Friday, December 9, 2011

The RQ-170 US drone, BEAST of KANDAHAR IS DOWN and OUT...

The RQ-170 US drone, BEAST of KANDAHAR IS DOWN and OUT......

The shoot down of the RQ-170 US drone by Iran just proves once more how obsolete Stealth aircraft are. Stealth was designed in the 1980's as an air defense technology that was intended to be used against Soviet WW2 era AM pulse radar systems. The advent of plastic molded aircraft materials in the 1980's made this possible and it was proven very effective against Iraq radar systems in 1990 but failed in Serbia in 1997. By then the Russians had caught up with stealth by converting all of there SA-3 radar systems with FM slope detectors and replacing all of the older radar systems with the newer S-300 radar systems that use Pulse modulated FM. This is why the F-117 was retired along with the SR-71 and the U-2. The current generation of Russian air-born radar sets can lock on to and shoot down an F-22/35 at 40+ miles and the S-300 can track a stealth aircraft out to 300 miles with lock on at 150 miles and shoot down at 75 miles. The days of B-52's flying over downtown Hanoi or Bagdad or Iran are over with....

The F-22/35 are obsolete even before they are operational.... Due to simple and cheep electronic upgrades in radar technology systems. You can no longer afford to operate an aircraft that costs 30 to 45 million dollars each and 30,000$ an hour just to operate it. Drone and cruise missile technology are the only option left. 30 million dollar manned Fighter aircraft are obsolete due to operating and procurment costs. Just like the Kaisers battleships in WW1,You simply can't afford to lose them so they stayed in port. The IQ-170 drone uses low cost plastic injection molded technology that only reduces radar cross section by 45db and glint by 20db at X-band less at S and l-band. The engine air intake on the top of the aircraft makes it susceptible to compressor stall if it is hit by a near miss missile with a warhead of 45kg or larger. The two bulges on either side of the air intake are for landing gear storage. The aircraft operates on a pre-programmed flight path and does not require remote control except for take off or landing. Under engine stall it will go into a flat spin and crash.... Due to no rudder. The last manned jet fighter will probably be the FA-18 and the F-20 Tigershark due to low cost of production. The F-15 and F-16 are 1970/80 technology that are over 30 years old. We currently have over 1200 Fighter jets F-15,16,18 in storage at Davis/Mothin air force base that have bad wing spars, landing gear cracks and structural failures due to age, that cost over 30 million dollars each and are total junk.... Along with another 600+ B-52's, KC-135 tankers, C-141, C-130 cargo planes, P-3's etc. All of these weapons were ordered under the Ronald Reagan administration and they are all obsolete or just worn out.... The weapons that fought the cold war and Vietnam are as obsolete as WW1 weapons would be today. The DOD must retool with new weapon systems that work instead of continuing to buy this junk from the 1980's. Sold to the ZIOCONNED USA killers by Rumsfeld and DICK Cheney the assassins in Chief at OSP.....etc.....and the infamous White House Murder INC, in MENA and Worldwide since 1968....

Now here I totally disagree.... Here is my take:

First, you cannot put the RQ-170, the F-117A, the SR-71, the U-2, the F-22 and the F-35 in the same category. They are all COMPLETELY DIFFERENT platforms. Right there you can tell that the author of these paragraphs .... does not understand what he is talking about.

Second, the downing of the F-117A had nothing in common with the takeover by the Iranians of the RQ-170.

Third, the author says that the Russian radars have made stealth technology obsolete, then this begs the question of why the Russians are also actively developing the PAKFA/T-50 (while the Chinese are working on their J-20, I would add).

Fourth, the F-117A, the SR-71 and the U-2 were retired for totally different reasons.

I cannot write a full description of what low-observable radar technology really is and how it really works, but I assure you that this guy is 100% wrong.

Let me just say here that while the F-117A is, indeed, becoming obsolete, the US F-22 is a fantastic machine with a huge potential left in it, the Russian PAKFA/T-50 is arguably the best fighter ever built, and the Chinese J-20 might well be the best strike-fighter ever built. Now the F-35 is, indeed, a really bad over-engineered, "does everything but nothing well", fundamentally flawed already at the design stage "flying brick". But that is not because US engineers are incompetent, but because the entire procurement process in the USA is totally FUBARed. Even so, I bet you the US engineers will, with time, make the F-35 into something mostly useful (as they did with the V-22 Osprey)....

The RQ-170 Sentinel, supposedly the CIA’s unseen “eye in the sky”, capable of beaming back a trove of imagery and electronic intercepts, was broadcast on Iranian state television.

The aircraft was shown beneath an Iranian flag, apparently intact after crashing 140 miles inside the country last Sunday. State television claimed that an electronic attack had forced it down by overriding flight systems. American officials acknowledged the loss of the aircraft, but said it was more likely the drone had simply crashed.

Russia and China immediately seized their chance to gain a unique insight into one of the world’s most powerful intelligence assets, asking Iran for permission to inspect the drone. Surveillance flights over Iran by CIA-operated aircraft of this kind have been taking place for several years, using bases in neighboring Afghanistan. Iran’s nuclear installations are believed to be the prime target.

The Sentinel, which entered service in 2009, is capable of both intercepting communications and gathering images. No Sentinels are known to have been lost before. Unlike other drones used by the CIA, notably the Predator and the Reaper, the Sentinel carries no weapons and its sole purpose is reconnaissance.

If Russia and China are allowed to inspect the Sentinel, their goal would be to identify - and then replicate - its advanced technology. Elizabeth Quintana, an expert on unmanned air vehicles at the Royal United Services Institute, said they would be particularly interested in the drone’s ability to evade detection by radar.

This “stealth technology” is also used by the most advanced “fifth generation” fighters in service with the US Air Force, notably the F-22 Raptor. “The Chinese and the Russians are looking to emulate the US fifth generation fighters,” said Ms Quintana. “The Chinese are very keen to replicate any American technologies and they are coming along in leaps and bounds.”

They would also want to study the RQ-170’s sensors, which allow it to keep large areas under surveillance while the drone loiters, undetected, at an altitude of 50,000 feet. The Russians and Chinese would also focus on its electronic eavesdropping capabilities and the mission systems that allow the aircraft to be guided and controlled.

In 2001, China managed to get hold of a P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft, operated by the US Navy, when it was forced down after a mid-air collision. This allowed China to develop counter-measures to the surveillance systems carried by the Orion, forcing the US to upgrade its entire fleet.

Ms Quintana said the American would be worried about the possibility of the “same thing happening” in respect of the Sentinel. It was “standard procedure” for US forces to recover or destroy any drones that are lost, she added. This aircraft appears to have gone down too far inside Iran for any such operation to be feasible.

Russia and China have relatively cordial relations with Tehran, although they allowed the United Nations to pass four resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran.

The Iranian armed forces are likely to use their possession of the drone as a bargaining counter and to seek concessions from Russia and China in return for allowing inspections. But Iran could lack the expertise needed to examine the Sentinel and reverse engineer its technology. Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Defence Initiative at the

Brookings Institution, said: “What the Iranians are getting from this is symbolic and a shift in the discussion from their nuclear programme and taking over foreign embassies. They are not able to do a lot of reverse engineering on their own, but they have certain nations they have cooperated with in the past. Flights from Moscow and Beijing to Tehran have I’m sure been full this week.”

China will also be interested in the drone’s engine, added Mr Singer. “The ability to reverse engineer and understand how our aircraft work means the Chinese could build their own derivatives which would be an improvement on what they have now,” he said. The Sentinel is believed to fly at 500-600 mph, compared with the 100mph maximum of the better known Predator.

Some American experts suggested that Iran’s display of an apparently undamaged drone could have been faked, pointing to the four days that elapsed after its loss. “What I’m looking at is a parade float,” said John Pike, director of Global “Why did it take so long to show it?”

Drones carry crucial advantages that justify the risk of using them over hostile countries. Satellites orbiting the earth can only cover their targets for relatively short - and predictable - time windows. Drones can loiter for extended periods, beaming back live pictures....

"Stealth was designed in the 1980's as an air defense technology that was intended to be used against Soviet WW2 era AM pulse radar systems."

Stealth has nothing to do with modulation (AM or FM), but with wavelengths. More modern radars use short wavelengths (microwaves) in order to achieve a very good resolution of the target. The irony is that older radars, with bigger wavelengths, are much better at detecting stealth aircraft than modern ones. The problem is: with bigger wavelengths you get very poor resolution. That means you know there is something out there, but you can't track it, that is, know its exact coordinates and speed, and it is much harder to guide a missile. The only way to improve resolution would be to use huge antennas, but that is quite impractical. Anyway, AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars with modern computer systems can be quite effective against stealth, though we don't know for sure at what range they could detect and lock on a stealth aircraft. Both stealth aircraft and anti-stealth radars are highly classified. Many suppose that the Russian S-300 SAM system and the MiG-31 Zaslon radar were quite effective against "first generation" stealth (F-117, retired from service in 2008). S-400 and more modern AESA radar installed in the latest versions of Russian aircraft (Irbis-E, Zhuk-AE) should have some capacity against the more recent stealth aircraft (B-2, F-22, F-35)....

Anyway, another thing to keep in mind is that stealth is dependent on aspect, also: according to the angle a radar is "seeing" an aircraft, it will be harder or easier to detect it. Of course, detection aspects of modern aircraft, specially stealth, is highly classified information.

The F-117 was downed by the Serbs by a combination of factors: they used an older radar system with long wavelengths (S-125), and they knew the route the aircraft was going to fly (either obtained by intelligence, or simply because the USAF was using always the same route). The fact that that F-117 was not accompanied by ECM aircraft surely helped. One thing is sure: the Serbs did not use any super-high-tech system to shoot down that plane. They intelligently used older radar together with other methods in an unexpected way, catching the USAF completely by surprise.
"You can no longer afford to operate an aircraft that costs 30 to 45 million dollars each and 30,000$ an hour just to operate it." The USAF would love if that was true, as these figures are quite cheap. In fact the F-22 costs around 150 million dollars. Even the JAS-39 Gripen, which is perhaps the cheapest modern fighter available, costs from 45 to 60 million dollars, depending on the version. Anyway, the comparison of the F-22 with German WWI battleships is good, and the fact that it wasn't used in Libya is a proof that not only it is extremely expensive to operate, but also the aircraft still suffers from technical problems that prevent making it fully operational....

"Under engine stall it will go into a flat spin and crash.... Due to no rudder." With modern fly-by-wire systems that is not necessarily true. An aircraft can be very inefficient aerodynamically, but computer controls can compensate for it. The Sukhoi T-50 has much smaller rudders than the F-22, and that means that its fly-by-wire system is more capable than the one in the F-22.
"The last manned jet fighter will probably be the FA-18 and the F-20 Tigershark due to low cost of production." Interesting this quote of an almost forgotten plane, the F-20 Tigershark. That was a deep upgrade of the F-5E Tiger II, proposed 30 years ago, but in the end the program was abandoned and only 3 prototypes were ever built....
So called "stealth" aircraft are not fundamentally different from other aircraft: they are not used alone, but as part of a "force package" which often includes AWACS, electronic countermeasures, jamming, refueling and so called "SEAD" (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) which means that any radar which is switched on has to worry about being blow up by an anti-radiation missile. Some stealth aircraft have very powerful jamming and electronic countermeasures (PAKFA for sure) while others will fly escorted by specialized aircraft (F-117).

Bottom line, it is wrong to oppose stealth and non-stealth. "Low rcs" (aka "stealth") are just less visible (but never invisible!) to other radars, that's it. In practical terms, it means that they usually can get closer before being detected. Remember, the power of any radiation is inversely proportional to the square of the distance ( which means that the closer you get to any radar the harder it is to hide. Conversely, you also get to fire first if you are low visible. Anyway, I just wanted to give you a few pointers about the kind of stuff which needs to be kept in mind in evaluating stealth aircraft and what the downing of any one of them might or might not tell us....

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