Two F-22s provide an escort for a B-2 bomber (1095x679)


The B-2 had been made for un-escorted penetration missions. ...on the other side, suggesting modern radars could probably select up a 30-year stealth that is old design - that will be silly . By which ...



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  • The B-2 was designed for un-escorted penetration missions. ...on the other hand, suggesting modern radars might be able to pick up a 30-year old stealth aircraft design - that would be silly . In which case, gimmie the F-15 escort.
  • Even when the B-2 was brand new, it could be detected by Radar available at the time. Stealth does not mean ""invisible to radar"", not in realistic terms. The farther from the radar site the aircraft is, the weaker the signal return though. The stealth of modern aircraft is designed to shrink the distance that enemy radar is reliable. So for an F-15, This is what the radar ranges of enemy SAM sites may look like. For an F-22 or B-2, all of those rings shrink (but do not disappear) significantly. The goal is to fly within the gaps created. Wonton flying over radar sites will get any aircraft shot down. For the F-22, this is also important when considering the radar of enemy fighters. The F-22's radar can see and target the enemy before the other guy even knows they exist. In fact, an F-22 recently snuck up on an Iranian F-4. The F-4 had no idea the F-22 was there until the F-22 pulled up next to them. And this was in the Persian Gulf, an area watched by Iranian ground radar.
  • True stealth is ""you fly over the radar and don't get picked up."" They actually could do that back in the day. The F-117 project manager mentioned it , it's a great book. ...but that was 30 years ago. Over-the-horizon radars (which are long-wavelength) and other such still pick these things up, but not very precisely. But still enough to cue your air defense systems if you're on the ball. That said they're optimized around the x-band, so it's a huge advantage during a dogfight with other fighters. There's lots of anecdotal stories of F-22s winning dogfights because no one gets a firm lock on them.
  • The B-2 is actually the best stealth aircraft against low frequency/long wavelength radars, because it's so physically big. It's effective against both types of radar.
  • Do you have a source for that? It's not my understanding that it was built for such.
  • I remember reading that the B-2 is much more effective against low band radars than smaller stealth aircraft, because it's physically much bigger. Lower band radars are not as effective against very large stealth aircraft, because the physical size of the aircraft is better at defeating the longer wavelengths.
  • I'm not sure it works like that - you can certainly play games with half/quarter/etc the wavelength of a radar, but I'm not certain its dimensions gives it much advantage there. Whatever the debate is it's still based on unclassified conjecture, but the fact of it is the B-2 is a 30+ year old design. I wouldn't blindly put faith in it these days of modern OTH/AESA radars, and the crazy-intense signal processing you can throw at the problem of detecting a stealth aircraft now.
  • Dimensions definitely give an advantage. A physically larger aircraft is better adapted at defeating longer wavelengths. Longer wavelengths work better against smaller objects, but are not as effective against larger objects. Whatever the debate is it's still based on unclassified conjecture, but the fact of it is the B-2 is a 30+ year old design. I wouldn't blindly put faith in it these days of modern OTH/AESA radars, and the crazy-intense signal processing you can throw at the problem of detecting a stealth aircraft now. OTH radars are not that great for meaningful and consistent detection of stealth. In fact no radar can accurately, reliably, and consistently detect a stealth aircraft under any conditions. In order to detect a radar-based stealth aircraft, you're going to need something other than radar to detect it at a long range. Perhaps some other type of sensor not yet invented or imagined. Radar-based stealth aircraft will always be effective against radars, simply due to the scientific laws dealing with refraction of radio waves, and these scientific laws cannot be broken regardless of technological improvement. That's why a completely separate type of sensor would be needed. Right now the best thing against radar-based stealth aircraft are long range electro-optical direct imaging sensors (like EO-DAS on the F-35). They have far better accuracy, reliability, and consistency than low band radars for detecting stealth aircraft.
  • Dimensions definitely give an advantage. A physically larger aircraft is better adapted at defeating longer wavelengths. Longer wavelengths work better against smaller objects, but are not as effective against larger objects. In principle it might hold true, but we just don't know in the B-2's case. I don't personally think it works out to that big an advantage. OTH radars are not that great for meaningful and consistent detection of stealth. That was kinda my point - you just use it for cueing other systems. That assumes your country's defense network has such luxuries, of course. Right now the best thing against radar-based stealth aircraft are long range electro-optical direct imaging sensors (like EO-DAS on the F-35). Irfrared is the new radar - and that might mean a return to good ol' near-visual-range dogfighting. These are interesting times.
  • That's simply not true. It's not even close to true. To see why, we turn to the radar equation. The terms in this equation are: 1)Power Emitted (P sub S) 2)Antenna Gain (G) 3)Wavelength (lambda) 4)RCS (sigma) 5)Minimum power received for detection (P sub E sub min) 6)Loss Factor (L sub ges) The only things that could possibly be taken as functions of the target and not the radar are RCS and loss factor. So, let's address those -There are three things that affect radar cross section: A) Number of radiators-How many surfaces are present that can reflect radiation? Essentially the number of surfaces and surface discontinuities. B) Modes of radiators-How do the radiators reflect? The general rule here is that specular reflections are preferable to edge diffraction, C) Array of radiators- How are the radiators arrayed? Do their reflection interfere destructively or constructively? You might be able to see that none of these include size, and that's because size is not a major factor in radar cross section for objects that kill running waves on surfaces. I could scale an F-22 up to three times its volume and it would have roughly the same RCS. In addition, wavelength is not a factor in RCS, so you're ""different wavelengths have different efficacy"" statement simply fails there. -Loss factor is composed of atmospheric loss, internal attenuation in the antenna, and fluctuation loss from tracking a moving object. While the target affects fluctuation loss, it's the target's speed and not its size that matters. Size affects none of these factors. Size has no effect on how effective certain frequencies of radars are. Whoever told you that was simply wrong.
  • Size has no effect on how effective certain frequencies of radars are. Whoever told you that was simply wrong. Size certainly does have an effect when you consider frequency wavelengths and resonance. A larger aircraft is better suited to counter lower frequency radars because the radar waves are much longer, and by definition you'd need a larger aircraft to counter the half-resonance factor of longer wavelengths.
  • That book by Ben Rich was one of the most enriching experiences I've had with a book as an aviation enthusiast.
  • I agree - it was a mind-blowing read even when I was a kid. Now that I'm older and get trusted managing people & budgets, I find myself referencing it.
  • I'm asking about your reference to the F-22 radar being so great. Wouldn't they have it turned off typically? They aren't going to stealthy throwing out radio waves for a hundred miles. I'm no expert but why wouldn't they rely on some sort of data connection to an AWACS?
  • That's pretty much what I thought and why I asked about the AWACS. I'm more of an early jet fan myself and don't know much about the modern ones. But I am a radio buff. Thanks
  • F-22 being an air superiority fighter, the tight beamed phased array radar being detected is an ""oh shit"" moment for an enemy fighter as it would most likely mean they are headed straight into an air-to-air missile; enemy regional surface radar would have been long gone (or hidden) at this point.
  • Phased array may sound Star Trek but has been around since WW2 at least, my high school radio station had one If an F-22 has it's radar turned on, then why wouldn't the location of that radar be detectable, at least to the point you'd have a good idea where to aim all your big radar transmitters. I assume the F-22 has fully active radar missiles. And are you saying in your last sentence that the F-22 wouldn't operate over countries that still have functional surface radar? permalink
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