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Visual Stealth for F-16's?

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posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 07:27 AM
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Visual Stealth?
Not in the often thought of method using plasma or LCD panels on the aircraft but with a simple digital paint pattern, more accurately referred to as a "visual mitigation method".
This paint scheme is composed by a computer and is deemed far more difficult to see than normal "analog" camoflage patterns.

Already the US Army (and Jordanian Army) have migrated toward such a design in their combat fatigues, now they are putting it on aircraft.

Although this article concerms the Jordanian Air Force it bears mentioning that such patterns are being experimented with the USAF as well.



Link




posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 07:54 AM
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Most western armies have moved that way... at least Finnish army and bundeswehr for certain (and most other will be doing the move soon)

external image

[edit on 9-1-2006 by northwolf]

Mod Edit: Image Size – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 13/1/2006 by Mirthful Me]



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 08:19 AM
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Does look awesome...

I wonder how hard it would be to paint the fuel tanks
and all the missles launchers and missiles/bombs



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 09:49 AM
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Would the bottom of the plane be painted to match or blend with the sky and clouds? I would like to see what they plan to do with the bottom of the plane itself.



posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 10:54 PM
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IG,

First off it's completely fake, I remember the photo perspective and of course the Jordanians fly the F-16ADF, not the F-16CJ.

This is the same picture, unretouched.

www.fas.org...

This looks like some gits idea of camouflage (it doesn't come /close/ to matching the speculars of the background) based on one something out of the Mossy Oak catalogue.

www.mossyoak.com...

At which point a little starters guide to camouflage is in order. While we all differ in the way we interpret the world by gender, training and individual genetics the basics of -ranged- detection remain the same in terms of order search/recognition priorities.

1. Brightness
Separation of near far and background as hollow vs. halo'd images
2. Polar Shift
Brightness in phased motion, usually as a kind of 'glare' effect. Can be aided by training the eye to focus at infinity and then looking for the blurs of near/far motion.
3. External shape separation
As a function of binocular stereoscopy 'popping' a 2D shape out of the background.
4. Color differentiations (in females this is often 2 or 3)
Whereby detail tonal or value definitions are 'off'.
5. Intrashape definitions.
The point where a leopards dots no longer break up the shape into a million little rosettes of 'not cat' but rather simply make the whole shape seemingly detach itself from the background as an unnatural shape.

In general, particularly if you don't have a specific object to focus on, the eye of the modern human tends to 'fuzz out' at a distance of about 3-5 feet. After which all things both physiologically (weakened focal muscle groups) and psychologically blend into an expectation zone of very little change. It is one of the biggest causes of car crashes on open roads and one of the driving behaviors behind the irritation of tail-gating.

Pilots train themselves to 'look past' this hazar by maintaining a scan from cloud to cloud, river to road and as many other 'visual dialogue' differentiatable features as they can identify to keep their head up and eyes outside the immediate cockpit environment.

That said, the airplane is such a LARGE shape and the 3D (perspectv expectation) distances so huge that there is little point in going to the extremes of branching and other mini-splinter patterns shown because by the time the eye /could/ be fooled in their shape-breakup of the wings and fuselage, the jet will be so close that it will not be possible to mask the 'airplane shaped hole in sky' effect fof it' gross motion.

Indeed, to some kinds of seeker, you may enhance the trackable contrast.

Instead, what you want is an aspecular tone which neither adds to nor absorbs from the ambient light index in a tone which shares as many background values (and TOD intensites) as possible. A dull Dark Gull Grey with a countershaded Aggressor Grey or even a SEA Tan reddish tone would match as well as the green and sand shown and have /vastly/ lower maintainability issues in terms of refresh under a 'topcoat' of some kind of anti-polarizing clear microfilm (as the 'teflon' F-22 and V-22 schemes supposedly involve).

The USAF supposedly painted an F-16 in just such a simple scheme of precisely matched brightness 'specular match', just prior to Desert Storm and wingman flying within 1,200ft routinely lost visual contact and had to be talked back from combat to finger to route distances.

Not surprisingly, it was also more effective on concrete and indeed, when a simple false-shadow splinter was also painted on the background ramp, the jet was visually indistinguishable from the cheapest of deceptive 2D 'decoys' prior to overflight.

Another 'camo expert', Keith Ferris, also commented that as the eye developed new expectation patterns that the effectiveness of ANY camo pattern would decrease and so he recommended that not only all secondary markings and symmetries of shape be removed (his was the original idea for the false canopy). But that aircraft be painted differently from each other with significant modification of those schemes, every 2-3 weeks.

As to the two questions about painting the ordnance and stores with similar complex tones and underside colors, I can only speculate by saying that I doubt if Raytheon or Lockheed's warrantee would last through modification of their proprietary (heat resistant) coatings but that there is a historical counter example in which white rocket pods and ECM pods on 'Night Owl' Fast FACs in Vietnam were given a rapid 'squiggle coat' using spray cans of black paint to match the F-4D's bottomside.

Again, you just cannot expect the same kinds of 'strip the receiver, trigger group and barrel and you're good to go' as you can wth say the SOF mod camo schemes on their Mk.4 carbines. Because (at least if they use the technique pioneered by the MO folks) you need to have a chemical bath that literally disolves a printed 'decal', leaving a die pattern floating on the surface like a film of oil which the weapon stock picks as you dip-and-roll it past.

Again, nobody is going to want g00k (damn censor) in the actuators and nozzle plenum, not to mention seeker, from a deliberate immersion in some exotic chemical. Even supposing that it would stick on a 400 knot air load but burn off to leave things like that graphite fins thermal properties undamaged at highly supersonic velocities.

Ventral camo only shows to the man who is going to kill you, belly side on, because you 'flashed' your wings. As such bright bottoms are not worth the effort for a lolo (non SEAD/Air Dominating) Air Force concerned about A2A acquisition.

Even as conservative maneuver schemes and standoff munitions do more to keep you buriend in the 'high violet' saturated blues of 15-25,000ft against S2A threats.

Indeed while it may /seem/ that you can see forever by looking up, the reality is more typically that a haze band composed of pollutant and water vapor obscurrants between 10 and 15,000ft hides ANYTHING above it which is not conning or flashing (and if you see an F-16 go from nose-on to flat plate coming out of the chute, you're already about 20 seconds shy of taking the bombs he just DT'd onto your forehead).

Of course the ultimate camouflage is a laser which dazzles your eye, creating synthetic bright spots which your physiolgic 'auto-gain' decreases the sensitivity of until you are effectively one giant scotoma. At that point, you might as well make the canopy opaque because IR systems like DAS will acquire and sort/track targets vastly more quickly, at longer ranges and without limitations of head movement or acceleration pinning.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 11:15 PM
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Yeah. the photo is a fake...But its an official fake...meaning it was done by hyperstealth, so people could see what it would look like...On their site they have several examples of "normal" pics, and then they edit the picture to show what the object would look like with there digital stealth look on it.

heres a real pic of an F/A-18 with that stealth technique.

F/A-18 camo



posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 11:57 PM
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Originally posted by ch1466
IG,

First off it's completely fake, I remember the photo perspective and of course the Jordanians fly the F-16ADF, not the F-16CJ.

Jeez...
a dozen paragraphs when you coulda just said the idea stinks.
Murcielago is of course correct, it is retouched simply as an illustration of the paint scheme.




posted on Jan, 13 2006 @ 01:47 AM
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Haha i have the original pic of this viper in one of the folders containg a few hundreds pics of my favourite fighter!

Without this paint the F-16 is already too small to be seen at a distance. But at least its cooler than the "european one" paint scheme for the A-16 program.

BTW how do i stop the page from refreshing when i'm typing this? Wats wrong? I had to redo it all over again juz now!



posted on Jan, 13 2006 @ 03:10 PM
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Murcielago,

It's important to delineate what this camo is NOT as a function of why it _does not_ work. And that's hard to do when there is so little picture area to highlight the 'snow job in the desert' lies in advertising.

And that pure misinformation only becomes successfully accepted as 'truth' occurs when no one is interested in disproving it's success as a marketing tool.

Here is a larger pairing of the relevant images to highlight my points-

www.fas.org...
www.fas.org...

1. The color tones are too rich and too pure.
Both to be real and to be effective against the far field earth tones background which is MUCH duller.
2. The lines shown are _much_ more fluid (alinear curves)
Which is to say less suitable for the 'digitization process' of linked (square) pixels.
3. It is much to densely populated.
Which is particularly ironic because one of the basis' of argument for digital camoulage is that it offers breakup-within-the-breakup using layered patches of shadow and countershade that can make all shapes from none. Of course given this is most likely Iraq or Turkey during ONW/OSW, the notion that Jordan might not even /look/ like this must also be entertained. Imagine that scheme over the port of Aqaba for instance.

Something to be particularly wary of since the 'next step' to such deceptive manipulation is to also alter the background so that it 'better fits the illusion' of the jet.

In reference to your F/A-18 shot, here they have rendered the dark grey patches _so dull_ (no specular off the smooth metal at all) that it seems that the focal distance between the jet and the hole in it is vastly different. But the breakup still does NOTHING to hide the overall 'larger hole' of the airframe against the building+sky horizon. Nor would it mask a blue jet against tan concrete where 'the background' is not itself artificially brightened to remove the shadows and match tonal definition.

And this in turn only serves to emphasize the false visual psychogy by which a human views near-field objects as if that was the 'only' specular reflectance index that mattered. When in point of truth, these systems can kill them from MILES beyond 'comfortable viewing distances'.

At these longer distances, it should be noted, _air glows_. With not consciously discernable but still polarizaton-sensed refractive diffusion (scattered out of phase by passage through the air and any obscurrants). Like a Fresnel Filter. And to be effective against this 'far field' (and all the air inbetween) AIR background, a jet must often appear lighter and more washed out in the foreground.

When I see 'digital' camouflage I think more of these schemes-

www.myaviation.net...
www.airsceneuk.org.uk...
www.airtattoo.com...
www2.arnes.si...
www2.arnes.si...
www.wpeu.net...
www.aeronautics.ru...

Which are again, NOT intended for effective use _at combat distances_ but DELIBERATELY to highlight the airframe shape at 'airshow distances' like a painted whore sales gimmick. If you take that rich a color to altitude, it will saturate to BLACK.

Ignoring radar, powered (electro) optics such as OSF's optical channel and the TCS, which still work better than IRST for daylight CAVU conditions, see all the light coming off a jet. And whereever you have color contrasts of more than a few shades of the same gradient tone, that will be a stark BLACK PANEL contrast on the jet. And so keeping nose-on, level to your opponents viewing horizon, with a dull WHITE or brushed-silver reflective radome may well be better (minimized profile, neutral specular index) than any other option.

But put that white radome 3 feet over the ground and everyone will laugh and say how dorky.

The difference being that you cannot use shapes to replicate light-scatter at range. And it's only at range where camouflage really matters in aircombat.


KPl.


Some additional LINKS-

Miramar 2004, 'Fractal 18'
socalairshows.com...

Dull-over-Dull = 'Ugly But Effective' Aspecular Green-16
www.f-16.net...
www.f-16.net...



posted on Jan, 13 2006 @ 04:12 PM
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ch1466 - So your basically saying that you dont think this type of camo will do a very good job...yes?

I dissagree.

I didn't read your whole post though...who does?
I dont really like to type or read that much...thats why in nearly half of all my post is a picture.



posted on Jan, 13 2006 @ 11:07 PM
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Murcielago,

Neither of the camo schemes shown will work at altitude. Period. Dot.

If you are forced to rug burner heights, you have already yielded pole position to the medium altitude LDSD shooter and increased by an /order of magnitude/ the number of trashfire threats that can now hit you in both transit/ingress and target areas, on the cheap. Lastly, you will halve your effective payload:radius numbers for any constant of Mach point relative to a higher altitude approach.

OTOH, if you want to track an aircraft against the ground, it helps to have a pilots eye for the terrain and any radar which the enemy must try to avoid in terms of scaling terrain elevation vs. true horizon LOS.

At which point, it becomes relatively simple to find a spot of sand or high contrast terrain and simply look for the moving shadow or wake plume if not polarized light shift from a HUGE (48X32ft) obscurrence of background.

If Jordan was serious about survivable airpower, they would do the following four things:

1. Buy 1,000 decoys.
Complete with retroflector 'mass simulant' and thermal mapped (shadow on ramp, fuel in the wings) radiometric signature emulation.
2. They would triple the number of sheltered airfields. Even if they are only coverred sand revetments. If you can't SEE the airframe because it is under something else, you must target ALL the places where the target can be.
3. Make serious investments in dispersal ops and networked IADS.
There is NO reason to play Shell Game Rules with a street con. Because you know he's palmed the pebble. At the same time, if the shill comes up with a (SAM) knife, you even catching the crime can mean little.
4. Buy Cruise or accurate TBM.
Because buildings don't move and a 10ft missile coming in waves of 10-20 at a time will run either and OCA or DCA shooter out of position if not missiles without risking a SINGLE friendly airframe.

Multielement 'Pattern' Camouflage is for small vehicles and the idiots who fight on foot. Where they are too slow to generate their own 'glare' of motion and must occupy or decamp from fixed positions which are both subject to direct observation. And have sufficient object density to blend with.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by ch1466
If you are forced to rug burner heights, you have already yielded pole position to the medium altitude LDSD shooter and increased by an /order of magnitude/ the number of trashfire threats that can now hit you in both transit/ingress and target areas, on the cheap. Lastly, you will halve your effective payload:radius numbers for any constant of Mach point relative to a higher altitude approach.

OTOH, if you want to track an aircraft against the ground...
KPl.

You make some very good points; I wonder therefore if this camo pattern could be to enhance the survivability of a stationary aircraft on the ground?



posted on Jan, 14 2006 @ 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by ch1466
IG,

First off it's completely fake, I remember the photo perspective and of course the Jordanians fly the F-16ADF, not the F-16CJ.

This is the same picture, unretouched.

www.fas.org...

KPl.



Well written, easy to follow and interesting.


I voted you "way above."

Thanks.



posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 04:34 AM
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IntelGurl,

AAQ-33 Sniper-

www.aiaa.org...

Detects (large and/or structural) targets at 40miles what LANTIRN struggles to pull out of the background at 12. It just about 'photographs' vehicle sized masses from 20nm what LANTIRN is roughly resolving at about 4-6.

And then there are SAR images like this-

www.mindfully.org...

Which, while taking advantage of the tighter bandwidth registry of Ku is installed in a 'throwaway' (APY-8) installation aboard a Predator yet provide a 55km/1ft resolution capability.

With these kinds of imaging, even if I have to rely on offboard systems like the E-8 or RQ-1 to get them (along with a GPS coordinate grid overlay for DMPI setting), I'm not terribly concerned with how 'invisible' a grounded jet is to nominal .4-.76 or even 1.1-1.3 bands of human and NVD light based detection. Because I'm never going to get that close.

Indeed, as soon as you show me (AWACS) trade, I'm going to send a Raptor across the wire and drop upwards of EIGHT of these-

www.chairforce.com...

From about 60-80nm out at Mach 1.5 and 50,000ft. (Halve this for a subsonic F-16 or JSF equivalent threat or a Rafale with AASM, halve it again if the target is HAS'd and you need the full 1.6m roof penetration energy from a tailored terminal trajectory angle...).

Because as long as I'm reasonably stealthy I can likely breach a loose overlap of route-layered area defense missiles like the S-400 and Aster without worrying about conventional rollback options.

And as long as I'm rich enough to be able to 'spray' 64,000 dollar SDB around, 30-50 deep per target matrix.

Where I'm not sure what termite mound has the badger under it, I will simply _wipe them all out_.

In this, there is just no getting around the fact that airpower is such a high value asset, that ANY (comint, doppler lookdown in the pattern or ground imaging system) activity cue you give with it is going to be veritably LEAPED upon by a U.S. OCA component structure 'eagerly' designed to defeat exactly that kind of large scale force metric. With a huge $:$ relative technology leveraging compared to what the grunt or even tank faces. Not just randomly or occasionally, but /every/ time it's detected.

Now, as to the specifics of your question, once you accept the technology modifier, I just don't see how you can avoid the IR penalties of multi-tonal paints with dense intra-pattern shape+shadow specular mixing in such stark contrasts. It appears-

www.sovereign-publications.com...

that technology has advanced to the point where some dyes and pigments these days give a /somewhat/ more even spectral response but IMO, whether you are trying to defeat a commando watching you taxi the damn thing around the base perimeter with a pair of X18 binoculars (at the ONE point, 10,000ft X 2, he knows to look for it). Or attempting to defeat a TFLIR driven I2R type missile (Maverick or Kedge) threat, the size of the aircraft is going to work highly against you in terms of 'it's just there', masking of a highly regular (high reflectivity of a uniform pattern) background.

As such, I would rather paint the jet a generic 'dull' brown-grey color like F.S. 36231 or 251 and then put the majority of my 'shadow building' into the ramp and structures around it. Because those kind of techniques will confuse and delay a fast jet (lolo laydown) pilot's acquisition from his 500 knot horizon line just long enough to spoil a first-better-be-the-last pass.

While building even a dense-pack cheapoid alternative to true HAS farming will largely shield just a thin-walled 'quonset' type environmental protection structure sufficiently from the sides (behind a sandbag berm) to let mutt-labor save aircraft by inhibiting the penetration of low (retarded or lofted = highly inaccurate) grazing angle releases that typify 'dumb bomb, smart HUD' as the bottom of the counterair threat field today.

i.e. the last bastion of purely optical targeting.

Just so long as they have no idea _specifically_ which sunshade has a plane underneath because an 'allied' state with access to overhead is not feeding them pics of noses sticking out from under camo nets at a low slant. You should be fine. Without sacrificing the airframe's high altitude paint scheme.

And it needn't apply only to the dummy air threats either. For such is the 'easy kill' belief in self-superiority which led to the (decoys-in-open, realjets-in-dispersal) exaggerated estimations on BIA by NATO OAF leadership. Resulting in their looking like /idiots/, three weeks later as TV cameras recorded the departure of 19 MiG-21s which had been 'entirely destroyed'.

Of course there are always modifiers in that USAF radar planes were somewhat hampered by local mountainous masking lines and so the tacjets were reduced to dropping through clouds using DBS patch coordinates and dumb weapons as an alternative to the odd IAM from a B-2.

And given there was largely no DCA threat, there was also no activity cue.

That won't happen now. Because the bombers are no longer hogging the JDAM and we have radars on tacjets that image as good as the JSTARS and Predator.

CONCLUSION:
If you want to make a jet invisible, you need to kill it's outline and specularity from all angles in all thermal/visual conditions. About the only way I can think of doing that is taking the SAAB Barracuda system of 'doormat' (literally, it looks like artificial turf) camouflage and shielding not just the top side but also all gaps and ground:belly openings.

www.militartekniska.se...

Just like the Aussies and Swedes have done with the MCS system and addon skirt hangar running gear covers for their Leopard 1A and Strv122-KWS upgrades.

anzacsteel.hobbyvista.com...
aeronautics.ru...

The problem being that a tank is only about 20ft long and more or less one solid, dense, mass. You can't hurt it with applique-screens designed specifically to breakup smooth/reflective surfaces with rough texture. And you can 'box it in', if need be, with wall-nets.

www.barracuda.se...
www.barracuda.se...

Try that on a jet with all those complex curves and you're gonna throw away more money than you would simply buying concrete and blow up doll lookalikes while training your pilots to land on shorter strips with portable MLS or FLOLS type opticals.

Visual camouflage 'mitigates' (attenuates) the visual signature effectively, ONLY when said signature is the predominant spectral method of targeting and engagement. That is certainly no longer the case with counter air anything. IMO.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 07:38 AM
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Originally posted by ch1466
Visual camouflage 'mitigates' (attenuates) the visual signature effectively, ONLY when said signature is the predominant spectral method of targeting and engagement. That is certainly no longer the case with counter air anything. IMO.

While I am quite familiar with the hardware mentioned and it's capabilities, I find myself struggling to find a reasonable explanation for Jordan going with this camo scheme.

Of course the artists rendering may not be accurate as far as saturation of colors and contrast between them, and the pattern may actually look more like the F-18 mentioned earlier (pictured below).

Perhaps Jordan just wanted something that looked cool and has no utilitarian use - much like the tiger striped CF-18 (also pictured below) I've seen pictures of.
I mean, it's not like they have actually engaged their aircraft in any of the regional flare-ups since the 6 day war. Nor are they likely to go up against any country which uses the specified hardware you mentioned. I realize that the Russian made aircraft in the region could have similar capabilities however.

As I've already said, you've made some good points, and consequently I find myself struggling to understand why they've chosen this camo scheme.






posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 08:02 PM
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aright stop picking apart the picture its just a example....if you think about it switching to digatal cammo onlt makes sence. it has been proven that the CG patterns "brake" yourlines up AMAZINGLEY well. i had the privalage of seeing one of the first aplactations as a woodland camo while atending a milatary acadamy. the sargent was standing agianst a forest background with grass infront of him..i was standing 50 meters away and i swear to this day all i could see was 2 blurs for legs and a floating head.
i mean what would be the advantage of making an airplane harder to see ?

it is not the picture its the idea of aplying digatal camo to an airplane

i will admit the one flaw...it would b such a pain to fly information.....close quartes menuvaring and braking up lines is not a good idea..

but you put this on a B1 or an A-10 planes that act on there own alot and you might just have somethign worth looking at



posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 09:59 PM
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IG,

>>
I find myself struggling to find a reasonable explanation for Jordan going with this camo scheme.
>>

Exactly. If they want to advertise it for 'the benefit' of other would be customers, they needed to do a better rendering.

>>
Perhaps Jordan just wanted something that looked cool and has no utilitarian use - much like the tiger striped CF-18 (also pictured below) I've seen pictures of.
>>

I would not want ANYTHING that looked /remotely/ similar to the IDFAF F-16. Period. Dot.

When the Egyptians bought Mirage V, the Israelis were reduced to putting giant yellow-orange panels on their Nesher's and Kfirs to maintain positive ID separation. Of course, coinkidentally, it also ruined the camouflage.

Of course the Israeil's got even for this when the Egyptians bought the F-16CG they went with a USAF style scheme pattern that replaced the 36118 with a duller 36231 and put orange panels on the wingtips.

Because 'thems wuz the rulez' for getting the Viper into the AQAJIM.

At least compared to the major oil states, Jordan is poor. If Jordan were rich she would not have bought an airframe which, even MLU'd, will be all to familiar to an opfor using similar F-16A Netz. Buy the Mirage 2000-5 or an 'upgrade' equivalent (UAE IIRR has some surplus to their needs with the F-16E coming online). But the Rafale or Flubber. But don't buy that which can be exploited by a threat nation which has nearly stripped and refitted their own F-16 fleet.

With the Mirage, you get similar aeroperformance plus internal ICMS-3, level-4 TWS equivalency on the RDY and MICA instead of the AIM-9M/P FMS downgrades which the RJAF were almost certainly stuck with.

>>
I mean, it's not like they have actually engaged their aircraft in any of the regional flare-ups since the 6 day war. Nor are they likely to go up against any country which uses the specified hardware you mentioned. I realize that the Russian made aircraft in the region could have similar capabilities however.
>>

Before I saw the aftermath of the Hotel Bombings, I would have said otherwise. Jordan took a _major_ hit among the Arab states for fence sitting in '73. Now however; I'm beginning to think that playing both sides off the middle while trying to develop something akin to a western style judicial prosperity if not true 'democracy', may actually be working with the common Jordanian.

That said, one doesn't win a defensive war by choice of engagement but chance of forced entry. Under such conditions, you must be willing to fight the enemy that you are given by the fools around you. In this, Jordananian neutrality, by definition, also cannot guarantee the name of it's friends.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 10:10 PM
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Personally, the idea of any other color other than black always eluded me...(which is pretty good for being hard to pick out at night, and you don't have the contrail problem, etc.) I mean, does ANYBODY looking for a plane as a target, rely on visual methods? (as opposed to radar, etc.) Not to mention, does the paint scheme help as opposed to hearing a loud jet engine and seeing a contrail? I don't think so...

About the only purpose I see for camo schemes on jets is when they're parked...but then, since you pretty much need an airstrip for them (apart from Harriers and other VTOL), that's pretty much a done deal too....



posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 09:50 PM
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Careful Engineer.

The original NATO Woodlands camo is _not_ a digital pattern like MARPAT or CADPAT or the latest ARPAT.

>>
The sergeant was standing agianst a forest background with grass in front of him..I was standing 50 meters away and I swear to this day all I could see was 2 blurs for legs and a floating head.
>>

Which are exactly the conditions I outlined. Small static targets against a fixed background type with lots of shape-contrast breakup BEHIND YOU from natural and thus fractally irregular features. The problem then being that as the world urbanizes, so too will a more combats be undertaken against a regular (symmetry heavy) background filled with more diverse (dark asphalt, bright concrete or red/tan/yellow 'brick' walls) color values against which no fixed camouflage system will work.

The threat then having three principle advantages:

1. Channelization.
You WILL come down street Y to get to Building Z. And once they know this, they can pick the spot from which to kill you and then RUN. Back goat-amidst-sheep. Denying the engagement altogether.

2. Multiaspect Viewing Angles.
It's amazing how nobody ever tries to show a 'carefully hidden sniper' doing the final ops course in his ghillie suit FROM THE TOP. Because that is where the majority of his outline is exposed, whether on his belly or stalking afoot. Through the grass he displaces and the trail of motion behind him.

3. Near Field, Hard Shapes.
If the background is fixed and regular and the enemy is looking at it, NOTHING you do to 'break up' YOUR shape is going to hide the fact that there is something in front of the wall or bus bench or trash dumpster. All that you can do is reduce the total visual target area to a size below that occupyable by a human form. Which means Unmanned Ground Vehicles like pack-bot with teeth (Talon-SWORDS). Or transit through the area to quickly to be predictably counter targeted (mech vs. boots).

>>
I mean what would be the advantage of making an airplane harder to see ?
It is not the picture it's the idea of aplying digital camo to an airplane
>>

Actually, active optical camouflage has been reported in Aviation Week as including such diverse applications as an A-10 painted with electrochromic pigments that used a lightmeter to tune a rheostat varying voltage over the airframe, literally changing the ferrous based pigment molecular alignments to get diverse shades ranging from a red-brown to a robin's egg blue and even making 'shape within shape' changes to the silouhette (F-16 planview on an A-10 belly). All to help defeat natural rangefinding and angular motion track as much as true detection.

Turned off, it even functions as a low level RAM.

Another article noted that a delegation was taken into one of the early 1990's Paris Airshow 'off limits' hangars and shown a B-2 with this ability taken one step further as a function of matching the background of the surrounding hangar as a function of 'bright or dark' (literally, the skin /glows/).

_THAT_ kind of camouflage may really work on a fast mover, provided it reacts fast enough. Because it is variably responsive to the background, theoretically offering the potential to 'go with the flow' of self motion in matching at least the base specular if not actual shape/tonal patterns of any given lookup or lookdown viewing angle.

Putting digital pattern camo on a jet and then flying it over a valley is like having Picasso paint your sergeant prior to tossing him off a 50 story building. No matter how nifty he may 'not look' standing still.

All's you'll see the way down is the screaming blur of fast-passage contrast.

>>
I will admit the one flaw...it would b such a pain to fly information.....close quarters maneuvering and breaking up lines is not a good idea..
>>

Six of one. The reason tactical aircraft fly what we would call a 'formation' at all anymore is so that the physics of whip the snake, in-place, turns are more predictable in maintaining mutual coordination and support.

Even in this, the separations are getting pretty out there at 6-12,000ft laterally and 500-1,500ft vertically (enough to be upsun on any threats converting while showing planform to your own team) in combat spread.

Basically, this is a 'visual' (WVR ACM) doctrine designed to provide 1/2 to 1 turn radius (scaled for the given altitude and Mach point effect on turning performance) so that no matter who get's engaged, the other guy is always outside the subsequent 'elbow' of the fight circle so that as the bandit chases one of you, he enables the other guy to come nose on and shoot across the plane of engagement as you pull over or under to clear the seeker field.

At that point, neither you nor your opponent give a darn about 'invisibility' because as soon as you banked those wings and started streaming Gs off of them, you became instantly flat-plate appealing to every threat in a 50nm globe around you. It's the outside shooter, 'hawking' the fight who takes the kill shot and lives to tell about it. By design.

OTOH, especially with the support of AEW and intraflight datalinks (and given reasonable suppression of the S2A threat), you almost always want to fly with upwards of 5-10 MILES of airspace (effectively 'detached' support or a continual offensive split) between you. Because now you are fighting to remain outside the cone described by the bad guy jets _radar scan_.

And what was a drag now becomes a coat trail as you work the azimuth while trying to pinch or chain saw an unseen element up UNDER the threat's sill line or around his DTWS or STT tracking volume.

Where he literally cannot see the wickedness coming, even if he wanted to (LOS block or processor limits).

With RF stealth (on just our side) things don't tend to matter as much for horizontal aspect, though you still have to obey basics of missile kinematics and hot/cold side exposure, vertically.

Instead, you are trying to beat a specific range:detection threshold after which threat engagement becomes increasingly likely and the NEZ effect on modern missiles increasingly large.

In this, it's all about who holds the missiles leash, longest, and digital tethers mean that you no longer have to separate channel steps between individual shooter:weapon combinations but can instead have shooter-A fire at 20nm and make a hard turn off or other FPole denial change in closure.

While Guider-B, who is as much as 50-60nm further back, tracks the target and provides updates through to APole and terminal autonomy.

>>
But you put this on a B1 or an A-10 planes that act on there own alot and you might just have somethign worth looking at.
>>

This is a common misperception.

The B-1 has not gone 'down there' (into the weeds) much since relinquishing the SIOP mission. Especially given a couple /stupid/ modifications which essentially turned off the SMCS in one wings jets, the stress and fatigue life remainder effect of TERFLW is just not worth the chance of a bird strike or having the system execute a flyup which stalls the airframe.

This in peacetime where nobody is throwing rocks at you.

The A-10 still has a few low altitude R&M options, largely having to do with deconfliction and the FAC-A coordinator role.

But it should be noted that the only 'real' war it got into was dominated by long hops up into F-111 territory where altitude was critical to range extension (no combat tanks) and yet the 'vulture like' starkness of Euro-1 camouflage effectively made them visible for TENS OF MILES longer than the F-16 alternatives.

Indeed, after about three 'gun pass kills' in as many days, the A-10 fleet was largely prohibited from attacks below about 7,500ft and thus -any- use of the GAU until just before Desert Saber (the ground war) broke out.

Because it was discovered that, despite having the largest expendables count of any jet in the theater (something like 192 flares or 480 chaff or a mix) and a relatively cold flow exhaust; the aircraft were simply too vulnerable to the simplest kinds of ZPU-2, ZPU-4, ZU-23, SA-7/14, 'battlefield' air defenses. Towed behind or mounted in the bed of every GAZ 4X4 in the Iraqi Army.

Nowadays, things have changed. While we are still fighting over a desert environment with little or no worry about flak traps or enemy air, the conditions are such that the asthmatic TF-34 engines often cannot take the aircraft up out of the canyons and over the valley escarpments of places like the White Mountains of AfG.

Which means that, even with the IFFC mod (which gives the gun a 15,000ft slant range) and LITENING + GPS to help delineate an FSCL 'where all the bunnies are'; the jet itself is largely still operating too darn low to avoid being a bright-shadow against a dirt floor (literally, enemy ABOVE you, looking down on your planform at density heights in the 8-10,00ft range) and a huge hole-in-sky shape under all other conditions.

In this case, the Ghost countershade camo may not be the best thing (at least until more jets get targeting pods and GBU-38 and can stay out of the muck altogether) but deceptive systems like the JAWS polka-dots are still not working against largely 'void space' backgrounds.

IMO, the only way forward is to return to much smaller unmanned platforms and single-role 'gunships' such that putting a turreted .50 and maybe a 4-8, 2.75", rockets on a high speed drone lets you get the people-killer CAS mission back over our troops heads while reserving 'tank busting' for guided artillery or Netfires type missions, long before they arrive in the active engagement.

If you reduce the fuselage size to say 15-20ft and up the speed to 400 from 250 knots, coupled with a terrain reference nav system, you can start to work the low-fight QUICKLY (as in from-base lag on rearm) while making camoflage systems more effective for the square area (on the jet) that they are asked to cover.

As is, I would rather have a UCAV 'present' (overhead) me with 8 GBU-39 from at 25,000ft for nine hours out of a 15 hour walkabout, than either an F-16 for 20 minutes. Or an A-10 that /takes three quarters of an hour/ to get to get to my location from Kandahar or Bagram.

Full auto fights are won in the first couple minutes of action. After that, wounded and ammo problems make any excuse to disengage a good one. A 285lb small diameter bomb airbursting over the insurgent's heads being an 'excellent incentive if not insurance plan'.

But only if it's there to be dropped _in those first two minutes_.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 16 2006 @ 10:44 PM
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Gazrok,

>>
Personally, the idea of any other color other than black always eluded me...(which is pretty good for being hard to pick out at night, and you don't have the contrail problem, etc.)
>>

Black is one of those 'sensitive colors' that only work in _very_ low lumen conditions and are thus very sensitive to backlighting as well as ambient changes (open a door on a firelit room and the 'black' ninja standing outside it is the first 3D shape you will see).

In WWII, german night fighters found that hunting Lancasters, Halifax and the like over 'frosted glass' conditions of fire or search light illuminated clouds or under some conditions of moonlight, they were actually better off being painted in dull pastel combinations of RLM-76 pale white and RLM-75 grey violet was better for scattering the largely blue-index lighting diffusely enough to fool tired eyes, strained from hours of peering into the gloom.

>>
I mean, does ANYBODY looking for a plane as a target, rely on visual methods? (as opposed to radar, etc.) Not to mention, does the paint scheme help as opposed to hearing a loud jet engine and seeing a contrail? I don't think so...
>>

Well, the 'Ding Hao' system (human observer corps) has some definite advantages in that, as long as you hardwired or linear microwave comms remain secure, it is almost impossible to 'jam' the sensor network and you can also sometimes sort and filter decoy and other-mission elements from the true raid groups.

Of course, if you take your packages up above any cloud or haze line, it may well be impossible to see them at all. And at night, even with NVDs, the small airframe is going to be fairly safe, even as low as 10-15,000ft (what killed the F-117 over Belgrade was the BLACK shape, highlighted against a cloud base under which the jet supposedly flew to get IRADS capture on the target).

Audibles tracking is one of those things I'm never quite sure about. The X-4 (Nazi AAM) used a 'Kranich' acoustic fuze which was nothing more than a trembler membrane with a contact arm to complete circuit function. The BAT antitank munition, though now 'upgraded' with various MMW and Laser seekers, also originally was designed to target vehicles down to their tracked/wheeled class separation using four large acoustic sensors mounted on quad-spindle arms.

Given that the X-4 system was never really tested and the BATs are relatively low altitude systems, I have a feeling, at some level, the combination of thin air and slipstream noise will largely cancel out the effectivness of acoustic systems, even if you could reduce the aperture mounts to a degree compatible with A2A (potentially trans if not supersonic) seeker use.

That said, the is both a 'P' and an 'S' wave correlation which DOES travel, quite well, through the earth at upwards of 5,000mph. Plug transducers into the ground (like a seismic system) and theoretically you should be able to use very cheap 'spike clusters' in considerable densities to collate and triangulate air traffic over a very wide area, very cheaply.

Edwards has such an installation (though officially it is for noise pollution signature characterizing) one. One of the black ranges at Nellis has one so sensitive that the USAF shut down a windpower experiment on adjacent semi-federalized land with the excuse that the harmonics were screwing up their readings.

IF you can define a 'box' around an airframe, no matter how effective a (passive) camouflage, you should be able to send a weapon TO that volume of air and initiate a spiral or grid pattern search as the seeker optics crosses a given range point for dot-acquisition.

Mechanical optics being quite good these days at measuring a background ambient 'glare' and setting a polarization filter to expertly reject all non-solid reflectors from the detection threshold.

The question then becomes: do you want to have it look for /particular/ chemical compositions (multi if not hyperspectral) relevant to a jet exhaust, creating the equivalent of an A2A wake-homing torpedo. Or do you want to stick with simple optics and just pass a (turbine) powered weapon through an airspace as a kind of mobile-minefield coordinated hunting pack with other such weapons. Making your investment in secure datalinks?

Either way, it's pretty obvious that while we can run jets above as much as under the contrail band (roughly 19-21 through 37-43,000ft). It is the individual capabilities of the weapons employed AFTER acquisition. And the skill/bravery (21 effective Serb interceptors vs. 400 NATO jets in Operation Allied Force) which determines the utility of the weapons system.

To me, it is better to have 100 (recoverable) S2A missiles which cost half a million dollars each. Than 1 interceptor while costs fifty five million dollars. Since I can vertically launch those missiles well away from ANY airfield (one more target to defend). And fly them out to 100-200nm for about 30 minutes in numbers sufficient to challenge the 3-4 AIM-120 (300 grande apiece) which are available to shoot them down.

THAT (loitering-slow transonic speed in a missile which doesn't /care/ if it's blown to pieces) is the point whereby some of your more exotic sensor ideals may come to be practical.

Not least because if you miss once, you may well have the fuel and energy to come around for a second pass. And the faster (360` sensor globe using MAWS technology or a datalink from other munitions making their own 'formating kill' attempt) you reacquire a strike platform which is heavy with gas and bombs. The less time it will have to use that fuel to reenergize it's own EM evasive options.

>>
About the only purpose I see for camo schemes on jets is when they're parked...but then, since you pretty much need an airstrip for them (apart from Harriers and other VTOL), that's pretty much a done deal too....

>>

When lasers and masers and hunting Turbo-SAM's come online in a /serious/ fashion, around 2015, we will see one of three things happen:

A. Airpower will flat out lose it's ability to 'leverage the battlefield' with deep attack and combat recce of true intent as much as displayed capabilities.
B. Deflector shields will be invented.
C. Active Camouflage will come of age.

Since I don't believe we have half the particle physics, let alone field mechanics necessary to pull the NCC-1701 Enterprise out of our nether regions, and since I don't believe we will willingly lose our ability to kill the other guy cheaply as much as dominantly with air. That only leaves active/adaptive protective coloration.

NOT LEAST because the interim of KT boundary interaction with DEWS will see a return to low level operations in a serious way. Opening up the number of slingshot and musket threats to airpower almost to equal levels of the high altitude, wide-horizon directed energy systems.

In this (to keep things thread related) it should be noted that, during the first few days of Desert Storm when the Iraqi IADS still functioned well enough for the IOCs to vector their alert intercept teams, a pretty common tactic was to drop ADM-141 TALD or Tactical Air Launched Decoys. And have them turn on their tapes and radar reflector in a 'can Muhammed come out to play?!" deliberate tease.

Iraqi MiG-21 and 23, admittedly less than gifted in terms of cockpit fields of vision, came out and made MULTIPLE passes on these 10ft long decoys, painted nothing more than ghost grey, within a few hundred feet.

Leaving AWACS and EC-135 crews literally rolling in the aisles listening to their radio comms. As the F-15's turned in behind for the kill.

Unlike RF stealth where mission (shape) and structural volume (depth) have a definite interactive effect on RAM/RAS layering and aerodynamic (tails are death) effectiveness. A situation which leads to a B-2 having as small or smaller a dbsm return in all aspects as an F-22 does solely from the front.

In optical conditions, everytime you reduce the baseline visual target area (square feet) by half, you instantly score an order of magnitude improvement in any signature attenuation method that you apply. Both for static and plane-of-motion sensing against a given background.

I call it the mouse-at-a-gallop (beats bear in the bushes) theory and it has a correlate benefit in that there is no 'engineers sandbox' temptation to stuff in systems which blow the size:cost margin out of balance.


KPl.



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