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Thread: Rafale news XII

  1. #601
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    Anyway, if you have an asset that works fine, why not use it ? Even assuming that ASTAC is merely as good as Spectra or even slightly inferior, it's there, available to be used, so why not ? More assets in the air are always better.

  2. #602
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    SPECTRA is real-time, it's meant primarily to detect, identify & locate threats to the plane itself during its mission.

    It can sniff unknown signals and record them for later analysis but a dedicated ELINT asset will have always enjoy signficant advantages in multiple areas:
    1) greater time on site (a C-160 can spend hours sniffing at the edge of enemy territory)
    2) massive recording abilities & dedicated post-processing software suites
    3) larger capture bandwidth, more and larger antennas to better cover different bands (easy to put five or more antenna arrays in a C-160, a bit harder on a fighter like the Rafale)
    4) better sensitivity (low SNR amplifiers tend to be larger and more fragile)

    Regarding the ASTAC pod, it's hard to see how it would offer more performance than the RWR/ESM modules of SECTRA: the radio chains are similar and the added functionalities of ASTAC come mainly from the recording and transmission to ground-based post-processing assets through a dedicated datalink, both functionalities that could be added to the Rafale through upgrades.

  3. #603
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    There are enough papers and pilot reports explaining some of the capabilities of the system .
    It would be useful if you could provide references to some of this published material, so that we can all read it and form our own conclusions.
    Mercurius Cantabrigiensis

  4. #604
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Apple View Post
    SPECTRA is real-time, it's meant primarily to detect, identify & locate threats to the plane itself during its mission.

    It can sniff unknown signals and record them for later analysis but a dedicated ELINT asset will have always enjoy signficant advantages in multiple areas:
    1) greater time on site (a C-160 can spend hours sniffing at the edge of enemy territory)
    2) massive recording abilities & dedicated post-processing software suites
    3) larger capture bandwidth, more and larger antennas to better cover different bands (easy to put five or more antenna arrays in a C-160, a bit harder on a fighter like the Rafale)
    4) better sensitivity (low SNR amplifiers tend to be larger and more fragile)

    Regarding the ASTAC pod, it's hard to see how it would offer more performance than the RWR/ESM modules of SECTRA: the radio chains are similar and the added functionalities of ASTAC come mainly from the recording and transmission to ground-based post-processing assets through a dedicated datalink, both functionalities that could be added to the Rafale through upgrades.
    I agree, do you have any idea if ASTAC is still part of the C-160G suite after their upgrades ?

    AdA still doesn't know if they'll have the money to fund Mirages 2000 upgrades, and as such It would make more sense to integrate the ASTAC pod on Rafale if it offered overall better capabilities that SPECTRA. So either AdA think they'll get the money for the upgrades, or they think SPECTRA is enough and other assets will fill whatever gap that may arise, or they have a secret project for an ASTAC-NG somewhere, or they're wasting money...

    In any case between the UAE high demand and the export market in general I believe Dassault would have integrated ASTAC on Rafale if they thought it could add significant ESM capabilities. I'm not saying ASTAC may not have some capabilities SPECTRA doesn't, I'm saying that I don't believe these capabilities to be significant enough to put ASTAC significantly ahead.
    And it make sense to give the Mirages 2000 that capability since there are not enough Rafale around for every missions...
    “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!”

  5. #605
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    You are both reducing Spectra to the DASS level , which is wrong .
    Even if that's true, what's the point ? Raising SPECTRA to ASTAC level is not only wrong, it's idiotic.

  6. #606
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    I don 't have much time right now and I will try to explain myself better 2moro .
    Anyway , OPIT :
    Raising SPECTRA to ASTAC level is not only wrong, it's idiotic.
    I 've NEVER said such thing OPIT , I said "mini" and I explained why : Spectra has some ELINT/SIGINT capabilities dictated by the blueprints and I remind you that low observability was part of the concept and real time ELINT/SIGINT help the concept .
    These capabilities have been updated at least 4 times (AFAIK) , one update during the F1 standard , 2 updates during the F2 standard and the last update for the F3 standard .
    To make it short , ASTAC is a strategical tool where Spectra is a tactical tool . I am sure that you understand the difference

    I could say that it works the same with regard to active jamming . Spectra is a tactical tool and Thalès is working on a strategical tool , the Airborne Electronic Attack pod :
    http://www.thalesgroup.com/Portfolio...?LangType=2057

    Mercurius , I will respond to your request 2moro , sorry

    Cheers .
    I say what I mean and I do what I say .

  7. #607
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    I 've NEVER said such thing OPIT , I said "mini" and I explained why : Spectra has some ELINT/SIGINT capabilities dictated by the blueprints and I remind you that low observability was part of the concept and real time ELINT/SIGINT help the concept.
    You're mixing things up. The limited ELINT/SIGINT capabilities are a byproduct and not a design goal. The design goal was to allow the detection and geolocation of threats to best avoid them in real time. That's not a tactical tool ; that's a key mission enabler.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings
    To make it short , ASTAC is a strategical tool where Spectra is a tactical tool . I am sure that you understand the difference
    I understand that ASTAC is a tactical tool (TAC = tactical, as the name implies), whereas SPECTRA is dedicated to the mission as is SERVAL on another platform. You can't go over any area then come back with a complete mapping of threats using SPECTRA alone. That's why it's inadequate for tactical ELINT/SIGINT and missions planning.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings
    I could say that it works the same with regard to active jamming . Spectra is a tactical tool and Thalès is working on a strategical tool , the Airborne Electronic Attack pod
    Event there, SPECTRA is a mission tool as is SABRE or CAMELEON on M2K. A tactical tool shall have a wider focus that SPECTRA cannot provide (band-limited, low power output, etc).

  8. #608
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    I can 't sleep right now (next door is having a birthday party , good to them , bad for me) .
    Opit , I fully understand what you mean by "byproduct capabilities" and while I have to say that you are correct , you are somehow forgeting the original goal of Spectra . It is true that the AdA and the MN are finding new ways to use Spectra after each campaign because the end product is simply better than expected . The ELINT/SIGINT capabilities were requested from day one to help the low observability concept , as I said , but it turned out that the Spectra system was more capable than expected . When it happens , the people using the hardware are discovering as they go new ways to exploit the system . But (and this is important) , Spectra was built to provide an active self-defense system to protect the fighter as well as a system capable to evade and invade EM saturated areas by analysing and recording the EM threats to provide to the crew a very clear picture of what is going on around , as far as 200km away . It was part of the low observability concept , as I said earlier on .

    Now , you can 't compare SERVAL and Spectra , you simply can 't . They aren 't in the same league ...
    You also said :
    You can't go over any area then come back with a complete mapping of threats using SPECTRA alone. That's why it's inadequate for tactical ELINT/SIGINT and missions planning.
    The first phrase is true , the second one is not . If you know what "danger zone" and "SAM bubbles" means and how it can be displayed to the pilot(s) , you wouldn 't say that . A basic RWR will give you a warning that the enemy is "pinging" you , a clever RWR will give you a warning before the "ping" , a very clever RWR will give you a bearing on the adverse radar(s) and a very very clever RWR will give you the area where you can be detected .
    Now , if the very very clever RWR (and the system behind it) is also capable of recording (mapping) the various adverse EM emissions and share them in real time with the fleet , you GET a ELINT/SIGINT system . While it is NOT as capable as some dedicated systems , it is a very useful tool for pre-mission planning and briefings . Saying otherwise is not knowing the "stings" .

    You also say "band limited" . Well , I disagree .
    Spectra band range is wide , very wide . It covers many bands used by airborne radars , ground based radars and also various bands used by EM missile seekers . Sure , it doesn 't have the storage and recording capabilities of a dedicated system but it does the job .

    You also talk about "low power output" .
    Again , Spectra wasn 't built to "blanket" an area with powerful jamming but to fool many radars at once by diluting the feeble echo with AESA pencil beams if needed . It is again about the low observability concept : you don 't want to wake up every RWR around while you 're jamming .
    The Rafale CANNOT act as a "Growler" and it is the reason why Thalès is making the AEA pod .

    You said :
    The design goal was to allow the detection and geolocation of threats to best avoid them in real time. That's not a tactical tool ; that's a key mission enabler.
    It is both (and I know what you mean)
    In fact and when I think about it , the Rafale is very much an omnirole aircraft . When properly loaded , it can do so much things in one single flight (and in one single pass) that it is astonishing . It is the most beautiful "combo" there is around and it is probably the reason why the aircraft has been so highly rated in various foreign competitions .
    I am not thumping my chest , I am just praising the people who made the aircraft . Dassault had a win-win fighter with the M2000 variants and the Rafale is following the same path .

    Cheers .
    Last edited by Bluewings; 13th April 2012 at 00:23.
    I say what I mean and I do what I say .

  9. #609
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPIT View Post
    You're mixing things up. The limited ELINT/SIGINT capabilities are a byproduct and not a design goal. The design goal was to allow the detection and geolocation of threats to best avoid them in real time. That's not a tactical tool ; that's a key mission enabler.
    ELINT was definitely a design goal in order to provide a key mission enabler... Resulting in a effective tactical tool performing in the EM (ESM, ELINT), IR and laser wave length.
    Compromise, modularity and integration

    Characterization of the threat and the imperatives of development costs resulted in a compromise between the various parades available on a combat aircraft:
    - avoidance leading to preventive techniques of signature reduction, terrain-following and path optimization in mission planning
    - by avoiding detection and trajectory modification, which allows to adapt pro-actively in real time
    - avoidance leading to neutralization by various techniques of jamming and decoy, when the previous parades have failed.
    Spectra is the result of a compromise that complements real-time actions to reduce infrared and electromagnetic signatures applied to the cell and equipment of the weapon system, the automatic flight at very low altitude, and the function control of the tactical situation to which all contribute on-board sensors and data transmission network MIDS.
    To ensure the functions of detection, jamming and deception in the areas broadband electromagnetic, infrared and laser, the choice is focused on a self-protection system modular and fully integrated. The modularity of Spectra is to distribute, in various parts of the wearer, sensors and transmitters diverse, working in the different spectrum in the face of multiple threats: electromagnetic radiation and infrared radiation, detection of missile or laser illumination. The main innovation is the ability to locate a threat with an accuracy of five to ten times higher than conventional systems, in order to adapt the manoeuvring, jamming or spoofing applied. Due to the complexity of the whole, a high degree of integration is necessary, so that the weapon system analyses all the elements before proposing a solution to the crew.

    With Spectra, the Rafale has a self-protection system that goes beyond current counter-measures systems. Sensor fused with all components of the navigation and attack systems contributing to the discretion of the aircraft, Spectra provides the crew with a comprehensive tool for analysing the air-to-air or air-ground threat in real time, and neutralization of aggression by the most effective means available on board. Spectra not only significantly improve the survivability of the Rafale, it directly contributes to greater efficiency in accomplishing the mission.
    Google translation from here

    Quote Originally Posted by OPIT View Post
    I understand that ASTAC is a tactical tool (TAC = tactical, as the name implies), whereas SPECTRA is dedicated to the mission as is SERVAL on another platform. You can't go over any area then come back with a complete mapping of threats using SPECTRA alone. That's why it's inadequate for tactical ELINT/SIGINT and missions planning.
    SPECTRA has been used for ELINT and tactical reconnaissance over Libya and was used for missions planning (as well as its normal ESM role).

    From Thales
    The SPECTRA system for the Rafale combat aircraft operates in electromagnetic, laser and infra-red domains. Using sophisticated techniques, such as interferometry for high precision DOA and passive ranging, digital frequency memory for signal coherency and active phased-array transmitters for maximum effectiveness and covertness, the highly advanced multi-sensors and artificial intelligence data fusion capabilities of SPECTRA provide the Rafale aircraft with the best chance to survive in harsh and lethal environments. The Rafale combat aircraft and the SPECTRA system are fully operational onboard the French Navy's Rafale.

    Offering unique high sensitivity detection and multiple threat capability, and operating smart data fusion between multi-spectral sensors, it provides identification, location, jamming and decoying against an extensive range of electromagnetic, infra-red and laser threats.

    Additionally, SPECTRA fulfils new functions in a combat aircraft, while significantly participating in the determination of the aircraft's tactical situation, and providing the crew with operational advantage by performing accurate threat location.

    By virtue of its fully passive situational awareness capability, SPECTRA is a major contributor to the low observability concept of Rafale.
    Well if I read correctly it says "while significantly participating in the determination of the aircraft's tactical situation, and providing the crew with operational advantage by performing accurate threat location". Which is what ASTAC provides if I'm not mistaken.

    From Dassault
    The SPECTRA system carries out reliable long-range detection, identification and localisation of threats, allowing the pilot to instantly select the most effective defensive measures based on combinations of radar jamming, infrared or radar decoying and evasive manoeuvres.

    The angular localisation performance of the SPECTRA sensors makes it possible to accurately locate ground threats in order to avoid them, or to target them for destruction with precision guided munitions.

    The outstanding capability of SPECTRA regarding airborne threat localisation, is one of the keys of the RAFALE’s superior situational awareness.

    Also instrumental in SPECTRA's performance is a threat library that can be easily defined, integrated and updated on short notice by users in their own country, and in full autonomy.
    Quote Originally Posted by OPIT View Post
    Event there, SPECTRA is a mission tool as is SABRE or CAMELEON on M2K. A tactical tool shall have a wider focus that SPECTRA cannot provide (band-limited, low power output, etc).
    I would say SPECTRA is more effective than ASTAC because ASTAC role is simply to analyse a signal (ASTAC = Analyseur de Signaux TACtiques), while it's stated to be able to analyse ~400 different signals (which I concede might be way more than SPECTRA can do, but I'm just guessing).

    So both systems use wide bands, interferometry etc. Except SPECTRA is also an offensive system, while ASTAC is a fully passive system. Both systems are described as "tactical". It might be possible for ASTAC to have a wider range and be able to analyse more signal at every one time, but that would be pure speculation. So unless anyone here have the precise numbers, I guess we'll have to agree that both systems are very similar in the ELINT role, ASTAC purposely designed for mapping, interception, identification
    and analysis of anti-aircraft threats and radar transmissions, multi-target detection and engagement for air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface missions as well as development of electronic order of battle, while SPECTRA is a compromise that add automatic terrain following and threat avoidance for high-speed blind penetration missions, offensive jamming for suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) and self-protection.
    “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!”

  10. #610
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    It might be possible for ASTAC to have a wider range and be able to analyse more signal at every one time, but that would be pure speculation.
    No it's not. For example it's not physically possible for SPECTRA antennas to cover the lower bands that ASTAC can (you need antennas >1m long).

    A dedicated ELINT asset will cover more bands, be more sensitive (by using a dedicated radio chain for each band because it has the room to carry such equipments) and record the waveform of each detected signal. This mapping (signature & position) will be uploaded in the fighter operating in the area.

    What SPECTRA brings is that it can be used to update this original mapping. If a SAM has moved more than 1km, SPECTRA will be able to detect it (<1% accuracy at 100km). If a SAM has switched frequency or scanning pattern, SPECTRA will still find it and record a sample for analysis. If a new AA asset comes online, SPECTRA will detect it, estimate its position, compare the signal to its library to evaluate the threat (range, max altitude...) and display it to the pilot while recording the new threat signal for analysis. Some of these infos will be shared real-time, others will be post-processed and added to the tactical situation uploaded to all fighters for their next missions.

    But as pointed out, this is a byproduct of the system's goals. When you have identified a new threat, why not share the info? And if you've captured the signal to match it to the ones in your library, why not archive it as well? The modular avionics where all sensors data is shared, fused and recorded makes it trivial so it would be a waste not to do it.

  11. #611
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    Opit , I fully understand what you mean by "byproduct capabilities" and while I have to say that you are correct , you are somehow forgeting the original goal of Spectra . It is true that the AdA and the MN are finding new ways to use Spectra after each campaign because the end product is simply better than expected.
    Improving capabilities by updating the software/algorithms and libraries isn't new or uncommon these dates. All current generation EWS are updated this way.


    The ELINT/SIGINT capabilities were requested from day one to help the low observability concept , as I said , but it turned out that the Spectra system was more capable than expected . When it happens , the people using the hardware are discovering as they go new ways to exploit the system . But (and this is important) , Spectra was built to provide an active self-defense system to protect the fighter as well as a system capable to evade and invade EM saturated areas by analysing and recording the EM threats to provide to the crew a very clear picture of what is going on around , as far as 200km away . It was part of the low observability concept , as I said earlier on .
    The recording isn't required for immediate use, but post flight analysis, intelligence gathering to prepare future missions. Whether Spectra was actually required to do this (recording) or whether it is a by product, I don't know. However, we certainly agree on the fact that Spectra is capable to do this to a certain extend. The 200 km range figure comes from pilots and is said that the system can detect emitters up to such distances. At the end the detection range largely depends on the threat emitters characteristics.

    Now , you can 't compare SERVAL and Spectra , you simply can 't . They aren 't in the same league ...
    You also said :
    If you know what you are talking about you can. It's owed to your ignorance towards any non Spectra system that you regard Spectra as some kind of alien ware.

    The first phrase is true , the second one is not . If you know what "danger zone" and "SAM bubbles" means and how it can be displayed to the pilot(s) , you wouldn 't say that . A basic RWR will give you a warning that the enemy is "pinging" you , a clever RWR will give you a warning before the "ping" , a very clever RWR will give you a bearing on the adverse radar(s) and a very very clever RWR will give you the area where you can be detected .
    The "basic" RWR is merely the most simplistic form of a radar warner, which exists since more than a half century. Even 60's era RWRs provided a rough bearing. 70's era systems were able to distinguish between search, lock on, CW illumination for missile guidance and classed threat emitters in groups (AI, AAA/SAM, EW...). 80's systems introduced programmable threat emitter libraries and could identify specific emitter types if known if they were known to the database and they provided a rough range estimate base on amplitude measurement. Sequential triangulation was introduced at some point and available for the ELS on the Tornado ECR for example and allowed for emitter geo-location, though it took some time to get a fix. Those danger zones and SAM bubbles could be programmed in if the positions and types were known prior the mission and displayed if they were detected. Newer systems can do this in real time when dealing with threat emitters. There are other systems than Spectra offering such capabilities as well.

    You also say "band limited" . Well , I disagree .
    Spectra band range is wide , very wide . It covers many bands used by airborne radars , ground based radars and also various bands used by EM missile seekers . Sure , it doesn 't have the storage and recording capabilities of a dedicated system but it does the job .
    And what is the true frequency coverage and how does it compare to other contemporary systems? You have stated three different low band figures (60, 80 & 200 MHz) over the years, but I have yet to see a confirmation for any of these figures and it is interesting that no one else seems to use these figures. The upper spectrum is 40 GHz, which isn't too uncommon these days, except you believe that no progress has been made elsewhere since the 70s/80s.

    You also talk about "low power output" .
    Again , Spectra wasn 't built to "blanket" an area with powerful jamming but to fool many radars at once by diluting the feeble echo with AESA pencil beams if needed . It is again about the low observability concept : you don 't want to wake up every RWR around while you 're jamming .
    Jamming multiple threat emitters with directed beams isn't new or unique to Spectra either and performance of such tactical systems is limited. It's funny how you declare Spectra to be a medium stand-off range ECM system and declare others to be "short range" only, without any data to back this up. Self defence is the purpose of this system in the first place, as is the case with other EWS.

  12. #612
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    But (and this is important) , Spectra was built to provide an active self-defense system to protect the fighter as well as a system capable to evade and invade EM saturated areas by analysing and recording the EM threats to provide to the crew a very clear picture of what is going on around , as far as 200km away . It was part of the low observability concept , as I said earlier on .
    Okay, but that's mere mission support, not intelligence (read SIGINT/ELINT/COMINT). Most of what SPECTRA does is real time stuff against significant targets/threats. This has no tactical value per se. What adds something to the (limited) ELINT/SIGINT capabilities is recording, and many other EW systems do that as well, although to lesser extents.

    Now , if the very very clever RWR (and the system behind it) is also capable of recording (mapping) the various adverse EM emissions and share them in real time with the fleet , you GET a ELINT/SIGINT system.
    You're misleading. First, recording doesn't imply mapping. Second not all adverse EM emissions are monitored. Third, only tracks can be shared through L16. Last, ELINT/SIGINT is much more than that, and that's why you'd need dedicated pods and/or large aircrafts to gather intelligence.
    You also say "band limited" . Well , I disagree .
    If you wish, but law of physics also apply to SPECTRA and you'd be hard pressed to explain how its EM receiver (the one used to detect potential threats) could monitor everything from 1 Hz through to 40 GHz.
    Spectra band range is wide , very wide . It covers many bands used by airborne radars , ground based radars and also various bands used by EM missile seekers .
    Err... no. It covers some radar bands, not the whole range.
    Sure , it doesn 't have the storage and recording capabilities of a dedicated system but it does the job .
    It doesn't have the storage and recording capabilities = it's not an ELINT/SIGINT system. That's as simple as that.
    Again , Spectra wasn 't built to "blanket" an area with powerful jamming but to fool many radars at once by diluting the feeble echo with AESA pencil beams if needed .
    Please remind me, what's the frequency band of the AESA emitters ? And while you're at it, how could you paint multiple threats at once with enough accuracy and power by using these small antennas ?
    The Rafale CANNOT act as a "Growler" and it is the reason why Thalès is making the AEA pod .
    So SPECTRA has no tactical value in the EW arena. Thanks, that's just what I said.

  13. #613
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    I wish I'd bought popcorn.

  14. #614
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    Next time, think twice before calling some 'fanboys'.
    Rafale news blog by Kovy :
    http://rafalenews.blogspot.com/

    The Rafale international forum :
    http://rafale.freeforums.org/

  15. #615
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    I don't think I've ever thought of Opit as being that, TMor. But maintaining some grip on reality when it comes to the relative merits of SPECTRA and dedicated Elint systems doesn't necessarily mean that one isn't a fanboy.

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    OPIT , I beleive that we have a slight problem my friend
    -1) you put words in my mouth
    -2) you twist my words
    when we in fact agree on various points !

    First , I will quote you :
    Okay, but that's mere mission support, not intelligence (read SIGINT/ELINT/COMINT). Most of what SPECTRA does is real time stuff against significant targets/threats. (...) First, recording doesn't imply mapping. Second not all adverse EM emissions are monitored.
    If you can share in real time planned or un-planned threats geo-location found by your system , you do ELINT . If you can classify them by kinds or single adverse system and build or update the "danger zones" in real time with your fleet , you do SIGINT . These capabilities are made to penetrate the "Fog of War" and analyse the situation at hand , basicaly taking care of the unforeseen during pre-mission planning/debrief .
    We are again talking about the nuclear strike capability of the Rafale and its need to fulfill its mission over enemy territory . When some of you will understand that the electronic suite (Spectra) is tailored for since day one , we 'll have made a step forward No kidding .

    Secondly OPIT , you said "recording doesn 't imply mapping" . Spectra does many things "on the fly" (in real time) and one of them is :
    - to compare if the detected signal is known and if it is , its capabilities (EM search patterns , range , seeker) are monitored and displayed to the pilot as a new "danger zone" or SAM bubble . From there , the system is updating the autopilot to provide to the pilot(s) a possible new course if he(she) choose to do so . The infos is of course shared in real time with the fleet if and when possible and/or permited . To make it short , the ECM suite is capable to take charge of the entire aircraft if the pilot choose to do so . Even the targeting and the firing solution will be available as soon as available for both ground and air targets , depending on the priority and on what the aircraft is loaded with . The ECM suite will automaticaly manage the RBE2 modes , slew the OSF and the IR Mica seekers or the laser pod or the AASM to the target(s) , without pilot input . The autopilot can be switched to threat and terrain avoidance (pilot 's will) during the entire manoever .

    What I want to say is that Spectra can be the "brain" of the aircraft and this is not something very usual from an ECM/ECCM suite .

    OPIT :
    If you wish, but law of physics also apply to SPECTRA and you'd be hard pressed to explain how its EM receiver (the one used to detect potential threats) could monitor everything from 1 Hz through to 40 GHz.
    I have NEVER said such thing , please re-read what I said about Spectra band range . You can also find the numbers on the Net , it is not difficult .

    Err... no. It covers some radar bands, not the whole range.
    I agree and again I have NEVER said otherwise . (you keep putting words in my mouth OPIT)

    Please remind me, what's the frequency band of the AESA emitters ? And while you're at it, how could you paint multiple threats at once with enough accuracy and power by using these small antennas ?
    AFAIK , Spectra covers these radio bands : 200 MHz - 40GHz
    That includes high VHF , UHF , L , S , C , X , Ku , K , Ka bands .
    Spectra can paint (jam) 3 different radars at once , one per antenna .
    The total output power used by Spectra is unknown , bets are on . My personal guess is 1 Kw per antenna modulated WRT the task at hand (Aesa).

    So SPECTRA has no tactical value in the EW arena. Thanks, that's just what I said.
    Again , you are GROSSLY mistaking and you twist my words OPIT . I 've just explained to you some of the system 's capabilities and you should have a clearer view now .
    Now , listen to me and read my lips : I don 't beleive that active cancellation is possible at this time when the aircraft is heavily loaded but possible with a central supersonic fuel tank and 4 Micas .
    In this configuration , Rafale 's RCS at range is very low and the very few adverse radar "spikes" can be dealt with with active cancellation .
    When I say "at range" , I say something about 60nm for a 20Kw Aesa radar and 40nm for a mechanical radar . Closer , the active cancellation will probably not work because of the numbers of "spikes" to deal with .
    This is a personal opinion and nothing else .

    Cheers .
    Last edited by Bluewings; 13th April 2012 at 22:43.
    I say what I mean and I do what I say .

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    Scorpion :
    Improving capabilities by updating the software/algorithms and libraries isn't new or uncommon these dates. All current generation EWS are updated this way.
    True . The main point being how to use them afterwards and how the system is using the available datas . Spectra can do stuff the Thalès ICMS Mk2 or Mk3 can 't . The closer piece of kit is the IMEWS (M2000-9) .

    If you know what you are talking about you can. It's owed to your ignorance towards any non Spectra system that you regard Spectra as some kind of alien ware.
    SERVAL is in no way comparable to Spectra Scorpion and I am SURE that you know it .
    SERVAL (from Jane 's) :
    The Serval RWR is a channelised crystal video detector that provides the pilot with warning when his aircraft is illuminated by surface or airborne threat radars. Frequency coverage is E- through J-band (2 to 20 GHz). Displayed information comprises threat direction, level and identification. The latter is obtained by comparison of the received signal with a threat library contained in the system. The display unit is a panel-mounted cathode ray tube where several threats can be displayed simultaneously. At the same time, an audio alarm is generated in the pilot's headset. Four antennas are used, located at the aircraft wingtips and vertical fin. They are connected to an analogue and digital processing unit. Thales Airborne Systems is also understood to have developed a second-generation Serval RWR under the designation Serval Nouvelle Génération-Distance (New Generation-Distance - NG-D). Serval NG-D added range data to the baseline configuration's bearing, amplitude and identification capabilities.
    A very nice piece of kit but it doesn 't do half of what Spectra do .
    Btw , one can note the channelised crystal video detector = Bragg cells . Yes , not superheterodynes like on the Typhoon and that was looong ago .

    People interested should check what superheterodynes and bragg cells are , they really should . Then , they would understand why Spectra 's accuracy in detection and jamming is ahead of most ECM/ECCM systems including US systems . But this is another story .

    Those danger zones and SAM bubbles could be programmed in if the positions and types were known prior the mission and displayed if they were detected. Newer systems can do this in real time when dealing with threat emitters. There are other systems than Spectra offering such capabilities as well.
    True and I have never said that Spectra was unique for this task . But tell me , what other operational systems can do it and on what aircraft ? I am talking about sensor fusion here and not about RWR warning display

    Jamming multiple threat emitters with directed beams isn't new or unique to Spectra either and performance of such tactical systems is limited. It's funny how you declare Spectra to be a medium stand-off range ECM system and declare others to be "short range" only, without any data to back this up. Self defence is the purpose of this system in the first place, as is the case with other EWS.
    Directed beams , well ... Spectra has been the very first onboard ECM system to provide the capability to start with (if we leave aside the US B1 Lancer ECM suite miss) . Even today , very few aircraft have an Aesa jamming capability and nobody pushed the technology as far as the French did .
    When I talk about Spectra being a medium stand-off range ECM system , I take onboard what I should call the overall "discretion" of the aircraft at range .
    Spectra detection range is big because it needs to know ealier and act quicker to help the low observability concept by evading the threat first or to stealthily jamming it from long range when the aircraft 's RCS is still low for the adverse radar . It was again part of the blueprint .
    What we call "short-range" ECM systems are electronic suites designed to protect the fighter from already airborne threats like missiles by jamming the adverse radar 's tracking , the missile 's uplink or its seeker .
    Spectra is preventive first and can hide Rafale within the fog of war with better ease .
    Dassault and Thalès had to use electronic means since the Rafale is not a stealth aircraft .

    I always find it very hard to make people understand that Spectra is a different kind of fish in the ECM World . The components and the technology used are unique to start with , so the capabilities are underestimated .
    Again , we are talking about how to use and understand EM emisions with different technologies at hand . Thalès is the only one company to use Bragg cells over superheterodynes (USA , Europe , Russia) and a more clever filtering by optical reading over digital recognition . This in itself put the DRFM capabilities to a new level , make no mistake .

    Cheers .
    I say what I mean and I do what I say .

  18. #618
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    OPIT , I beleive that we have a slight problem my friend
    Yes, indeed. I've spent quite time drafting something more elaborate but I gave up. As long as you'll keep using the ELINT/SIGINT tags to describe things that occur at mission level, this discussion will be meaningless. What occurs at mission level is threat identification and/or avoidance, not intelligence.
    Secondly, you're dragging the discussion in areas I'm not interested in. So I'm done with it.

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    OPIT :
    I've spent quite time drafting something more elaborate but I gave up.
    You should have posted it .

    As long as you'll keep using the ELINT/SIGINT tags to describe things that occur at mission level, this discussion will be meaningless.
    Ok , I know where you are going and I can follow you there . Before the real action begins , the Rafale is uterly useless at ELINT/SIGINT because it needs to go in . I agree .
    For the mission planners , the Rafale "tool" can only be the cherry on the cake for futur plannings , I also agree .
    In fact , you are right .
    I somehow mixed up things , but in good faith . What I said is still relevant , mind . Your third phrase is a bit more ... debatable :

    What occurs at mission level is threat identification and/or avoidance, not intelligence.
    The sooner you know more , the better . Starting from there , getting Intelligence at mission level is crucial . It allows the planners (or the aircraft crew in charge) to switch tactics on the fly . Furthermore , it allows the planners (or the aircraft crew in charge) to validate or invalidate what is already known , or not .
    Reactiveness occurs at mission level , do we agree ?

    Secondly, you're dragging the discussion in areas I'm not interested in. So I'm done with it.
    Feel free to dragg the discussion where you see fit OPIT , please do so

    Cheers .
    I say what I mean and I do what I say .

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    Anyway even if SPECTRA does do ELINT (which Thales seems to think so) we'll never know for sure since these things tend to be classified anyway...
    “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mildave View Post
    Anyway even if SPECTRA does do ELINT (which Thales seems to think so) we'll never know for sure since these things tend to be classified anyway...
    SPECTRA does support limited ELINT/SIGINT tasks by virtue of its capabilities (signal recording and reasonably accurate geo-location). That's what is publicly known (1). It remains that you need more than that to do proper ELINT/SIGINT.
    Of course these things tend to be classified, but that's only an obstacle for the general public. Those who work in the armed forces do have some clues to build up their mind, be it from basic knowledge or prior arts.


    (1) Fox Three 1 : "The exact location and types of systems detected by Spectra can be recorded for later analysis, giving Rafale operators a substantial built-in SIGINT/ELINT capability while completing specialised dedicated intelligence platforms."
    Fox Three 14 : "The location and types of systems detected by Spectra can be recorded for later analysis, giving Rafale operators a substantial built-in ELINT capability."
    Don't forget to soften marketing superlatives...
    Last edited by OPIT; 15th April 2012 at 00:37.

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    well, the whole idea of classification is not to hide things from general public, but rather from "those working in the armed forces" in the first place...

    so, what SPECTRA truly is capable of is possibly a lot more or a lot less from what we may imagine, or anywhere in between...

    the only thing that can be said, is that it seems to do its job well since the rafales could fly pretty much safely in an enemy airspace when others delayed their entering until the defences were soften up... for the rest, it's just speculation based on "hints" more than any real data
    Last edited by TooCool_12f; 15th April 2012 at 10:15.

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    it seems to to its job well since the rafales could fly pretty much safely in an enemy airspace when others delayed their entering until the defences were soften up
    Even that's speculation. Perhaps the French just had a more 'robust' attitude to risk? Perhaps the French sigint effort before the air campaign had given them the belief that the Libyan AD network wasn't much of a threat? Or perhaps it was down to SPECTRA. We don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TooCool_12f View Post
    well, the whole idea of classification is not to hide things from general public, but rather from "those working in the armed forces" in the first place...
    Wrong. The whole idea is to prevent those how need to know to speak about things they don't need to. So the general public usually know nothing at all, or don't have the proper background to understand what they are told
    Quote Originally Posted by Jackonicko
    Perhaps the French just had a more 'robust' attitude to risk? Perhaps the French sigint effort before the air campaign had given them the belief that the Libyan AD network wasn't much of a threat? Or perhaps it was down to SPECTRA.
    I wouldn't bet on the first case, but obviously the other two played a significant role.
    Last edited by OPIT; 15th April 2012 at 09:50.

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    Even that's speculation. Perhaps the French just had a more 'robust' attitude to risk? Perhaps the French sigint effort before the air campaign had given them the belief that the Libyan AD network wasn't much of a threat? Or perhaps it was down to SPECTRA. We don't know.
    According to Dassault (fox 3 on libya) and the french air force (Air & Cosmos and others) it was indeed SPECTRA who allowed the rafale to operate the first day of war with enough confidence.

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    Yes but eagle1, why bother to post that? Surely we can assume that Dassault would say that?

    I do think that this particular discussion is flawed simply because nobody knows what they are talking about (please take that in the best spirit).

    This system's true capability is known only to its operators and for obvious reasons it is not public knowledge (like Praetorian).
    Last edited by mrmalaya; 15th April 2012 at 10:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    Again , Spectra wasn 't built to "blanket" an area with powerful jamming but to fool many radars at once by diluting the feeble echo with AESA pencil beams if needed.
    And how do you perform the task of “diluting the feeble echo” with beams of jamming energy? Or are we returning to the rumour that Spectra uses active cancellation?


    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    Now , listen to me and read my lips : I don 't beleive that active cancellation is possible at this time when the aircraft is heavily loaded but possible with a central supersonic fuel tank and 4 Micas .
    In this configuration , Rafale 's RCS at range is very low and the very few adverse radar "spikes" can be dealt with with active cancellation
    As I pointed out in my posting number 235 in the “Eurofighter Typhoon News & Discussions VI” thread, the timescale of known French research into active cancellation would not have allowed it to be used in Spectra as originally fielded. In that posting, I questioned the practicality of the technique having become mature enough to be in service today as the result of a Spectra upgrade. There are good technical reasons why the initial French work in this field seems to have been focussed on missile applications rather than aircraft self-protection.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    AFAIK , Spectra covers these radio bands : 200 MHz - 40GHz
    That includes high VHF , UHF , L , S , C , X , Ku , K , Ka bands .
    Spectra can paint (jam) 3 different radars at once , one per antenna .
    The total output power used by Spectra is unknown , bets are on . My personal guess is 1 Kw per antenna modulated WRT the task at hand (Aesa).
    Can you point to any authoritative source for these statements, or for your claim that Spectra uses Bragg-cell technology? They are not confirmed by the Jane’s Radar and Electronic Warfare yearbook (pretty well the standard unclassified reference work in this area) or in any database that I have consulted. But I have access to a world-class engineering library, so should be able to locate any technical publication or paper you can direct me towards.




    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    Btw , one can note the channelised crystal video detector = Bragg cells . Yes , not superheterodynes like on the Typhoon and that was looong ago .

    People interested should check what superheterodynes and bragg cells are , they really should .
    No – a channelised receiver is one that divides the bandwidth to be covered over a series of receivers each allocated to a specific range of frequencies. And a crystal video detector is about the simplest form of receiver that can be used for the radar-warning task, and pre-dates the use of superheterodyne receivers in this role. That’s why it was used in a relatively old system such as Serval.
    Mercurius Cantabrigiensis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercurius View Post
    No – a channelised receiver is one that divides the bandwidth to be covered over a series of receivers each allocated to a specific range of frequencies. And a crystal video detector is about the simplest form of receiver that can be used for the radar-warning task, and pre-dates the use of superheterodyne receivers in this role. That’s why it was used in a relatively old system such as Serval.
    Yep. It seems that "People interested" should read a basic primer on EW and RWRs like this one.

    "The RWR is the simplest and most essential component of any EW suite. The simplest and most commonly used RWR is the crystal video receiver which offers respectable performance in spite of its basic conceptual simplicity. In a crystal video receiver, the impinging microwave transmission from a hostile radar falls upon a wide band receiving antenna from which it is fed into a bank of simple filter/detector/amplifier receivers each of which is much like the receivers used by motorists to detect police radars. The receivers are each tuned to consecutive slices of the covered band which allows simultaneous reception and discrimination of radars operating in various parts of the band."

    But once again you're talking to someone who has no understanding of the technology and bases their knowledge entirely on marketing brochures, and believes that steerable ECM and analog-to-digital processing of radar signals is space technology available only to France.
    Last edited by Phaid; 15th April 2012 at 15:42.

  29. #629
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    Quote Originally Posted by eagle1 View Post
    According to Dassault (fox 3 on libya) and the french air force (Air & Cosmos and others) it was indeed SPECTRA who allowed the rafale to operate the first day of war with enough confidence.
    Question is how do you define 'enough confidence'. Today the US prefers to demolish air defences from a distance with cruise missile barrages. But 25 years back it was ready to take the same class of air defences as those in Libya, head on. I doubt if one can take that to mean it lost confidence in its 'Wild Weasel' units in subsequent years.

  30. #630
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluewings View Post
    SERVAL is in no way comparable to Spectra Scorpion and I am SURE that you know it .
    SERVAL (from Jane 's) :
    My fault, I misread SERVAL for several...


    A very nice piece of kit but it doesn 't do half of what Spectra do .
    Btw , one can note the channelised crystal video detector = Bragg cells . Yes , not superheterodynes like on the Typhoon and that was looong ago .
    As already pointed out by others this is a very basic form of RWR technology, not unmatched hightech. You should do some research on the backgrounds of EW systems in general, instead of starting off with what you have read about Spectra and compare it to other systems you don't know about in the most cases. Believing that modern RWRs may not even give an azimuth bearing or that ranging is possible with interferometric receivers only is a clear demostration that you aren't overly aware off such systems at all! As said I'm not surprised that you believe that Spectra is some kind of upper alien technology.

    True and I have never said that Spectra was unique for this task . But tell me , what other operational systems can do it and on what aircraft ? I am talking about sensor fusion here and not about RWR warning display
    INEWS on F-22, IDECM on F/A-18E/F blk II, FalconEdge of F-16 blk 60 or DASS on Typhoon for example. All are displaying threat emitters with their threat circles on situational awareness display formats.

    Directed beams , well ... Spectra has been the very first onboard ECM system to provide the capability to start with (if we leave aside the US B1 Lancer ECM suite miss) . Even today , very few aircraft have an Aesa jamming capability and nobody pushed the technology as far as the French did .
    When I talk about Spectra being a medium stand-off range ECM system , I take onboard what I should call the overall "discretion" of the aircraft at range .
    Spectra detection range is big because it needs to know ealier and act quicker to help the low observability concept by evading the threat first or to stealthily jamming it from long range when the aircraft 's RCS is still low for the adverse radar . It was again part of the blueprint .
    You are merely speculating here. All non stealthy modern day fighters are being fitted with EWS for this purpose. It's not a "special" requirement for the Rafale and its Spectra.

    What we call "short-range" ECM systems are electronic suites designed to protect the fighter from already airborne threats like missiles by jamming the adverse radar 's tracking , the missile 's uplink or its seeker .
    No that's what YOU call short range systems. The idea of ECM is to prevent the enemy from targeting you in the first place in order to prevent the enemy from engaging you!

    I always find it very hard to make people understand that Spectra is a different kind of fish in the ECM World . The components and the technology used are unique to start with , so the capabilities are underestimated .
    In your world in the first place. No doubt Spectra is an excellent system and for sure one of the best of its kind, but concluding that all of its technology is unique and its capabilities are more or less unmatched is ignorant and either demonstrating that you are nothing by a full blown die hard fanboy and/or that you have absolutely no clue about the subject and developments, other than that of the French.

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