posted on Aug, 29 2017 @ 03:22 PM
a reply to: face23785
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Northernhollow
It started as an escort for the F-117 but expanded into the Spark Vark mission after it went away.
Lots ideas have been kicked around.
The F-117 is no full aspect stealth fighter, its optimized against specific frequencies and thus didnt do that well against others (xband vs lband
As an escort the companion could protect the F-117 against such threats, performing SEAD/DEAD or (later) jamming / direct electronic attack.
As Zaphod said in the quote, it replaced the EF-111 as a first hour support platform at some point during the Nineties, it was probably among the
first platforms to have a Suter style capability and stuff like that.
As for what it did initally back in the day - maybe just carrying two AGM-88s downrange, but many if not most think it had some kind of ISR mission as
well. This would entail going in first, loitering over the battlefield picking up targets and (somehow) handing them off to the F-117 (or mabye just
guiding the bombs themselves). Think of it kinda like a spotter-sniper team. Some have argued that this wouldnt be neccessary since the F-117 is fully
capable of picking up targets and guiding its weapons using its own FLIR/DILR system.
I dont think its so easy however, especially when we are talking about mobile or hidden targets in heavily defended areas.
Some time ago i found this piece on the net which sounds very convincing:
Yes the F-117 can self designate. But at the time of the Gulf War (with the original IRADS kit), it was said by some that the narrow
'handover' window between the FLIR (which acquired the target) and the DLIR imposed enormous restrictions on attack profiles (the aircraft had to be
flown virtually straight and level for an extended period, with a precisely flown and timed shallow dive mid-way), while co-operative designation
between F-117s was impossible for much the same reasons. The replacement kit apparently had wider look angles, removing this limitation. But hence the
speculation about third-party targeting for the -117 in some circs.
Looking at what they tried to do with the B-2/QUARZ combo i think its pretty logicial they would want something similar for the tactical realm as
Anyway, dont think the companion ever had an AtA capability, simply because i'm sure it was never designated as a fighter. At least initally.
Wouldnt be surprised if it carried heat seakers at some point though.
edit on 29-8-2017 by mightmight because: (no reason given)