher bypass ratio (higher BPR > larger engine diameter > higher engine drag, inferior area rule shaping and possibly larger aircraft frontal area > higher drag, especially supersonic).

          “but missiles load out are not just wing tip missiles, there are plan for 6 internal air to air missiles on F-35 at block 5 too.”

          I was talking about clean loadouts. Rafale is expected to perform with 6 missiles, but aerodynamically clean loadout is 4 missiles. Meaning that only two missiles come into play from aerodynamic standpoint.

          “F-35 is supposed to operate between 20-35k feet. That the best place not only because the air is thick enough to maneuver but also the air condition will help reduce the detection range of optical system.”

          And because F-35 is primarily a ground attack aircraft.

          “when stealth pilots want to maintain his stealthy , he will yaw to turn , not bank to turn. Banking is used when you want a fast turn. And when F-35 banking , its airframe is a much bigger reflection surface than those small bumps”

          Yes, but F-35 is not very stealthy against HF/VHF radar and IR MANPADS. VHF radars may not be too accurate when cueing missiles, but it would force the F-35 to evade and expose itself.

          “they are as curvy as the massive cockpit on B-2. Curve is only a big problem if it complete a full circle such as on F-16 nose. ”

          Or if aircraft banks. But yes, as long as the aircraft stays level, it is actually better to have as few hard breaks as possible. My point was that F-35s stealth is limited in angular terms, if the aircraft is forced to bank or comes over (or under) radar emitter that is outside its stealthy area, F-35 will be detected. Stealth aircraft is only as good as its mission planning.

          “you are mistaken here, most if not all stealth fighter follow bow tie signature design , which mean the majority of effort concentrated on the front and rear”

          I can buy that with basically all fighters except F-35, even with its sawtooth/serrated design, round nozzle is not very good for radar stealth.

          ***

          These are few snippets about Rafale’s IR signature reduction measures, taken from FoxThree magazine:
          “Additionally, the M88 has been optimised so that its small infrared signature does not compromise the Rafale’s overall IR signature.” (Fox3 N.3)
          “Every effort has been made by the engineers to minimise its infrared and radar signatures. The objective was not to make the aircraft undetectable or to match the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of the F-117 or B-2, but to significantly reduce the detection and tracking range of hostile airdefences.”
          “Thanks to the Hot Spot treatment, infrared signature is minimised, and the Snecma M88 turbofans have been optimised to limit infrared detectability.” (Fox3 N.4)
          “Additionally, the M88 has been optimised so that its small infrared signature does not compromise the Rafale’s overall IR signature, and its non-polluting, smoke-free emissions make the aircraft more difficult to detect visually than older designs.” (Fox3 N.14)

          Something about FSO as well:
          “S i l e n t i n t e r c e p t s c a n b e conducted with the radar switched off, the FSO and the Spectra system then becoming the main sensors. It is worth noting that the FSO’s laser supplies an accurate rangemeasurement,
          to provide the pilot with the 3D positions of the targets.” (Fox3 N.6)
          “FSO-IT (Front Sector Optronics-Improved Technolgies) is a further step of the current FSO with which pilots are able to covertly detect targets at very long ranges and to identify them at stand-off distances. The FSO has already proved its worth during numerous NATO exercises (Tiger Meet and Ta c t i c a l L e a d e r s h i p Programme) and recent combat operations over Afghanistan, providing Rafale aircrews with unprecedented situational awareness. The new variant will offer outstanding performance levels and will contribute to an even better understanding of the tactical situation.” (Fox3 N.11)
          “The Front Sector Optronics is composed of a powerful TV sensor to identify targets and to determine the number of hostile aircraft within an incoming raid, and of an eyesafe laser rangefinder for telemetry. When used in conjunction with the long range Mica IR missile, the FSO allows entirely passive interceptions to be carried out without radar emissions.” (Fox3 N.14)

          How MICA IR fits into Rafale’s tactics:
          “In hard manoeuvring combat, the MICA IR allows both lock before launch or lock after launch attacks to be performed. In the lock after launch mode, off-axis shots and even ‘overthe-shoulder’ interceptions can be undertaken if required to defeat an aircraft approaching from behind. The IR seeker has many advantages for such a long range missile. It has excellent angular resolution and countermeasure resistance – thanks to dual band imagery – and is totally stealthy: when used in conjunction with the Rafale’s revolutionary Front Sector Optronics system, the passive homing head enables ‘silent’ interceptions without tell-tale radar emissions to betray the fighter’s position; a c l e a r i l l u s t r a t i o n o f t h e R a f a l e ‘ s m u l t i p l e c o v e r t interception tactics.” (Fox3 N.11)

        • “Rafale can sustain 5 g at 15.000 ft with one supersonic fuel tank and in full dry power, and 9 g in same payload configuration at unknown altitude (presumably cca 5.000 ft from test description) and trust level.” => i forgot about this one but if you read the link again, they said the aircraft turn in nose down condition , specifically 10 degrees.Which mean it isn’t a sustained turn. A sustain turn is when specific excess power is 0. In other words : speed and altitude have to be maintained.If go with the speed value being given as indicated airspeed. At 15000ft , 350kt indicated air speed is roughly 431kt true (.69M), and 728ft/sec. A 10 deg nose down attitude means the plane had a steady Ps of -126ft/sec. It is an instantaneous turn.

          “Serb Mig-29s had inoperable ECM suites, no RWR or MAWS and in most cases radar and optics were inoperable as well.” => Serb has 2 version of Mig-29 , the Mig-29B and Mig-29UB ,the UB version doesnot have radar because they are trainer , the B version has fully function N019 Sapfir 29, and they have RWR too. In fact even Mig-21 have RWR.

          “since in few cases MiGs were literally climbing into the missiles” => never heard of anything like that , unless you count not having enough time to change direction as climbing into missiles

          “Missile’s ability to maneuver at high altitude is also nearly nonexistant so that too helps in not bleeding off much speed” => when iam talking about high altitude , i mean the crusing phase of missiles , not the terminal phase because they are often launched in a ballistic arc

          “Missiles are fired in a salvo, but even with delay between the missiles, they all risk falling for the same set of countermeasures and evasive maneuvers” => aircraft evade missiles by causing them to over shoot, so pratically speaking unless 2 missiles are only a few meters apart , your single maneuver would be extremely unlikely to defeat both of them. Counter measure effectiveness can be reduce alot with datalink and HoJ

          “Majority of sources I have managed to find give Rafale’s LRF ranging distance of 33 km, including Flightglobal. Problem is that many of these sources are now offline.” => your first source doesn’t work , your second source state 40 km as the detection range of the thermal camera. So nothing about the LRF really.

          “Even a sniper need approximate range to perform an accurate shot , and sniper bullet rarely go further than 2 km, the engagement time is also much shorter and the target doesn’t really move. For a moving airborne target at BVR , without range information , your missiles wont be able to get anywhere close to them (probably wont even be able to reach the distance )

          “Wrong, it can be done from BVR as well, only difference is that figher will be sending data from IRST as opposed to radar.”=> never been done and never will, unless you extremely high amount of fuel to waste like something the scale of SM-3 or SM-6.Even then the effectiveness is questionable. You cant just put a random number in the angle and tell the missiles to lead that.

          “It will notice fighter’s own radar emissions, so you will have to use IRST anyway.” =>They can notice your radar emission but they dont know when you start to launch the missiles or when it will come especially if missiles is coasting.Furthermore, using IRST and stay silent would only work if you yourself also have a stealth airframe , otherwise enemy will just gonna detect you by their own radar even if you turn off your radar.

          “You are assuming that fighter’s sensors are all seeing. But even modern fighter radar cannot cover the entire sphere around the aircraft” => they dont have to , 120 degrees frontal is more than enough for targeting purpose, and you often have several formation on the sky instead of a single one looking for target.If you are somehow pop up behind the enemy aircraft at the start then sure , using IRST is fine

          ” a fighter utilizing swashplate AESA (e.g. Typhoon F.3, Gripen E/F) will have frontal half of the sphere covered. With a normal AESA radar, only 1/9 of the sphere is covered” => this is quite nonsense, fixed plate AESA has FoV of 60 degrees on each side for a total of 120 degrees, That is 1/3 of the total 360 degrees.Their vertical coverage is smaller but that simply because the intended target will not have that big altitude different, but that doesnt mean the azimuth coverage of AESA is more limited than the horizontal coverage

          ” And in a war scenario, all the jamming and interference flying around will reduce radar’s range as well as increase false alarm rate.” => in a real war scenario , all the different weather condition will significantly reduce IRST range, and its scan rate is simply not adequate to compete with radar as the main sensor for fighter.

          ”If they don’t know the enemy is around, they have no reason to change heading. And that is IRST’s primary advantage” => That where your problem lie, you cant just expect to get close to another fighter about 50-100 km from it and not being detected if you are not in a stealth aircraft yourself( unless you some how magically pop up behind them )

          “Using radar for rangefinding is fine if the enemy is already maneuvering, but if the enemy is maneuvering then probability of hitting is significantly reduced. The optimal scenario is surprise, which means passive detection, passive tracking, passive identification and passive engagement. Which means IRST + IR BVRAAM.” => they cant keep doing hard maneuver forever , the aircraft will lose energy ( altitude and air speed ), the pilot will tied out, using radar may let enemy know that you are there some where but they has the problem of not able to get range for missiles solution while you can. If you have more than 1 aircraft then one can stay in the back and transmit , while the launcher can be much closer to target (assuming the launcher is stealthy enough).

          “It is not smarter decision because it warns the enemy of your presence”=> you will also alert enemy of your presence when you use datalink to triangulate

          “and radar itself can be jammed, leaving you with no BVR capability” => Jamming can reduce detection range to a certain extend but they are not that good, most jamming on fighter are defensive jamming ( cross eye , RGPO , VGPO )which mean they attempt to fool the missiles on the terminal phase rather than trying to overload the radar and reduce range to WVR . There are several ways to deal with jamming too , such as HoJ or pulse compression.

          “No, it does not disappear. But the flame is not equally hot, it cools down, and especially from frontal sector both exhaust emissions and hot inner nozzle are shielded from view.” => The flame ( or infrared radiation ) willnot cool down significantly just because it has to travel another few cm , and from front the nozzle of F-35 is complete shield too , so that a moot point

          ” And when it comes to long-range detection at high altitude nozzle is quite important as well since it emits in longwave IR whereas exhaust itself emits in short- to mid- -wave IR”=> wrong , the nozzle also emitt in mid-near Infrared , the only thing on a fighter that cool enough to emitt in Long wave infrared is its skin due to aerodynamic heating, the nozzle on the other hand is far too hot.

          “true, but there is no spacing between feathers and actual nozzle, meaning that tips of feathers get as hot as the nozzle itself.” => there are space between the feather and the inner nozzle , otherwise they wont be able to move, and the feather of M88 also attached to the inner nozzle, the attached structure will transfer all the heat, so the only different from anormal feather is that the outter feather of M88 is a few centimeter from the direct flame, but that wont make up any significant IR reduction , if at all.

          “They have physical connection, but there is difference between physical connection and direct contact with the hot exhaust. M88-2 has inner and outer nozzle, and inner and outer tube, with air passing between them for cooling. This is additional cooling layer when compared to most engines.” =>At the end of the nozzle there is literally nothing between the outter feather of M88 and the flame, so by all mean they have direct physical contact. If you are talking about the start of the nozzle then yes the inner nozzle seperate the feather from the direct flame but the same is for all engine. and i dont see where you get the idea that there are cooling air passing between the inner nozzle and outer feather on M88. Looking at the cutaway of the engine or the M88 outside Rafale the outter feather literally have bigger diameter than the engine itself and there is no big tube to lead the bypass air circulate that part either. If you talking about bypass air as cooling layer between the nozzle and the turbine flame then that basically something that appear on all turbo fan engine.

          “But it also means that it has worse thrust-to-drag ratio” => at supersonic then yes , it is more desirable to have most of your thrust from the core, but most of the thrust from fan has the advantages of thermal signature and fuel consumption. At subsonic speed , f-35 actually accelerate faster than Su-27/Su-35

          “Actually, F-35 with full internal fuel has combat radius of 1.082 km compared to Rafale’s combat radius of 925 km ” =>Those 2 do not have the same mission profile. Combat time and cruising altitude make up very significant different. Actually, for air to air mission profile , F-35 has combat radius of 751 nm ( 1390 km) with internal fuel and missiles according to LM

          “F-35 with the same fuel fraction as Rafale will have similar combat radius” => actually it will fly quite a bit further

          “At full internal fuel and no drop tanks Rafale has wing loading of 327,6 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,007 compared to F-35 which at combat weight (50% fuel) has wing loading of 425,5 kg/m2 and TWR of 1,074.” => at full fuel and 4 Meteor , Rafale has wing loading of 344 kg/m2 and TW of while F-35 has wingloading of 424 kg/m2. However, wingloading is useless without knowing lift coefficient

          ” Considering Rafale’s significant wing loading advantage and better aerodynamics” => grossly over simplify statement . If Rafale is better in aerodynamic ,then in what way ?. By how much ? without knowing CLmax and L/D curve you cant just say oh A, B , C is better than X , Y , Z

          “F-135 has serrated nozzle, M88-2 has the outer nozzle and second cooling layer” => i dont see where this so called ” second cooling layer ” came from, if you look at the picture of M88 outside Rafale airframe, there is nothing to direct the cooling flow to the outer feather.It is basically just like a cone put on the end of M88

          “Rafale also has IR-suppression topcoat”=> do you have a source for this ?

          “Rafale uses the air from primary air intakes for the same purpose” => do you have any source for this ? because air from the air inlet does not just go to nacelle bay ( which is outside the engine, it is the space between the engine and the aircraft body) , whereas you want air from intake to go to engine, not around it.

          “. But Rafale has the outer nozzle while F-35 tries to hide its nozzle with horizontal tail booms which is half-solution at best” => atleast the half solution is much more practical than putting the outter nozzle only a few centimeter further from the flame and expect IR reduction

          ” Rafale can cruise at Mach 1,4 at dry thrust compared to Mach 0,95 for F-35 (Mach 1,2 if you believe LM)” => if advertising statement from Dassault is to be belived then there is no reason not to believe LM statement. If you dont believe LM then you shouldnt believe Dassault either.

          “And because F-35 is primarily a ground attack aircraft.” => Absolute BS, F-35 is not anymore of a ground attack aircraft than Rafale, and there is nothing other than a SR-71 or Mig-31 will cruise at 60K feet. Only fanboy would think aircraft cruising at their service celling

          “Yes, but F-35 is not very stealthy against HF/VHF radar and IR MANPADS. VHF radars may not be too accurate when cueing missiles, but it would force the F-35 to evade and expose itself.” => the resolution cell of VHF radar is too big to guide missles, and MANPADS can be quite easily avoid if you are not crusing at tree top level. Aircraft between 20-30k feet are very safe from AA cannon and MANPADs

          “Or if aircraft banks. But yes, as long as the aircraft stays level, it is actually better to have as few hard breaks as possible. My point was that F-35s stealth is limited in angular terms, if the aircraft is forced to bank or comes over (or under) radar emitter that is outside its stealthy area, F-35 will be detected. Stealth aircraft is only as good as its mission planning.” => Nope , detection are not the same as tracking and targeting , you need a constant detection to generate targeting solution and guide your missiles at target, a few seconds of banking even if RCS increase significantly doesn’t really matter that much. It basically like releasing chaff

          “I can buy that with basically all fighters except F-35, even with its sawtooth/serrated design, round nozzle is not very good for radar stealth” => round are not good for stealth because of traveling wave return , but the LOAN nozzle on F-135 is not round , it made up of many small angular feather features that intended to break up the traveling wave. The serrated features on the otherhand are used to help deflect radar wave to different direction when F-35 is looked at from behind, F-135 has a rear radar blocker as well.

          “These are few snippets about Rafale’s IR signature reduction measures, taken from FoxThree magazine:” => i cant really see what you are trying to say with those, for the first graph LM said the same about LOAN and their top coat
          The second paragraph is basically similar to what LM said about EOTS
          The third paragraph is basically similar to what Raytheon said about AIM-9X

        • “Serb has 2 version of Mig-29 , the Mig-29B and Mig-29UB ,the UB version doesnot have radar because they are trainer , the B version has fully function N019 Sapfir 29, and they have RWR too. In fact even Mig-21 have RWR.”

          You are misunderstanding, they did have radar and RWR installed, it just wasn’t working due to poor maintenance and lack of spare parts. You can read more about it here:
          https://defenseissues.net/2013/04/27/usefulness-of-bvr-combat/
          Sources and citattions regarding specifically MiG-29s are at the end of the article, but I suggest that you read the entire article.

          “never heard of anything like that , unless you count not having enough time to change direction as climbing into missiles”

          No, I am referring to a pair of MiGs that did not yet reach operating altitude and were in climb when they were engaged. They climbed straight into the missiles, and had no MAWS or countermeasures to boot. I adressed that incident as well in the article I linked.

          “when iam talking about high altitude , i mean the crusing phase of missiles , not the terminal phase because they are often launched in a ballistic arc”

          Maneuvering ability for both aircraft and missiles is dependant on lift, and due to their design missiles are actually less efficient at utilizing said lift. So in air where density is reduced, maneuvering ability is reduced as well. As I wrote in the article I linked above, “missile that pulls 40 g at sea level will only pull 13 g at 10.000 meters and 2,85 g at 20.000 meters, unless 40 g is a structural limit. AIM-9 for example can pull 40 g at SL and at 10.000 ft, and 35 g at 20.000 ft. Thus, it can be expected to pull single-digit number of g’s at 40.000 ft. Meanwhile, F-16 for example can sustain 8,5 g at 15.000 ft, and Rafale can sustain 9 g at 40.000 ft.”.

          “aircraft evade missiles by causing them to over shoot, so pratically speaking unless 2 missiles are only a few meters apart , your single maneuver would be extremely unlikely to defeat both of them. Counter measure effectiveness can be reduce alot with datalink and HoJ”

          Incorrect. Causing missiles to overshoot is the last-ditch measure. Before that, especially when dealing with active radar missiles, aircraft will attempt to cause tracking failure by confusing missile’s seeker. Maneuvering aircraft causes shifting radar returns which, especially when combined with electronic countermeasures, can cause the missile to loose the radar lock. And if one missile has lost the radar lock, chances are that all missiles have lost it. That is why if you take a look at my FLX design (proposals > air superiority fighter proposal 6), missiles with radar seeker can be used in active and passive (anti-radiation) mode, and all missiles have a version with IR seeker as well. That way, when FLX engages the opponent, said opponent has to deal with three different types of missiles – and with six BVR missiles as a standard payload, FLX can fire two such salvos.

          “Even a sniper need approximate range to perform an accurate shot , and sniper bullet rarely go further than 2 km, the engagement time is also much shorter and the target doesn’t really move. For a moving airborne target at BVR , without range information , your missiles wont be able to get anywhere close to them (probably wont even be able to reach the distance )”

          Sniper’s bullet cannot change direction in flight. As I have said, without range information missiles have reduced effective range, but not using radar means that fighters can get closer as well – not to mention that due to jamming, radar’s tracking range will be significantly reduced (one old article I have read, discussing Eurofighter Typhoon which was still in development then, mentions that Soviet jamming was estimated to reduce engagement distances to 9 kilometers when using radar – hence PIRATE).

          “never been done and never will, unless you extremely high amount of fuel to waste like something the scale of SM-3 or SM-6.Even then the effectiveness is questionable. You cant just put a random number in the angle and tell the missiles to lead that.”

          Actually, you can. It will lead to reduced range, that is true, but it is doable. And you are forgetting that IRST is capable of passive rangefinding, and there are several techniques which allow it – and not all involve flying in an S shape. I do not know which models have been actually implemented so far, but a few involve atmospheric propagation models, and you can always estimate distance from target’s apparent size. PIRATE and OSF are both capable of visually identifying fighters at 40 km, Skyward G should have even longer identification range.

          “They can notice your radar emission but they dont know when you start to launch the missiles or when it will come especially if missiles is coasting.Furthermore, using IRST and stay silent would only work if you yourself also have a stealth airframe , otherwise enemy will just gonna detect you by their own radar even if you turn off your radar. ”

          Radar does not cover the entire sphere around the aircraft, most don’t cover even a fifth of it, and with modern jamming they won’t be able to engage even if they do detect me. And radar is useless if it provides incorrect location or range, or doesn’t provide it at all.

          “they dont have to , 120 degrees frontal is more than enough for targeting purpose, and you often have several formation on the sky instead of a single one looking for target.If you are somehow pop up behind the enemy aircraft at the start then sure , using IRST is fine”

          With modern fighters, especially stealth ones, there will be very few such formations in the sky. US have 120 combat-coded F-22s, and with each flying a sortie once every two days, that gives 60 sorties per day. Meanwhile, Gripen costs about one-fifth of what the F-22 costs and can fly two sorties per day, giving 1.200 sorties per day – or 20 times as many sorties as the F-22. And since F-22 is an offensive design, and Gripen can fly from basically anywhere, a bunch of Gripens suddenly popping up from behind the F-22 formation is actually quite likely. And you can replace Gripens with my FLX concept as well.

          “this is quite nonsense, fixed plate AESA has FoV of 60 degrees on each side for a total of 120 degrees, That is 1/3 of the total 360 degrees.”

          One third of total 360 degrees is true for a one-dimensional circle. But coverage area for sensors has two dimensions, vertical coverage and horizontal coverage, which means that it is squared. Now, it is true that at extreme distances the entire altitude may well fall within radar’s coverage, but a lot depends on the situation. And due to F-22s designed mission, enemy coming up from below and from close range is a real possibility.

          “in a real war scenario , all the different weather condition will significantly reduce IRST range, and its scan rate is simply not adequate to compete with radar as the main sensor for fighter.”

          That depends on the altitude and weather. At low altitude, that is true. At medium altitude, not so much, and at high altitude IRST will in fact typically have detection range significantly longer than nominal. I’m not gonna write a book on it now, so here:
          https://defenseissues.net/2015/06/16/airborne-irst-properties-and-performance/

          “That where your problem lie, you cant just expect to get close to another fighter about 50-100 km from it and not being detected if you are not in a stealth aircraft yourself( unless you some how magically pop up behind them )”

          You don’t need to magically pop up, simply approach from the side works. And in fact, most attacks have historically taken place from behind.

          “they cant keep doing hard maneuver forever , the aircraft will lose energy ( altitude and air speed ), the pilot will tied out, using radar may let enemy know that you are there some where but they has the problem of not able to get range for missiles solution while you can. If you have more than 1 aircraft then one can stay in the back and transmit , while the launcher can be much closer to target (assuming the launcher is stealthy enough).”

          And in that case there is no need for all the aircraft to have radar. In fact, podded radar would work just as well. Maybe even better, since it could be larger than what internal design would allow.

          “you will also alert enemy of your presence when you use datalink to triangulate ”

          Not necessarily, modern data links are directional, only thing the enemy may detect is a sidelobe, and detecting that is far less likely than detecting radar’s main lobe. Or even radar’s side lobe, since radar is by necessity far more powerful than data link.

          “Jamming can reduce detection range to a certain extend but they are not that good, most jamming on fighter are defensive jamming ( cross eye , RGPO , VGPO )which mean they attempt to fool the missiles on the terminal phase rather than trying to overload the radar and reduce range to WVR . There are several ways to deal with jamming too , such as HoJ or pulse compression. ”

          That depends, fooling missiles on terminal phase is quite enough but standoff jammers can afford to be far more powerful. And since many modern jammers have AESA antennas, energy loss with distance is not large.

          “wrong , the nozzle also emitt in mid-near Infrared , the only thing on a fighter that cool enough to emitt in Long wave infrared is its skin due to aerodynamic heating, the nozzle on the other hand is far too hot.”

          Depends on which part, but yes, most emissions from nozzle are in mid-IR.

          “Those 2 do not have the same mission profile. Combat time and cruising altitude make up very significant different. Actually, for air to air mission profile , F-35 has combat radius of 751 nm ( 1390 km) with internal fuel and missiles according to LM ”

          Global Security places it at 1.090 km for F-35A:
          http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/f-35-specs.htm
          And after the date of that article there was another reduction, to 1.082 km.

          I’d really like to know where they got that increase from.

          “However, wingloading is useless without knowing lift coefficient”

          It is not useless, and using lift coefficient will only make it worse for the F-35 since it is designed for stealth and not for lift.

          ” If Rafale is better in aerodynamic ,then in what way ?. By how much ? without knowing CLmax and L/D curve you cant just say oh A, B , C is better than X , Y , Z”

          Actually, you can. You’d be surprised how much just the design of the aircraft can tell you. You can read the links later, but I’ll just list a few things:
          * Rafale has close coupled canards, which F-35 does not have. Depending on the design, canards can increase C(l)max by as much as 65% (which was value for the Viggen).
          * While F-35 has stealthy chimes(? can’t remember exact spelling, but cut-off LERX), Rafale has highly swept LERX (73°sweep). LERX increases lift at high AoA, and they also interact with canards, supporting each other’s lift effect. F-35s chimes have similar effect to LERX, but weaker because full-on LERX had to be removed and chimes don’t generate as strong vortices since there is nothing to support them and no reinforcing effect of LERX’s edge on the vortex flow that started on the LERX frontal area.
          * Unlike with chimes or LERX, canards start improving lift from very low angles of attack (for Viggen, it was 4,27°).
          * Rafale’s canards also have strong effect on the outer wing surface, improving roll response through tip vortices. F-35s chimes do not help with that.
          * Design of Rafale’s air intake area is intended to channel the air and strenghten the LERX vortex. This means significantly increased lift, since it is inner vortices that are responsible for most of the lift. F-35s air intakes have no such effect because they are optimized for stealth.
          * Rafale’s mid-wing design results in reduced wave drag. F-35 has high-wing design which has no such effect, albeit it does allow simpler construction. Rafale’s sharp LERX also helps in reducing supersonic drag by producing shock ahead of the wing leading edge (F-22s LERX has the same effect – it even has the same sweep, 73° – which is why F-22 could reduce wing sweep to 42°).
          * Rafale’s air intakes are shielded by the fuselage (recessed), which improves air flow at high angles of attack by reducing local angle of attack. F-35s air intakes are not shielded.

          Here for more detail, articles are old so there may be some minor mistakes, but you get the picture:
          https://defenseissues.net/2013/08/24/dassault-rafale-analysis/
          https://defenseissues.net/2015/09/11/dassault-rafale-vs-f-35/

          “i dont see where this so called ” second cooling layer ” came from, if you look at the picture of M88 outside Rafale airframe, there is nothing to direct the cooling flow to the outer feather.It is basically just like a cone put on the end of M88”

          With Rafale, the cone has open front end while it is closed in F135. Ever wondered why?



          Outermost cooling channel runs between the aircraft skin and the engine, and air exits between the outer and inner nozzles. Second cooling channel cools engine main casing and afterburner casing, third cools engine internal casing and exhausts into the afterburner casing, and innermost cools the blades.
          http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r279/sampaix/IE9S9882.jpg~original

          “do you have a source for this ?”

          I think I already did post links in my previous post.

          “do you have any source for this ? because air from the air inlet does not just go to nacelle bay ( which is outside the engine, it is the space between the engine and the aircraft body) , whereas you want air from intake to go to engine, not around it.”

          Actually, Rafale has secondary intakes in the air bleed area:
          http://s146.photobucket.com/user/sampaix/media/intakeleftarrangementnh9-1.jpg.html

          You can see it under the pointer labelled “A” in the above image. So no, the air from the main intake does not go to the nacelle bay, but that is why Rafale has secondary intake. F-35 has the same system BTW, except its intake is located under the wing.

          “atleast the half solution is much more practical than putting the outter nozzle only a few centimeter further from the flame and expect IR reduction”

          Outer nozzle (and inner nozzle, to the extent) is cooled by the air provided by the outermost cooling system. High-speed air from the outermost system also helps isolate the outer nozzle from the hot exhaust.

          “if advertising statement from Dassault is to be belived then there is no reason not to believe LM statement. If you dont believe LM then you shouldnt believe Dassault either.”

          Reason is that Lockheed Martin has shown itself to be less than reliable.

          “Absolute BS, F-35 is not anymore of a ground attack aircraft than Rafale, and there is nothing other than a SR-71 or Mig-31 will cruise at 60K feet. Only fanboy would think aircraft cruising at their service celling ”

          Wrong, F-35 is designed as a ground attack aircraft. High bypass ratio engine (0,57 BPR), low thrust-to-weight, high wing loading, bad cockpit visibility. There is also the fact that its basic configuration is two missiles plus two bombs. Even its designed mission was the first-day-of-war bomber to punch holes in enemy air defenses, and it replaces F-16 which USAF has always thought of as primarily ground attack aircraft even though it was never designed as such.

          “the resolution cell of VHF radar is too big to guide missles, and MANPADS can be quite easily avoid if you are not crusing at tree top level. Aircraft between 20-30k feet are very safe from AA cannon and MANPADs”

          At 20-30k feet you cannot detect camouflaged targets or perform CAS. And VHF radar cell is not too big to guide missiles if missile is intended to rely on its own sensors for the terminal guidance, IR SAMs can easily do that.

          “Nope , detection are not the same as tracking and targeting , you need a constant detection to generate targeting solution and guide your missiles at target, a few seconds of banking even if RCS increase significantly doesn’t really matter that much. It basically like releasing chaff ”

          F-35 is too slow to run, meaning that if the enemy has IRST-equipped interceptors, it *has* to stay undetected to survive.

          “round are not good for stealth because of traveling wave return , but the LOAN nozzle on F-135 is not round , it made up of many small angular feather features that intended to break up the traveling wave. The serrated features on the otherhand are used to help deflect radar wave to different direction when F-35 is looked at from behind, F-135 has a rear radar blocker as well.”

          True, but many serrations also mean that there is a lot of scattering as well. There is a reason why F-117s diamond shape was quickly abandoned even in ground attack aircraft.

          “i cant really see what you are trying to say with those”

          Nothing in particular, just some information.

        • “You are misunderstanding, they did have radar and RWR installed, it just wasn’t working due to poor maintenance and lack of spare parts. You can read more about it here
          Sources and citattions regarding specifically MiG-29s are at the end of the article, but I suggest that you read the entire article:” => the citation doesn’t work, links is offline. And that the same excuse every time Soviet equipment get destroyed, every single time they blamed pilots and maintenance.

          “No, I am referring to a pair of MiGs that did not yet reach operating altitude and were in climb when they were engaged. They climbed straight into the missiles, and had no MAWS or countermeasures to boot. I adressed that incident as well in the article I linked.” => I read that, but since i the article are offline , i have to rely on your words, and it sounds very inconsistent, if the RWR was inoperative then how come the pilot detect a radar lock him ? , you also linked separate cases of in operate radar and RWR and conclude that RWR and radar on aircraft that got shot down never worked. What if they did ?. You said there were no evasive maneuver when one of the quote mentioned the pilot perform evasive maneuver before eject. Overall, it sound pretty one-sided , and varius assumption has to be made so that all the aircraft got shot down have in operate RWR , radar , countermeasure at the same time , and they all didn’t make any evasive maneuver. That a massive exaggeration to say the least.

          “Maneuvering ability for both aircraft and missiles is dependant on lift, and due to their design missiles are actually less efficient at utilizing said lift” => missiles fly much faster,more speed mean more lift, and missiles do lead intercept rather than trying to follow the exact path of aircraft .Furthermore, missiles can afford to use ITR at terminal stage while using ITR is actually very bad for the aircraft because a second missiles may come

          “missile that pulls 40 g at sea level will only pull 13 g at 10.000 meters and 2,85 g at 20.000 meters, unless 40 g is a structural limit.” => that would only be the case if missiles speed is constant and independence of altitude. The reality is not that simple. For example: an AIM-54 can reach Mach 6 rather easy at high altitude but it will barely go faster than Mach 2 at sea level

          “Meanwhile, F-16 for example can sustain 8,5 g at 15.000 ft, and Rafale can sustain 9 g at 40.000 ft.” => this single line just take aways all of your credibility if you had any, at 15k feet with no weapon and less than 50% fuel, F-16 can sustain about 7.1G , at 40K feet , it will sustain barely 3G.There is no way in hell that Rafale can sustain 9 g at 40.000 ft, this is even dumber claim than saying F-22 can sustain 28 degrees/sec at 20k feet like some fan boy do. Lift = 0.5*CL* wing area * air density * velocity^2 , let say we have a Rafale with about 50% fuel or around 12000 kg , assuming the velocity of the turn is Mach 0.8 or 235 meters/second at 40k feet , air density at 40k feet is about 0.3 kg/m3 , wing area of Rafale is 45.7 m2
          To pull 9G at 40K feet , you will need : 12000*9.8*9 = 0.5*CL * 0.3* 45.7 * 235^2 so CL* 378567 = 1058400, in the other word, CL= 2.7, what magic dust can give an aircraft a lift coefficient of 2.7 at Mach 0.8 , and 40k feet ?.Even the Su-27 one of the great example of body lift can only achieve CLmax of 1.85 and that is at Mach 0.5 and AoA of 24 degrees , at Mach 0.8 , su-27 will get CLmax of barely 1.45. Even more ridiculuos that you claimed Rafale can somehow sustain 9G at 40k feet, Let say by some magical ways Rafale can achieve almost twice the CL value of Su-27 at the same speed , you will still have to deal with the drag to sustain the turn.Cd curve is exponential but Cl curve is linear. The AoA that you need to generate Cl = 2.7 will generate a massive amount of drag that not even 10 M88 on your Rafale will help you sustain the turn.

          ” Before that, especially when dealing with active radar missiles, aircraft will attempt to cause tracking failure by confusing missile’s seeker” => missiles seeker only turn on at terminal phase

          “Maneuvering aircraft causes shifting radar returns which shifting radar returns which, especially when combined with electronic countermeasures, can cause the missile to loose the radar lock” => if you are describe beaming maneuver then you got it in reverse , the purpose of beaming is actually trying to reduce the Doppler shift to below blind speed. Blind speed is decided by radar PRF, and Doppler shift is decided by aspect angle with the missiles , which is why it doesn’t works so well if there are more than 1 missile

          “And if one missile has lost the radar lock, chances are that all missiles have lost it” => no , because of 2 reasons. First , even if all are radar guided missiles , they do not used the exact same frequency ,all radar guided missiles has a range of frequency that they can hop back and forth . Otherwise you wont be able to launch more than 1 missile at the same target because they would interfere with each other. The same for beaming maneuver, they rely on radical velocity, so they cant really be used against multiple target.

          “Sniper’s bullet cannot change direction in flight.” => but target of sniper do not move at nearly 1/4 speed of the bullet

          “but not using radar means that fighters can get closer as well” => only if they are also stealth or for some reason started the fight from behind the target

          “As I have said, without range information missiles have reduced effective range” => down to WVR

          “Actually, you can. It will lead to reduced range, that is true, but it is doable.” => never been done before not even on varius SAM that will excess AAM significantly both in range and speed, without range information, you would literally have to provide the missiles with random leading angle

          “And you are forgetting that IRST is capable of passive rangefinding, and there are several techniques which allow it – and not all involve flying in an S shape. I do not know which models have been actually implemented so far, but a few involve atmospheric propagation models, and you can always estimate distance from target’s apparent size” => propagation models mean you need to know exact weather , atmospheric condition , exact target size (various target can look similar but has different size ),the aspect of target relative to you matter too since it can change their size quite a lot , a few degrees to the right of to the left and target can be 10-20% bigger or smaller all that lead to error in range estimation, then you still have the problem of not knowing the radical velocity.

          “Radar does not cover the entire sphere around the aircraft, most don’t cover even a fifth of it” => 120 is 1/3 of 360

          “with modern jamming they won’t be able to engage even if they do detect me. And radar is useless if it provides incorrect location or range, or doesn’t provide it at all.” => you put too much fate in jamming. Even in worst case scenario , radar can always provide heading again a jammer, because it is not possible to jam without transmiting. Which mean in worst case your radar can operate like an IRST against jamming target.

          “One third of total 360 degrees is true for a one-dimensional circle. But coverage area for sensors has two dimensions, vertical coverage and horizontal coverage, which means that it is squared. Now, it is true that at extreme distances the entire altitude may well fall within radar’s coverage, but a lot depends on the situation” => you know that physically speaking , there is no reason stoping an AESA radar on fighter to have the same FoV vertical and horizontal right ? the only reason most common scan bar is wider horizontal than vertical is because target are not really expected to fly that much higher than the aircraft.There is almost no point for them to look up 60 degrees , either target is right above them in visual range or target fly so high that their missiles will never reach it

          “You don’t need to magically pop up, simply approach from the side works. And in fact, most attacks have historically taken place from behind.”=> if you try to approach from behind using IRST, there are not that much different between Rafale and F-35.

          “That depends on the altitude and weather. At low altitude, that is true. At medium altitude, not so much, and at high altitude IRST will in fact typically have detection range significantly longer than nominal. I’m not gonna write a book on it now, so here:” => There are quite a few different kind of cloud at 20K feet that are not transparent to IR actually such as altocumulus , altostratus , culumonibus, and they dont have to block IR radiation completely to affect IRST range either, all of those cloud reflecting sun light , which has IR radiation in it,which mean they generate alot of clutter , it is much harder to find a target fly at lower altitude near cloud than one fly at much higher altitude against the cold sky background. Secondly, there is really nothing stop F-35 pilots from launching missiles at high altitude and decent to lower altitude below could in guide phase. Basically, both side can have targeting solution at first, However, F-35 can still guide missiles by radar while they are below cloud while the side that rely on IRST will have some significant problem for mid course guide. Btw ,in that link you also have the detect range for OSF randomly out of no where. I cant find any official source that state the subsonic detection range for OSF like you stated

          “And in that case there is no need for all the aircraft to have radar. In fact, podded radar would work just as well. Maybe even better, since it could be larger than what internal design would allow.” => technically that the concept of AWACs and support Jamming asset. But the more you have for yourself ,the less likey you have to rely on others asset

          ” since radar is by necessity far more powerful than data link” => they are also more directional because of the aperture size

          ” And since many modern jammers have AESA antennas, energy loss with distance is not large.” => modern fighter has AESA radar too, and while they are same technology , radar beam are alot more concentrated simply because their aperture size is much bigger in most case. Jammer has their own advantage of signal traveling one way but radar generally has the advantage of compress pulse and knowing exact transmit bandwidth

          “Depends on which part, but yes, most emissions from nozzle are in mid-IR” => like 99% of nozzle emission is in mid and near IR

          “Global Security places it at 1.090 km for F-35A: And after the date of that article there was another reduction, to 1.082 km. I’d really like to know where they got that increase from.” => Global security against manufacturer information ??? really ? they get the extra range because different mission profile mean different combat range. Air density change with altitude

          “It is not useless, and using lift coefficient will only make it worse for the F-35 since it is designed for stealth and not for lift.” => that is extremely overly simplified and wrong, if F-35 was designed only for stealth it will look alot like B-2 rather than F-22

          “Rafale has close coupled canards, which F-35 does not have” => F-35 has chimes , and tail configuration mean F-35 can take advantages of negative stability since the horizontal tail will contribute to lift instead of subtract from it. On the other hand, a negative stable canard is pointless since the pitching moment mean the canard will subtract lift instead of adding to it. Moreover, F-35 wing has lower sweep angle than Rafale wing so technically speaking they would have more drag but at the same time more lift per surface area

          “While F-35 has stealthy chimes(? can’t remember exact spelling, but cut-off LERX), Rafale has highly swept LERX (73°sweep)” => F-35 does have vortex generator , both the inner and outter side of the inlet has sharp edge that will create vortex at positive AoA

          “Unlike with chimes or LERX, canards start improving lift from very low angles of attack (for Viggen, it was 4,27°).” => Lerx on F-16 work from rather low angle of attack too, no reason why F-35 lerx shouldn’t

          ” Rafale’s canards also have strong effect on the outer wing surface, improving roll response through tip vortices. F-35s chimes do not help with that.” => F-35 vortex is contributed on the fusalege , it help improve body lift, and a single engine along with high wingloading actually mean F-35 can roll very fast

          “Design of Rafale’s air intake area is intended to channel the air and strenghten the LERX vortex. This means significantly increased lift, since it is inner vortices that are responsible for most of the lift. F-35s air intakes have no such effect because they are optimized for stealth.” => This sound pretty nonsense to me, there is no evidence to support the theory that F-35 inlet doesn’t help improve lift while Rafale intake does. Especially considering that F-35 intake has very sharp edge for vortex generation. Can you cite some official article or books instead of just what you speculated ?

          “Rafale’s mid-wing design results in reduced wave drag. F-35 has high-wing design which has no such effect, albeit it does allow simpler construction” => actually F-35 has shoulder wing, now ,can you provide a source, like an actual one about how much mid wing configuration reduced drag compared to shoulder wing ?

          “Rafale’s air intakes are shielded by the fuselage (recessed), which improves air flow at high angles of attack by reducing local angle of attack. F-35s air intakes are not shielded.” => this smell BS to me also, so if you dont mind , i would want a source for this too
          Overall, your article is quite long but you made some very ridiculous mistake about sustain turn rate and similar things, and there is very little if any real number and computer simulation to back up your various speculation theory which really make me question the accuracy of the whole analysis.

          “With Rafale, the cone has open front end while it is closed in F135. Ever wondered why?Outermost cooling channel runs between the aircraft skin and the engine, and air exits between the outer and inner nozzles. Second cooling channel cools engine main casing and afterburner casing, third cools engine internal casing and exhausts into the afterburner casing, and innermost cools the blades.” => I dont think you understood my question , i mean do you have any source from Dassault or whoever made the Rafale , that said M88 has a cooling channel from the front stage lead up to the feather feature ? . Because as far as i can see, there is no huge tube to lead the air to cool that feather area. And if we are talking about close and open ended, there are space between the F-135 nozzle and F-35 fusalage. If you look at F-16 or Rafale the nozzle is attached to the aircraft body , but on F-35 there is actually a space between them

          “I think I already did post links in my previous post.” => i cant see it any where, btw how could you already post the link if i only started to ask for it in that post?

          “Actually, Rafale has secondary intakes in the air bleed area:you can see it under the pointer labelled “A” in the above image. So no, the air from the main intake does not go to the nacelle bay, but that is why Rafale has secondary intake.” => I looked at several pictures of rafale on internet , at that same exact area , doesn’t seem to have any cooling scope there, also F-16 inlet look quite similar in the same area

          “Outer nozzle (and inner nozzle, to the extent) is cooled by the air provided by the outermost cooling system. High-speed air from the outermost system also helps isolate the outer nozzle from the hot exhaust.” => i still dont see where and how the bypass air like you said can go inside that feather feature

          “Reason is that Lockheed Martin has shown itself to be less than reliable.” => that is arguable , Rafale fan will think LM less reliable , F-35 fan will think Dassaults less relible , but i dont give a fuck about some national dick measuaring contest , either i take value from both manufacturers or i take none.That the only fair way

          “Wrong, F-35 is designed as a ground attack aircraft. High bypass ratio engine (0,57 BPR), low thrust-to-weight, high wing loading, bad cockpit visibility” => Su-27 /35 have high bypass ratio engine too. When fueled to similar combat radius with others fighter F-35 actually has superior T/W ratio to most, high wing loading is not neccesary bad since it generally mean better roll rate, also it is not possible to compare effect of wingloading without without exact CL, F-35 may not has better cockpit visibility than F-16 but it is still comparable to most fighter, many modern fighter such as PAK-FA does not have bubble canopy either. Nevertheless, F-35 has DAS so any disadvantages it have in cockpit visibility can be solved rather easy

          “At 20-30k feet you cannot detect camouflaged targets or perform CAS” => you can , if it transmit , you have ASQ-239 , if it has engine or open fire at something, you have DAS and EOTS ,and even without those you can still use APG-81 in SAR mode.

          “There is also the fact that its basic configuration is two missiles plus two bombs. Even its designed mission was the first-day-of-war bomber to punch holes in enemy air defenses, and it replaces F-16 which USAF has always thought of as primarily ground attack aircraft even though it was never designed as such.” => no F-16 and F-35 are multi role aircraft , F-35 is used to punch holes through enemy air defense because legacy aircraft can do same thing and F-22 doesnot have IR system for ground targeting either.

          “And VHF radar cell is not too big to guide missiles if missile is intended to rely on its own sensors for the terminal guidance” =>missiles with terminal seeker are notsome 2017 invention, they been here for quite a while , same for VHF radar” => while it may not be as bad as not having range , having a resolution cell as several km in size is quite bad. Even the very modern NEBO SVU still have cell of 5.5 km in vertical and 1.6 km in azimuth.Furthermore, most VHF radar are very massive and mostly stationary , they are often the one that get destroyed first by cruise missiles

          “F-35 is too slow to run, meaning that if the enemy has IRST-equipped interceptors, it *has* to stay undetected to survive” => Assuming F-35 attacked a ground target with SPEAR then runaways, when they bank the radar detect them , the interceptor take off , now the seperation is about 100 km, F-35 is not the fastest aircraft but it would still take very long time for interceptor to catch up a 100 km head start. And there is nothing stopping them from having serveral escort F-35 go along either, The interceptor chasing them may even fell into a trap

          “true, but many serrations also mean that there is a lot of scattering as well” => still much better than conventional nozzle like on Rafale

        • “the citation doesn’t work, links is offline. And that the same excuse every time Soviet equipment get destroyed, every single time they blamed pilots and maintenance.”

          That is what happens when you sell your weapons to Third World countries. Croatia fought undermanned and underequipped against JNA and still won in the end. Why didn’t JNA overrun Croatia in first few days? Outdated doctrine, bad training, demoralized troops. In Korea, Soviet pilots achieved near parity against US pilots, and that was the last time they went head to head. Rest of the time it was United States invading Soviet proxies or Soviet Union invading US proxies. And whenever it came to conventional warfare, proxies couldn’t stand up to superpower, no matter the equipment – because they didn’t have training, organization or support infrastructure to use it. One exception to that was Israel, and thanks to that it survived several invasions from statistically far more powerful enemies.

          And it is not like you can’t find an example where it was a Third World power using Western equipment that got trounced because it didn’t know how to use said equipment. Just take a look at the Falklands War. Argentine got hammered despite having (theoretically) better equipment, why? Training and logistics.

          You can look at links by using Wayback Machine or similar internet archives.

          “I read that, but since i the article are offline , i have to rely on your words, and it sounds very inconsistent, if the RWR was inoperative then how come the pilot detect a radar lock him ? , you also linked separate cases of in operate radar and RWR and conclude that RWR and radar on aircraft that got shot down never worked. What if they did ?. You said there were no evasive maneuver when one of the quote mentioned the pilot perform evasive maneuver before eject. Overall, it sound pretty one-sided , and varius assumption has to be made so that all the aircraft got shot down have in operate RWR , radar , countermeasure at the same time , and they all didn’t make any evasive maneuver. That a massive exaggeration to say the least.”

          There were various cases. I never said that radar warners were inoperable on *all* fighters, and if I made it sound like that, I apologize. In fact you will notice, if you read more closely, that statements typically adress only one fighter or pair of fighters. In the case of working RWR you bring up, pilot actually managed to evade all US BVRAAMs, only to get shot down by a friendly SAM. There was also another case of a pilot performing evasive maneuver, but pilot in question started evading only after his wingman got shot down… he saw wingman’s destruction, realized what happened and started evasive maneuvers. And since they were climbing straight into the missiles, he had no time and no energy for proper evasion. Not to mention that he was evading blind, since AFAIK he had no RWR, no MAWS, it was night and missiles were coasting, flying on inertia.

          There is also the fact that pilots were inexperienced and MiG-29 is very difficult to fly. In the end, aircraft is only as good as the person using it.

          “missiles fly much faster,more speed mean more lift, and missiles do lead intercept rather than trying to follow the exact path of aircraft .Furthermore, missiles can afford to use ITR at terminal stage while using ITR is actually very bad for the aircraft because a second missiles may come”

          More speed means more lift but it also means more inertia. Also, at the speeds missiles fly, their G limits come into play. And fact that missiles lead intercept actually helps aircraft evade them because they have to correct more once aircraft changes its heading. Not perfect, but should give you an idea:
          https://defenseissues.net/2013/08/17/evading-air-to-air-missile/

          It is true that more missiles arriving can be a problem, but, especially with active radar missiles, you actually need to fire more than one missile in order to be certain that at least one missile will reach the terminal stage. Aircraft’s radar can get jammed, missile datalink can get jammed or otherwise disrupted, missile’s seeker can get jammed, missile can malfunction due to something being missed during maintenance, stresses of aircraft operation or stress of launch…

          “that would only be the case if missiles speed is constant and independence of altitude. The reality is not that simple. For example: an AIM-54 can reach Mach 6 rather easy at high altitude but it will barely go faster than Mach 2 at sea level”

          It will still be unable to reach anywhere close to its sea level turn performance at altitude. Same reason why it can fly fast is the reason why it won’t be able to turn… lack of air.

          “this single line just take aways all of your credibility if you had any, at 15k feet with no weapon and less than 50% fuel, F-16 can sustain about 7.1G , at 40K feet , it will sustain barely 3G.”

          Aircraft flying at significantly faster speed than corner velocity can sustain certain G number even though it will loose speed while doing so. F-16 has twice the wing loading of Rafale, inferior engine and far lower lift coefficient. Figures you are giving here are G limits for sustained turn rate, not maximum sustainable G.

          “Even more ridiculuos that you claimed Rafale can somehow sustain 9G at 40k feet, Let say by some magical ways Rafale can achieve almost twice the CL value of Su-27 at the same speed , you will still have to deal with the drag to sustain the turn. Cd curve is exponential but Cl curve is linear. The AoA that you need to generate Cl = 2.7 will generate a massive amount of drag that not even 10 M88 on your Rafale will help you sustain the turn.”

          Read again. I said sustained load factor, not sustained turn. These two things are not the same. If aircraft can sustain load factor but not sustain the speed it is flying at for the moment, then it is not sustained turn, it is instantaneous turn. Now, at certain altitude aircraft will not be able to even achieve 9 g let alone sustain it, but I have no graphs which would show what altitude that is for Rafale. It will be *significantly* higher than is the case with the F-16, that is for certain. F-22 can IIRC achieve 9 g at >60.000 ft, and I know that F-16C can achieve 9 g at ~35.000 ft (see links).


          So yes, Rafale can sustain 9G at 40.000 ft, only question is for how long. Considering its superior aerodynamics and lower wing loading than F-22, it should be able to achieve 9 g at higher altitudes than possible for F-22.

          “missiles seeker only turn on at terminal phase”

          If launch platform can afford to keep track for that long, then yes.

          “if you are describe beaming maneuver then you got it in reverse , the purpose of beaming is actually trying to reduce the Doppler shift to below blind speed. Blind speed is decided by radar PRF, and Doppler shift is decided by aspect angle with the missiles , which is why it doesn’t works so well if there are more than 1 missile”

          I’m not describing that, I’m describing the effect that change of aircraft aspect has on the missile.

          “First , even if all are radar guided missiles , they do not used the exact same frequency ,all radar guided missiles has a range of frequency that they can hop back and forth . Otherwise you wont be able to launch more than 1 missile at the same target because they would interfere with each other. The same for beaming maneuver, they rely on radical velocity, so they cant really be used against multiple target. ”

          Depends on the reason why they lost it. If it is a combination of clutter and jamming, chances are that both missiles have lost the lock. Also, missiles of the same type use same flight pattern.

          “only if they are also stealth or for some reason started the fight from behind the target”

          Not even from behind, most fighters don’t have 100* coverage of a swashplate AESA.

          “down to WVR”

          Not necessarily.

          “propagation models mean you need to know exact weather , atmospheric condition , exact target size (various target can look similar but has different size ),the aspect of target relative to you matter too since it can change their size quite a lot , a few degrees to the right of to the left and target can be 10-20% bigger or smaller all that lead to error in range estimation, then you still have the problem of not knowing the radical velocity.”

          Wether and atmospheric conditions don’t change that much at altitude. Other things are problematic, I agree, but they can be solved by e.g. sharing data between aircraft in a flight.

          “120 is 1/3 of 360”

          I was talking about spherical coverage, take a look at Swedish dispersal plans for Soviet invasion, Gripens could easily come up from below Soviet fighters because their road bases are simply too hard to find.

          “you put too much fate in jamming. Even in worst case scenario , radar can always provide heading again a jammer, because it is not possible to jam without transmiting. Which mean in worst case your radar can operate like an IRST against jamming target.”

          That is correct. But both radar and jammer leave themselves open to anti-radiation missiles or passive cueing.

          “you know that physically speaking , there is no reason stoping an AESA radar on fighter to have the same FoV vertical and horizontal right ? the only reason most common scan bar is wider horizontal than vertical is because target are not really expected to fly that much higher than the aircraft.There is almost no point for them to look up 60 degrees , either target is right above them in visual range or target fly so high that their missiles will never reach it”

          I know that, but see above.

          “if you try to approach from behind using IRST, there are not that much different between Rafale and F-35.”

          Except Rafale is faster, which means that it is better at catching enemy fighters than the F-35 is.

          “There are quite a few different kind of cloud at 20K feet that are not transparent to IR actually such as altocumulus , altostratus , culumonibus, and they dont have to block IR radiation completely to affect IRST range either, all of those cloud reflecting sun light , which has IR radiation in it,which mean they generate alot of clutter , it is much harder to find a target fly at lower altitude near cloud than one fly at much higher altitude against the cold sky background. Secondly, there is really nothing stop F-35 pilots from launching missiles at high altitude and decent to lower altitude below could in guide phase. Basically, both side can have targeting solution at first, However, F-35 can still guide missiles by radar while they are below cloud while the side that rely on IRST will have some significant problem for mid course guide. Btw ,in that link you also have the detect range for OSF randomly out of no where. I cant find any official source that state the subsonic detection range for OSF like you stated”

          At 20.000 ft yes, but fighters typically fly at higher altitude to achieve improved fuel economy. F-22s maximum cruise speed is achieved at 38.000 ft (supercruise). For F-15, it is 30.000 ft. And best fuel economy for F-22 is around 40.000 ft. So they won’t fly at 20.000 ft unless necessary.

          Detection ranges for IRSTs are typically against subsonic targets. I know that PIRATE achieves 90/145 km against subsonic fighter-sized target, so I extrapolated that 80/130 km figure for OSF is in similar conditions.

          “technically that the concept of AWACs and support Jamming asset. But the more you have for yourself ,the less likey you have to rely on others asset”

          Yes, and the more things you do by yourself the worse you are at any given thing.

          “modern fighter has AESA radar too, and while they are same technology , radar beam are alot more concentrated simply because their aperture size is much bigger in most case. Jammer has their own advantage of signal traveling one way but radar generally has the advantage of compress pulse and knowing exact transmit bandwidth”

          It is a bit more complex. For radar, signal travels two ways, so it reduces nominal return to 1/4 of sent-out emissions. But even that is only true with a perfect return (say, a flat plate or a perfect corner reflector). In reality, far less than that is returned. Fighters are designed to be aerodynamic, and this has the effect of reducing their radar return – especially from the front. A perfect fighter-sized reflector would be automobile, which has RCS of 100-1.000 m2. A fighter aircraft meanwhile has RCS of 0,5-5 m2. Rafale has frontal RCS of 0,5 m2 and because four out of six missiles are conformal, increase in RCS due to missiles will be far less than normal. Let’s say it is some 2,5-5 m2 in the end. This is still between 1/20 at worst and 1/400 at best of automobile’s RCS. And radar will also have to sort out any possible jamming as well as its own signal being reflected from terrain (sidelobes).

          “that is extremely overly simplified and wrong, if F-35 was designed only for stealth it will look alot like B-2 rather than F-22”

          It is not oversimplified. F-35 was not designed “only” for stealth, but stealth was the main focus. If you want to see lift-optimized designs, look at Rafale and Gripen. Now compare them to F-35, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

          “F-35 has chimes , and tail configuration mean F-35 can take advantages of negative stability since the horizontal tail will contribute to lift instead of subtract from it. On the other hand, a negative stable canard is pointless since the pitching moment mean the canard will subtract lift instead of adding to it. Moreover, F-35 wing has lower sweep angle than Rafale wing so technically speaking they would have more drag but at the same time more lift per surface area”

          F-35s chimes are nowhere as effective as LERX, let alone LERX+CCC combination. And you are making a mistake, with modern close-coupled canard designs, canard is not a lifting surface by itself, its main purpose is to improve lift on the main wing. It does subtract from lift in level flight because it is used to counter the pitch moment, but when aircraft is turning canard is placed into position which optimizes lift generation on the wing. Additional wing lift gained from presence of canard easily compensates for any lift loss from possible down-pitch, assuming downpitch is used in the first place (and if it is, it is used because of the effect it has on wing lift, not to counteract pitch). It is elevons which are used for pitch control during turn, and they add lift much in the same way as horizontal tail does, albeit they cause more drag because of the shorter moment arm necessitating greater lift from elevons to stop pitching moment. Presence of close-coupled canards in fact improves lift/drag of the main wing because it delays wing stall. You are correct about the effect of wing sweep, but since F-35 would need higher angle of attack to achieve same turn rate as Rafale, effective drag may well be higher for the F-35 even if we ignore canards’ effects.

          In fact, a canard with 20% of wing area can easily lead to 34% increase in maximum lift:
          http://calhoun.nps.edu/bitstream/handle/10945/27612/90Dec_Kersh.pdf
          “At a wing/body AOA of 22 degrees, where the first stall occurred, the lift was increased 34% over the baseline value. At a wing/body AOA of 48 degrees, where the second stall occurred, the lift was increased 18.3% over the baseline value. These increases in the lift are thought to be due to the vortex of the canard constructively interfering with the main-wing vortex, thereby delaying the onset of flow separation. Note that these enhancements already take into account the lift due to increased reference area.”

          See the last sentence? “Note that these enhancements already take into account the lift due to increased reference area.” This means that total increase was 34% over 120% due to addition of canard, which is to say that total lift was 161% compared to no-canard situation.

          Now this:
          http://calhoun.nps.edu/bitstream/handle/10945/23904/flowfieldstudyof00olea.pdf?sequence=1
          “In fact, studies such as Reference 6 show that at low angles of attack (<10 ) the lift-curve slope of a model with or without a canard is identical. The second mechanism occurs at higher angles of attack. As the angle of attack is increased, a strong leading-edge vortex is formed on the canard. As this vortex moves over the wing it acts to energize the wing leading-edge vortex, thereby delaying Vortex-Breakdown (VBD)."
          "Additionally, the increased lift of a canard-configured aircraft cannot be completely accounted for simply by the increased lifting area of the canard. Work done by Er-El [Ref.o3] showed an increase in normal-force coefficient of 18% at 22 angle of attack, over that of a corresponding wing-alone configuration. The canard itself added only 9% to the total lifting area."

          Rafale's canards are 8% of the wing area (3,6 m2 to 45,7 m2 of wing). Wing loading for fighter aircraft is calculated without canard or tail reference area being included, so lift improvement can be expected to be around 16%. This results in effective wing area of 53 m2 and wing loading of 237,7 kg/m2. F-35s horizontal tail adds 11,8 m2 to wing’s own 42,7 m2, but does not make any further contribution. This results in effective wing area of 54,5 m2 and wing loading of 335,2 kg/m2. As you can see, F-35 has 43% higher effective wing loading. I know it is technically not "wing loading", since wing area does not change, but wing loading is merely a measure of lift and that's how I'm using it here. If we take same fuel fraction (30%), Rafale has wing loading of 261 kg/m2 and effective wing loading of 224,7 kg/m2 whereas F-35 has wing loading of 383,6 kg/m2 and effective wing loading of 300,5 kg/m2. This means that even with same fuel fraction F-35 has 34% higher effective wing loading.

          "F-35 does have vortex generator , both the inner and outter side of the inlet has sharp edge that will create vortex at positive AoA"

          These are the chimes I mentioned, they indended to provide F-35 with full LERX at first but that proved impossible so they put chimes.

          "Lerx on F-16 work from rather low angle of attack too, no reason why F-35 lerx shouldn’t"

          Maybe it would but it won't be as effective as LERX on F-16, canards on Gripen or canards+LERX on Rafale.

          "F-35 vortex is contributed on the fusalege , it help improve body lift, and a single engine along with high wingloading actually mean F-35 can roll very fast"

          I know that, but point is that LERX creates one set of vortices whereas canards create two. And Rafale's LERX vortices have mutually reinforcing relationship with canard root vortices, meaning that they burst later than what would normally be the case and thus have greater effect on lift.

          "This sound pretty nonsense to me, there is no evidence to support the theory that F-35 inlet doesn’t help improve lift while Rafale intake does. Especially considering that F-35 intake has very sharp edge for vortex generation. Can you cite some official article or books instead of just what you speculated ?"

          F-35s inlet does not have the boundary layer diverter, it has diverterless supersonic intake, so it cannot do such a thing. And intake's sharp edge is not for vortex generation, albeit it is possible that vortices it generates do help lift.

          If you want to read books on fighter design feel free, you can find them online without my help. You don't need to have everything written down to understand what is happening.

          "actually F-35 has shoulder wing, now ,can you provide a source, like an actual one about how much mid wing configuration reduced drag compared to shoulder wing ?"

          I don't know by how much exactly, however:
          http://faculty.dwc.edu/sadraey/Chapter%205.%20Wing%20Design.pdf
          "The mid-wing has less interference drag than low-wing and high-wing."

          There is also F-35s comparatively sharp transition from fuselage to wing. Rafale has a fair amount of wing-body blending which helps reduce drag, while F-35 has far less blending, barely more than the F-16.
          http://www.f-16.net/forum/download/file.php?id=18395

          "this smell BS to me also, so if you dont mind , i would want a source for this too"

          Find a book "Design for air combat" and read it.

          "I dont think you understood my question , i mean do you have any source from Dassault or whoever made the Rafale , that said M88 has a cooling channel from the front stage lead up to the feather feature ? . Because as far as i can see, there is no huge tube to lead the air to cool that feather area. And if we are talking about close and open ended, there are space between the F-135 nozzle and F-35 fusalage. If you look at F-16 or Rafale the nozzle is attached to the aircraft body , but on F-35 there is actually a space between them "

          I don't have official source, only diagrams and cutaways. And you wouldn't find a "huge tube", we are speaking about "layers" of engine here, air flow has to encompass the engine to cool it down. It is a centimeter or so of space between two layers (tubes). And as I said, Rafale has internal and external nozzle. It is external nozzle that is directly attached to aircraft's body. Air that is used to cool the engine comes from the air intakes, and Rafale does have two sets of air intakes, one set for powering the engines and second set in the boundary bleed for cooling them down:

          Arrow "A".

          "i cant see it any where, btw how could you already post the link if i only started to ask for it in that post?"

          I din't post links, my mistake, but I did post the name of the source (Fox3) plus citations from it. I also posted magazine numbers. I try to do as little searching on internet as possible since my internet connection is screwing me. Fox3 no.11 is here, you should be able to find others on the same web site:
          http://www.dassault-aviation.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/08/foxThree_n11.pdf

          "I looked at several pictures of rafale on internet , at that same exact area , doesn’t seem to have any cooling scope there"

          You can see it in these images:



          It is fairly visible. F-16 has two small scoops, but they are far smaller. F-35 has similar scoops, and of similar size to Rafale's as well, but they are situated under the wings because DSI doesn't allow Rafale-style positioning. You can see them here:

          "i still dont see where and how the bypass air like you said can go inside that feather feature"

          Well, I can't find it right now.

          "that is arguable , Rafale fan will think LM less reliable , F-35 fan will think Dassaults less relible , but i dont give a fuck about some national dick measuaring contest , either i take value from both manufacturers or i take none.That the only fair way"

          I'm talking about its record. Take a look at what they promised and what they delivered. And I never take manufacturer's word for anything if I have other sources.

          "Su-27 /35 have high bypass ratio engine too. When fueled to similar combat radius with others fighter F-35 actually has superior T/W ratio to most, high wing loading is not neccesary bad since it generally mean better roll rate, also it is not possible to compare effect of wingloading without without exact CL, F-35 may not has better cockpit visibility than F-16 but it is still comparable to most fighter, many modern fighter such as PAK-FA does not have bubble canopy either. Nevertheless, F-35 has DAS so any disadvantages it have in cockpit visibility can be solved rather easy"

          Flankers are also designed in large part for ground attack. Twin engines, high bypass ratio engine, gun that fires heavy but slow shell, sturdy construction… they have all hallmarks of an aircraft designed for ground attack, and Soviet/Russian doctrine did intend for Flankers to act in support of their ground troops. Hence high bypass ratio engine.

          "you can , if it transmit , you have ASQ-239 , if it has engine or open fire at something, you have DAS and EOTS ,and even without those you can still use APG-81 in SAR mode."

          Not even then. Unless it opens fire, yes, but by then you will have dead on the ground.

          "no F-16 and F-35 are multi role aircraft , F-35 is used to punch holes through enemy air defense because legacy aircraft can do same thing and F-22 doesnot have IR system for ground targeting either. "

          F-16 was designed as an air-to-air dogfighter, USAF only saddled it with ground attack requirements so it wouldn't threaten the F-15. F-16s air-to-ground capability was completely incidental. F-35 on the other hand was designed from ground-up with a focus on ground attack.

          "while it may not be as bad as not having range , having a resolution cell as several km in size is quite bad. Even the very modern NEBO SVU still have cell of 5.5 km in vertical and 1.6 km in azimuth.Furthermore, most VHF radar are very massive and mostly stationary , they are often the one that get destroyed first by cruise missiles"

          True, but modern VHF radars are mobile. Not as mobile as smaller radars, but IIRC some models can pack up in 10-15 minutes.

          "Assuming F-35 attacked a ground target with SPEAR then runaways, when they bank the radar detect them , the interceptor take off , now the seperation is about 100 km, F-35 is not the fastest aircraft but it would still take very long time for interceptor to catch up a 100 km head start. And there is nothing stopping them from having serveral escort F-35 go along either, The interceptor chasing them may even fell into a trap"

          True, assuming they don't get detected beforehand or that the enemy is still on peace footing (no dispersed basing, no short-range IR SAMs at locations around valuable targets etc.). Of course, since Arab states are the most likely enemies, that may not be far from reality.

        • “That is what happens when you sell your weapons to Third World countries” => they may have maintenance problem but that does not mean everything suddenly not working. Viet nam were a third world country and they used the equipment pretty well. Israel was a third world country and they wasn’t bad at using war equipment either. Dutch may not be a third world country but i seriously doubt that their maintenance and trainning is much better than Serb or even better at all

          ” Argentine got hammered despite having (theoretically) better equipment, why? Training and logistics. ” => they get hammered more due to the fact that French suddenly stopped selling Exocet to them though

          “There were various cases. I never said that radar warners were inoperable on *all* fighters, and if I made it sound like that, I apologize” => this is exactly what iam trying to talk about , while certainly , there are case where RWR and Radar in very bad condition , there is no evidence that all RWR and radar was in operate, especially in the case where Serb Mig-29B faced off against Dutch F-16A

          “More speed means more lift but it also means more inertia. Also, at the speeds missiles fly, their G limits come into play. And fact that missiles lead intercept actually helps aircraft evade them because they have to correct more once aircraft changes its heading. Not perfect, but should give you an idea:” => such maneuver require very accurate timing, which is doable against a single missiles. But that often not the case against multiple missiles comming at slightly different aspect and altitude.

          “It will still be unable to reach anywhere close to its sea level turn performance at altitude” => true but that the same case for aircraft. However, the problem is while the missiles can afford to use ITR , the aircraft must use STR otherwise it will eventually dont have enough energy to evade the next missiles. And this cause a big problem, while you can fly faster to generate more lift for ITR, going supersonic doesnot help STR at all due to the tremendous drag comming with it

          “Aircraft flying at significantly faster speed than corner velocity can sustain certain G number even though it will loose speed while doing so” => a sustained turn is defined as the turn where your specific excess power is 0 , which mean you able to maintain your altitude and speed while turning, a turn with reduced altitude or speed is not a sustain turn, it is an instantaneous turn

          ” F-16 has twice the wing loading of Rafale, inferior engine and far lower lift coefficient. ” => the only correct thing is here is wing loading , and may be engine dynamic thrust since F110 has high bypass ratio but M88will not have more than 10 times dynamic thrust of F-110GE129 at 40K feet (which would still not enough for a 9G sustained turn) . And there is no evidence that lift coefficient of Rafale will be superior to F-16. A higher CL max often lead to higher Cd too which is not exactly desirable to aircraft intended for supercruise

          “Figures you are giving here are G limits for sustained turn rate, not maximum sustainable G” => it depending on how do you define maximum sustainable G, if you mean maximum sustainable G as the structure limit then it will not change at all regardless of altitude or speed. If you define maximum sustainable G as the max sustain G the aircraft can have then it will be 9G at sea level. However, commonly max sustain G is the defined the same way i explained to you ( aka the max G the aircraft can turn without losing altitude or speed at that specific altitude )

          “Read again. I said sustained load factor, not sustained turn” => sustained load factor is sustained G load, unless you talking about the maximum sustained load factor possible for the airframe which would be 9G , but that due to structure limit. Even if you put the aircraft into space the theoritical maximum structure sustained G limit is still 9G , but that doesnot mean that the aircraft will be able to achieved that G limit , let alone performed a sustained turn with it

          “It will be *significantly* higher than is the case with the F-16, that is for certain. F-22 can IIRC achieve 9 g at >60.000 ft, and I know that F-16C can achieve 9 g at ~35.000 ft (see links).” => look at your graph carefully again. At what speed the F-16 can pull 9G at 35K feet? That right , around Mach 2.05 ( not at subsonic speed ). Basically the air density is so low that the only way you can pulled of high G is go extremely fast , however that is not a sustained turn , not even close. Earlier I talked about how much drag your aircraft would have to overcome with high CL value. Now obviously, if you were flying at Mach 2 , you wouldnt need high CL value,however to sustained the turn, you will still suffered from tremendous drag that came from high speed ( which is even worse than having high CL value )

          .In fact, if you looked at the graph next to it , at 40k feet the F-16 can barely sustain 2G. It cannot sustain 9G at altitude higher than 10K feet.. Which is why i said saying any aircraft F-22 and Rafale included can sustained 9G at 40K feet is absolute nonsense. There is no evidence that Rafale can pull 9G at significant altitude higher altitude than F-16 either. Rafale may or may not have higher CLmax than F-16, however, the only way for F-16 to achieved 9G turn is to go at Mach 2.05. While it is not so hard to get high CL max at subsonic speed like Mach 0.5 or even Mach 0.8 because you can use your LEF and higher AoA. At Mach 2.05 , trying similar actions would mean your airframe being ripped apart. Which is why CL reduced so signififcantly at high speed. Moreover the F-16 in example was very light loaded too with 50% fuel and 2 AAM.

          “So yes, Rafale can sustain 9G at 40.000 ft” => no it will not, not even close unless you can change law of physics

          “If launch platform can afford to keep track for that long, then yes.” => that pretty much what they do

          “Depends on the reason why they lost it. If it is a combination of clutter and jamming, chances are that both missiles have lost the lock. Also, missiles of the same type use same flight pattern.” => even for jamming, since all missiles do not use same frequency, you cant jam all of them using the same jamming pulse if you used DRFM jammer. If you used noise jamming then there HoJ always waiting. And similar flight parttern doesnot mean they will be at the exactly same position

          “Not even from behind, most fighters don’t have 100* coverage of a swashplate AESA.” => the fixed AESA can cover around 120 degrees , but approaching from the side or behind reduce your missiles range alot

          “Wether and atmospheric conditions don’t change that much at altitude. Other things are problematic, I agree, but they can be solved by e.g. sharing data between aircraft in a flight.” => they still an estimation only. Now compared that to stealth aircraft that can used their radar to get extremely range and velocity measurement. In fact they can also rely on IRST for angular measuarement and a single radar pulse to get others data like range, velocity. The reverse doesn’t work quite well though since even at high PRF , it is quite impossible to track stealth aircraft from BVR

          “At 20.000 ft yes, but fighters typically fly at higher altitude to achieve improved fuel economy. F-22s maximum cruise speed is achieved at 38.000 ft (supercruise). For F-15, it is 30.000 ft. And best fuel economy for F-22 is around 40.000 ft. So they won’t fly at 20.000 ft unless necessary.” => cruising altitude depending alot on what sort of enemy you have to face. Technically speaking , the higher you fly , the less fuel you will consume but on the otherhand the easier it would be to detect you , and also the harder it would be for you to dodge anything launched at you

          “Detection ranges for IRSTs are typically against subsonic targets” => not really , producer always want to have their product value in best possible condition, so they will often public value for either a massive subsonic target like a Boeing 747 or a supersonic target in good weather condition. I still recalled a Typhoon pilot who said their Pirate can detect a supercruise F-22 from 50Km \

          “Except Rafale is faster, which means that it is better at catching enemy fighters than the F-35 is.” => slightly faster, both of them are pretty much slug compared to F-15E or Su-27 ( or any flying things with a variable intake )

          “That is correct. But both radar and jammer leave themselves open to anti-radiation missiles or passive cueing” => kinda the point for cooperate illuminating and jamming ”

          “Yes, and the more things you do by yourself the worse you are at any given thing” => that not entirely wrong , but that is the kind of trade off that most if not all airforce willing to make. Most if not all airforce doesn’t have pure fighter/ interceptor anymore

          ” A fighter aircraft meanwhile has RCS of 0,5-5 m2. Rafale has frontal RCS of 0,5 m2 and because four out of six missiles are conformal, increase in RCS due to missiles will be far less than normal. Let’s say it is some 2,5-5 m2 in the end” => the main problem with carrying weapon externally is the corner reflector created by their fins

          “It is not oversimplified. F-35 was not designed “only” for stealth, but stealth was the main focus. If you want to see lift-optimized designs, look at Rafale and Gripen. Now compare them to F-35, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.” => it isn’t that simple, you may argue that Rafale , Gripen focused more on Kinematic and F-35 focused more on stealth. Which is true. But that doesnot neccessary mean F-35 lift oriented feature is automatically useless. For example look at F-15 vs Su-27 , there are so many lift oriented features on Su-27 compared to F-15. Doesn’t mean all dogfight is a win for Su-27 though.

          “F-35s chimes are nowhere as effective as LERX, let alone LERX+CCC combination” => This is very big speculation and very hard to verified without hard data. Since F-35 technically have 3 parts that can generate vortex to improved lift: the inner inlet lips , the outter inlet lips and the LERX. May be those 3 still not achive similar improvement to the carnad , the twin canted tail mean that F-35 should have higher controlable AoA at similar speed, higher AoA often lead to higher CLmax even though that cause more drag too ( no iam not talking about their maximum AoA limit )

          “Presence of close-coupled canards in fact improves lift/drag of the main wing because it delays wing stall.” => LERX prevent wing stall too, the problem with canard is that it prevent main wing from reaching CLmax because canard must stall first , otherwise you would be in a deep stall situation.

          ” since F-35 would need higher angle of attack to achieve same turn rate as Rafale ” => we dont know this yet, F-35 can potentially get higher CLmax because the twin tail allow higher contrallable AoA , but while F-35 may actually get higher ITR , it doesnot neccessary mean it needhigher AoA for similar turn rate

          “In fact, a canard with 20% of wing area can easily lead to 34% increase in maximum lift” => the LERX configuration F-16 contributed for 40% lift

          “See the last sentence? “Note that these enhancements already take into account the lift due to increased reference area.” This means that total increase was 34% over 120% due to addition of canard, which is to say that total lift was 161% compared to no-canard situation” => From your own source , on page 62 ,they have a table compare CL between wing body configuration and canard configuration. With AoA below 10 degree ( where most if not all sustained turn rate and high velocity turn orccured), the lift coefficient between wing configuration and canard configuration is the same. If the canard deflection angle is only 5 degrees then the lift coefficient is practically the same between wing body configuration and canard-wing configuration up until 23 degrees. If Canard fin is allowed to have big deflection angle then it will generate quite a big different in CL value when aircraft body is between 23 and 48 degree AoA. However, even the highest CL value in the table doesn’t go past 1.7. Which is no where enough to pull off 9G at Mach 0.8 , 40K feet. And you sure as hell will not be able to sustain a turn with AoA upto 23 or 48 degrees AoA either. Canard certainly help with very high AoA and low speed though. But then against, an F-16 with its LERX and negative stability can have CL of 1.6 at 26 degree AoA, so i really dont see the significant benefit of canard to be honest

          “Rafale’s canards are 8% of the wing area (3,6 m2 to 45,7 m2 of wing). Wing loading for fighter aircraft is calculated without canard or tail reference area being included, so lift improvement can be expected to be around 16%” => I dont think you understand the point of wing loading or reference wing area. It is irrelevance how big your canard or tail stabilizor is , they will never be included in reference wing area let alone wing loading. Any improvement from canard or tail stabilizor or negative stability are always included in CL value and never put in wing load value.

          “wing loading is merely a measure of lift ” => it isn’t actually, it really bad when people tried to subtitude wingloading for CL since wing load doesnot change with AoA or speed , which mean it is pretty horrible when you tried to make any serious comparision with it

          ” If we take same fuel fraction (30%), Rafale has wing loading of 261 kg/m2 and effective wing loading of 224,7 kg/m2 whereas F-35 has wing loading of 383,6 kg/m2 and effective wing loading of 300,5 kg/m2. This means that even with same fuel fraction F-35 has 34% higher effective wing loading.” =>Not that i care about wing loading but you cant use the same fuel fraction if 2 aircraft have very different combat radius on same fuel percentage. One aircraft designed to operate with internal fuel, while others designed to use EFTs

          “Maybe it would but it won’t be as effective as LERX on F-16, canards on Gripen or canards+LERX on Rafale.” => You would need some CFD simulation to actually know that. It is a very complex matter to say the least

          “I know that, but point is that LERX creates one set of vortices whereas canards create two.” => the thing is with its sharp edge at DSI , the F-35 practically has 3 small LERX, how useful are they , you will only know with computer fluid simulation

          “F-35s inlet does not have the boundary layer diverter, it has diverterless supersonic intake”=> boundary layer diverter has nothing to do with vortex generation.Air flowing along the forward fuselage (called boundary layer) slows down and becomes tubulent, neither of which is good for best engine performance , the diverter is to have some seperation with that layer so as to improve engine performance. F-35 do not have the splitter plate but the bumps on DSI help re energied the boundary flow

          “And intake’s sharp edge is not for vortex generation” => regardless whether the initial purpose of the lips was to generate vortex or not , they do create vortex, and since vortex mean lower pressure , they do help improved lift

          “I don’t know by how much exactly, however :The mid-wing has less interference drag than low-wing and high-wing.” => if you looked at your source, the main reason high wing is considered to have higher drag than mid wing is because aircraft with high wing tend to have higher frontal area( which is not exactly the fault of the wing configuration) , but they also noted that high wing tend to generate more lift. Anyways, i dont think that particularly helpful in case of Rafale vs F-35 since one has mid wing and the others has shoulder wing which are quite similar in fact.

          “Find a book “Design for air combat” and read it.” => i believe the burden of proof lie on the one who made the claim.

          “I don’t have official source, only diagrams and cutaways. “=> then how can you be sure that it have external cooling nozzle ? i feel like this is too much speculation

          “And you wouldn’t find a “huge tube”, we are speaking about “layers” of engine here, air flow has to encompass the engine to cool it down. It is a centimeter or so of space between two layers (tubes).” => you would still need some sort of tubes to lead the air flow to cool the external nozzle, given the very high heat of the jet engine, small flow would not be enough. My main problem with your outter nozzle theory is that we cant find official source about it, and we cant see the physical tubes either.

          “You can see it in these images:” => your first and 2 last pictures are too dark for me to see anything which is understandable since it is the lower part of the airframe, but the second picture clearly shows that there are no air scopes there

          “I din’t post links, my mistake, but I did post the name of the source (Fox3) plus citations from it. I also posted magazine numbers. I try to do as little searching on internet as possible since my internet connection is screwing me. Fox3 no.11 is here, you should be able to find others on the same web site:” => I think you may have given me the wrong link , i downloaded it and put it in highlight mode but still cant find any mentioned of Topcoat IR reduction paint on Rafale.

          “It is fairly visible. F-16 has two small scoops, but they are far smaller. F-35 has similar scoops, and of similar size to Rafale’s as well, but they are situated under the wings because DSI doesn’t allow Rafale-style positioning. ” => the scope on F-16 is for enviroment control system as far as i know.Anyway, talking about using engine by pass air as cooling, the F-35 has it too, not through air bleed but it used a heat exchanger and IPP pump inside the engine ( you can see the diagram in the link someone posted earlier )

          “Flankers are also designed in large part for ground attack.” => Soviet doctrie intended to use Su-27 as air superiority fighter to compete with F-15, as far as i know.

          “F-16 was designed as an air-to-air dogfighter, USAF only saddled it with ground attack requirements so it wouldn’t threaten the F-15” => not really , F-16 was intended to be the low mix in the high-low mix with F-15. Also F-16 engine has very high bypass and it has high wing loading too

          “True, but modern VHF radars are mobile. Not as mobile as smaller radars, but IIRC some models can pack up in 10-15 minutes.” => to a certain extend they are, but in my opinion they are still pretty easy to be detect simply due to their massive size

        • “they may have maintenance problem but that does not mean everything suddenly not working. Viet nam were a third world country and they used the equipment pretty well. Israel was a third world country and they wasn’t bad at using war equipment either. Dutch may not be a third world country but i seriously doubt that their maintenance and trainning is much better than Serb or even better at all”

          Actually, it has to do with military culture. Islamic countries especially. Saudi Arabia has craploads of money, but they spend it on shiny hardware that nobody in their military knows how to use effectively. Meanwhile politicians are obsessed with keeping tabs on the military so it doesn’t attempt an overthrow, which then produces a very passive, initiative-unfriendly culture because everything has to be approved by the very top. And such a culture in turn produces a military that is utterly useless in actual warfare.

          Put an Israeli pilot with F-15/16 against a Saudi pilot in Typhoon, and Israeli will win 9/10. Because they actually know how to use their hardware.

          Read the book “Arabs at War” for some information… and a lot of laugh. If you can’t find it or don’t feel like reading it, I have adressed the issue here:
          https://defenseissues.net/2013/07/20/why-gulf-wars-cannot-be-used-as-a-basis-for-estimating-effectiveness-of-beyond-visual-range-combat/

          As far as Serbs go, their performance in the wars in Yugoslavia was… less than stellar. They didn’t know how to utilize fire-and-maneuver, all their advance was based on grinding forward while utilizing copious amounts of firepower. They were very slow to advance even against underequipped and undertrained Croatian territorial defense units. Once Croatian Army organized, formed and deployed elite National Guards (ZNG) units capable of full-on maneuver warfare, organized Serb resistance collapsed within hours of the first major attacks of Operation Storm. Everything else was basically a mop-up operation.

          “they get hammered more due to the fact that French suddenly stopped selling Exocet to them though”

          Not really. Even without Exocets they had a lot of opportunities to screw up Brits… didn’t take a single one.

          “such maneuver require very accurate timing, which is doable against a single missiles. But that often not the case against multiple missiles comming at slightly different aspect and altitude. ”

          Even then, it is enough for a maneuver to screw a little with missile’s timing for a missile to fail to achieve a kill position.

          “true but that the same case for aircraft. However, the problem is while the missiles can afford to use ITR , the aircraft must use STR otherwise it will eventually dont have enough energy to evade the next missiles. And this cause a big problem, while you can fly faster to generate more lift for ITR, going supersonic doesnot help STR at all due to the tremendous drag comming with it”

          Actually, corner speed for maximum ITR tends to be lower than that for STR due to g limits. And no, aircraft is not required to use sustained turn rate, depending on the starting speeds it may have enough energy to evade several missiles.

          “a sustained turn is defined as the turn where your specific excess power is 0 , which mean you able to maintain your altitude and speed while turning, a turn with reduced altitude or speed is not a sustain turn, it is an instantaneous turn”

          As I said, I wasn’t talking about sustained turn rate, but g load.

          “the only correct thing is here is wing loading , and may be engine dynamic thrust since F110 has high bypass ratio but M88will not have more than 10 times dynamic thrust of F-110GE129 at 40K feet (which would still not enough for a 9G sustained turn) . And there is no evidence that lift coefficient of Rafale will be superior to F-16. A higher CL max often lead to higher Cd too which is not exactly desirable to aircraft intended for supercruise ”

          See above. And what you mention about Cl-Cd relationship is very much the reason for Rafale’s canard-delta configuration – best of both worlds, as canards can help increase lift at high AoA while remaining neutral during cruise flight, thus having a minimal impact on drag. Also, delta wing drags less than conventional wing-tail configration because there is no interference drag.

          “look at your graph carefully again. At what speed the F-16 can pull 9G at 35K feet? That right , around Mach 2.05 ( not at subsonic speed ). Basically the air density is so low that the only way you can pulled of high G is go extremely fast , however that is not a sustained turn , not even close”
          “.In fact, if you looked at the graph next to it , at 40k feet the F-16 can barely sustain 2G. It cannot sustain 9G at altitude higher than 10K feet..”

          It is instantaneous turn yes, but G load itself can be sustained for some time. Due to nature of air combat pilot will not be sustaining any given g load for longer than is necessary to turn 90* (or else achieve a firing solution). And that means instantaneous turn at maximum g load which can be achieved at certain speed and altitude. If turn is started above corner speed aircraft will be able to sustain g loading because it will have speed to sacrifice before getting to the cut-off point (corner speed for said g load), which is what I mean when I talk about sustaining a g load. If you take average turn rate of 15 deg/s, then said g load would be sustained for 6 seconds.

          In short, we are talking about completely different things here, so forgive me for not adressing every argument.

          “even for jamming, since all missiles do not use same frequency, you cant jam all of them using the same jamming pulse if you used DRFM jammer. If you used noise jamming then there HoJ always waiting. And similar flight parttern doesnot mean they will be at the exactly same position”

          Modern AESA jammers can jam individual missiles, and there are dispisable jammers as well. So they are rather welcome to home in on my jammer… because they won’t be homing in on me.

          “the fixed AESA can cover around 120 degrees , but approaching from the side or behind reduce your missiles range alot”

          Yeah, I forgot to put +-100*, total of 200* for swashplate AESA.

          “they still an estimation only. Now compared that to stealth aircraft that can used their radar to get extremely range and velocity measurement. In fact they can also rely on IRST for angular measuarement and a single radar pulse to get others data like range, velocity. The reverse doesn’t work quite well though since even at high PRF , it is quite impossible to track stealth aircraft from BVR”

          That depends on a lot of things, as stealth fighters won’t be able to present optimal profile to all fighters.

          “cruising altitude depending alot on what sort of enemy you have to face. Technically speaking , the higher you fly , the less fuel you will consume but on the otherhand the easier it would be to detect you , and also the harder it would be for you to dodge anything launched at you”

          Precisely. And for stealth fighters there are some more factors at play: the higher they fly the earlier they can engage targets (missile range) but more vulnerable they are to IRST detection. At lower altitude they are less vulnerable to IRST, but they can’t achieve top speed and missile range is significantly reduced.

          “not really , producer always want to have their product value in best possible condition, so they will often public value for either a massive subsonic target like a Boeing 747 or a supersonic target in good weather condition. I still recalled a Typhoon pilot who said their Pirate can detect a supercruise F-22 from 50Km \”

          I only recall a comment about PIRATE detecting F-22 from 50 km, no mention of supercruise. And official ranges for PIRATE are 90/145 km for a subsonic fighter from front/rear aspect. Typically, target fighter is Russian Flanker type. Rafale’s OSF has range of 80/130 km against a fighter-sized target (presumably Flanker again) at 20.000 ft. At 40.000-50.000 ft, range will be significantly greater.

          “slightly faster, both of them are pretty much slug compared to F-15E or Su-27 ( or any flying things with a variable intake )”

          Actually it is the opposite. Top speed never got used in combat, F-15 can theoretically achieve Mach 2,5 but in practice it rarely flew even above Mach 2, and never above Mach 2,3. Same for Su-27. It is cruise speed that matters, and there Rafale has significant avantage over both F-15 and F-35.

          “that not entirely wrong , but that is the kind of trade off that most if not all airforce willing to make. Most if not all airforce doesn’t have pure fighter/ interceptor anymore ”

          I know that, but on the flip side, they also do not have any aircraft capable of undertaking CAS in actual combat conditions either. In Mali, French used helicopters for CAS while leaving Rafales and Mirages to bomb point targets. USAF tries to use everything but A-10 for CAS, but whenever shit hits the fan they are forced to send in the A-10 anyway.

          “the main problem with carrying weapon externally is the corner reflector created by their fins”

          Yes, but that comes into play only from the side, and only from certain aspect.

          “it isn’t that simple, you may argue that Rafale , Gripen focused more on Kinematic and F-35 focused more on stealth. Which is true. But that doesnot neccessary mean F-35 lift oriented feature is automatically useless. For example look at F-15 vs Su-27 , there are so many lift oriented features on Su-27 compared to F-15. Doesn’t mean all dogfight is a win for Su-27 though.”

          I didn’t say they are useless, but F-35 cannot maneuver anywhere as well as Rafale. As for F-15 vs Su-27, these never faced each other in proper combat. But regardless of the design, in the end it comes down primarily to pilots. Which is why I don’t like stealth aircraft… too maintenance intensive, and simulator helps only that much.

          “This is very big speculation and very hard to verified without hard data. Since F-35 technically have 3 parts that can generate vortex to improved lift: the inner inlet lips , the outter inlet lips and the LERX. May be those 3 still not achive similar improvement to the carnad , the twin canted tail mean that F-35 should have higher controlable AoA at similar speed, higher AoA often lead to higher CLmax even though that cause more drag too ( no iam not talking about their maximum AoA limit )”

          Higher AoA only leads to higher CLmax as long as significant stall does not develop. And controllable AoA for both Rafale and F-35 is above 100*, which is well into post-stall territory. Gripen achieved 110* maximum and 80* sustained AoA, and F-35 achieved 110* maximum and 60-70* sustained AoA. Rafale’s figures should be at least as high as Gripen’s. At that point there is little lift to speak of, in fact when it comes to turning fight there is no advantage in going beyond maximum lift AoA (about 32* in Rafale, IIRC) because it does not lead in any further increase in turn rate. And yes, Gripen is fully controllable post-stall, so no advantage there for F-35.

          “LERX prevent wing stall too, the problem with canard is that it prevent main wing from reaching CLmax because canard must stall first , otherwise you would be in a deep stall situation.”

          Wrong, you are thinking about lifting canard (where if a wing stalls first lifting canard would cause a pitch-up moment), but Rafale’s canard is primarily a lift-enhancement device, not a control surface and it is not a lifting surface by itself. It is used as control surface in certain conditions, but primary purpose is improving lift of the wing itself, no different from LERX. Rafale’s primary control surfaces are flaperons.

          “we dont know this yet, F-35 can potentially get higher CLmax because the twin tail allow higher contrallable AoA , but while F-35 may actually get higher ITR , it doesnot neccessary mean it needhigher AoA for similar turn rate”

          Actually it would need higher AoA for similar turn rate because it has higher wing loading and less lift enhancement.

          “the LERX configuration F-16 contributed for 40% lift”

          LERX + blended wing-body, not LERX by itself. In fact, from what I remember, 40% figure was body lift. And Rafale has both LERX and canards, as well as significant wing-body blending.

          “From your own source , on page 62 ,they have a table compare CL between wing body configuration and canard configuration. With AoA below 10 degree ( where most if not all sustained turn rate and high velocity turn orccured), the lift coefficient between wing configuration and canard configuration is the same. If the canard deflection angle is only 5 degrees then the lift coefficient is practically the same between wing body configuration and canard-wing configuration up until 23 degrees. If Canard fin is allowed to have big deflection angle then it will generate quite a big different in CL value when aircraft body is between 23 and 48 degree AoA. However, even the highest CL value in the table doesn’t go past 1.7. Which is no where enough to pull off 9G at Mach 0.8 , 40K feet. And you sure as hell will not be able to sustain a turn with AoA upto 23 or 48 degrees AoA either. Canard certainly help with very high AoA and low speed though. But then against, an F-16 with its LERX and negative stability can have CL of 1.6 at 26 degree AoA, so i really dont see the significant benefit of canard to be honest”

          Canards help with lift enhancement at high AoA and drag reduction at low to moderate AoA. In other words, they improve both instantaneous and sustained turn rate. Only question is by how much. Point is, you shouldn’t be looking only at Cl value, but also Cd and Cl/Cd.

          “I dont think you understand the point of wing loading or reference wing area. It is irrelevance how big your canard or tail stabilizor is , they will never be included in reference wing area let alone wing loading. Any improvement from canard or tail stabilizor or negative stability are always included in CL value and never put in wing load value. ”

          I am aware of that, but I don’t have Cl values for F-16, F-35 or Rafale. So including them into wing reference area is the best option left.

          “it isn’t actually, it really bad when people tried to subtitude wingloading for CL since wing load doesnot change with AoA or speed , which mean it is pretty horrible when you tried to make any serious comparision with it”

          Actually, it is. It is true that lift does change with AoA and speed, but we are talking about relations between different aircraft in same situations, so differences will not be so large so as to compensate for nearly twice the wing loading.

          “Not that i care about wing loading but you cant use the same fuel fraction if 2 aircraft have very different combat radius on same fuel percentage. One aircraft designed to operate with internal fuel, while others designed to use EFTs”

          They don’t have very different combat radius, 17,5% difference. It is true though that Rafale is designed to use EFTs, in ground attack mission at least (in air superiority I believe that only centerline 1.250 l supersonic tank would be standard). But while F-35 is offensive design, Rafale is more balanced (and Gripen is outright defensive design), so in their optimal missions neither would need external tanks, at least for air superiority.

          “boundary layer diverter has nothing to do with vortex generation.Air flowing along the forward fuselage (called boundary layer) slows down and becomes tubulent, neither of which is good for best engine performance , the diverter is to have some seperation with that layer so as to improve engine performance. F-35 do not have the splitter plate but the bumps on DSI help re energied the boundary flow”

          Rafale’s air intake is designed in a way that a portion of that layer is bled off to cool down the engine, portion goes below the aircraft and portion is used to energize the vortices.

          “i believe the burden of proof lie on the one who made the claim.”

          I gave you reference.

          “your first and 2 last pictures are too dark for me to see anything which is understandable since it is the lower part of the airframe, but the second picture clearly shows that there are no air scopes there”

          Actually, they are clearly visible in the middle portion of boundary bleed layer. Of course, they are only visible as shadows because there is not enough light to illuminate them

          “I think you may have given me the wrong link , i downloaded it and put it in highlight mode but still cant find any mentioned of Topcoat IR reduction paint on Rafale. ”

          It’s in Fox3 No.4:
          http://www.dassault-aviation.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/08/Fox_Three_nr_4.pdf
          “Thanks to the Hot
          Spot treatment, infrared signature
          is minimised, and the Snecma M88
          turbofans have been optimised to
          limit infrared detectability.”

          There may have been few more mentions, but I don’t recall any right now.

          “Soviet doctrie intended to use Su-27 as air superiority fighter to compete with F-15, as far as i know.”

          That was its primary purpose, but it was also always intended to be able to support advancing ground forces.

          “not really , F-16 was intended to be the low mix in the high-low mix with F-15. Also F-16 engine has very high bypass and it has high wing loading too”

          That was how it was sold to USAF, yes. They also significantly understated F-16s range. But original deign goal was a day-only visual-range dogfighter. As far as engines go, most engines back then had high BPR I believe. And F-16 did not originally have high wing loading. YF-16 had wing loading of 288 kg/m2 at combat weight and 349 kg/m2 at combat takeoff weight. F-16A had wing loading of 338,5 kg/m2 at combat weight and 395,2 kg/m2 at combat takeoff weight. It was only F-16C that really grew fat due to all ground attack avionics and requiremnt for dropping bombs (which were also a factor in F-16A getting “fatter” as well).

          “to a certain extend they are, but in my opinion they are still pretty easy to be detect simply due to their massive size”

          True. Maybe passive radar development should be focused on in the future.

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