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kitplane01
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Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:37 am

I can think of four ways to think of stealth

1- No need for stealth since we won't get doing great power combat .. we will be fighting Iraq/Afghanistan like wars.

2- Stealth is a fad. Advances in radar and techniques and networking will greatly reduce or eliminate the advantages of stealth.

3- Stealth is very expensive. To maintain numbers we need a mix of stealth and non-stealth.

4- Stealth is very important. Any stealthy airplane can beat in beyond-visual-range combat any non-stealthy airplanes. Between an F-35 and any of F-15, Su-35, Eurofighter, etc. the F-35 wins.


I greatly favor #4 and #3.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 6:09 am

4 it is. Against F-35 the types you mentions are just targets.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:06 am

2. In the long term, signal processing gets much cheaper than stealth gets better.

And 3., non-stealth aircraft are still sorely needed, because they're cheap.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:59 am

Not 2, as any advantages in signal processing will not change the difference between a stealthy and a non stealthy target.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 11:42 am

All of them are true simultaneously.

#1 and #3: Many missions simply don't need stealth or get little benefit from it. Others do. For a cost-effective force, the right mix of stealth and non-stealth assets must be found.
#2: Improvements in sensor technology will reduce the advantage of (current) stealth aircraft. They're still more difficult to detect and track than legacy aircraft.
#4: Stealth is just one aspect of aircraft design but it's very effective against current radar-guided missiles.

It's like saying radar / supersonic speed / high payload weight / range / maximum AoA / turn rate ... is very important. All modern combat aircraft have those features but each of them prioritizes them differently. None of them choose one aspect above all others.

At the end of the day, what matters is whether your air force and army as a whole can achieve the tasks it's given. Stealth can help but you shouldn't make it your only focus, and you should definitely not believe that it makes you invincible.
 
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smithbs
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:29 pm

It all depends on who you are and what you think you will be doing. Stealth appears to be a toy of the "Great Game" players. If you are not one of these nations, and your national security assessment doesn't care about highly advanced conflict, then it's not for you. And really, unless you are one of the precious few countries who is developing their own technology, there is only one nation that is currently exporting a stealth combat aircraft, and you have to be in its good graces in order to ask for an FMS order.

As to your points, stealth is another example of the warhead vs armor balance that has gone on for centuries. Both tend to one-up each other. Stealth aircraft are not invisible: they are just harder to see than others. Thus, #2 is a real factor, and history says something will happen to cause stealth to be one-upped by some method of detecting it.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:29 pm

seahawk wrote:
Not 2, as any advantages in signal processing will not change the difference between a stealthy and a non stealthy target.


Even relative small radars can detect non-stealty targets all the way out to the horizon. That won't be getting worse.
At some point you simply track the turbulence behind the aircraft.....

Best regards
Thomas
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 7:22 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
2. In the long term, signal processing gets much cheaper than stealth gets better.




Maybe that’s true, but it’s not obvious.

Radars can get as good as they want, but a periscope in the ocean looks kinda like a wave. Or a seagull. Or trash.

The sky is full of things (clouds, birds, bits of dust) and if your RCS is low enough you blend in with the noise. The situation is really helped by the fact that the Doppler effect helps distinguish between things moving 690 mph and birds.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 7:29 pm

mxaxai wrote:
All of them are true simultaneously.

#1 and #3: Many missions simply don't need stealth or get little benefit from it. Others do. For a cost-effective force, the right mix of stealth and non-stealth assets must be found..


Suppose your India looking at China. Or Pakistan looking at India. Either way your air force probably should spend its entire budget on those fighters needed to combat the larger enemy. Don’t spend money on cheap ground attack aircraft when you cannot get air superiority. For these nations, would you agree it’s as much stealth as you can get?

The USAF can fly A-10s to minimize the number of very expensive F-35 hours.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 7:32 pm

smithbs wrote:
It all depends on who you are and what you think you will be doing. Stealth appears to be a toy of the "Great Game" players. If you are not one of these nations, and your national security assessment doesn't care about highly advanced conflict, then it's not for you. And really, unless you are one of the precious few countries who is developing their own technology, there is only one nation that is currently exporting a stealth combat aircraft, and you have to be in its good graces in order to ask for an FMS order.


I’m trying to think of a nation that has a significant Air Force but doesn’t care about great power conflict. Maybe France or Israel?

It’s not obvious why France developed the Rafale. It seems the actual combat missions they fly could be done by Jaguars with good targeting pods
 
petertenthije
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:19 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
It’s not obvious why France developed the Rafale. It seems the actual combat missions they fly could be done by Jaguars with good targeting pods

Prestige, export orders and carrier capability… you may pick the order.

Stealth is great if you are fighting a (near-) peer enemy. If you are fighting anyone else, stealth becomes a burden. It increases the purchase price of your jet significantly and it is very labour intensive to maintain.

So, if you expect to fight Russia, China or the USA, then stealth makes sense. And Russia is already debatable, because, while they got some great equipment, their numbers are not that great. They rely very much on old equipment such as Fulcrums and Flankers.

If you are not fighting a (near-) peer enemy, you can get much better bang for your buck by going for F-16s, Grippen, Mirages etc. Most nations of course do not have unlimited military budgets.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:40 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Suppose your India looking at China. Or Pakistan looking at India. Either way your air force probably should spend its entire budget on those fighters needed to combat the larger enemy. Don’t spend money on cheap ground attack aircraft when you cannot get air superiority. For these nations, would you agree it’s as much stealth as you can get?

The USAF can fly A-10s to minimize the number of very expensive F-35 hours.

Air superiority is important but it doesn't win wars by itself. In a large conflict like India v Pakistan or China, you'd have to maintain control over large areas that cannot be guaranteed with only a small fleet of stealth aircraft. This also includes ground support missions, for which a quick reaction time and loiter time is essential.

If you can fund enough stealth aircraft to cover all your desires, and still have enough money left to equip your army and navy, great. If you can't - and that affects virtually all states - you're better off with a small but potent stealth force that achieves air superiority and can conduct deep strikes while legacy aircraft and UAVs take care of less demanding missions.

Compare it to aircraft carriers, or battleships back in the day. They can perform nearly every role and have a decent chance of winning against any enemy. Yet, they're too expensive to buy in the numbers needed to maintain control of the seas. Hence, you have cruisers, destroyers, frigates, coast guard cutters, ... to be there when your biggest asset is busy elsewhere.

kitplane01 wrote:
It’s not obvious why France developed the Rafale. It seems the actual combat missions they fly could be done by Jaguars with good targeting pods

When France started developing the Rafale, Soviet aircraft were based less than 15 minutes away from their border (or vice versa, the nearest Soviet assets were based less than 15 minutes away from France). They were expected to fend for themselves while delivering conventional and nuclear payloads, trying to stop an expected rapid Soviet advance through West Germany. Jaguars would'be been easy prey for contemporary fighter aircraft.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:53 pm

mxaxai wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Suppose your India looking at China. Or Pakistan looking at India. Either way your air force probably should spend its entire budget on those fighters needed to combat the larger enemy. Don’t spend money on cheap ground attack aircraft when you cannot get air superiority. For these nations, would you agree it’s as much stealth as you can get?

The USAF can fly A-10s to minimize the number of very expensive F-35 hours.

Air superiority is important but it doesn't win wars by itself. In a large conflict like India v Pakistan or China, you'd have to maintain control over large areas that cannot be guaranteed with only a small fleet of stealth aircraft. This also includes ground support missions, for which a quick reaction time and loiter time is essential.

If you can fund enough stealth aircraft to cover all your desires, and still have enough money left to equip your army and navy, great. If you can't - and that affects virtually all states - you're better off with a small but potent stealth force that achieves air superiority and can conduct deep strikes while legacy aircraft and UAVs take care of less demanding missions.

Compare it to aircraft carriers, or battleships back in the day. They can perform nearly every role and have a decent chance of winning against any enemy. Yet, they're too expensive to buy in the numbers needed to maintain control of the seas. Hence, you have cruisers, destroyers, frigates, coast guard cutters, ... to be there when your biggest asset is busy elsewhere.

kitplane01 wrote:
It’s not obvious why France developed the Rafale. It seems the actual combat missions they fly could be done by Jaguars with good targeting pods

When France started developing the Rafale, Soviet aircraft were based less than 15 minutes away from their border (or vice versa, the nearest Soviet assets were based less than 15 minutes away from France). They were expected to fend for themselves while delivering conventional and nuclear payloads, trying to stop an expected rapid Soviet advance through West Germany. Jaguars would'be been easy prey for contemporary fighter aircraft.


Let’s suppose your India. Your main worry the politicians say is China. You can afford either 100 F-35s or 80 F-35s and 80 Jaguars with targeting pods. Which do you pick?
 
mxaxai
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:12 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
Let’s suppose your India. Your main worry the politicians say is China. You can afford either 100 F-35s or 80 F-35s and 80 Jaguars with targeting pods. Which do you pick?

I would probably choose 30 F-35s, 100 F-16s and 200 UAVs. Light attack aircraft cannot perform missions with any risk of enemy aircraft.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:57 pm

Stealth is the current flavor.

What's Next? Hypersonic?

Because of the skin temperature involved, you can no longer use stealthy composite materials (unless someone can come up with a durable ceramic matrix material).

bt
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:12 pm

Once the radar is turned on, stealth goes out the window, same with electronic jamming. If 25% of the planes in the attack have their radar on and are doing electronic jamming, those 25% will be fully visible, but they also hide well the other 75%, in particular if they are stealth.
 
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:28 pm

Peer/near-peer combat will still happen. I don't think it'll be nuclear but for EU/US facing Russia/China the threat still very much exists. Plus the benefit for all the other applications from R&D from gen 5+ aircraft is incalculable.
 
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smithbs
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:49 pm

Duplicate
Last edited by smithbs on Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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smithbs
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Re: Stealth is very important

Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:50 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
I’m trying to think of a nation that has a significant Air Force but doesn’t care about great power conflict. Maybe France or Israel?


Maybe look at today's shoulder-nudging nations. Greece vs Turkey. India vs Pakistan. Recently it was Ethiopia vs Eritrea. In all of those cases, stealth has not been a factor, and arguably stealth could be something that upsets the strategic balance and may cause a real kaboom. Actually, being able to see each other is important for maintaining the balance.

kitplane01 wrote:
It’s not obvious why France developed the Rafale. It seems the actual combat missions they fly could be done by Jaguars with good targeting pods


Oof, Jaguar was never that good. Its A/G capabilities and performance were basic and was left in the dust by contemporaries like the A-7E. Even the Mirage F1 was better at the role than Jaguar. Mirage 2000 is also awkward for A/G work as well - that is a true interceptor with A/G tacked on. Generally its aiming is basic, but it's too slick for aiming by eyeball, and so external help for aiming is essential. Rafale is a better expression of a multi-role fighter, much superior to the Jaguar or Mirage 2000.

IMO, Jaguar was too light and underpowered to carry a decent load, its navigation system was insufficient, it was stuck in a limited playbook for delivery methods, and had minimal expansion capability (particularly for "technical" weapons). If the year was 1980 and you lined up a Jaguar A, Mirage F1E, A-7E, and Kfir C2 for me to choose from, Jaguar would be at the end of my list. From all those candidates, the Jaguar is the lightweight in almost all categories.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:49 am

smithbs wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
I’m trying to think of a nation that has a significant Air Force but doesn’t care about great power conflict. Maybe France or Israel?


Maybe look at today's shoulder-nudging nations. Greece vs Turkey. India vs Pakistan. Recently it was Ethiopia vs Eritrea. In all of those cases, stealth has not been a factor, and arguably stealth could be something that upsets the strategic balance and may cause a real kaboom. Actually, being able to see each other is important for maintaining the balance.



I’m not sure I understand. None of these had any air war at all, at least since the 1970s.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:51 am

mxaxai wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Let’s suppose your India. Your main worry the politicians say is China. You can afford either 100 F-35s or 80 F-35s and 80 Jaguars with targeting pods. Which do you pick?

I would probably choose 30 F-35s, 100 F-16s and 200 UAVs. Light attack aircraft cannot perform missions with any risk of enemy aircraft.



I think the F-16s get shot down on week one. The UAVs get shot down the end of week one.

I really don’t see how an F-16 survives outnumbered 2x or 5x on every mission going against Sukhoi. And against a J-20 it’s not even close.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:57 am

Aren't all of your points, and many more, true? Weapons development has always been a race to keep ahead of the technological edge of the enemy to gain an advantage. Sensors improve? Stealth materials science improves. Repeat. But there is hardly a 1 = 1 stealth and sensor race. Stealth is an asset according to certain strategical benefits that usually have to be weighed against its downsides (such as cost). And these benefits aren't impossible to counter by an enemy through other means to one degree or another. Other assets, strategies, or circumstances can be used advantageously. Limitation is the mother of all invention as they say. So stealth certainly isn't the be-all, end-all, of aerial warfare. I think there is an image brewing of stealth being some magic bullet, but it really isn't more than a tool among many. A very useful one though.

In short I think warfare is too complex to make a blanket statement as to stealths qualities in the battlefield. Even shorter: Stealth is valuable until it isn't.
 
Naincompetent
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:35 am

From what I read here, most people are focused on the advantages is stealth in aerial combat. However, the F35 and rafale are multirole aircrafts and one of their missions will be penetration if hostile airspace.
Anti aircraft missile systems are dirt cheap and even non governmental organizations can get hold of them, not to speak of any self respecting third world country. Penetrating a SAM saturated territory is much safer in a stealth aircraft than in a regular one, even if you won't stay stealth all the way (target illumination, dropping your bombs, etc.). But hey! Once you dropped your bombs, everyone knows you're here, it'll be just much harder to get a lock on you.
I think that's the reason countries like Israel and others got the F35
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:59 am

Leovinus wrote:
Aren't all of your points, and many more, true? Weapons development has always been a race to keep ahead of the technological edge of the enemy to gain an advantage. Sensors improve? Stealth materials science improves. Repeat. But there is hardly a 1 = 1 stealth and sensor race. Stealth is an asset according to certain strategical benefits that usually have to be weighed against its downsides (such as cost). And these benefits aren't impossible to counter by an enemy through other means to one degree or another. Other assets, strategies, or circumstances can be used advantageously. Limitation is the mother of all invention as they say. So stealth certainly isn't the be-all, end-all, of aerial warfare. I think there is an image brewing of stealth being some magic bullet, but it really isn't more than a tool among many. A very useful one though.

In short I think warfare is too complex to make a blanket statement as to stealths qualities in the battlefield. Even shorter: Stealth is valuable until it isn't.


Of course everything is complex. But still decisions must be made.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:12 am

Naincompetent wrote:
From what I read here, most people are focused on the advantages is stealth in aerial combat. However, the F35 and rafale are multirole aircrafts and one of their missions will be penetration if hostile airspace.
Anti aircraft missile systems are dirt cheap and even non governmental organizations can get hold of them, not to speak of any self respecting third world country. Penetrating a SAM saturated territory is much safer in a stealth aircraft than in a regular one, even if you won't stay stealth all the way (target illumination, dropping your bombs, etc.). But hey! Once you dropped your bombs, everyone knows you're here, it'll be just much harder to get a lock on you.
I think that's the reason countries like Israel and others got the F35


Oh absolutely. I don't disagree for a second that stealth has formidable benefits for delivery and survival. But every stealth platform has its caveats and counter-measures. In the war zones the US and Russia operate in (when they get their new Su-57s in quantity) there are few countermeasures. The B-2 is basically invisible and the F-35 will have a high kill/death ratio with longer range missiles combat thanks to sensors and stealth. And frankly, for these missions, these capabilities aren't exactly cost-effective. Afghanistan and Syria etc. see sparing use of these assets as a result. Drones and older generation aircraft that are cheaper to operate (etc. etc.) are better "value" in those theatres.

Stealth, really, is most beneficial in potential engagements between the US, EU, Japan, Korea, Russia, and China. And I certainly see the point of keeping up with the joneses vis-a-vis stealth for these potential missions. And as these nations are arms manufacturers their counter-weapons will get better in time, so even less economically enriched countries will see a trickle down of both stealth and counter stealth technology over time. So stealth is going to be with us in some respect going forward whatever the theatre.
 
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:39 am

Leovinus wrote:
And frankly, for these missions, these capabilities aren't exactly cost-effective. Afghanistan and Syria etc. see sparing use of these assets as a result. Drones and older generation aircraft that are cheaper to operate (etc. etc.) are better "value" in those theatres.


Drones are probably cheaper to operate, but even they are going the stealth way.
One has also to factor in the cost component of letting a human being being caught by a hostile entity, like an Israeli pilot by Syrian troops or an American pilot by talibans...
Even the cost of letting valuable technology fall in the wrong hands has to be factored in, and stealth may be more expensive, it greatly reduces those risks.
Regarding the sparing use, please note that since they have received them, most attacks in Syria are carried out by F35s not by F15s anymore

Stealth, really, is most beneficial in potential engagements between the US, EU, Japan, Korea, Russia, and China.


This I am highly sceptical of.
For example for Russia to be threatened by US planes or the contrary, you have first to be in range... And with satellite surveillance, none of this is going to be a secret, you just cannot hide things on such a scale... Everyone knows where every aircraft carrier in the world is, you just can't hide something this big. And stealthy or not, in case of a real confrontation, these planes will be dealt with even before they take off.

In my opinion, the usefulness of stealth technology in a symmetrical conflict is somewhat overrated
 
mxaxai
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:53 am

kitplane01 wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Let’s suppose your India. Your main worry the politicians say is China. You can afford either 100 F-35s or 80 F-35s and 80 Jaguars with targeting pods. Which do you pick?

I would probably choose 30 F-35s, 100 F-16s and 200 UAVs. Light attack aircraft cannot perform missions with any risk of enemy aircraft.



I think the F-16s get shot down on week one. The UAVs get shot down the end of week one.

I really don’t see how an F-16 survives outnumbered 2x or 5x on every mission going against Sukhoi. And against a J-20 it’s not even close.

The F-16 is still a formidable opponent for any other 4th gen fighter and, if necessary, it has the ability to run away.
Joint operations of stealth and non-stealth aircraft can be very effective too. Additionally, you can conduct strikes with your few stealthy assets against the few enemy airfields and other well protected targets. This way, your expensive stealth fleet creates a relatively safe space for older non-stealth aircraft.

UAVs are meant to be expendable to some extent.

India has a border that's over 15,000km long, not to mention an extensive coastline. Unless you can afford enough brand new stealth jets for all of this, you'll end up using older, cheaper assets like the F-16 (or the Su-27, if you're on the other side) in lower intensity theaters.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:01 am

Naincompetent wrote:
In my opinion, the usefulness of stealth technology in a symmetrical conflict is somewhat overrated


I think you just helped me finish my thought process eloquently. What I'm trying to say is that any technology requires asymmetrical technological maturity (or usefulness) to prove valuable. Stealth is not the end-all, be-all precisely because the state of the asymmetry shifts constantly in and out of its favour.

In a sense I feel I shouldn't have gotten involved in this discussion now, because I'm neither for or against stealth in the more practical manner proposed by the OP. I just look at it and warfare from a different perspective that isn't valuable to the discussion at hand.
 
Naincompetent
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:14 am

Leovinus wrote:
Naincompetent wrote:
In my opinion, the usefulness of stealth technology in a symmetrical conflict is somewhat overrated


I think you just helped me finish my thought process eloquently. What I'm trying to say is that any technology requires asymmetrical technological maturity (or usefulness) to prove valuable. Stealth is not the end-all, be-all precisely because the state of the asymmetry shifts constantly in and out of its favour.

In a sense I feel I shouldn't have gotten involved in this discussion now, because I'm neither for or against stealth in the more practical manner proposed by the OP. I just look at it and warfare from a different perspective that isn't valuable to the discussion at hand.


I apologize I have to contradict you again.
I think that you are bringing a valuable perspective to the discussion!
 
GDB
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:16 am

smithbs wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
I’m trying to think of a nation that has a significant Air Force but doesn’t care about great power conflict. Maybe France or Israel?


Maybe look at today's shoulder-nudging nations. Greece vs Turkey. India vs Pakistan. Recently it was Ethiopia vs Eritrea. In all of those cases, stealth has not been a factor, and arguably stealth could be something that upsets the strategic balance and may cause a real kaboom. Actually, being able to see each other is important for maintaining the balance.

kitplane01 wrote:
It’s not obvious why France developed the Rafale. It seems the actual combat missions they fly could be done by Jaguars with good targeting pods


Oof, Jaguar was never that good. Its A/G capabilities and performance were basic and was left in the dust by contemporaries like the A-7E. Even the Mirage F1 was better at the role than Jaguar. Mirage 2000 is also awkward for A/G work as well - that is a true interceptor with A/G tacked on. Generally its aiming is basic, but it's too slick for aiming by eyeball, and so external help for aiming is essential. Rafale is a better expression of a multi-role fighter, much superior to the Jaguar or Mirage 2000.

IMO, Jaguar was too light and underpowered to carry a decent load, its navigation system was insufficient, it was stuck in a limited playbook for delivery methods, and had minimal expansion capability (particularly for "technical" weapons). If the year was 1980 and you lined up a Jaguar A, Mirage F1E, A-7E, and Kfir C2 for me to choose from, Jaguar would be at the end of my list. From all those candidates, the Jaguar is the lightweight in almost all categories.


The French AF ones might have had those issues, however the RAF over time, uprated the engines, avionics, (they had a more sophisticated set up from the start), later defensive overwing AIM-9L's, better ECM.
But the real proof is this, in 1991 none, not RAF nor French, were lost in combat.
While the Iraqi AF were not in the fight really, the Jaguars of both AF's faced the same AAA/SAM threats as the rest.
One French AF one, attacking an Iraqi airfield, had the pilot take a rifle round in his helmet, he and the aircraft got back.

One reason why just after the invasion of Kuwait, the first RAF aircraft to deploy to the region were Jaguars, since they were rugged, easier to maintain, could use austere airfields, when the Tornado GR.1 came in from the early/mid 80's the RAF Jaguars supplanted by them still had an important role reinforcing the NATO flanks, due to the qualities above, in particular Norway, a role they shared with the UK based Harriers.

Before all of this, RAF Jaguars in bombing exercises often matched or bested more 'sophisticated' US types, in 1978, prior to all the improvements listed above, RAF Jaguars armed only with their nav/attack systems and 'dumb' bombs outperformed A-7D's armed with AGM-65's.
They also did well when deployed to Red Flag, again this was (early 80's) before the enhancements.

Back to the French, theirs saw combat first in the late 70's in North Africa, later in the 80's in those skirmishes with Libya, where they did potentially face enemy fighters, SAM's/AAA.
There was more to these than the better known culmination in 1987 with the 'Toyota War', try a French Army Hawk SAM, supplied two decades before, taking down a Libya TU-22 Blinder.

The RAF Jaguars were retired in 2007, not long after another series of upgrades, it was purely driven by a Treasury edict to reduce the number of types of fast jets, despite being still capable in it's tasks and a lot cheaper to operate than others.

Judging a type by 'Top Trumps' criteria often misses the things that actually matter.
There is a limited stealth element to this, so still, nearly, on topic.

After the first Jaguars were deploy to the region in haste in August 1990, as the Coalition continued their build up, the ones sent to replace them, not long afterwards, had uprated engines, comms, those overwing AIM-9's, better ECM and radar absorbing materials fitted in strips to the wing leading edges and some other areas, the same was done to the Tornados too.
This was an entirely UK program that had it's beginnings in the V-Force era, being developed quietly through the 70's and 80's, the idea being they would be fitted in a time of tension with the NATO and Warsaw Pact.

None of this made the aircraft concerned 'stealth', or really LO, the intention being to just reduce the time, if only for seconds, for radar detection/lock on. At the speeds and altitudes the Jaguar would likely do it's run in, that might make all the difference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHQ2GsK31M8

The French 1991 experience, with me the pics don't load, apologies;
https://www.key.aero/article/frances-de ... s-gulf-war

RAM gets a mention here;
https://www.key.aero/article/desert-sto ... -over-gulf

The wing leading edges were treated with surface-wave radar-absorbent material (SWAM), while radar-absorbent material (RAM) tiles were fitted to the engine intakes to reduce their radar cross-section (RCS). The Jaguars’ windscreens were given a coating of gold film to further reduce frontal RCS.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:50 pm

Naincompetent wrote:
I apologize I have to contradict you again.
I think that you are bringing a valuable perspective to the discussion!


Haha, thank you kindly. If I'll shift my focus a bit though. You seem more up to date with theatres of war and equipment use than I. I'll admit it's not something I generally follow. Would you say that the F-35's in Syria are actually merited from a strategic point of view, or could it be that they fit a political and/or type-introduction exercise opportunity? Surians might have equipment that make F-18's more vulnerable of course, but if that's the case in a place like Syria it begs the question why all older generation aircraft in the US inventory aren't put to pasture post-haste. If you see my meaning?

I wouldn't want to diminish the importance and cost associated with pilots being put in jeopardy, but if that part of the calculation trumped all the US would only field the B-2, F-22, and F-35. But it clearly never did. Strategy has attrition of pilots and equipment in mind generally (wether we like that cold calculation or not), and Syria and its ilk don't seem to me to be places where that strategic equation works in the F-35's favour enough to counter its cost disadvantages. But again I'm not knowledgeable enough to say. Which is why I pose this as more of a question and speculation than anything else.
 
Naincompetent
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:36 pm

I'm not sure I have the answer to all of your questions but I will try to answer what I know and/or think.
Some of the strikes in Syria may have been carried by non stealth aircraft, there is obviously an element of "combat proven" capability that 8s part of political considerationsbetween Israel and the US.
The SAM environment is Syria is quite complex with the presence of S300 and S400 Russian systems. I have no doubt that the F35 enables the Israelis to perform missions that would have been difficult to complete with non stealth aircrafts if only to avoid political pressure before the mission is complete. The Russians have the ability to detect israeli planes almost as soon as they take of... Stealth helps them to act more secretly.

To the question why not put to rest anything not stealthy, the answer is two-fold.
First those are expensive to maintain and to procure.
Second, in an environment like the Gaza strip or other low SAM places, stealth is simply not needed.
In a large operation, stealth aircraft would be used as a kind of first wave to destroy the radar and SAM capabilityeaving the airspace open for any non stealth plane to pursue the mission in a less expensive and more efficient way.
My 2 cts
 
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smithbs
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:52 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Let’s suppose your India. Your main worry the politicians say is China. You can afford either 100 F-35s or 80 F-35s and 80 Jaguars with targeting pods. Which do you pick?

I would probably choose 30 F-35s, 100 F-16s and 200 UAVs. Light attack aircraft cannot perform missions with any risk of enemy aircraft.



I think the F-16s get shot down on week one. The UAVs get shot down the end of week one.

I really don’t see how an F-16 survives outnumbered 2x or 5x on every mission going against Sukhoi. And against a J-20 it’s not even close.


It is too basic to think of an air war as a simple jousting match. Any tactician will tell you that is the worst way to fight an air war. Don't forget that some of the biggest aerial victories scored in history were due to sneaky and dastardly tactics. It is an art that is imminently flexible, and you play to every advantage you have. Besides, most historical examples in the past several decades indicate that an air force, when facing a hard obstacle, will play it conservative up until they see their opportunity. The stakes are too high and the costs are too staggering to play it like WW1 trench warfare.

Sure, an F-16 never was meant for going into a complex IADS environment. But it can make it rain GBU-39s into it all day long. There are many ways to get a job done: just go about it in a different way.

If I was a F-16 pilot, the worst tactic I could think of for dropping a Su-27 would be to go head-to-head on it. No way would I do that. I'm sure the Su-27 pilot would be thinking the same thing. I'm going to use other people's radar, jamming (mine and others), terrain, my own IADS, and any other tricks I can think of to get a cheap shot on him before he ever knew I was there, or at least get into the merge before he knows where I came from. In the real world, you only have one chance, and I wouldn't play Marquess de Queensbury rules.

kitplane01 wrote:
I’m not sure I understand. None of these had any air war at all, at least since the 1970s.


Then I'm not sure then what you consider to be an air war. The parties I mentioned intercept each other all the time, and from time to time, they've gone hot.
 
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smithbs
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:01 pm

Naincompetent wrote:
I'm not sure I have the answer to all of your questions but I will try to answer what I know and/or think.
Some of the strikes in Syria may have been carried by non stealth aircraft, there is obviously an element of "combat proven" capability that 8s part of political considerationsbetween Israel and the US.
The SAM environment is Syria is quite complex with the presence of S300 and S400 Russian systems. I have no doubt that the F35 enables the Israelis to perform missions that would have been difficult to complete with non stealth aircrafts if only to avoid political pressure before the mission is complete. The Russians have the ability to detect israeli planes almost as soon as they take of... Stealth helps them to act more secretly.

To the question why not put to rest anything not stealthy, the answer is two-fold.
First those are expensive to maintain and to procure.
Second, in an environment like the Gaza strip or other low SAM places, stealth is simply not needed.
In a large operation, stealth aircraft would be used as a kind of first wave to destroy the radar and SAM capabilityeaving the airspace open for any non stealth plane to pursue the mission in a less expensive and more efficient way.
My 2 cts


You touch on an excellent example. The Syrian air defense system is indeed complex and daunting, yet the Israelis seem to be able to strike as they see fit. Much of that is their stand-off weapon inventory. They have invested much in that field, such as Popeye and Spice. Their use of the GBU-39 has been particularly artful, with some really impressive post-strike photos coming out of it. And they were doing this before F-35 came into inventory.
 
Naincompetent
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:13 pm

smithbs wrote:
Naincompetent wrote:
I'm not sure I have the answer to all of your questions but I will try to answer what I know and/or think.
Some of the strikes in Syria may have been carried by non stealth aircraft, there is obviously an element of "combat proven" capability that 8s part of political considerationsbetween Israel and the US.
The SAM environment is Syria is quite complex with the presence of S300 and S400 Russian systems. I have no doubt that the F35 enables the Israelis to perform missions that would have been difficult to complete with non stealth aircrafts if only to avoid political pressure before the mission is complete. The Russians have the ability to detect israeli planes almost as soon as they take of... Stealth helps them to act more secretly.

To the question why not put to rest anything not stealthy, the answer is two-fold.
First those are expensive to maintain and to procure.
Second, in an environment like the Gaza strip or other low SAM places, stealth is simply not needed.
In a large operation, stealth aircraft would be used as a kind of first wave to destroy the radar and SAM capabilityeaving the airspace open for any non stealth plane to pursue the mission in a less expensive and more efficient way.
My 2 cts


You touch on an excellent example. The Syrian air defense system is indeed complex and daunting, yet the Israelis seem to be able to strike as they see fit. Much of that is their stand-off weapon inventory. They have invested much in that field, such as Popeye and Spice. Their use of the GBU-39 has been particularly artful, with some really impressive post-strike photos coming out of it. And they were doing this before F-35 came into inventory.


They were, but it was also before the Russian installed their S400 ;)
BTW, some of the strikes in Syria are carried out from Lebanese sky using air to ground missiles.

There is also a political element, even if everyone knows who carried out the strike, it is not the same as presenting radar backed evidence
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:13 pm

smithbs wrote:

kitplane01 wrote:
I’m not sure I understand. None of these had any air war at all, at least since the 1970s.


Then I'm not sure then what you consider to be an air war. The parties I mentioned intercept each other all the time, and from time to time, they've gone hot.


What happened between Israel and the Arab states in 1972 was an air war. What happened between the allies and Iraq was an air war. Turkey and Greece have not been in any kind of war since 1975. And Eritria ... they have 5 Mig-29s. Total.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:19 pm

smithbs wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
I would probably choose 30 F-35s, 100 F-16s and 200 UAVs. Light attack aircraft cannot perform missions with any risk of enemy aircraft.



I think the F-16s get shot down on week one. The UAVs get shot down the end of week one.

I really don’t see how an F-16 survives outnumbered 2x or 5x on every mission going against Sukhoi. And against a J-20 it’s not even close.


It is too basic to think of an air war as a simple jousting match. Any tactician will tell you that is the worst way to fight an air war. Don't forget that some of the biggest aerial victories scored in history were due to sneaky and dastardly tactics. It is an art that is imminently flexible, and you play to every advantage you have. Besides, most historical examples in the past several decades indicate that an air force, when facing a hard obstacle, will play it conservative up until they see their opportunity. The stakes are too high and the costs are too staggering to play it like WW1 trench warfare.

Sure, an F-16 never was meant for going into a complex IADS environment. But it can make it rain GBU-39s into it all day long. There are many ways to get a job done: just go about it in a different way.

If I was a F-16 pilot, the worst tactic I could think of for dropping a Su-27 would be to go head-to-head on it. No way would I do that. I'm sure the Su-27 pilot would be thinking the same thing. I'm going to use other people's radar, jamming (mine and others), terrain, my own IADS, and any other tricks I can think of to get a cheap shot on him before he ever knew I was there, or at least get into the merge before he knows where I came from. In the real world, you only have one chance, and I wouldn't play Marquess de Queensbury rules.




Another bad way to win a war is to think "my side does the clever stuff, and the other side is dumb". Sometimes that works, but I don't see any reason to think that the Chinese Air Force has a lower IQ than the Indian one. Instead, I imagine the Chinese Air Force also has smart people who will try and do clever things, and react to the Indian Air Force's clever ideas.

At some point, you will need to win a head-to-head combat mission. And if my opponent is 12 Su-27s or J-10s, I'd rather have two F-35s than one F-35 and three F-16s. If I want to bomb a defended Chinese air base, I'd rather have 2x F-35s than 1x F-35 + 3x F-16.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:26 pm

Would you all agree with this? If not, which part do you disagree with?

1) Many missions do not require stealth, and are best done without paying the cost of stealth. Examples: ground attack and patrol.

2) If it's a deep penetration raid into a serious air defense system, or a head-to-head BVR air combat, stealth is well worth the cost.

3) If you're a smaller air force facing attack by a larger one, you will be doing mostly defense (air-air combat and raids on well defended enemy airfields). Therefore you should have an all-or-mostly stealth air force.

4) If you're the larger air force (which includes nations like France in North African combat) you should have a significant non-stealth component, to do the other missions at a lower cost.
 
VMCA787
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:46 pm

I doubt the USAF, USMC RAF and USN are running with full stealth capability in Syria. The F-22, as far as I know, used their Luneberg lenses in Syria and I can't see the F-35 not using them. All this talk about the SAM environment and stealth in Syria is irrelevant. The US would not take the risk of giving away any signals intel for the Russians to analyize.
 
Naincompetent
Posts: 96
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:26 pm

VMCA787 wrote:
I doubt the USAF, USMC RAF and USN are running with full stealth capability in Syria. The F-22, as far as I know, used their Luneberg lenses in Syria and I can't see the F-35 not using them. All this talk about the SAM environment and stealth in Syria is irrelevant. The US would not take the risk of giving away any signals intel for the Russians to analyize.


The main users of F35 in the skies of Syria is Israël.
I have no idea if they're using Lunenburg lenses or not.
What is certain, is that the risk of giving some Intel to the Russians is negligeable in comparison to the direct threats they have to deal with in Syria. And I very much doubt the US telling the IAF not to use a plane they sold them.
 
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smithbs
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:52 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
At some point, you will need to win a head-to-head combat mission.


How so? What example do we have from history that demonstrates this? ODS, Balkans, Bekaa Valley? None of those. I guarantee you, every aerial encounter in those conflicts was one side pitting every advantage they could scratch together against the other, against a backdrop of the fog of war. Those conflicts alone account for most of the post-1975 air combat in the world, and they all have the same theme: the victim was almost always unaware they were fighting when they got hit.

Only two examples come to my mind at this moment of what you're talking about: the USAF in Vietnam, and when the SAAF tried to take down a MiG-23 flight over Angola. Both got filed in the "don't do that again" pile.

If you want to understand the ins and outs of air power, then get yourself a copy of the Gulf War Air Power Survey (GWAPS) and read it cover to cover. It's a must-read for any student of this topic.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:10 pm

smithbs wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
At some point, you will need to win a head-to-head combat mission.


How so? What example do we have from history that demonstrates this? ODS, Balkans, Bekaa Valley? None of those. I guarantee you, every aerial encounter in those conflicts was one side pitting every advantage they could scratch together against the other, against a backdrop of the fog of war. Those conflicts alone account for most of the post-1975 air combat in the world, and they all have the same theme: the victim was almost always unaware they were fighting when they got hit.

Only two examples come to my mind at this moment of what you're talking about: the USAF in Vietnam, and when the SAAF tried to take down a MiG-23 flight over Angola. Both got filed in the "don't do that again" pile.



I think we're talking about two different scenarios. In the post 1975 air wars, there has really only been one war that was an *air war* with similarly capable competitors: The Falklands. If the future of air wars is going to be US vs Iraq, US in Afghanistan, and Israel vs Syria then I agree with you. But if there is going to a war with technologically advanced near peers, then what I wrote makes total sense. If you promise that France will never have to fight Russia, nor an Algeria/Egypt armed with the best China and Russia can sell, then the Rafale is great (or maybe even overkill). In the hopefully unlikely case that this is false, stealth is worth the cost.

smithbs wrote:
If you want to understand the ins and outs of air power, then get yourself a copy of the Gulf War Air Power Survey (GWAPS) and read it cover to cover. It's a must-read for any student of this topic.


In a Gulf War or similar scenario, we both agree you're right.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:39 pm

Neither Turkey nor the US are officially permitted to enter Syrian airspace, though there appears to be some understanding to avoid direct confrontations as long as US / Turkish attacks are directed against rebels. This requires that both sides can see each other. If the US fully embraced stealth in Syria, accidents could happen.

Israel, on the other hand, is still formally at war with Syria.
 
GDB
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:44 pm

Naincompetent wrote:
VMCA787 wrote:
I doubt the USAF, USMC RAF and USN are running with full stealth capability in Syria. The F-22, as far as I know, used their Luneberg lenses in Syria and I can't see the F-35 not using them. All this talk about the SAM environment and stealth in Syria is irrelevant. The US would not take the risk of giving away any signals intel for the Russians to analyize.


The main users of F35 in the skies of Syria is Israël.
I have no idea if they're using Lunenburg lenses or not.
What is certain, is that the risk of giving some Intel to the Russians is negligeable in comparison to the direct threats they have to deal with in Syria. And I very much doubt the US telling the IAF not to use a plane they sold them.


There were RAF and USMC operating in the region from HMS Queen Elizabeth in the past few days, RAF ones did some sorties from Cyprus in 2019.
Certainly in the recent ones the lenses were fitted.
 
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keesje
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Re: Stealth is very important

Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:39 pm

Stealth will make you get noticed late, giving your opponent less time to anticipate. That seems an advantage on any mission.

Image
https://dfnc.ru/en/russia-news/new-weapons-for-su-57/
 
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seahawk
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Re: Stealth is very important

Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:12 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Would you all agree with this? If not, which part do you disagree with?

1) Many missions do not require stealth, and are best done without paying the cost of stealth. Examples: ground attack and patrol.

2) If it's a deep penetration raid into a serious air defense system, or a head-to-head BVR air combat, stealth is well worth the cost.

3) If you're a smaller air force facing attack by a larger one, you will be doing mostly defense (air-air combat and raids on well defended enemy airfields). Therefore you should have an all-or-mostly stealth air force.

4) If you're the larger air force (which includes nations like France in North African combat) you should have a significant non-stealth component, to do the other missions at a lower cost.


1. nope. If the ground forces have decent air defences you want a stealthy plane for the mission

2. yes

3. nope: As the defender you have to hunt the enemy and turning on the radar gives away your position anyway.

4. yes: Especially if the legacy planes can be used to fire stand-off weapons.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Stealth is very important

Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:49 am

seahawk wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
Would you all agree with this? If not, which part do you disagree with?

1) Many missions do not require stealth, and are best done without paying the cost of stealth. Examples: ground attack and patrol.

2) If it's a deep penetration raid into a serious air defense system, or a head-to-head BVR air combat, stealth is well worth the cost.

3) If you're a smaller air force facing attack by a larger one, you will be doing mostly defense (air-air combat and raids on well defended enemy airfields). Therefore you should have an all-or-mostly stealth air force.

4) If you're the larger air force (which includes nations like France in North African combat) you should have a significant non-stealth component, to do the other missions at a lower cost.


1. nope. If the ground forces have decent air defences you want a stealthy plane for the mission

2. yes

3. nope: As the defender you have to hunt the enemy and turning on the radar gives away your position anyway.

4. yes: Especially if the legacy planes can be used to fire stand-off weapons.


Can you tell more about #3? Suppose you're India facing off against the Chinese air force. You can have 100x F-35s or 80x F-35s and 80x KA-50s, or 70x F-35 and 70x F-16. Which do you pick and why? Remember, you're outnumbered something like 8-1.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Stealth is very important

Wed Jun 23, 2021 9:56 am

If you are outnumbered 8:1 and facing a near-peer enemy, it really does not matter.
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: Stealth is very important

Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:47 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Suppose your India looking at China. Or Pakistan looking at India. Either way your air force probably should spend its entire budget on those fighters needed to combat the larger enemy. Don’t spend money on cheap ground attack aircraft when you cannot get air superiority. For these nations, would you agree it’s as much stealth as you can get?

The USAF can fly A-10s to minimize the number of very expensive F-35 hours.


Well, the strategic situation in the sub-continent has changed dramatically in the past 4 years since Doklam. Now a 2 front war with China-Pak in alliance is a real possibility. Worse, otherwise peaceful neighbors like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also making aggressive noises (Kalapani, Farakka) with regards to territorial claims.

Restricting discussion to Ladakh, China has just moved in large numbers of mobile S300 clone radar+missile systems in the areas they occupied since May 2020. Which means Indian air Force will find it impossible to act in this sector without first neutralizing these Radars. Stealth is not useful in this specific context, since they lose it the second they turn on their radars which will enable the Chinese mobile SAM batteries to easily knock them out.

What could IAF do? They could open the hostilities by sending in the good old Jaguars flying close to terrain to knock out the Chinese SAM batteries with either Russian/Israeli or the Indian NGARM anti-radiation missiles. I have info from reliable sources that the IAF pilots are practicing exactly these kind of ground hogging manouvers in simulators! :) Around 40 of the 125 Jaguars have been upgraded with new radars in 2016. The project was never really completed. There is a new proposal to upgrade the Jaguars with Israeli 2052M AESA radars. Still stuck in bureaucratic tangles though!
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: Stealth is very important

Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:56 am

China is bringing a whole new paradigm to War. And I believe they are planning to test out this new doctrine against India in the very near future - perhaps even in 2021 itself. It involves use of aircraft, drones and radars interacting and coordinating with each other on a scale that we havent seen before. They have also roped in their friend Pakistan and air forces of the 2 allies have been practicing joint-ops in the sector for over 4 years now. China has already built High capacity-High speed Optical Fibre networks in the areas they occupied in May2020! This points to their intention to fight a High-Tech war!

Stealth has a limited role to play in this theater.

Against Pakistan? Well perhaps! With Indian missiles being notoriously unreliable and inaccurate, A couple of stealth bombers could perhaps be used to sneak past Pakistani defense to neutralise their airbases. But with china and Pakistan expected to fight in alliance in any future conflict, India can no longer pull resources from the Eastern theater to deploy in the West or vice-versa. So this just wont work and would certainly invite retribution from the Pakistani side.

Stealth is for the Americans.

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