"Invisible" F-35 Joint Strike Figher...Can't Hide From Enemy Radar

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QDP2012

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"The so-called stealth jet...can, in fact, be seen by the radar of potential enemies, it has been revealed. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been designed at huge expense to fly unnoticed through enemy airspace and attack targets without being detected... But now, defence experts have revealed that the aircraft can be spotted by Russian and Chinese radar systems... Stealth aircraft use flat surfaces and sharp edges to deflect radar signals and evade detection. The new threat to the F-35 comes from a new system called AESA – Active Electronically Scanned Array – which works by emitting separate radio waves on different frequencies." -- DailyMail.co.uk

Britain's 'invisible' stealth fighter that has cost the taxpayer £1.3billion and can't hide from enemy radar -- DailyMail.co.uk
 

Token

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This article has the smell of biased journalism from the first word on. It appears to be supporting an agenda, instead of reporting the facts and allowing the reader to derive their own conclusions.

The description of stealth, at any level, as “invisible”, immediately reduces the quality of the reporting source. Stealth is only described as making an aircraft invisible to radar by people with no knowledge of how radar, or low observable technology, works, or by people who do not want to actually try to convey any real information.

Stealth does not make its platform invisible, it only makes it more difficult to track (lose sight, lose fight, or, first to sight first to fight). In a combat situation this improves survivability and lethality. The reduction of RCS, (Radar Cross Section) is always a plus in combat, the greater the reduction the greater the plus.

If you want to see this in application look at the only confirmed loss of a stealth platform to enemy action, the shoot down of “Something Wicked” (F-117A 82-0806) over Yugoslavia in March of 1999. This aircraft was shot down by a very old school (introduced in 1961) missile / radar system, an S-125 Pechora (SA-3 Goa). Sounds like a failure, yes? However stealth platforms had made hundreds, if not thousands, of sorties into heavily defended RF environments up to that date … and since then. If you compare sortie loss rates of non’stealthy platforms, and have realistic expectations of performance, you will find that stealth does what it is supposed to.

And this articles description of AESA is just, patently, wrong. Their description of how AESA works (“which works by emitting separate radio waves on different frequencies”), at even the most basic level, is not even close. AESA is simply phased array using active, instead of passive, elements. Frequency diversity is not a requirement of AESA operation, although phase control is. Even though many AESA systems do have the ability to shift frequency within their bands of operation this brings no particular advantage against stealth as the RCS of any object across a specific band tends to be relatively flat, or at least on a predictable curve. AESA is not “a” (there are many out there, from many countries) or “new” (systems have been in the field for over 20 years).

The real advantage AESA brings to counter the F-35 is not specific to the F-35 or any other stealthy or non-stealthy platform, it applies equally to every potential target. AESA often has the ability to shift frequency very, very, quickly, even pulse to pulse. This means it can be hard for any target being tracked to know it is being tracked. AESA potentially has the ability to do some interesting things with beam shapes and activities, possibly making jamming or electronically deceiving it more difficult.

Radar systems are advancing, no doubt. They will continue to advance, no doubt. In an absolute manor and against the average fielded system stealth is less affective today than it was 25 years ago, but in a relative manor it is just as affective today as at any time in the past. You can have stealthy platforms with enhanced survivability over their none-stealth compatriots, or you can have none-stealth, and higher combat losses. Pay now, with higher unit cost, or pay later, with reduced security and higher numbers of airframes required (and higher personnel losses, along with diminished national resolve when the media start driving those losses home).

People also forget to account for the timelines for acquisition project. How long it takes to get something from idea to fielded. Could a “better” aircraft be designed/specified today? Abso-freaking-lutely. But then you would not have it in the fleet until 8 to 15 years down the road, best case…and people would then be looking back and making the same wrong or marginal claims of inadequacy about it. At some point you have to pull the trigger and start a project, assuming the project is actually needed, of course. While you have to be somewhat flexible during development, if you allow requirements creep (trying to keep up with externally defined and changing requirements) to impact the project too heavily it will never be completed.

T!
 

jdobbs2001

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The F-35 is a classic case of fat cats getting rich at the expense of the middle class taxpayer.

Lemon socialism at its best.
 

prcguy

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Token is right on target (pun intended) on his comments and its a constant cat and mouse game with stealth technology and counter technology. BTW, do you know what eventually happened to the downed F-117 in Yugoslavia?
prcguy

This article has the smell of biased journalism from the first word on. It appears to be supporting an agenda, instead of reporting the facts and allowing the reader to derive their own conclusions.

The description of stealth, at any level, as “invisible”, immediately reduces the quality of the reporting source. Stealth is only described as making an aircraft invisible to radar by people with no knowledge of how radar, or low observable technology, works, or by people who do not want to actually try to convey any real information.

Stealth does not make its platform invisible, it only makes it more difficult to track (lose sight, lose fight, or, first to sight first to fight). In a combat situation this improves survivability and lethality. The reduction of RCS, (Radar Cross Section) is always a plus in combat, the greater the reduction the greater the plus.

If you want to see this in application look at the only confirmed loss of a stealth platform to enemy action, the shoot down of “Something Wicked” (F-117A 82-0806) over Yugoslavia in March of 1999. This aircraft was shot down by a very old school (introduced in 1961) missile / radar system, an S-125 Pechora (SA-3 Goa). Sounds like a failure, yes? However stealth platforms had made hundreds, if not thousands, of sorties into heavily defended RF environments up to that date … and since then. If you compare sortie loss rates of non’stealthy platforms, and have realistic expectations of performance, you will find that stealth does what it is supposed to.

And this articles description of AESA is just, patently, wrong. Their description of how AESA works (“which works by emitting separate radio waves on different frequencies”), at even the most basic level, is not even close. AESA is simply phased array using active, instead of passive, elements. Frequency diversity is not a requirement of AESA operation, although phase control is. Even though many AESA systems do have the ability to shift frequency within their bands of operation this brings no particular advantage against stealth as the RCS of any object across a specific band tends to be relatively flat, or at least on a predictable curve. AESA is not “a” (there are many out there, from many countries) or “new” (systems have been in the field for over 20 years).

The real advantage AESA brings to counter the F-35 is not specific to the F-35 or any other stealthy or non-stealthy platform, it applies equally to every potential target. AESA often has the ability to shift frequency very, very, quickly, even pulse to pulse. This means it can be hard for any target being tracked to know it is being tracked. AESA potentially has the ability to do some interesting things with beam shapes and activities, possibly making jamming or electronically deceiving it more difficult.

Radar systems are advancing, no doubt. They will continue to advance, no doubt. In an absolute manor and against the average fielded system stealth is less affective today than it was 25 years ago, but in a relative manor it is just as affective today as at any time in the past. You can have stealthy platforms with enhanced survivability over their none-stealth compatriots, or you can have none-stealth, and higher combat losses. Pay now, with higher unit cost, or pay later, with reduced security and higher numbers of airframes required (and higher personnel losses, along with diminished national resolve when the media start driving those losses home).

People also forget to account for the timelines for acquisition project. How long it takes to get something from idea to fielded. Could a “better” aircraft be designed/specified today? Abso-freaking-lutely. But then you would not have it in the fleet until 8 to 15 years down the road, best case…and people would then be looking back and making the same wrong or marginal claims of inadequacy about it. At some point you have to pull the trigger and start a project, assuming the project is actually needed, of course. While you have to be somewhat flexible during development, if you allow requirements creep (trying to keep up with externally defined and changing requirements) to impact the project too heavily it will never be completed.

T!
 

PACNWDude

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F-35 can't evade enemy radar.

I think I'll stick with the room full on teenagers with computers attached to the internet to wage my wars.

All new technology has flaws, and many of them fatal. B-2's and F-117's had some issues with their different versions of "stealth". If it is man-made it will be able to be found, somehow.

The best non stealthy aircraft I have had the pleasure to deal with were A-10's and B-52's. The first time I saw a B-52 cruise in for a close air support mission, I thought I was going to die. Then a GPS guided JDAM came down right on target. That B-52 could be seen 20 miles out, it didn't need stealth to survive. And it did a very good job with that modified bomb being dropped.

We need to elect people and place persons in power that do not want: power,fame and huge amounts of money. Then we may see more realistic solutions. The F-35 is a huge waste of money. I do not care how many jobs it creates. There are better things to put those people to work on.
 

ff-medic

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Your enemy definitely will not like it when you bring that to a fight.

Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Key Notes marked with an **** Astericks

General characteristics : F/A-18

Crew: F/A-18E: 1, F/A-18F: 2
Length: 60 ft 1¼ in (18.31 m)
Wingspan: 44 ft 8½ in (13.62 m)
Height: 16 ft (4.88 m)
Wing area: 500 ft² (46.5 m²)
Empty weight: 32,081 lb (14,552 kg)
Loaded weight: 47,000 lb (21,320 kg) (in fighter configuration))
Max. takeoff weight: 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans
Dry thrust: 13,000 lbf (62.3 kN) each
Thrust with afterburner: 22,000 lbf (97.9 kN) each
Internal fuel capacity: F/A-18E: 14,400 lb (6,780 kg), F/A-18F: 13,550 lb (6,354 kg)
External fuel capacity: 5 × 480 gal tanks, totaling 16,380 lb (7,381 kg)

Performance:

**** Maximum speed: Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph, 1,915 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m) ****
**** Range: 1,275 nmi (2,346 km)clean plus two AIM-9s[15] ****
Combat radius: 390 nmi (449 mi, 722 km) for interdiction mission[137]
Ferry range: 1,800 nmi (2,070 mi, 3,330 km)
**** Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,000+ m) ****
Rate of climb: 44,882 ft/min[138] (228 m/s)
Wing loading: 94.0 lb/ft² (459 kg/m²)
## **** Thrust/weight: 0.93 **** ##

Design load factor: 7.6 g[54]


Armament :

**** Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan nose mounted Gatling gun, 578 rounds ****
Hardpoints: 11 total: 2× wingtips, 6× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of 17,750 lb
(8,050 kg) external fuel and ordnance

Missiles: Air-to-air missiles:

4× AIM-9 Sidewinder or 4× AIM-120 AMRAAM, and
2× AIM-7 Sparrow or 2× AIM-120 AMRAAM
Air-to-surface missiles:
AGM-65 Maverick
AGM-84H/K Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Range (SLAM-ER)
AGM-88 HARM Anti-radiation missile
AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM)
Anti-ship missile:
AGM-84 Harpoon
Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), in the future
Bombs: **JDAM precision-guided munition (PGMs)
Paveway series of laser-guided bombs
Mk 80 series of unguided iron bombs
CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition
CBU-78 Gator
CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
Mk 20 Rockeye II


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

General characteristics F-35 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Crew: 1
Length: 51.4 ft (15.67 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft[N 5] (10.7 m)
Height: 14.2 ft[N 6] (4.33 m)
Wing area: 460 ft²[249] (42.7 m²)
Empty weight: 29,300 lb (13,300 kg)
Loaded weight: 49,540 lb[231][N 7][518] (22,470 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 70,000 lb[N 8] (31,800 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan
Dry thrust: 28,000 lbf[519][N 9] (125 kN)
Thrust with afterburner: 43,000 lbf[519][520] (191 kN)
Internal fuel capacity: 18,480 lb (8,382 kg)[N 10]


Performance :

Maximum speed: Mach 1.6+[253] (1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h) (tested to Mach 1.61)[371]
Range: 1,200 nmi (2,220 km)on internal fuel
Combat radius: 584 nmi[521] (1,080 km) on internal fuel[522]
Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (18,288 m)
Rate of climb: classified (not publicly available)
Wing loading: 107.7 lb/ft² (526 kg/m²; 745 kg/m² max loaded)
Thrust/weight: **With full fuel: 0.87
With 50% fuel: 1.07

Max g-limits: 9 g[N 11]


Armament :


Guns: 1 × General Dynamics 25 mm (0.984 in) GAU-22/A 4-barrel Gatling gun, internally mounted
with 180 rounds[N 12][253]
Hardpoints: 6 × external pylons on wings with a capacity of 15,000 lb (6,800 kg)[249][253] and two
internal bays with two pylons each[249] for a total weapons payload of 18,000 lb (8,100 kg)[232] and
provisions to carry combinations of:

Missiles:

Air-to-air missiles:
AIM-120 AMRAAM
AIM-9X Sidewinder
IRIS-T
MBDA Meteor (pending further funding)[260]
Air-to-surface missiles:
AGM-88 AARGM[523]
AGM-158 JASSM[250]
Brimstone missile / MBDA SPEAR[524]
Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM)
Storm Shadow missile
SOM
Anti-ship missiles:
Joint Strike Missile (JSM)
Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)[525]

Bombs:

Mark 84 or Mark 83 or Mark 82 GP bombs
Mk.20 Rockeye II cluster bomb
Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) capable
Paveway series laser-guided bombs
Small Diameter Bomb (SDB)
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) series
AGM-154 JSOW
B61 mod 12 nuclear bomb


--------------------------

So you can see why I am a F/A-18 fan.

I work for a company that is a Department of Defense contractor. A year or so ago, I believe it was Lockheed Martin.....brought in an F-35 simulator for a corporate event. It was alright, graphics was cool. And the cockpit was realistic. BUT I had no ambition to get in it and fly around. The representatives, while I was there, let you take off and fly from one location to another. No one got to climb in the realistic cockpit ( complete with realistic ejection seat ) to "Engage a bandit". No one got to announce "Fox Two" or "Guns - Guns - Guns" over the secure UHF radio and push the pickle button.

No one got to drop ordinance on an enemy target.

Get in, fly from point "A" to point "B" , which takes about four minutes, then get out. Exciting. It was nice that they showed up, and a terrific thought and a great gesture to show off the simulator and let people "fly" the darn thing. But in a realsitic sense....even the best gamer would not have been impressed.

I wished it would have been a F/A-18, from Boeing, and I got to strap myself in and and shoot straight up in the air, finishing up with a "Split S". On the "hard deck" dropping ordinance on target, and getting to engage a "Bandit".

Long live the F/A ( Fighter / Attack ) - 18 Hornet. One of the greatest aircraft to come down the pike in a long time. It certainly has few equals.

If not the F/A-18 I would pick the F-16. Not a twin seater, but it gets the job done. It has alot of history, and successful missions. ---------> General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

F-16 : Thrust/weight: 1.095

FF - Medic !!!
 
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prcguy

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The particular 117 shot down was a flying test bed with some very valuable prototype components. The links don't tell the facts about the F-117 ending up in a warehouse at the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade where the CIA "accidentally" bombed the crap out of that warehouse and there was probably not much left of the 117 after that. Its common knowledge although not well advertised.
prcguy

 

Token

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All new technology has flaws, and many of them fatal. B-2's and F-117's had some issues with their different versions of "stealth". If it is man-made it will be able to be found, somehow.
A flawless weapon system is probably an impossibility. But that does not mean that a military power should not strive to acquire the best that is available or that can be afforded.

The best non stealthy aircraft I have had the pleasure to deal with were A-10's and B-52's. The first time I saw a B-52 cruise in for a close air support mission, I thought I was going to die. Then a GPS guided JDAM came down right on target. That B-52 could be seen 20 miles out, it didn't need stealth to survive. And it did a very good job with that modified bomb being dropped.
I have worked closely with both the aircraft you mention, and for many years.

In asymmetric warfare, when facing a technologically inferior opponent, platforms like the A-10 and the B-52 are fantastic. This describes every time in history that the B-52 has used a JDAM in anger. In the case you describe the airspace in the combat area was uncontested, the B-52 could fly and fight with impunity. But face a technologically equal or near equal opponent and both of those aircraft would have staggering loss ratios.

The A-10 was designed to work when the threats to its tasking were the SA-7 / 14 and the ZSU-23-4 Shilka. All of its combat activities to dates have been facing similar era threats, most often by unorganized but determined opponents. The A-10 has never been asked to survive in a modern battlespace. When facing RF threats like the SA-15 RF SAM, the Tunguska SA-19 / gun system, or SA-18 / 24 generations of MANPADs, the A-10 will suffer brutally. While the aircraft has been updated over the years its ability combat these systems are limited, at best.

The B-52 was in service before RF SAMs were in wide use. During Vietnam it suffered greatly to now archaic systems like the SA-2. The active electronic systems on board (jammers) are very good, but radar guided SAMs are worlds better today than in the late 60's / early 70's.

Facing threats like the S-300 or S-400 SAMs, or their Chinese equivalents, the B-52 is little more than a target drone. With the exception of ALCM the B-52 has no weapons system with more than a fraction of the engagement range of these threats. They would hit the Buffs long before the Buffs could get a weapon off at them. The B-52 can only do its job after other assets (whatever they may be, like the B-2/TLAM/ALCM/F-35) have suppressed these modern threats.

We need to elect people and place persons in power that do not want: power,fame and huge amounts of money. Then we may see more realistic solutions. The F-35 is a huge waste of money. I do not care how many jobs it creates. There are better things to put those people to work on.
I will not discuss the politics of a specific platform, I don't think this is the forum for it and I can't think of a faster way to get a thread closed. However, if you think a none-RCS reduced system will survive in a modern shooting fight you are mistaken.

If a country is going to be a superpower or have influence on the World stage it must have a modern combat force (I am not advocating the US should be in such a position or not, again, this is not the forum for such a discussion). Every new combat aircraft designed or considered in the last 20 years have included techniques for signature suppression. Not just when talking about US designs, this includes every major power. Every new combat aircraft, manned, unmanned, rotary wing, or fixed wing, will have signature suppression as a specification, from a primary driving spec to a moderate concern. To do anything else is to admit that the aircraft, and their air crews, are sacrificial in a modern combat environment.

T!
 

PACNWDude

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This is why UAV's are becoming popular.

11 of the past 14 airframes that have been recently de-classified are un-manned. Some reasons on why UAV's or drones are becoming popular? Part of this: is cost, the ability to build exotic technology and performance into something that would g-lock a human pilot and for the stealth and signature suppression. It does not take large amounts of money or wasteful spending to have a superior military.
 

poltergeisty

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BTW, do you know what eventually happened to the downed F-117 in Yugoslavia?
prcguy
I'm told it's in a museum .

F-22 raptor and the B-2 bomber are my aircraft. :D One day I bet they make the F-22 pilotless. The computer onboard currently limits the input of what the pilot can do in the F-22 otherwise he can kill himself, but without a pilot the jet can do far more.

Here's a better article. I heard on the conspiracy network (History Channel 2) that aliens made a deal with us in exchange for stealth technology. :lol: Looks like they screwed us!
 
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nr2d

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When I was in the Air Force way back when, 73-80 I worked in a specialized radar. 1 system simulated AAA. When I was at Castle AFB we were asked to participate in some testing of the B-1. The B-1 was supposed to have a low radar signature.

The B-1s we were to track were flying about 100 NM from our site. We had no problems tracking the aircraft at 35K' down to about 10K'.

BTW The radar we were using was built in the mid '50s early '60's.

So sometimes engineering works great sometimes not so great.
 

rescuecomm

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When the gloves comes off, that is,when beyond visual range engagement is allowed, the reduced signature aircraft really come into their own. Doesn't helmet mounted queing of AA missiles reduce the G forces one has to endure to put the enemy in the sights.

As for building one aircraft for all the services, the military was spoiled by the success of the F4 Phantom II. It hasn't been done since.

It is interesting with this being a communications forum, that no one complains about the JTRS fiasco. A lot of money for not much hardware.

Bob
 

Token

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11 of the past 14 airframes that have been recently de-classified are un-manned. Some reasons on why UAV's or drones are becoming popular? Part of this: is cost, the ability to build exotic technology and performance into something that would g-lock a human pilot and for the stealth and signature suppression. It does not take large amounts of money or wasteful spending to have a superior military.
UAVs and UCAVs are the way forward for several reasons.

As you pointed out, it is easy to build airframes that far exceed the physiological limitations of the pilot, not a problem when unmanned. Cost is not so much a factor, although it does play, the removal of the human and required life support is at least partially offset by the increased cost of electronic support systems for the real time data links. However, taking the human out of the loop, and everything that keeps him happy in the business seat, does reduce weight, which increases performance in many ways, such as increased combat payload and range. There is not a large stealth or signature gain from taking the human out of the airframe. Sure, there is a bit of a gain, but not huge.

One other factor to consider, the loss of human life. First is the impact or potential impact to national resolve. When a pilot or aircrew gets killed it makes news, when service members die it can weaken a countries desire to carry forward the mission. UAVs or UCAVs make this a non-factor. In my opinion this is both good and bad, decisions can be made on merit instead of revenge for casualties. But it also becomes easier to pull the trigger, because you are not putting people in harms way, and this potentially could push nations closer to warfare more quickly.

Another human issue is the replacement time for a pilot or crew. If you really want to you can produce combat aircraft in a few months, or less. But to get a combat ready pilot / crew in the air takes literally years. Excluding the human cost it is harder to replace competent crews than it is to replace airframes. Not an issue with UCAVs.

But the reason so many UAV / UCAV projects have come to light recently is because of timing. The state of technology is right to support their development, and so they are being developed. 30 to 40 years ago an honest UCAV was a pipe dream, today it is not only a possibility, but an inevitability.

T!
 

Token

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As for building one aircraft for all the services, the military was spoiled by the success of the F4 Phantom II. It hasn't been done since.
Of course one difference is that the Phantom II was never designed as a multi service aircraft. It was designed to meet Navy needs. It was first flown and tested for the Navy. It was a given that the Marines would fly it also, they were, after all, part of the Navy structure and did/do fly Navy aircraft (and the Marines still fall under the Department of the Navy, my Marine friends kid me that they are “the men’s Department of the Navy”). It was not until after the aircraft had been operating in Navy hands for almost 2 years that the Air Force looked at it and developed its own requirements based on the aircraft. The Navy already had B models in the inventory before the Air Force looked at the beast. And the Air Force was more or less pushed into that because McNamara wanted one fighter for all branches.

The Air Force version of the Phantom II was originally designated F110. The May 1962 issue of Air Force Magazine had a nice write-up on its introduction to the Air Force inventory. Eventually the Air Force would become a larger user of the Phantom II than the Navy and Marine Corps combined.

The above timeline / story is important to a successful multi service platform, the aircraft was built to a Navy requirement and then adopted by others. In general it can be said that an aircraft meeting Navy requirements can be used by other services, such as the Air Force. But an aircraft built to and meeting Air Force requirements cannot generally be used by the Navy at sea.

Your classic examples would be the F-18 and the F-16. The Air Force could pick any F-18 legacy (pre E/F) or any Super Hornet right out of the Navy inventory and operate it in place of an F-16 (I am not saying the performances are the same). But the Navy could not pick any F-16 out of the Air Force inventory and operate it in a usable Naval Aviation application. The F-18 can operate from land air fields just fine, but the F-16 cannot operate from a carrier. The F-16 can’t take the corrosion issues, it can’t take a cat shot, and it can’t take a trap. To bring it up to those capabilities would be a major, complete, redesign of the aircraft, not simply slapping on some hardware. And after the aircraft was redesigned it would have very different performance envelopes, physical appearance / size, and capabilities. It would be a different aircraft.

Naval Aviation and shore based US Air Force aviation are just two very different beast with very different requirements.

T!
 

DPD1

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Most articles trying to trash current aircraft, either have a political agenda, and/or lack of knowledge about aircraft. As Token said... All the so-called 'stealth' aircraft, are visible by radar. They can't just fly anywhere they want and be completely invisible. They have to fly very planed routes to try and avoid radar, and also try not to present the angles of the aircraft that have the highest RCS, to the radar. The front has the lowest. The sides and back, top and bottom, have more. So no stealth aircraft has ever truly been invisible. It was the media that created that misconception. And of course, they are then the people that come back and use their own inaccurate misconception as a baseline for comparison. The design only lowers the RCS and that helps keep the signature down under certain conditions... but it's not invisible. IR tracking is something that all major nations have been working on, which is the counter to radar stealth. No technology has an advantage forever. The computers, active radar, and stand-off weapon capability on aircraft today... is where the true advantage is. But you can only add so much to an old design. At some point, you have to start from scratch. And if you do, it may as well be a stealth design. If you don;t do that, it's like sticking the engine of a Ferrari in a Yugo. Why would you do that?

One of the biggest things raising the cost of procurements, is the constant meddling of politicians. Look at the presidential helicopter program... Requirements were constantly changed throughout the program, then it was cancelled 2/3 through. Then ten years form now, the whole thing will start from scratch again. Meanwhile, they could have had them all done. In the end, it will cost 5 times what it should have, because politicians can't ever leave anything alone. Things got done in the old days, because they handed the requirement to somebody like Lockheed, and then left them alone. If the JSF does have a flaw, it's that they tried to make one aircraft do too many things. But that is also the mentality of pencil pushers... Not people who actually have to use the stuff.
 
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