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The Stealth Stalemate

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posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 03:46 PM
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As we all know, stealth is becoming one of the most powerful and desireable technologies available for military aircraft. You cannot kill what you cannot see, after all. Air superiority fighters, I'll use the F/A-22 as an example, are becoming harder to track, harder to engage, and thus more and more difficult to shoot down. Engagments are taking place at longer ranges, where only radar can identify a target. As we move into the future, this technology will, without a doubt, become far more advanced.


The US won't be the only one advancing in this technology. Other world powers will be following suit, and following quickly in order to compete, I imagine. Let's say in the future that the US and Russia develop two new stealth planes. Both are completely invisible to radar. Taking it further, let's say the US gets into a conflict with either Russia, or a country that Russia has sold these new stealth fighters to. Two invisible plans, perhaps even equipped with jamming devices that will render enemy radar useless.


Stealth stalemate. They can't see or track one another. A long range engagement is then out of the question, since their missiles can't lock onto something that they cannot see. So, what then? Will the two planes have to resort to dogfighting, or will they simply bug-out and go home since it's impossible to lock on with longer range missiles?





Concerns and issues with a 'stealth stalemate':

- Fighting new with old? The age of dogfighting is no more, and something that's more suited for past conflicts. But in the event of a stalemate, how do you fight stealth when you yourself are just as stealthy? Will pilots (either conventional pilots or remote pilots controlling unmanned aircraft) be forced to visually identify targets and then move in to engage in close range fighting like pilots from previous wars?


- Guns. In the event of the above scenario happening, pilots may have to rely on guns rather than most missiles again. But, one of the only aircraft today that still uses a gun regularly is the Warthog (praise be to the 'hog). Air-to-air combat pilots are used to missiles. In the event of stealth stalemate, will pilots of the day be too inexperienced with guns to successfully engage with them, if guns are still on planes with a decent load of ammunition at all? Will planes then be reconfigured to rely more on sophisticated guns than missiles?






Debate the above comments as you will. But, pleaaaase don't anyone say 'Ha, Russia can never catch the US in stealth or aviation technology!' For the sake of discussion. Add in any other concern/issues if you wish.




posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 04:38 PM
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First off, I thnk there is a misconception of what stealth technology is when applied to "invisible". Stealth capabilities allow a plane to evade, absorb, or reflect radar emissions. This simply equates to making the plane appear "invisible" to radar by lowering its RCS, the lower the better. Anti-stealth technology is out there and with the increased importance of stealth applied technologies, undoubtedly, anti-stealth technologies will also increase proportionally.

You make a very valid point with your commentary on a possible stealth stalemate. This is an interesting theory and quite plausible. What I would propose is that stealth not be equated to or regarded as the "end-game" when applied to electronic countermeasures. There are limitations to stealth, one being its ability to be detected by bi-static radar, by IRST methods, etc.

If two like stealth aircraft were to engage, if neither had the ability to 'detect', then it would appear that things would boil down to a 'visibility' (visual contact/observation) issue. This would either result in a close in missile contest or dogfight. The "inexperienced" question you raise, to me, is not entirely valid, in that many air forces still practice old-fashioned style of air-combat. Yes, the missile engagement scenerio's are the most trained and practiced, but using the 'gun' is also, despite the different air-combat doctrines and philosophy's of a number of Air Forces.





seekerof

[edit on 31-12-2004 by Seekerof]



posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 07:24 PM
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Just a point, but stealth capability doesnt make the aircraft INVISIBLE, it reduces the RCS to a point where its impossible to differentiate between legitimate targets and non legitimate targets. For example, the F-117 appears as a sparrow, but if it doesnt fly like a sparrow, and you can track items that small, then the stealth capability is lost, because tghe F-117 certainly doesnt fly like a sparrow and would appear obvious. The issue with this is that the smaller the item, the more radar power is required, which picks up lots of even smaller items and junk signals.



posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 08:42 PM
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One problem with your theory, this theory only exists if Radar Technology does not advance. That will not happen.

Stealth in no way shape or form means the aircraft is "invisible" The aircraft does not cloak. The aircraft only has a reduced RCS.

Also, the Radar will advance in technology, being more capable of detecting stealth. The most effective usage of invisibility would be cloaking and stealth together. However, we are way off on that.

But the idea is simple and clear, but I doubt it will ever happen. And the age of dogfighting has not ended, as long as aircraft are equiped with the machine gun cannon, then dogfighting will forever exist. If not, it will exist in a more deadlier form, the form of lasers being used instead of gun cannons.

A more precise and deadly weapon.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 09:21 PM
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Heh, I know that stealth doesn't make an aircraft literally "invisible". I'm just speaking figuratively.


And if the age of dogfighting isn't over, I'd say that it's in it's waning years. Especially as technology progresses and long range engagements become more and more common. But I can't help but wonder what kind of designs would be implemented in the event of a stealth stalemate, and the two planes were forced to get up close and personal frequently. Perhaps drifting back to multiple cannons that were more frequent in the second World War, but concealed internally until they needed to be used? Ah, well.


Even if new anti-stealth technology, and better forms of detection, are created and implemented, isn't it logical that the other side will quickly, if not immediately, improve upon their stealth designs and solve the problem? I can't help but think that the only way stealth fighters will be shot down in the future is by more old fashioned methods. Until cloaking comes about (which... is a creepy thought) no stealth craft can be invisible to the naked eye, which makes visual identification the reliable method of detection in terms of stealth on stealth fighting. At least, that's how I've always thought of it. But I'm a dork.



posted on Dec, 31 2004 @ 10:47 PM
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This is going to be a problem, though I think that the country practicing in a certain area for a longer given time will have the better product.

Donít expect IRST to rescue you and really donít expect radar to play anymore of a role then they do today.
It will probably come down to a combination of real time image magnification, laser walls, air and vibration/atmospheric disturbance, and electro magnetic interference...

Fighter/Attackers are becoming quieter, stealthier in the sense of visual, IR, and radar, and extreme levels of electronic evasion in the case of the F/A-22 and F/A-35...



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