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kitplane01
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Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 5:32 am

If you accept the premise that in the future, it will be increasing true that if-you-can-see-it-you-can-kill-it, then radar is just a way to announce to the enemy your location. One can imagine a world where turning on a radar is rather like sticking you head out of a foxhole: it draws enemy fire. Or radar is like a periscope. Everybody has one, and you only use it when it's safe.

In this world, air-air combat occurs at shorter ranges guided by IR. Or guided by AWACS. Or by attacking the enemy aircraft on the ground.

Arguments against: The F-22 and the F-25 have radars that are harder to detect. But not impossible, and as stealth becomes more common more effort will be put into increasing the ability to detect such radars (and it is possible to detect anything emitting in the kilowatts).

Arguments against: Vietnam had crappy missiles, therefore ... stop. Don't care about anything run by 55 year old computers.
 
Ozair
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 6:28 am

kitplane01 wrote:
If you accept the premise that in the future, it will be increasing true that if-you-can-see-it-you-can-kill-it, then radar is just a way to announce to the enemy your location. One can imagine a world where turning on a radar is rather like sticking you head out of a foxhole: it draws enemy fire. Or radar is like a periscope. Everybody has one, and you only use it when it's safe.

In this world, air-air combat occurs at shorter ranges guided by IR. Or guided by AWACS. Or by attacking the enemy aircraft on the ground.

Arguments against: The F-22 and the F-25 have radars that are harder to detect. But not impossible, and as stealth becomes more common more effort will be put into increasing the ability to detect such radars (and it is possible to detect anything emitting in the kilowatts).

Arguments against: Vietnam had crappy missiles, therefore ... stop. Don't care about anything run by 55 year old computers.

I think radar will remain an essential sensor for many years to come. For example the Tempest program is trumping their future radar development for a platform that will be in service until at least 2080. Long range IR also doesn't provide sufficient weapons quality tracking information and will always suffer far more from environmental conditions than radar.

I also wouldn't underestimate LPI as a operationally relevant technology that remains and proliferates. Yes technology within EA, EP and ES will all advance but that same advancement will occur with radar. Hence I don't consider radar a beacon to detection if the user is serious and has invested and continues to invest in it. An example of a cheap and capable LPI radar is the Indonesian MX-2 and 3. https://www.radartutorial.eu/19.kartei/ ... 15.en.html A max power output of 5W but with 20nm range. There is still a lot to discover and develop with other types of radars such as FMCW!

As for A2A warfare, the trend is moving to multimode seekers, so radar and IR/EO which would support each other in detection and tracking.
 
johns624
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:44 pm

So radar is "bad", yet how do you think AWACS is going to spot enemy targets? You don't want to depend on one resource.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:56 pm

The USAF will retire it's AWAC fleet without replacement. An AWAC would detect the F-35 just as its weapons bay opens. This is a bit late as the AWAC is about to get shot down.

You'll find in the future unmanned drones will create a radar network. They will combine radar and IR with sensor fusion. When it detects a faint radar contact it will then slave the IR sensor in that direction at max zoom. This allows the radar to work at higher sensitivity with more noise. Once a target is detected the information will get passed onto the fighters.

Two stealth fighters with the latest radar in 2040 will be detecting each other at similar distance to an F-16 versus mig-29 in the 1980's. Radar will still be the primary sensor.

Even ground based Radar will be able to detect stealth aircraft at short to medium distance. The stealth fighters will still have to fly around SAM sites.

I just feel sorry for aircraft that have no stealth. They will be detected hundreds of miles away.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:09 pm

Ozair wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
If you accept the premise that in the future, it will be increasing true that if-you-can-see-it-you-can-kill-it, then radar is just a way to announce to the enemy your location. One can imagine a world where turning on a radar is rather like sticking you head out of a foxhole: it draws enemy fire. Or radar is like a periscope. Everybody has one, and you only use it when it's safe.

In this world, air-air combat occurs at shorter ranges guided by IR. Or guided by AWACS. Or by attacking the enemy aircraft on the ground.

Arguments against: The F-22 and the F-25 have radars that are harder to detect. But not impossible, and as stealth becomes more common more effort will be put into increasing the ability to detect such radars (and it is possible to detect anything emitting in the kilowatts).

Arguments against: Vietnam had crappy missiles, therefore ... stop. Don't care about anything run by 55 year old computers.

I think radar will remain an essential sensor for many years to come. For example the Tempest program is trumping their future radar development for a platform that will be in service until at least 2080. Long range IR also doesn't provide sufficient weapons quality tracking information and will always suffer far more from environmental conditions than radar.

I also wouldn't underestimate LPI as a operationally relevant technology that remains and proliferates. Yes technology within EA, EP and ES will all advance but that same advancement will occur with radar. Hence I don't consider radar a beacon to detection if the user is serious and has invested and continues to invest in it. An example of a cheap and capable LPI radar is the Indonesian MX-2 and 3. https://www.radartutorial.eu/19.kartei/ ... 15.en.html A max power output of 5W but with 20nm range. There is still a lot to discover and develop with other types of radars such as FMCW!

As for A2A warfare, the trend is moving to multimode seekers, so radar and IR/EO which would support each other in detection and tracking.


Tempest is including a radar. I wonder in 2050 how often they will use it.

I agree radars will improve. They will get greater range at lower power outputs of more spread frequencies. Except that if they want to detect stealthy targets, that pushed radiated power back up. I really don't see how radiating in any more on any set of frequencies cannot be detected. It just seems so fundamental.

I doubt the MX-2 can detect a stealthy target at 20m. And at 20 nm, you can also detect them with IR. I don't envision IR as a 100nm sensor.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:10 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
The USAF will retire it's AWAC fleet without replacement. An AWAC would detect the F-35 just as its weapons bay opens. This is a bit late as the AWAC is about to get shot down.

You'll find in the future unmanned drones will create a radar network. They will combine radar and IR with sensor fusion. When it detects a faint radar contact it will then slave the IR sensor in that direction at max zoom. This allows the radar to work at higher sensitivity with more noise. Once a target is detected the information will get passed onto the fighters.


Is this currently a USAF program? I've not heard of it. Because if it's not a program now, it won't be in the field 15 years from now :-)
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:12 pm

johns624 wrote:
So radar is "bad", yet how do you think AWACS is going to spot enemy targets? You don't want to depend on one resource.



Errr ... by tracking the radar of enemy?

I don't want to depend on one resource. Right now we depend mostly on radar, but that's locatable.
 
meecrob
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:22 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Errr ... by tracking the radar of enemy?


But you just postulated that nobody would be using radar because you can be detected too easily...
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:36 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Is this currently a USAF program? I've not heard of it. Because if it's not a program now, it won't be in the field 15 years from now :-)

The B-21 is only 5-6 years away. Optionally manned with a huge AESA radar in each wing leading edge for approximately 240 degrees of coverage.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:42 am

meecrob wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Errr ... by tracking the radar of enemy?


But you just postulated that nobody would be using radar because you can be detected too easily...


I'm wondering if fighters will be able to fly around broadcasting like they do now. Maybe more protected AWACS can because they are more protected. Or maybe enemy detection is a network of radar warning receivers all coordinating to locate in 3d space. But I wonder if broadcasting as you enter enemy attack range is going to stay a viable tactic.
 
johns624
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 1:46 am

It's no different than submarines. They all have sonar but they don't always have it active. Sometimes they just listen.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 2:56 am

RJMAZ wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Is this currently a USAF program? I've not heard of it. Because if it's not a program now, it won't be in the field 15 years from now :-)

The B-21 is only 5-6 years away. Optionally manned with a huge AESA radar in each wing leading edge for approximately 240 degrees of coverage.


I'd be curious where you read such details about the B-21.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Will future fighters have a radar?

Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:29 am

kitplane01 wrote:
I'd be curious where you read such details about the B-21.

Nearly every B-21 article has mentioned one of these points. Connecting the dots is key. Being full autonomous has been clear for a few years. We have heard that it has on-board reconnaissance, targeting and self-defense features to accomplish missions even in the most hostile environments. It can also hunt mobile targets. Pretty much the exact wording from the USAF. The B-21 will clearly have a big radar to be able to do that.

It is now well known that L-band and S-band radar can detect stealth aircraft at greater range. The SU-57 already has L band radar in the outer wings. Lower frequency radar requires a wider antenna to gain performance which is why the B-21 has a massive advantage due to the wide wingspan. I am 99% sure the B-21 will be able to carry a pair of AMRAAM missiles and it escort itself.

The USAF still has a pulse doppler radar in the E-3. AESA doesn't have good detection range against stealth and the E-3 can't easily fit a lower frequency radar. There is no point spending big on a dead end platform for a near peer conflict.

E-7 Wedgetail is a good medium term solution. It also has surface detection making it more useful and it is being purchased by countries who will probably not fight against 5th gen stealth aircraft.

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