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Posts Tagged ‘stealth aircraft’

Light Stealth Aircraft by vstol jockey

Posted by picard578 on October 19, 2016

Light Stealth Aircraft is a proposal made by vstol jockey for the Indian Air Force; thread can be accessed here:

Basic characteristis:
EJ230 engine
57* sweep wing, mid-wing design
-20 dBSM RCS
SEAD loadout 2 BVRAAM, 2 WVRAAM, 8 SDB
3 hr 45 min endurance
Mach 2,25 top speed
price 25-40 million USD
supercruise capable
AESA radar, IRST
<115 kts approach speed

For discussing the design, register on the forum; vstol jockey is the designer and link was posted with his approval.

P.S. vstol jockey is a retired Indian Navy pilot. He helped with technical details of the FLX 6 design, and FLX inspired him to design LSA.

Posted in proposals | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Why Red Flag exercises are not indicative of aircraft performance

Posted by picard578 on April 26, 2014

While many stealth proponents point to Red Flag exercises as proof of superiority of stealth aircraft, reality is, as usual, very different from official accounts. It is simple truth that exercises never can replicate reality perfectly; limitations must be placed to ensure safety of pilots and aircraft; other limitations are also in place which would not be in war, such as operational g limit being placed at 9 g for most modern fighter aircraft, despite many of them being able to pull 11-12 g turns (albeit at expense of airframe life). Further, all shots are simulated; and as many factors cannot be taken into account, or at least not completely, results are never as they would be in real world.

But there is more to that. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

Stealth in the air

Posted by picard578 on January 17, 2014


While “stealth” is normally used as short for “radar stealth”, it actually means proper suppression of all following signatures: visual, radar, infrared, electromagnetic and sound.

Stealth vs sensors


Visual stealth depends on several factors: airframe size and contrast, presence/absence of smoke and visibility conditions.

Airframe stealth is achieved by small size and masking colors – usually light gray. Early F-16s and Gripens were delivered with a black radome, which was quickly repainted grey when it was realized how much impact it has on visual signature. Visual signature also changes depending on aspect – it is smallest from the front and largest from top/bottom.

Smoke can have a very large impact on detection range – F-104 smoked so heavily that it was detectable at twice as long range as required to see aircraft itself. However, modern fighter aircraft use engines designed to minimize smoke, so it may not be a factor, older aircraft such as F-14 and F-15 excepted.

Visual stealth is especially important for ground attack aircraft, since visually-aimed AAA has always been the greatest threat (caused 38% of casualties in the Gulf War), followed by IR SAMs (31%) and only then by radar-guided SAMs (16%) and radar-aimed AAA (15%).


Radar stealth depends on multiple variables: aspect to radar, radar’s frequency, materials aircraft is made of. For all fighter aircraft, radar signature is lowest head-on, and higher from all other angles; and due to the shape, they are only truly stealthy few degrees from horizontal. Frequency-wise, any RAM coatings are only effective against X-band radars; Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 40 Comments »

Quality and quantity

Posted by picard578 on June 8, 2013


In modern materialistic society, where value of everything – including human life – is considered in monetary terms, many people see more complex and more expensive weapons as being automatically more capable than cheaper weapons, thus justifying the costs. Defense spending proponents argue that “nothing is too good for troops”, thus justifying procurement of ultraexpensive weapons. In reality, more expensive is not automatically better – if there is no discipline to specify what is important and stick to it, mounting requirements will start requiring very heavy trade-offs, thus compromising specifications in primary mission.

For example, battle rifle has to have powerful round capable of reaching long ranges, which also means lot of recoil; this means that bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles are best for that role. Assault rifle’s primary requirement is to put lots of rounds down the range quickly, enabling suppressive fire, which does not allow for powerful rounds. As infantry combat has, ever since World War I, usually happened at ranges of 100 meters and below, it can be seen that assault rifle, and not battle rifle, is best suited for standard infantry weapon, with bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles being relegated to special roles. Yet for person who does not understand reality of infantry combat, bolt-action rifles with their very long range may seem superior to assault rifles.

Thus only way to see what works and what not is to study combat data, over long period, and understand what makes an effective weapon. That is what I am going to do here.

Lanchester laws

While in ancient combat, where lines of soldiers fought, each unit of army that was outnumbered by factor of 2 had to be twice as effective as each unit of outnumbering army in order for it to break even (or, as more commonly said, force a stalemate), that does not hold true in modern combat.

Modern combat is a ranged affair, and individual units are highly mobile, and no not fight in relatively static formations. Result is that combat between units becomes several-on-one affair, unlike phalanx’ one-on-one affair, which automatically means that equation is different; no longer does army outnumbered by 2:1 have to have two times as effective units, but four times as effective. It is not always applicable, as ground combat (particularly infantry combat) still faces force-size-to-area constraints, so exponent is often adjusted to 1,5.

But while it would appear to give large advantage to quantity, there are times where numerically inferior force won over numerically superior one. These victories, however, could only very rarely to never be attributed to quality of weapons alone.

Quality versus quantity – a false dilemma

This lack of understanding among general populace, and even many military personnell, has led to definition of effectiveness as “how loaded with high technology this weapon is”. Hugely costly weapons are being justified under “troops deserve the best”, “we can’t win the war with inferior weapons”. But while at first look it would seem a reasonable assumption, reality is often that, when combined with above-mentioned lack of understanding of combat, it results in costlier weapons that are less effective than cheaper ones, both individually and as a system. Still, in some cases more effective weapon also is more costly and expensive; such is case with air-to-ground precision-guided munitions when compared to dumb munitions dropped from same altitude.

Quality vs quantity through history Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Are stealth aircraft really required for dealing with air defenses

Posted by picard578 on November 24, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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