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Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the f35s-cost-more-than-$300-million-each dept.

The Military 275

AbrasiveCat (999190) writes "In the continuing game of cat and mouse between offensive and defensive technologies of war, the technology of radar stealth may have been matched by new multiple frequency radar systems. U.S Naval Institute News reports the Chinese and Russians may be developing such systems. The present radar systems use high frequency waves for accurately locating an incoming target. Stealth aircraft are designed to adsorb or reflect these waves away from the receiver. It turns out longer wave radars can see the stealth aircraft. The longer wave radar lacks the precision of the high frequency radar, but when the two are combined, as the Russians, Chinese (and U.S.) are doing, you can produce accurate targeting radar. The F117 may have been in a golden age for stealth technology, it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives too late to be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems."

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Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (4, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47631835)

A few months ago, 60 Minutes aired a series of interviews with Air Force personnel who were behind the F-35 program. All of them said more or less the same thing about the F-35: it doesn't matter if the F-35 is less powerful or doesn't handle as well as other jets, because it was built around radar superiority and being able to detect Russian and Chinese fighters before they could detect it.

If it's the case that the Russians and Chinese now have radar systems that remove that radar superiority, the F-35 now looks like even more of a gigantic waste of money.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (4, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 2 months ago | (#47631941)

It still might have an edge against fighters, at least for the time being. It sounds like the dual radar systems are being installed on larger surface vehicles, but there could always be a smaller version for fighters on the way. Of course, if the fighters are able to receive targeting data from the ships then it wouldn't matter (as long as that targeting data isn't being jammed).

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47632259)

Physics may prevent the antennas needed for long wave radar from working on fighters fast and maneuverable enough to be a threat to the F-35.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (5, Insightful)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 2 months ago | (#47631967)

It won't. The F35 is the classic "it tries to do 255 things, so it does none of them well" thing. It needed rethinking for all sort of other reasons already, but by now it has too much political inertia. You'd have to get too many people to admit they made a mistake.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632245)

The F35 is the Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife of planes. For those that know know heres some pics, every tool that had ever appeared in a Swiss Army Knife, large as a mans foot and absolutly useless as becasue of the size it's too unweildy to be useful.
https://i.imgur.com/xTtmoff.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/889o565.jpg

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47631985)

fixed radar sites may detect it but those in opposing fighters may not be able to. or the fixed ones will only detect it at closer ranges and this will lessen the capabilities for opposing fighters
and fixed sites can be attacked more easily with cruise missiles

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

myth24601 (893486) | about 2 months ago | (#47632063)

That may be well and good in the air to air role but this thing is supposed to be an attack plane too. And how long is it before the new radar tech finds its way into fighters?

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47632107)

how long are fighters replaced? every 20-30 years?

dog fighting isn't that big anymore. US has AWACS now to direct our fighters and attack from behind or some other optimum angle. no one sends fighters against each other for a dogfight anymore.

even the F117 could be detected in the gulf war, which is why it flew as part of huge mission packages with jamming aircraft and wild weasels

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2)

Sand_Man (81150) | about 2 months ago | (#47632309)

"no one sends fighters against each other for a dogfight anymore"

Every generation re-learns the falsehood of that kind of thinking at the expense of pilots and planes.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47632357)

we didn't have cruise missiles in vietnam. and not sure about AWACS either.
these days we have more people "managing" the battle than the war fighters because historically most battles have been won or lost before the fighting began

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47632149)

Probably never. Longer waves means larger antennas. You don't have a place in the fighter to fit the antenna there, and even if you did, the stealthiness of the airplane itself would probably be gone, what with a multiple-meter metallic element EM-gaping through the surface - unshielded, because the radar needs to work. However, you shouldn't need it (at least in many cases). There are still data links in play that the airplane should be able to receive.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 months ago | (#47632457)

Long waves on short antennas are just less efficient. It means more electrical power is needed for the transmitter on a small fighter plane.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632301)

That may be well and good in the air to air role but this thing is supposed to be an attack plane too. And how long is it before the new radar tech finds its way into fighters?

It won't find its way into fighters. Fighters use X-Band radar because the useful frequencies are dictated by antenna size, among other things. Fighters simply can't mount antennae that large. They might be able to do a tricky thing here and there, but by and large they will be far behind in capability to fixed or mobile or marine assets that can deploy the required size of antenna - with X-Band a site vs. a fighter would have 'more processing power, more transmission power' so that equates to possibly better ECCM and certainly more range. For the longer wave radars, a fighter will effectively be the short-sighted guy who forgot to bring his glasses to work and it's so bad that he has to hold the papers 5" from his face to read them.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

Obscene_CNN (3652201) | about 2 months ago | (#47632355)

Long wave radar requires large antennas so it won't find its way into a fighter not to mention a missile which is smaller.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632085)

A few months ago, 60 Minutes aired a series of interviews with Air Force personnel who were behind the F-35 program. All of them said more or less the same thing about the F-35: it doesn't matter if the F-35 is less powerful or doesn't handle as well as other jets, because it was built around radar superiority and being able to detect Russian and Chinese fighters before they could detect it.

If it's the case that the Russians and Chinese now have radar systems that remove that radar superiority, the F-35 now looks like even more of a gigantic waste of money.

Take your pick:
*New systems takes years if not a decade+ to deploy, especially military systems
*Engineering projects often fail for reasons unrelated to the soundness of the underlying technology
*It still works against pretty much everybody else who can't afford to develop the technology on their own

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632089)

> > it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives to late to be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems.

> radar systems that remove that radar superiority, the F-35 now looks like even more of a gigantic waste of money.

Don't be worried about the money.

We're in a situation where there's no international law and anyone can blow their neighbour because they "know" such neighbour would attack the next day.

We got to return to morality before legality, or else we might face a future without guilt -- but also without neighbours.

And if _that_ is put in money terms, I bet it would be incalculable.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (4, Insightful)

pastafazou (648001) | about 2 months ago | (#47632091)

First off, the F-35 has forced China and Russia to commit a large amount of time and resources to try and counter it's superiority. From an economic standpoint, if you're forcing potential enemies to dedicate time and resources to try and counter your technology, it's a win. Secondly, just because Russia and China are able to develop technology to detect it doesn't mean it's useless. There are numerous other potential uses that don't involve Russian and Chinese radar.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632491)

It has no superioity, every simulation they've run shows it'd get slaughtered by every other war plane out there, even planes that are being retired.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47632101)

Gee, I wouldn't be so quick to assume that the USA didn't already take such technology into account, like they didn't know or expect that changing the frequency of the radar might make detection of "stealth" aircraft possible. The F35 isn't going to be doing missions where this will matter anyway. I'd be more worried about the F22 and B2 platforms.

Having even traditional stealth like the F35 is known to have is a tactical advantage in the realms and missions they are planning to be used for. It's obvious to me that the F35's being used in close air support roles will have an advantage over the F18's used now which have radar cross section of a flying tractor trailer truck. Not to mention that in MOST places, they are not going to have the newfangled technology that defeats stealth anyway. Certainly it's going to be a long time before the guy on the ground with the shoulder fired weapon will have this radar (Not that he needs it as most of that stuff is IR guided anyway).

So, if you really want to complain about something, drop the F35 and get ready. I'm guessing we are going to be replacing the B2 over this. Strategic bombers are really expensive and complicated programs. Of course it would be cheaper to go the missile route, but I'm guessing we won't due to treaties we are in.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (4, Informative)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 months ago | (#47632111)

TL;DR: F-35 would have been picked up by British radars that came into use towards the end of World War II. So much for stealth. The funniest thing? Everybody who knows about radars has known it since day one. All stealth planes suffer from this problem. Once the wavelength approaches the facet size, the fact that the facet is smooth and "points elsewhere" doesn't matter. It produces what amounts to specular highlights.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (3, Funny)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 2 months ago | (#47632281)

There's a story that the USAF sent a stealth bomber to Farnborough airshow as part of the display. Apparently, the pilots were very surprised when Air Traffic Control got in touch to tell them they were doing the display over Farnham, 6 miles down the road.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (3, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 months ago | (#47632481)

Military IFF also does civilian ATC. No surprise there at all actually.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632445)

Yes, the lower frequency radar can often detect stealth aircraft. This is a well-known phenomenon (so well known, in fact, it's mentioned on the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] ). The things is: long wavelength radar requires a large antenna. And I do mean requires> physics prohibits you from dveloping small high-resolution long-wavelength radar systems. That means it's physically impossible for fighters, such as those the F-35 was designed to fight, to use long-wavelength radars. And forget completely about radar-guided missiles, those simply aren't going to work.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#47632129)

If it's the case that the Russians and Chinese now have radar systems that remove that radar superiority, the F-35 now looks like even more of a gigantic waste of money

The F-35 was designed to be stealthy, not stealth. It doesn't need to be undetectable, as it's not a strategic bomber, it just needs to be able to get missile lock on it's foes before they get missile lock on the F-35. That doesn't seem like to change any time soon.

While any new military project whatsoever will be ridiculed as a colossal waste of money by the left ("it doesn't cost anything to just be nice to everyone!"), the main problem with the cost of most of the recent programs is a large R&D cost that isn't spread across enough planes/ships/whatever. I'm not the biggest fan of the F-35, but at least the idea of having one plane that will be used for many roles and by many allies keeps the per-unit cost from being insanely high - it's a wise procurement approach in a time of quickly falling defense budget.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632521)

That's the funny part. When a comitee designed the thing to be used by more than one branch, it failed in doing so

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-111_Aardvark

When someone design it for one branch, without concessions, but the design is good enough (for the time), it's naturally adopted by the others

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_F-4_Phantom_II
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-7_Corsair_II
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Hercules

So that's why the Jack-of-all-trades approach to the F-35 really doesn't hold in my opinion. Of course, I could be completely wrong.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632141)

It's not just a fighter plane - it's also a jigsaw. It's a power drill. It's a wood-turning lathe. It's an asphalt spreader. It's 67 tools in one! How much would you pay for a machine that can do all this?

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47632143)

the F-35 now looks like even more of a gigantic waste of money.

I wouldn't jump immediately to that conclusion. Every advance has some countermeasure, but just because you can build a research prototype that's somewhat (we don't know how much) effective at this, does NOT mean that all the eastern bloc air defenses around the world suddenly have that capability. It doesn't even mean they will get it within the next 20 years.

For example the longer wavelength might require large antennae and multiple fixes from different positions that are far apart, which is a big limitation, especially if you want to build an radar that can fit on an aircraft or missile. I am just guessing here what the limitations might be. But there are always countermeasures, but almost never 100% effective and without added cost and other drawbacks.

Anyways, stealth is far from all the F35 brings to the table. The summary criticizes it for perhaps not being a good dogfighter, but if all aircraft are easy to track, that's even more irrelevant, because something easy to track is easy to shoot down at long range.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 months ago | (#47632275)

Anyways, stealth is far from all the F35 brings to the table. The summary criticizes it for perhaps not being a good dogfighter, but if all aircraft are easy to track, that's even more irrelevant, because something easy to track is easy to shoot down at long range.

If you're shooting at long range, why bother with a fighter when you can buy a drone for a small fraction of the pirce?

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632163)

It doesn't matter anyway.
The F35 engine will be so hot all you need is to look at infrared to find it.

Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47632517)

we dont know, perhaps some of these holdups are to try and work on stopping the long wave radar as well as short wave? i dont know, just hopeful i suppose

Semicolon (0, Offtopic)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47631847)

Last sentence. Semicolon, not comma.

Re: Semicolon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631907)

Also, "too late to be", not "to late to be".

Re:Semicolon (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47631911)

Oh, it was the "to" that bothered me.

"late to be effective" must be some sort of clause I'm having trouble parsing...

Re:Semicolon (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 months ago | (#47631949)

Last sentence. Semicolon, not comma.

hooked on semicolons; semicolon addict!

Re:Semicolon (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47631959)

Or they could say "but" after the comma. That still leaves the "to" that should be "too" and the "steath" that should be "stealth", and those were just the most obvious ones. I wouldn't doubt that there are more (nor would I doubt that I made mistakes in reporting theirs, as always seems to happen).

Re:Semicolon (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47632347)

The semicolon hasn't been overused; omitting the conjunction shortens the sentence.

Re:Semicolon (1)

BForrester (946915) | about 2 months ago | (#47632071)

Also "too," while we're at the GN thing.

Steath (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631857)

Is Steath Technology a new thing?

it's not a typo! (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | about 2 months ago | (#47631871)

Looks like they added some stealth technology to that "L"

Re:it's not a typo! (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 2 months ago | (#47631901)

and the second o in the "too" in "too late"

Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631877)

We can just the nuke people who develop these Radars of Mass Destruction.

Rebirth of the Russian Woodpecker (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631889)

Longwave radar is not new,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Woodpecker

Rebirth of the Russian Woodpecker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631993)

Yeah, private and public concerns have been trying really hard to push the idea that anything OTA below ~100 MHz is useless because it allows worldwide infrastructure-free transmission - and that's a threat to business and censorship. Ofcom (the UK telecoms regulator) has been shown to deliberately mislead about equipment which does not comply with HF emissions limits, allowing it to be sold even while other countries have used the same EU standards to outlaw equipment.

But HF and lower still remain the most interesting and useful set of frequencies for anything more than satellite/short range point-to-point, both for communication and detection. The Woodpecker was annoying, as were the old Soviet jammers if you lived near enough the curtain - but neither is anything like as frustrating as what's happening to the bands today! Let's hope this technology will bring a new-found respect for lower frequencies.

Re:Rebirth of the Russian Woodpecker (2)

RobKow (1787) | about 2 months ago | (#47632137)

The Nyquist rate (and Shannon's theorem even further) severely bounds digital communications bandwidth in the little bit of usable bandwidth that lies below 100 MHz. The long distance and irregularity of the propagation puts additional bounds on the number of simultaneous transmitters. So there are good reasons other than just censorship and rent-seeking to desire the short-ranges available in the shorter bands, such as the increase in simultaneous talkers (if you don't propagate as far, someone closer by can share the frequency), and the additional bandwidth available.

That said, the 20 m band is plenty fun, even if every idiot in the world can't use it.

Re:Rebirth of the Russian Woodpecker (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47632231)

As a ham, I'm not so sure I want to share HF spectrum with Megawatt stations... All the lids and out of band 11 meter guys are bad enough.

Old news (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47631893)

On modern weather radars every so called stealth plane is a sitting dug.
Well known since ... hm, 1993? Or not so well known, as it is not relevant for a missile fight and the limited lock on capabilities of on board radar systems?

Re:Old news (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47632269)

Maybe so, but try to point and shoot a missile at a 600 MPH target using a weather radar that updates every 2 min. Can we say, not going to hit anything? Then figure that a weather radar station is pretty darned big and if anything goes boom it will be the transmitter.

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632349)

On modern weather radars every so called stealth plane is a sitting dug.
Well known since ... hm, 1993? Or not so well known, as it is not relevant for a missile fight and the limited lock on capabilities of on board radar systems?

And the reason they show up on weather radars is because they are traveling with their luneburg lenses attached :)

Actual facts are that 1st gen stealth was picked up by a powerful 'long wave radar' at most 60km away. This distance is significant because you can expect next gen stealth to improve on this, and a bunch of the weapons that the F-35 carries can be lobbed either slightly inside or well outside of that range.

Re:Old news (2)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 months ago | (#47632547)

What the heck is a sitting dug?

Not news (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47631895)

The F117 that was lost in the Balkans NATO mission in 1999 was shot down by an S-125 modified to use longer wavelenths than the RAM paint on the aircraft would absorb. The issue has been known since then and it's very likely that the F22 and F35 low observability design characteristics have taken this into account as much as physics and material science will allow.

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632045)

The F117 that was lost in the Balkans NATO mission in 1999 was shot down by an S-125 modified to use longer wavelenths than the RAM paint on the aircraft would absorb. The issue has been known since then and it's very likely that the F22 and F35 low observability design characteristics have taken this into account as much as physics and material science will allow.

do you have any sources to cite?

Re:Not news (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47632115)

google it

F117 was detectable on radar since at least 1990

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632155)

google it

F117 was detectable on radar since at least 1990

i did google it, and i found a yugoslavian propaganda piece and a wikipedia passage that completely bought it.

got anything else?

Re:Not news (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47632381)

i was 18 when the ground war started in the first iraq war
during the build up it was reported that the french were able to detect the F117 on their radar. most likely the iraqi's as well

so the USA destroyed the big fixed radar sites in the first minutes of the war and that allowed F117 to roam at will since the other radars had less range
war isn't about numbers and stats. its about smart people using capabilities to outsmart the other guy

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632185)

google it

F117 was detectable on radar since at least 1990

So your saying a plane built suing 1960's technology is detectable in 1990? God what a failure of 1960's technology.

Re:Not news (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47632279)

Late 1970's tech vs 1960's SAM.

Re:Not news (1)

afidel (530433) | about 2 months ago | (#47632119)

Sure [wikipedia.org] , though somewhere on the net I've read a better technical explanation of how the modification was performed and how he Dani kept his equipment running despite intense NATO HARM coverage (basically he observed flight corridors, used short pulses of radar when he knew craft were along those corridors, and kept the main radar on the launcher off until the last second only using remote antennas that were positioned far enough from the launcher that a missile strike would not take out the crew or SAM)

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632459)

Dani didn't modify anything.

They kept the surveillance (What passes for long-wave) radar operating all the time, because HARMs cannot home in on it (their antennas are too small. Physics work against them in this case). They did keep their tracking and guidance radars offline until the last moment, because the HARMs could target those.

They still didn't see the F-117 until it was pretty close.

Re:Not news (1)

mi (197448) | about 2 months ago | (#47632189)

do you have any sources to cite?

Though the GP should've included a link or two, finding them for such a famous case is not at all difficult. Here is the Wikipedia's write-up [wikipedia.org] , and the source they are citing [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632451)

do you have any sources to cite?

Though the GP should've included a link or two, finding them for such a famous case is not at all difficult. Here is the Wikipedia's write-up [wikipedia.org] , and the source they are citing [wikipedia.org] .

i consider the yugoslavian piece cited by wikipedia to be propaganda. no offense, but i think you and the gp have bought into the propaganda. i think the circumstances were more nuanced than either of you are contending. obviously, i would welcome more information.

Re:Not news (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47632055)

Other sources say, the shut down was completely random.
'Spies' used cell phones to contact forces in Serbia when the planes started in germany.
Using a simple: 'lets count down the time till they are here' method, they launched thousands ground to air missiles, and the hit was completely random.
However, your suggestion makes sense, too.

Not news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632409)

The S-125 wasn't modified for anything - but you have to get past the propaganda pieces and find the facts. The man who was the battery commander said there were no modifications against stealth.

What happened was simple: This was a mobile SAM site, and NATO had not located it. Further, those F-117s were flying the same routes over and over due to UN requirements, IIRC.

That F-117 flew too close to the site, the site picked it up and shot it down. It was detected at around 30km. Considering the long-wave P-18 radar which was operating non-stop because HARMs can't harm it (ha ha) - they can't home in on long wavelength radars - I'd say the F-117 did it's 'stealth' job quite well. The P-18 has a nominal range of 300km or so against fighters.

Going off of memory, so don't quote me on the numbers.

TL;DR: The F-117 shoot down over the Balkans actually revealed that stealth works as designed ... detection range for F-117 was 1/10th that of other fighters. With a long-wave radar.

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632543)

The F-117 that was lost in the Balkans was shot down because they kept flying the same route over and over. Once that was figured out it was pretty trivial to put a SAM battery right in that path and shoot once the plane was right on top of the missiles.

Stealth decreases the range at which you can be detected, it doesn't make that range zero. Mission planing is an important part of a stealth mission.

Passive Radar (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631921)

Don't forget about passive radar systems. [wired.co.uk]
Current stealth technology is mostly ineffective against it.

Duped article and not insightful (5, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | about 2 months ago | (#47631931)

Articles like this have been around since the 1980s and have appeared on Slashdot before in regards to practically every stealth aircraft in existence including at least the F-117 and the B2.

Here's the kicker though: The long-wave radars that can sort of track stealth aircraft aren't able to track them with the precision needed to get a missile up there to shoot one down. If an adversary already knows that you are sending planes into a general geographic region, then the long-wave radar doesn't really tell them anything that they didn't know already.

Anyone in the military who has dealt with stealth technology will tell you that "stealth" is much more than a coating or wing shape that magically makes your airplane disappear. It's a whole strategy that uses technology + suitable tactics to make stealth work in practical situations. Stealth aircraft are not completely invisible and do not have to be completely invisible to be effective.

Re:Duped article and not insightful (1)

Obscene_CNN (3652201) | about 2 months ago | (#47632297)

You might add that although a long wave radar can direct fighters to the area where a stealth plane is, the interceptor's radar and missiles won't be able to lock or track it. This is because a long wave radar requires a large antenna(one far to big to stick in a fighter or a missile).

Re:Duped article and not insightful (1)

lazarith (2649605) | about 2 months ago | (#47632513)

That doesn't seem like a show-stopper to me, at least not for a defensive use.

A ground-based long-wave installation could send the data to a fighter or missile using wireless technology.

If you cover your country in long-wave receiver antenni, then you've found your stealthed target and can relay its position to your fighters.

Re:Duped article and not insightful (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47632331)

Well said, stealth is abut controlling RF return and IR emissions and using your knowledge of your weapon system and the advisories ability to find you to your advantage. It's about having tactics to give you the most advantage out of what the technology gives you.

Long wave = large antenna = immobile large target (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631947)

Not only that, it's an active emitter, too. Easy-peasy to find and blow up.

Re:Long wave = large antenna = immobile large targ (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47632375)

A Wild Weasel and a properly tuned HARM missile from the 1970's might work fine. But in this case a GPS guided JDAM or two would be about all you need once you could get the location fixed.

Submitter is unable to spell a 3-letter word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631951)

And can't tell the difference between "adsorb" and "absorb."

Not impressive, but all too typical for the derpy degenerate version of Slashdot we see today, now that all the smart people left.

Re:Submitter is unable to spell a 3-letter word (1)

scuzzlebutt (517123) | about 2 months ago | (#47632509)

Also, "to" vs. "too". What about "these wave"? Did anyone proofread the fucking summary? Oh, why do I even wonder....

it's simpler than that... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 months ago | (#47631953)

it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives to late to be effective ...

It will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives at all.

Re:it's simpler than that... (1)

mi (197448) | about 2 months ago | (#47632273)

It will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives at all.

And it, probably, should not. Modern technology already does — or soon will — allow sending a "zerg rush" of remotely-operated drones to overwhelm enemy's defenses. Remotely operated by the new generations raised on video-games — and often too fat for personal fighting anyway [washingtonpost.com] .

Oh, and it is not just aircraft — the same logic would apply to tanks and ships. Once you no longer need to care about the soft pink body(ies) inside the military vehicle, you can stuff if with much more weaponry, make it do things which would've killed the human personnel before (like 20-g turns), and comfortably send it on "suicide" missions.

Bragging vs secrecy. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 months ago | (#47631961)

From what I read, the Russians can definitely defeat the previous generation of stealth technology. This is in fact, nothing new, we have known about this issue for years.

Stealth is at heart one of most top secret technologies.

I guarantee you, that people have been trying to improve it since before the Russians realized they could do the combo long/short radar.

The real question is, will the next generation stealth technology be defeated by this method, rather than the current generation.

That, is something we do not know and can not guess about.

Re:Bragging vs secrecy. (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 months ago | (#47632257)

From Aviation Week

It wasn’t hard for the Russians to assess the JSF’s stealth performance. By 1995, everyone knew that shape was the major driver of RCS, with materials being used to control local scattering phenomena. As the JSF’s target service entry date arrived, so did the Russian answer, and it was on display at the MAKS air show, held in Moscow in August.

The 55Zh6ME radar complex addresses many of the limitations of the old VHF radars. Although you see three radars—stepping down from VHF (metric) to L-band (decametric) and S-band (centimetric)—the Russians call them modules of an integrated radar system. Each unit is fitted with the Orientir satellite-navigation system, which provides a very accurate location and north reference. That should make it possible to provide sensor fusion—ensuring that when two or more of the radar units detect a target, it will show up as one in the control center.

The VHF part of the system (see photo) has a P-14-sized, 30-meter-wide antenna, but it folds onto an 8 x 8 truck. The antenna has an active, electronically scanned array, so if it gets a hit on a faint target, the array can dwell on it as the antenna rotates (or swings back and forth for a sector search). At the same time, it will cue its L-band and S-band sisters to focus on the target area like searchlight beams.
Some commentators will look at the Russian brochures, note that the reference ranges are against targets with an RCS of one square meter and observe that stealth aircraft have a far smaller RCS, which they do—in centimetric bands. Giving what was probably the least provocative answer under the circumstances, a Russian engineer notes that the Chinese DF-15 short-range ballistic missile has a 0.002 m2 RCS in X-band, but is a very non-stealthy 0.6 m2 in VHF.

Two exhibitors at MAKS were showing passive RF tracking systems. They are intended to exploit active emissions from the target but do not discriminate. Scattered energy from a radar will work just as well. The U.S. Air Force does have a modern facility for testing such bistatic radar signatures, but it was commissioned after the JSF was designed.

Of course, this sort of analysis relies on unclassified data. As the author himself states.

There may be a universe where it is smart to give your adversaries (or their armorer) 25 years’ notice of exactly how you plan to render their defenses obsolete. We just don’t live there.

instead, we live in a world where one must have faith that a trillion dollar weapons program has been designed correctly. How comforting.

Re:Bragging vs secrecy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632319)

So it is the unknown unknowns we really need to worry about?

Eastern block has always used VHF and UHF radars (3, Interesting)

Zeorge (1954266) | about 2 months ago | (#47631969)

I should say, former Eastern Block, that is. But, this is nothing new and has been known for some time now. They have these huge deployable radar arrays that operate in the VHF and UHF bands. Originally, it was due to their limited technology capability but then it was realized that there was specific advantages to using those bands. Notably, no one else is looking for radar in VHF and UHF so you could be being tracked and have no idea.


This is also how they took down a stealth fighter over Kosovo, they used 900MHz-band cell towers, tuned ground radar station to look for the return, and then manually guided the missiles until they were close enough (probably for the heat signature to become evident) to lock on.


I really hope this was all factored into the design of these multi-billion money pit of an aircraft.

you aren't going to have airborn long-wave radar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47631977)

and you sure aren't going to fit long-wave radar into a missile warhead

so stealth will still help in a fight, but long-wave radar systems will spot the aircraft (at least in general terms), so it removes the 'sneak attack' factor.

This actually seems like a good thing to me.

The sneak attack factor, even if never used, is destabilizing (which is why there's an agreement between the US and Russia to keep missile subs well clear of each other's shores, and why missiles in cuba were such a concern)

Re:you aren't going to have airborn long-wave rada (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47632487)

Except for one notable case, when has a large conflict started a "sneak attack"? Even Pearl Harbor wasn't really all that sneaky looking back... But you are correct, the ability to launch attacks with no warning is a problem, I just don't think it's as bad as you might think.

I would note that missile subs DO roam close to the advisories shores from time to time. A Russian sub spent a few months in the Gulf of Mexico last year according to Moscow, and I'm sure we returned the favor. We've been doing this to varying degrees for decades and although it doesn't look stable, it's apparently worked so far.

117 wasn't golden age (1)

jehan60188 (2535020) | about 2 months ago | (#47631979)

the F117 ushered in the stealth era (after flight surface control tech caught up with Ufimtsev's paper)

F117 wasn't that stealthy as well (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47632009)

it was proven to be detectable by radar before the gulf war started and it rarely went on a mission by itself. most of the missions it flew were part of large groups including jamming aircraft. it was believed that the F117 would never survive on a mission by itself because stealth was always about having a slight edge and not total domination

This has been known for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632037)

The limiting factor was the computational power to asses all the targets since birds, bugs and everything else shows up as a hit.

Re:This has been known for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632097)

and the Iran have demonstrated they have this ability years ago.. so i find it hard to believe that China and Russia don't have this already. what i think the real concern is that it may be made into a more portable object currently the stations capable of doing it are large structures

What is "steath technology"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632065)

Never heard of proofreading?

Re:What is "steath technology"? (2)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 months ago | (#47632203)

The "L" is hidden from view. That's what makes it so stealthy, or steathy, as the case may be.

Long wave radar precision (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | about 2 months ago | (#47632073)

The lowest frequency you could use to track a target should be on the order of one that results in the target being 1/2 wavelength. Given the F35 is 16 meters long, that works out to about 10 Mhz. I highly doubt there is an effective way to absorb/deflect a radar pulse at such a low frequency (and depth of penetration) in an aircraft.

I've known this since the 1980s... I highly doubt that I'm in any way unique. I expect there are a number of spread spectrum 30-50 Mhz radars out there, just for catching "stealth" targets.

Re:Long wave radar precision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632165)

The longer the wavelength the wider the array you need to get accurate positioning. So with the frequencies talked about here, we're talking about fixed land based system. That means stealth still has a large number of tactical advantages. It never perfectly hid an aircraft anyway. It was always about tactical advantages.

Re:Long wave radar precision (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 2 months ago | (#47632341)

perhaps a formation of air craft with receivers could be used in the same capacity as a large single structure...

same principal the long range telescopes work on??

I'm no expert but it doesn't seem unreasonable

The F35 is a joke: (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47632087)

it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives to late to (sic) be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems

The F35 is a joke of an airplane.

It's a wishlist of everything compiled by senior brass, and structured in such a way as to foist off the R&D costs onto partner nations.

The F35 is, and always was, a terrible idea, overly ambitious, and a plan to put everything possible into an aircraft.

It's a giant sink hole of money which the US sucked other countries into considering as an option. And now they've all got massive sunk costs, and no viable aircraft.

Meanwhile, the F35 has been largely rendered obsolete by drones and UAVs.

It's a huge put into which money has been dumped, with no real results, and no actual outcome in sight.

In countries who signed onto this, this is largely viewed as a large swindle perpetuated by Americans and their defense industry to get other people to fund their pie in the sky wishlist.

The F35 is already too damned late, overpriced, and nor really something people should be pursuing. I'm surprised most countries have't told the F35 program to go jump off a pier and go find an actual plane which exists and can be flown today.

Re:The F35 is a joke: (1)

Justpin (2974855) | about 2 months ago | (#47632255)

The F35 is a government subsidy program for Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin were pretty much given a blank cheque to write for as much as they want. The irony is Lockheed Martin had a completed and viable aircraft the F-22 which could have been modified like the F-15 which grew over the years to become the F-15E

Re:The F35 is a joke: (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47632267)

I'm surprised most countries have't told the F35 program to go jump off a pier and go find an actual plane which exists and can be flown today.

What would you suggest that is not already 20 years out of date? Remember you need to cover air superiority, ground attack, carrier based, and VTOL. All of these types of aircraft in the US inventory are getting very long in the tooth (with the possible exception of the f22). You can use as many different aircraft as you like. It is very easy to give a simple solution without actually solving the problem.

Re:The F35 is a joke: (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47632413)

Remember you need to cover air superiority, ground attack, carrier based, and VTOL

Yeah, that was the wishlist. And a pony, and an ice-cream, and a red rider BB gun with a compass in the stock.

That was the American wishlist. This was not the requirements of the client states who got suckered into this program.

At the time this was being peddled round, many other countries could have used aircraft from other countries, or even older existing US aircraft to meet their needs.

What does the US do for their solutions? I don't know, and I don't care -- because I'm not American. That's your problem.

However my government has bought into this pile of crap, and it was never what we needed, and it's so far proven to be vaporware, and therefore a waste of money. It's simply the wrong damned aircraft.

To the rest of the world, this is a bill of goods sold by the Americans, which was trying to be the end all and be all of aircraft, and it's been so long in development that it's likely to either be obsolete by the time it flies, or never really live up to the promised performance.

F-35? already too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632187)

...it's a POS that is out-performed by the latest Hornets. It is a general use aircraft that is best at nothing. Of the new stuff, only the F-22 is worth bothering with as it's generally agile, but even then it's out-performed by the latest Sukhois...

Yep (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 months ago | (#47632229)

Hundreds of billions of dollars, and it's obsolete and useless before it even gets out the hangar.

Not news at all (1)

virve (63803) | about 2 months ago | (#47632249)

That stealth technology is vulnerable to long-wave radar is old, old news. I believe that the Aussies' Jindalee (JORN) radar has shown this a long time. Also, back in the 90s, the Russians claimed that there is no stealth for wavelengths longer than 30 cm (1 GHz) AFAIR.

Now the obvious problem is that it's not easy to make a compact radar for a long wavelength but if you can steer a missile close enough with a cumbersome radar then other sensors on the missile might finish the job off. Other sensor technologies are not exactly standing still.

At the same time, it seems that a lot of aircraft performance (and ship aesthetics) are being traded-off for stealth capabilities. I hope I will not have to see how this pans out. Or pay, as a tax payer, for the dumpling aircraft: I'm looking at you, F-35.

By the way, stealth craft are apparently also vulnerable to bistatic radar geometries.

TO late to be? (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 2 months ago | (#47632335)

The F117 may have been in a golden age for stealth technology, it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives to late to be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems."

Is it just me or "to late to be" sounds odd?

Stealth was always a fools errand. (1)

AutodidactLabrat (3506801) | about 2 months ago | (#47632367)

Ferrite and microfiber carbon attenuation never really promised a radar-low cross-section. It promised deflection and heat conversion.
Result was a temporary loss of acquisition range.
Now we have long wave but there was always multiband standing wave transform detection, 1250 nm laser plasma silhouette, multiband adsorption isolation and about 30 other techniques for finding the 'black dot'.
This was always a sales gimmick, not an actual solution.

too late not to late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632447)

ibid.

Sealth was busted yonks ao (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47632493)

The british sent to tornados (I think, so be in the 80's) to intercept a F114 because it left a hole in normal radar background.
Cellular Mobile Phone tower can also be used detect stealth airplanes for the see reason.

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