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Stealth technology now a real threat to US forces?

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posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 10:22 AM
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Is the threat of stealth adversaries becoming real? For many years the mutterings of the US being attacked by stealth aircraft was half-baked alarmist propaganda and war mongering. But with the rapid proliferation of stealth technology, particularly in Europe, is it finally to the point where the US has to seriously consider the likelihood of facing stealth threats in future military operations within the 5-10 years timeframe –i.e. well within the lifecycle of current procurement programs.

For many years the US has operated safe in the knowledge that they do not face an immediate threat from stealth technology. There was no serious concern that the Iraqi’s would use stealth aircraft to counterattack in either GW1 or 2. Similarly the Taliban’s stealth capabilities (zero) did not enter into the equation during the invasion of Afghanistan. Even Serbia, who arguably represented the most technically competent of the US’s adversaries were not thought to have stealth.

But developments in Europe have demonstrated that stealth technology is no longer the sole preserve of the US. And the fact that much of the recent developments have been conducted with a high degree of secrecy reminds us that there could be more stealth out there than is immediately apparent. If the UK, Sweden, France and almost certainly Germany can produce stealth air vehicles, then can we seriously doubt that the Israelis, Russians or even South Africans cannot?

I am not for a moment suggesting that Western European nations are about to attack the US, nor that an enemy having a few stealth air vehicles is likely to turn the scales in their favor against the might of the USA (although nuclear weapons make certain match-ups moot). But there is similarly no doubt that an enemy equipped with stealth air vehicles has a credible means of inflicting very serious losses on the US in a conventional war.

The risk as I see it is exports to and propagation of the technology in ever less reliable nations. Europe needs to export its stealth technology which currently centers on UAV and UCAV designs. India, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Poland, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Czech Republic… the list of believable export customers for European stealth manufacturers goes on. Given the increasing reliance on exports that European manufacturers require, it would be likely that the upper-tier export customers (above) could get their hands on the technology before it is even deployed operationally with the home air forces –as can be seen with Eurofighter production prioritization.

The US is already planning to export stealth technology in the form of the F-35 and to a lesser extent the Global Hawk. With European UCAV/UAV designs on the market this trend can only increase –if the US refuses to export the current crop of UCAVs then it leaves the market wide open for European domination and would turn the tide on America’s strong position as an high-grade arms exporter. The time is near when America can no longer afford to maintain a two-tier export strategy, keeping the most advanced systems for home use.
It seems commonsensical that if the US maintains its current interventionist activities, that in the comparatively near term future US forces will face attack from stealthy UCAVs and Cruise missiles.

A.TT illustration of the proposed Dassault Neuron UCAV, which is expected to form the basis of a pan-European UCAV platform. (Based on full sized mock-up unveiled by Dassault in 2005):


A.TT illustration of the experimental BAe CORTEX “Raven” high altitude, long endurance, low observable (stealth) UAV:


A.TT illustration of the Dassault “Little Duke” Stealth UAV demonstrator:


The message from European manufacturers is clear; “We are here”. And with this, the UAV revolution –prophesized for many years, is finally dawning. And it will be a world in which the US’s established technological dominance will be under threat.




posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 11:11 AM
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Originally posted by planeman
But developments in Europe have demonstrated that stealth technology is no longer the sole preserve of the US......

......The message from European manufacturers is clear; “We are here”.....

.....And it will be a world in which the US’s established technological dominance will be under threat.


Well there is 'dominance' and there is 'dominance'.

Sadly some Americans really seem to think they can 'own' physics.

Firstly it has to be pointed out that Europe always was there (sometimes to the shock of the US military - as demonstrated by the MBB Lampyridae story).

Europe invented the idea of a practical stealth concept independantly of the USA and probably at around the same time (early - mid 1944).
Stealth has it's roots in the invention of radar and WW2 wartime use of radar which was mostly a European thing.

But considering the sheer level of 'infrastructure' and technical ability one needs to produce true stealth (and manufacture it on anything beyond the most one-off intensive effort) I wouldn't worry too much about it starting to appear amongst any potential 'enemies' anytime soon.

Neither the Taliban nor Al Quaeda is about to come at anyone with a stealth airforce for a long long time to come.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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Well... That's what I've been trying to say all along... USA just focuses on making their attack force strong, not their defense...



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 01:29 PM
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Well, frankly there are certain economic hurdles that come with stealth that one can not get around.

There are very few nations with the economic ability to build/purchase stealth aircraft in the numbers that would be required to threaten US air might, and only two - Russia and China - that are realistic potential adversaries.

In short, I believe that the 5-10 year window you site is unrealistic. I believe that in 20 years you will see a real proliferation of the technology.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 02:43 PM
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UCASs aren't made with the best stealth material and RAM like the B-2 is. They're material is stealthy, but their size and shape plays a big role in their stealthiness too. Thats why a couple of countries are able to make them. They still either don't know how or can't afford to make 'B-2 quality' material and RAM.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 02:55 PM
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True NW, but, if its a UCAV, do they have to?

If B-2 mission loss rates are say 1%, and the 100 times cheaper UCAV 10%, the UCAV is still the more cost effective option.


EDIT: Before someone goes mad and says B-2 loss rates are nothing like 1%, I'm using it as a basis for comparison, the UCAV can have a much cheaper and "rougher" construction and still do the job.

[edit on 20-12-2005 by kilcoo316]



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
Well... That's what I've been trying to say all along... USA just focuses on making their attack force strong, not their defense...


Not true. As it happens, CLO technology is just as classified (if not more classified) than LO technology, and CLO capabilities are not strongly advertised. The "cat is out of the bag" with stealth..........but our CLO technologies and systems are still under wraps. When and if it becomes necessary to reveal them , be certain that our CLO systems will be just as effective as our LO systems were 15 years ago.



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 03:05 PM
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all it takes is 1 *stealth* UCAV to carry i cannister of Agent *X* and then you have lots of dead peole with there skin melting off and no one has a clue where it came from (but bombs iran and syria anyway)



posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:24 PM
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I think is quite foolish to underestimate the US forces or technology. You always see other countries show their existing stealth technologies, however they have yet to make an operational vehicle. And reading and theorising about it is not the same as actually doing it.

I would compare it to the exploration of Mars. You have a learning curve and you can't skip it. That's what happened to the ESA with the Mars express/beagle programme. It failed because they miscalculate the strength of the impact to the ground. Look at the two Rovers from NASA a year after and still working. Same case with Stealth.

Besides remember that they are about 20 years ahead of what they reveal...



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 04:38 AM
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Interesting theory, the US only reveals what is 20 years old while everyone else reveals what they are doing now. That wouldn't be very clever would it. For example, BAE has revealed the Replica and the Corax, but how does anyonme know they haven't been revealed because they are now out of date? It seems accepted that America does this but doesn't occur to anyone that other countries might.

As you say in your opening line;


I think is quite foolish to underestimate the US forces or technology.


You could substitute 'the US' with 'Anybody's' and you would have a truer statement.



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 05:46 AM
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Originally posted by carcharodon
Besides remember that they are about 20 years ahead of what they reveal...



and so could the brits or russians or chinese be as well



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 05:58 AM
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Stealth technology now a real threat to US forces?

Personally, stealth has the potential to be a real threat to anyone, including the US.

From a humorous and sarcastically subjective point of view: If stealth is not a realistic threat to Russia because of its vaunted and godly stealth detecting and UFO downing anti-air SAM systems, like the S-400, etc [as some have openly asserted withn this very forum], I am likewise having a hard time believing that stealth would be a significant threat to the US, forces included. See the irony and paradox here?






seekerof

[edit on 21-12-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 07:26 AM
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Thats along the same lines as I was saying seekerof, there seems to be quite a lot of these selective contradictions on posts lately.

So we are to take it that Stealth is not worth having as its easily defeated yet the USA shgould be very worried that so many others are develping it, however the US can take comfort from the fact that they only reveal obsolete technologies that have already been superceded whereas the rest of the world is showing everything they've got. Yes, that must be right



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 09:24 AM
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but this picture MUST be true





as stealth = invisible



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 10:07 AM
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Well one would suspect that if you create a platform that uses stealth technology then you would also be aware of what counters that technology. This is what happens during the course of R&D and final technology proving tests. And if all you did was copy someone else's design, which happens to have stealth inherently incorporated, then you will probably be a little behind in the defense aspect. It's not like the US and European countries are exporting the stealth-defeating defense systems along with the aircraft to all these other nations. That would just be silly.



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 10:33 AM
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It's really surprising that someone thinks that some drawings mean advanced stealth programm. I can draw some nice pics today and say I am able to develop fully functional stealth aircraft
. I don't know why you suppose that after such little research effort the EU, Russia or China will be able to outperform US in stealth. Remeber that US HAD stealth planes for 25 years and they are THE ONLY ONE, who has the experience in operating them. Other countries are simply behind, because they cannot invest that much into R&D. USAF now has 3 types of stealth planes and soon they will have 4th one. They have a longyear experience with stealth and they invested maybe up to 100 billion $ in R&D. They tested F-117, F-22 and B-2 for DECADES. They know for example how that little bump near the nose affects the RCS, they now know how the different atmospheric conditions affect the RAM materials and so on and so on... Other countries have no such experiences, so it is unrealistic to expect them to be on the same level as US soon. The only way how to do it would be to spend much more $$$ on R&D than US to cut the US advance - actually the exact oposite happens - US are spending more and more money on defense than their competitors.

And to the stealth planes threating US military - it's quite unlikely. Because the US have most experience with stealth systems they MUST have most experience how to deal with them, and I can assure you that they are the best experts in identyfiing stealth weaknesses.

[edit on 21-12-2005 by longbow]



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 10:35 AM
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India's MCA to fly in 8 years


BANGALORE: The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the aircraft design house of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bangalore has formed a core team to design a medium combat aircraft (MCA), an advanced multi-role fighter with stealth capabilities.

Besides incorporating many features of the indigenous single-engine Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that is undergoing flight trials, the MCA will use radar-absorbent materials to reduce detection by radars, making it a stealth fighter.

The new generation fighter is expected to replace the Jaguar and the Mirage-2000 fleet of the Indian Air Force in the coming decades.The design work is getting ready. It should be completed in a year,” DRDO sources told DNA.

The advanced aircraft will be build with extensive use of composites and have smart sensors like micro electronic mechanical systems (MEMS), that can automatically detect strains or weaknesses in the airframe or wings. “The IAF is giving a lot of inputs for the design,” sources said.

Once the design is frozen, the DRDO would present the project to the government for sanction of the MCA project estimated to cost about Rs 6000 to Rs 8000 crore. The MCA will be a 12 tonne weight class fighter with a maximum take-off weight of about 18 tonnes.

It is to be powered by two “thrust vector’’ engines that facilitate controlling the flight by controlling its thrust, giving the pilot greater manoeuvrability.

Only two aircrafs's - the Sukhoi30 MKI, now manufactured in India under license and the American FA/22 raptor fighter-are powered by thrust vector engines.

But there are snags in developing Kaveri, the indigenous engine that will be used for the LCA and upgraded for the MCA. The DRDO has invited bids from global engine makers to participate in building the engine.

Many systems and technologies developed in India for the LCA, Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) like the flight control systems and composite wings will be used in the MCA.

“It will take about six to eight years for the first aircraft to be developed,” sources said.
Full Article >>


New pics of the proposed MCA are out ... obtained by rakall of BR from an ADA presentation at an IIT.... the entire ADA presentation has been leaked ... and hosted at link

Posted with credits to rakall :

This seems to be the design that is fianlised (as stated in the article):


^^ evloved from the LCA and shares commonality with the LCA



IMHO it looks a lot like the F-35.

It appears to be in a pretty advanced stage ... because Pakistan just bought the "best for anti-stealth role" VERA-E radars a month back ... the announcement that the prototype is 6-8 years away is also suggestive of the level of its completion .... further since its a development of the LCA (which just entered production), it might not take very long.

However the MCA is NOT a threat to the US



[edit on 21-12-2005 by Stealth Spy]



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 10:49 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
Interesting theory, the US only reveals what is 20 years old while everyone else reveals what they are doing now. That wouldn't be very clever would it. For example, BAE has revealed the Replica and the Corax, but how does anyone know they haven't been revealed because they are now out of date? It seems accepted that America does this but doesn't occur to anyone that other countries might.

As you say in your opening line;


I think is quite foolish to underestimate the US forces or technology.


You could substitute 'the US' with 'Anybody's' and you would have a truer statement.


Actually no. The thing is that other countries are trying to catch up. So when you are trying to look like the leader you show the best that you got. I don't think that BAE or Russian bureau had developed advanced projects into planes that actually fly. Concepts sure. Flying planes... no However Skunkworks, NorthGrum or Boeing from time to time surprises us with planes that we didn't know they existed.

Therefore non us plane makers have to catch up. There is a giant thread on whether any current plane can intercept a Blackbird, a 60's plane and most of the threads concur that no modern plane could do it. So if they are having trouble with an almost sixty years old plane, imagine the kind of problems that they would have with what LM Aeronautics Palmdale is building right now.

As far as I know no other country besides the US operational black projects. You never hear of an Aurora type plane/spacecraft from any other country. You hear that some general shows a mock-up, but just that. You hear that Russia says it will develop their 5th gen. fighter by 2007 to counter today's Raptor. For the selection of the JSF finalist BAE didn't go along, it teamed with Northrop and McDonnell Douglas, and if you look at their plane it was a smaller YF-23

www.jsf.mil...

So the US and only the US is 20 years ahead not so much in ideas but on actual production models and I don't think there is any country at the moment that comes close.



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 10:58 AM
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Longbow, very kind of you to mark out your post as 'nonsense'. Saves time reading it


Sorry, that was a bad joke.

Seriously though, when you talk of this all American dominance in stealth you remind me of a programme on stealth that aired on the History Channel a few weeks ago, here a senior project manager from the F-117 talked of how certain goals were met in the programme and how certain problems were overcome etc etc, the thing is this guy was British and was working with Lockheed rather than for them so America's allies, or some of them, must have been involved in these programmes right from the beginning. Also RAF crews have flown F-117 missions themselves. I'd say that changes greatly the way you must view 'foreign' stealth activity. Also you dismiss these projects as mere 'drawings'. Am I to take it then that you have not seen the Photo's of the BAe Corax Raven or the Italian and Swedish UCAV test vehicles that have flown recently?

Of course it is true that America has a huge advantage due to its immense defence budget, but that does not negate the overseas efforts in the way you seem to think it does, nor does it make these efforts mere copies.

Another point is that just because it has taken the US decades to get where it is now, that does not mean the US is the same number of years ahead of everyone else. That is the penalty the US has to pay for being the first to really make the effort to develop these technologies. The fact that no-one did it before made for process being laborious and painstaking for the US as they had no 'reference material' to check back with. However once something has been invented by someone it is much easier for everyone else to quickly catch up and benefit greatly from what is, by now, already known thanks to the pioneers.

It has always been this way. For example look how long it took for the first jet planes to be produced, and then look how quickly that new technology proliferated once proven. So it will be with stealth because, if nothing else, the rest of the world now knows far more than the USA did when it first started, this is inevitable and has always been the bane of inventors in all walks.



posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 11:13 AM
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Originally posted by carcharodon

I don't think that BAE or Russian bureau had developed advanced projects into planes that actually fly. Concepts sure. Flying planes... no


Er.....
external image



Therefore non us plane makers have to catch up. There is a giant thread on whether any current plane can intercept a Blackbird, a 60's plane and most of the threads concur that no modern plane could do it. So if they are having trouble with an almost sixty years old plane, imagine the kind of problems that they would have with what LM Aeronautics Palmdale is building right now.


Thats not a technology issue though is it, it is because nobody sees the actual operational need for planes of that performance - this applies to the US as well where the F-18 is about 3-400mph slower than the F-14 that preceded it, it is a global trend and the reason why the Blackbird still cannot be intercepted by a manned fighter,l even the Raptor, don't forget.


As far as I know no other country besides the US operational black projects. You never hear of an Aurora type plane/spacecraft from any other country. You hear that some general shows a mock-up, but just that. You hear that Russia says it will develop their 5th gen. fighter by 2007 to counter today's Raptor. For the selection of the JSF finalist BAE didn't go along, it teamed with Northrop and McDonnell Douglas, and if you look at their plane it was a smaller YF-23


And also 'as far as you know' the Aurora might not even exist so why should it matter that other nations don't speak of theior own version of it?

Also the Aurora - or what we all think it might be - represents an entirely different type of machine and has no bearing on what other countries might or might not know about stealth UCAV's.

Likewise the BAE JSF position, again this was for reasons of cost, not technology. The biggest advantage of UCAV's is that they are much cheaper than manned aircraft so it is an area where such as BAE might concentrate all their efforts whilst the US has to spread its budgert over many expensive programmes, meaning that in this one area the BAE UCAV might be just as well developed as its American rival. In actual fact I think all these European UCAV demonstrators are aimed solely at jockeying for position on a pan European collaborative venture, after all, you can't insist on a major say in the programme if you haven't even built anything yourself can you.



[edit on 21-12-2005 by waynos]



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