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F-35 A2A in Question

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Post 11 Jan 2009, 10:10
The F-35 has exactly the same capability in matters of weapons just like any other american jet fighter, since it uses the same weapons.[/quote]

It has a different radar and different FCS, as well as the completely new EO-DAS. All those offer significant new capabilities. Given the timeframe when it enters squadron service (iirc 2014) there will be new AA missiles available.

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But it also has one great advantage, which is its stealth design. That doesn't mean of course that it's impossible to detect it. The effectiveness of stealth characteristics depends on the frequency it's supposed to confront, and the F-35, just like the F-22, are designed to be "invisible" mainly to enemy fighters, whose radars operate at higher frequencies. Land based radars, such as the air defence radars, operate at lower frequencies. That means, if a stealth design cannot be detected by a high frequency radar, it might be detectable by a low frequency one. And thus, guide enemy fighters against it, or even cause the enemy air defence reaction.


RCS control is only one aspect of stealth. The other thing is that RCS control has evolved a lot. What you are saying is true of the F-117, which used surfaces with certain reflective properties. The F-35 and F-22 use a different technology. They simply reduce the reflecting signal altogether. Both reduce it by such a magnitude that most modern radars have significantly decreased range against it. Now RCS control doesn't mean that the radar can't detect it, just reduced detection range (and thus reduced engagement envelope for GBAD, which creates holes in air-space coverage and ideally allows the VLO to sneak through).

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It's the way aircraft-shape-based stealth technology is supposed to be working.
This is why I find the Russian technique of using a special pod on the PAK FA for that purpose smarter.


Do you have a source? As far as I know nothing specific is known on the PAK-FA. If you're talking about plasma stealth, it's (at this point) science fiction.

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As for close air combat, the F-35's maneuverability is comparable to that of the F-16. The F-16 might even be better at maneuvering. In other words, in a close dogfight with the same weapons on each airplane, the F-16 can own the F-35.


Garbage. EO-DAS + datalinked AAMs. Game over. I've got a better question. Why are in WVR when the F-16 would be dead long before it got there? Better yet how will the F-16 get a target lock on the F-35?

There is no manouvering involved.

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So the subject should lay more on the question for which frequency the F-35's stealth design is optimized for.
Unfortunately, we need information to judge on this, and most information about that are classified.

But maybe we can come to a conclusion, taking the F-35's ROLE in consideration.

The F-35 is being developed as the air-to-ground "complement" for the F-22, which primary role is air superiority. According to the American plans, they need two fighters, one for air superiority, and one for ground attack.


No. The F-35 is not an A2G complement. It's a multirole strike fighter. It's fully capable of air superiority against any 4.5th, or earlier, fighter because of superior sensor fusion and battle field awareness.

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Do you have a source for this? Last I heard, the government here was seriously considering canceling our order of 24 Super bugs on the grounds that they wouldn't be able to effectively deal with the Fighters and SAMs Russian has been (or soon will be) selling to our potential adversaries. We still look pretty set on the F-35 as far as I know.


He's wrong. If Australia cancelled their order, it would be big news. There are no considerations of cancelling it right now because there are no comparable options. If you need a modern 5th gen. multirole, it's currently the only thing you can get.
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