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The Radar Game : Understanding Stealth and Aircraft Survivability.

Discussion in 'Pakistan Defence & Industry' started by monitor, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. monitor

    monitor SENIOR MEMBER

    Apr 24, 2007
    +2 / 7,172 / -0
    Radio aids to detection and ranging ... radar—as it’s
    commonly called—transformed air warfare in 1940. It
    has held a grip on would-be attackers and defenders ever
    This special report from the Mitchell Institute for Airpower
    Studies is a republication of a long essay I wrote in 1998 to
    get at why stealth was such an important breakthrough for
    airpower. Then, as now, there were questions about the future
    of stealth.
    Consider the times. The dazzling combat success of the
    F-117 in the Gulf War of 1991 had been followed by the cancellation
    of the B-2 stealth bomber program in 1992. Cuts to
    the F-22 stealth fighter program had already been made. Experienced
    airmen were strongly in favor of stealth. Some officials,
    like former Secretary of Defense William Perry and then-
    Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Paul Kaminski, were
    thoroughly steeped in the workings of stealth and its benefits.
    But for many, intricate stealth programs seemed a questionable
    investment given the declining defense budgets of the
    late 1990s. Stealth was wrapped up in the value of airpower as
    a whole and in the re-evaluation of American security policies.
    Still, a dozen years ago there was a strong commitment
    to stealth. The Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps along with
    Britain had committed to the Joint Strike Fighter. Teams led by
    Lockheed Martin and Boeing were working on designs. Perhaps
    most important, the long-range Air Force budget had
    a plan to field an all-stealth fighter force of more than 2,200
    fighters. The future of stealth seemed assured.
    Combat experience quickly revalidated its importance
    during the 1999 NATO air war with Serbia. B-2s flew missions
    into heavily defended airspace and did everything from taking
    out the Novi Sad bridge to attacking and destroying an
    SA-3 surface-to-air missile battery. F-117s flew crucial missions.
    (One F-117 was shot down.) The intensive air war with Iraq in
    early 2003 again saw the use of both F-117s and B-2s against
    a variety of targets in and around Baghdad.
    Since then, stealth has come under assault. The reasons
    have much to do with strategy, politics, and budgets, and
    little to do with the capability assessments that drove the decisions
    to develop and buy stealth aircraft in the first place.
    The radar game itself is just as critical as it was a dozen
    years ago. Radar remains the leader in technologies for detecting
    aircraft and missile attack. As the study notes: “Why
    were aircraft so vulnerable to radar detection? In short, for all
    the reasons that increased their aerodynamic qualities and
    performance. Metal skins, large vertical control surfaces, big
    powerful engines” and so on.
    The study details how the first rounds of the radar game
    were all about electronic countermeasures. RAF Bomber
    Command famously held back the first use of chaff for over
    a year, fearing that the Germans would implement countermeasures,
    too. During the Cold War, electronic countermeasures
    and electronic counter-countermeasures became one
    of the blackest arts of airpower and one of its most important.
    Stealth was in part a way to break the tug-of-war.
    That was why stealth was so attractive. Attackers must
    undo the adversary’s advantage either by low-level ingress,
    high-altitude operations, speed, electronic countermeasures,
    or stealth. Of these, the ability to diminish the effects of
    radar return is one of the most challenging and one of the
    most rewarding. A low observable aircraft gains advantages
    in how close it can come to air defense systems. Low observable
    aircraft do not get a free pass in the battlespace.
    Low observability has to be fine-tuned to defeat adversary
    systems as they establish and hand-off tracks and zero in on
    fire control solutions. Not much will prevent the big bump of
    long-range, low frequency radars used for initial detection.
    But, it takes much more than a blip on a “Tall King” radar to
    unravel a well-planned mission.
    Over the past decades, it’s never been easy to convey
    what low observable technologies actually do. Understanding
    them requires some grasp of physics, of radar phenom-
    enology, of aircraft design, of how missions are planned and
    executed. One hears so often that stealth is not invisibility.
    The inverse corollary is that a single radar detection of an
    aircraft at a point in time and space does not equal an impenetrable
    battlespace. The British nickname “Chain Home”
    for their cross-Channel radar suite had it about right. It takes
    a chain of detections, interpretations, and correct actions
    by defenders to intercept an aircraft. Stealth breaks up the
    chain by removing, reducing, or obfuscating a significant
    percentage of those detection opportunities.
    Much of The Radar Game is devoted to a basic discussion
    of how stealth works and why it is effective in reducing
    the number of shots taken by defensive systems. Treat this
    little primer as a stepping off point for discovering more of
    the complexities of low observability.
    Of course, there is a wider electromagnetic spectrum to
    consider. While radar is the focus here, true survivability depends
    on taking measures to reduce visual, acoustic, and
    infrared signatures as well as minimizing telltale communications
    and targeting emissions.
    The darling of passive technologies is infrared search and
    track. Those in combat ignore the infrared spectrum at their
    peril. Although it is not as often in the headlines, designers
    of all-aspect stealth aircraft have worked since the 1970s to
    minimize infrared hotspots on aircraft.
    Finally, electronic countermeasures still have their role to
    play. As before, it will take a combination of survivability measures
    to assure mission accomplishment.
    The Radar Game should also shed light on why complex
    technologies like stealth cost money to field. The quest for
    stealth is ongoing and the price of excellence is nothing
    new. Take, for example, the P-61 Black Widow, which was the
    premier US night fighter of late World War II. This all-black,
    two-engine fighter was crewed by a pilot in front and a
    dedicated radar operator in the back seat. Its power and
    performance were terrific advances. “All this performance
    Original Copyright 1998 Rebecca Grant
    Acknowledgements from 1998 version: The author would like
    to thank Dr. Scott Bowden for his assistance with historical research.
    Also, the author would like to extend special thanks to
    Tom McMahon, Phil Soucy, Ken McKenzie, and Charles Massey
    of Modern Technology Solutions International, of Alexandria, VA,
    for conducting the simulations of signature shapes in an air defense
    environment to illustrate the tactical benefits of stealth.
    came with a high pricetag,” noted Steven L. McFarland in his
    1997 Air Force history Conquering the Night. “With Northrop’s
    assembly line in full gear, a completely equipped P-61 cost
    $180,000 in 1943 dollars, three times the cost of a P-38 fighter
    and twice the price of a C-47 transport.”
    Winning the radar game still carries a substantial price
    tag—but stealth aircraft pay back the investment in their
    combat value.
    Stealth remains at the forefront of design. One of the best
    signals about the ongoing value of stealth lies in new applications.
    Leading unmanned aerial vehicles for high-threat
    operations incorporate stealth. Navy ships have adopted
    some of its shaping techniques. Of course, the F-35 Joint
    Strike Fighter remains the nation’s single biggest bet on future
    Success in the radar game will continue to govern the
    value of airpower as a tool of national security. Many of
    America’s unique policy options depend upon it. When and
    if the SA-20 joins Iran’s air defense network, it will make that
    nation a considerably tougher environment for air attack, for
    example. Already there are regions of the world where only
    stealth aircraft can operate with a good chance of completing
    the mission.
    In fact, stealth aircraft will have to work harder than ever.
    The major difference from 1998 to 2010 is that defense plans
    no longer envision an all-stealth fleet. The Air Force and joint
    partners will operate a mixture of legacy, conventional fighters
    and bombers alongside stealth aircraft even as the F-35s
    arrive in greater numbers. The radar game of 2020 and 2030
    will feature a lot of assists and the tactics that go along with
    Rebecca Grant, Director
    Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies
    September 2010
  2. monitor

    monitor SENIOR MEMBER

    Apr 24, 2007
    +2 / 7,172 / -0
    Precision weapons and rapid targeting information
    mean little if aircraft are unable to survive engagements
    with enemy air defenses. In addition to costing the lives of pilots,
    high levels of attrition can ultimately affect the outcome
    of the theater campaign. One of the most critical factors in
    determining the success of an air operation is survivability. In
    the last several decades, the term survivability has been associated
    with analysis of how low observables and electronic
    countermeasures can help aircraft carry out their missions
    in hostile airspace. Discussions of survivability immediately
    bring to mind stealth aircraft, radar jamming and debates
    about the latest SA‑10 threats. Yet the quest for survivability
    is not a fad of the Cold War or the high‑technology 1990s. Its
    roots, and its importance to combined arms operations, go
    back to the first use of military aircraft in World War I.
    Since the earliest days of military aviation, pilots and
    planners have taken advantage of whatever their aircraft
    can offer to increase the odds of survivability. Aircraft survivability
    depends on a complex mix of design features, performance,
    mission planning, and tactics. The effort to make
    aircraft harder to shoot down has consumed a large share
    of the brains and resources dedicated to military aircraft design
    in the 20th century.
    Since the 1970s, the Department of Defense has focused
    special effort on research, development, testing, and
    production of stealth aircraft that are designed to make it
    harder for air defenses to shoot them down. Low observable
    (LO) technology minimizes aircraft signature in radar, infrared,
    visual, and acoustic portions of the electromagnetic
    spectrum, creating stealth. Future plans for the Air Force F‑22
    and the tri‑service Joint Strike Fighter call for the nation to
    continue to procure advanced, LO aircraft for the military of
    the 21st century.
    This essay tells the story of how the balance between the
    air attacker and air defender has shifted over time, and how
    the radar game changed the nature of aircraft survivability.
    Examining the evolution of this balance provides a better
    understanding of the choices facing military commanders
    and defense planners as they consider what forms of survivability
    technology are needed to preserve the dominance
    of American airpower.
    To begin with, the financial and strategic investment
    in stealth aircraft is one that not everyone understands.
    Stealth technology was developed and tested in secret.
    F‑117 stealth fighter squadrons were practicing night missions
    in the Nevada desert several years before the Air Force
    publicly acknowledged the aircraft’s existence. Even after
    the F‑117’s impressive performance in the 1991 Gulf War,
    an element of mystery and misunderstanding sometimes
    surrounds the operations of stealth aircraft. The F‑117 and
    the B‑2 stealth bomber have the ability to complete and
    survive missions that other aircraft cannot. Still, for the most
    part, the government has given only the most condensed
    and superficial explanations of what these low observable
    aircraft can do and why their mission is so important to joint
    operations. In addition, the mechanics of radar cross section
    (RCS) reduction and the effect of lower signatures in tactical
    scenarios are seldom discussed.
    This essay will reveal no technical secrets or surprises.
    What it will do, however, is explain how the radar game became
    a major factor in air combat; how LO technology
    gained the upper hand in the radar game; and how the
    operational flexibility provided by low observable aircraft
    has become pivotal to effective joint air operations.
    The Origins of Aircraft Survivability
    Survivability—defined as the ability of the aircraft and
    aircrew to accomplish the mission and return home—has always
    been an important factor in determining the effectiveness
    of air operations. Early in World War I, the use of aviation
    forces in combat revealed that survivability considerations
    would influence mission effectiveness. Efforts to improve
    survivability quickly began to influence aircraft design as
    specialized aircraft types emerged by 1915. The whole idea
    of the Spad XIII fighter plane, for example, was to combine
    maximum speed and maneuverability to dominate aerial
    engagements. Bombers such as the German Gotha or the
    British Handley Page had a different mission and accordingly
    drew on different survivability measures. They relied on
    self‑defense guns and armor plating for survivability since
    their extra range and payload precluded making the most
    of speed and maneuver.
    As aircraft survivability started to contribute to aircraft
    design, aircraft were becoming more important contributors
    to combined operations with ground forces. Aircraft had to
    be able to operate over enemy lines to reconnoiter, correct
    artillery fire, and ward off enemy airplanes trying to do the
    same. By 1918, aircraft were an important element of combined
    arms operations because of their ability to extend
    the battle deep behind enemy lines. “The attack of ground
    objectives in the zone as far back of the enemy’s front lines
    as his divisional posts of command often yields important
    results,” noted a General Staff report in 1919. “The great mobility
    and speed of airplanes make it possible to utilize day
    bombardment tactically to influence an action in progress,”
    continued the report.1
    The last campaigns of World War I hinted that air superiority
    would be necessary for the most effective ground operations,
    but World War II made it an iron law. However, the
    invention of radar on the eve of World War II changed the
    aircraft survivability problem completely. In World War I, visual
    detection in clear daylight did not exceed ranges of
    10‑15 miles at best. Even in the late 1930s, defenders expected
    to listen and watch for attacking aircraft.
    By 1940, radar could spot incoming aircraft 100 miles
    away. Early detection gave defenders much more time
    to organize their air defenses and to intercept attacking
    planes. Radar height‑finding assisted antiaircraft gunners
    on the ground. Primitive airborne radar sets were installed in
    night fighters in the later years of the war. The radar game
    had begun. Gaining air superiority and the freedom to attack
    surface targets while protecting friendly armies rested
    on surmounting the advantages that radar gave to air defenses.
    The stakes of the radar game also affected combined
    arms operations in all theaters of the war. Hitler canceled
    the invasion of Britain when the Luftwaffe failed to win
    local air superiority over the English Channel coast in September
    1940. The Allies hinged their plans for the Normandy
    landings on gaining control of the air over Europe and exploiting
    it with effective air interdiction. The rate at which airpower
    could accomplish its objectives therefore depended
    directly on survival rates of the bombers attacking aircraft
    factories and industrial targets in Fortress Europe. Once the
    Allies were ashore, they planned for airpower to help offset
    the numerical superiority of German ground forces.
    The Cold War made aircraft survivability even more complicated.
    After WWII, radar technology leapt ahead and aircraft
    designs struggled to maintain a survivability edge. By
    the 1960s, radar dominated the air defense engagement.
    Longer range detection radars provided ample early warning.
    Radar‑controlled surface‑to‑air missiles (SAMs) improved
    the speed and accuracy of attacks against aircraft. In the
    air, more advanced radars and guided air‑to‑air missiles
    changed the nature of aerial combat. Conventional performance
    improvements in speed, altitude ceiling, maneuverability,
    and other parameters pushed ahead but could not
    keep pace with the most sophisticated air defenses. If radar
    made aircraft easy to shoot down, the effectiveness of air
    operations would plummet.
    As a result, combat aircraft had to incorporate additional
    survivability measures to stay ahead in the radar game.
    Electronic countermeasures (ECM) to radar were first employed
    in World War II. Research in the 1950s and 1960s led
    to much more advanced countermeasures that disrupted
    radar tracking by masking or distorting the radar return.
    When aircraft got closer to the air defenses, however, their
    radar reflections grew large enough to burn through the
    electronic smokescreen put in place by ECM.
    Winning the Modern Radar Game
    In this context, the prospect of designing combat aircraft
    that did not reflect as much radar return was an enticing
    possibility. British researchers in the 1940s hypothesized
    about foiling radar detection. Low observable technology
    that reduced radar return would make it harder for defenders
    to track and engage attacking aircraft because they
    would not have as big an aircraft signature to follow. Less
    radar return meant less time in jeopardy, or time in which
    aircraft could be tracked and fired upon by other aircraft or
    by ground‑based defenses.
    However, coming up with an aircraft design that minimized
    radar return depended on many factors. It was not
    until the early 1970s that the physical principles of controlling
    radar return were understood well enough to apply them
    to aircraft design. Low observable technology was based
    first on a sophisticated ability to understand and predict the
    behavior of radar waves in contact with an aircraft.
    Research into special shapes and materials made building
    a low observable aircraft a reality. The aim was not to
    make aircraft invisible, but to quantify and minimize key areas
    of the aircraft’s radar return. Incorporating low observables
    required trade‑offs that often appeared to go against
    established principles of aerodynamic design. The primary
    method for reducing radar cross section was to shape the
    aircraft’s surface so that it deflected radar return in predictable
    Variations in the angle from which aircraft approached
    the radar, and the frequency of the radars used by the deTHE
    RADAR GAME: Understanding Stealth and Aircraft Survivability
    fenders, also affected the radar return and required choices
    about how to optimize designs for the most dangerous parts
    of the cycle of detection, tracking, and engagement. As
    RCS diminished, other factors became important corollaries,
    such as reducing the infrared signature as well as visual,
    acoustic, and other electronic evidence of the aircraft’s approach.
    LO design offered immediate tactical benefits by cutting
    radar detection ranges and degrading the efficiency
    of search radars. Signature reduction now posed substantial
    problems for integrated air defenses (IADS) because it could
    delay early warning detection and diminish the ability of fire
    control radars to acquire and fire SAMs against the attacking
    Aircraft Survivability and its Operational Impact
    The payoff for low observables came from developing
    an aircraft that could tackle each stage of the radar game.
    Low observables offered a way to regain some of the surprise
    element of air attack and improve the odds in each individual
    engagement. Overall, LO aircraft would spend less
    time in jeopardy from air defenses and stand a much better
    chance of completing the mission and returning home.
    The tactical benefits of increased aircraft survivability
    opened up a wide range of options for air commanders.
    Most important, spending less time in jeopardy could reduce
    attrition rates by lowering the probability of aircraft being
    detected, tracked, and engaged during their missions.
    Highly survivable aircraft could be tasked to attack heavily
    defended targets with much less risk. As a result, desired
    effects—such as degrading enemy air defenses—could be
    achieved in a shorter period of time. Critical targets that
    might have taken repeated raids from large packages of
    conventional aircraft could be destroyed in a single strike by
    a much smaller number of F‑ 117s able to penetrate close
    enough to use laser‑guided bombs (LGBs).
    The final section of this essay quantifies the effects of
    signature reduction in the tactical environment. Graphs
    show how reduced signatures lower the time in jeopardy,
    and how stealth degrades detection by early warning radar
    and subsequent tracking and engagement by fire control
    radars. Three hypothetical scenarios display the results of the
    analysis in high and low threat environments. Variations for
    altitude and attack profile are included. A short section also
    discusses in general terms the potential synergy between
    low observables and electronic countermeasures.
    Since World War II, the radar game between attackers
    and defenders has determined who will control the skies. The
    winner of the radar game will be able to bring the maneuver
    and firepower of air forces to bear against the enemy.
    For the 21st century, highly survivable aircraft will contribute
    directly to achieving joint force objectives. They will do this
    by shaping and controlling the battlespace where joint air
    and surface forces operate. The ability to project power with
    efficient and effective air operations will depend on winning
    the radar game.
  3. hunter1

    hunter1 FULL MEMBER

    New Recruit

    Dec 17, 2010
    +0 / 9 / -0
    It would have been better if you could have just provided the source rather then copy pasting... just saying...
  4. Super Falcon

    Super Falcon ELITE MEMBER

    Jul 3, 2008
    +0 / 3,943 / -4
    i can't understand one bit what you are pasting
  5. monitor

    monitor SENIOR MEMBER

    Apr 24, 2007
    +2 / 7,172 / -0
  6. nightcrawler

    nightcrawler FULL MEMBER

    Sep 10, 2008
    +0 / 344 / -0
    it is a great concise book refereed to me by the Russian user namely ptdlm3 [weird name though!!]