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Thread: Future of Stealth Warfare

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Future of Stealth Warfare

    Just wondering, how far off the mark am I if I say the future of stealth warfare involves three components: an IRST or equivalent on a stealth fighter, a counter-stealth AEW&C or equivalent, and a mid-range IR missile?

    That's to say, if we assume the 5th gen aircraft can achieve at least -30 dBsm vs X-band radars in at least some orientations, it'd be sufficient to reduce detection range to unusable levels, and what's more, it'd be sufficient to neutralize small-aperture radars on AAMs. Then the radar doesn't matter that much anymore.

    But HOBS missiles still work, since they're IR, so stealth fights end up being kamikaze runs with near-equal attrition rates.

    On the other hand, what if we add AEW&C to the equation? With UHF and L-band dBsm reductions being in the -10 to -20 dBsm range, alongside the powerful radars of AEW&C, all of a sudden, stealth aircraft are visible. but without (jammable) datalinking, missiles can't find their target, and what's more, AEW&C radars typically don't have the resolution to provide a weapons-quality track. But an AEW&C can give an aircraft a good idea of where its opponent is. Which leads us to the next stage.

    IRST technologies, purportedly, can track stealth aircraft at long ranges. See:

    But IRST, as the article says, has a difficult time detecting aircraft: the pilot compares IRST to looking through a straw. Where AEW&C come in, then, is that they give IRST-equipped aircraft a rough idea of where the opponent is, so the area for the straw to search goes down tremendously, allowing IRST to track stealth aircraft.

    Next, you need a missile that can hit the target. Mid-range IR missiles then come handy. The R-27ET, for instance, has an effective range of 50 km (probably NEZ) and a maximum range of 100 km.

    So, we have three important components and two important targets. If the opponent lacks capable anti-stealth AEW&C, then the AEW&C kill chain will allow you to kill your opponent long before their radar or IRST can pick you up. If your opponent has capable AEW&C, then the priority should be to knock out the AEW&C, reducing them to the previous scenario.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I"m ot sure that the stealthy aspect will be the most important. Useful, certainly. Personnaly i think networking will be the key point. (particularly weapons netlinking a datalink can be jammed for sure, but several?...).

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