Originally posted by Pyros
I would hardly call that an advantage. If anything, it highlights Russia's technology lag when it comes to the miniaturization of solid-state
amplifiers, receivers, and processors.
Yes but you reach a 'moore barrier' with space constraints when you limit the size of radomes.
And with radome sizes the likes of the F-35, that is a critical limitation. The Russians do lag behind in such technology, granted; but they are
gaining access to the same by offering their mechanical expertise as barter.
More modules and chips also equals more consumption of electricity, more generation of internal heat (which must be dissapated), greater operational
weight, greater consumption of fuel, etc.
The heat generated by more processing components is a compromise, but only if it is not offset by the sight advantage(and LPI stealth) it offers.
Its a trade-off but what matters is whether you come out with a better sight than the other guy(with lesser heat and less powerful radar).
In this case (Su-3X PESA vs 4th gen AESA.. and I exclude the APG-77 here) it actually seems to do so.
The APG-77 is a class above the rest.
Greater consumption of fuel et al can be governed by absolute parameters like T/W ratio, cruise mileage etc etc..
Lots of factors play into that.
1)How much 'drag-free'(Non drptank/CFT) you have at your disposal
2)How lift-efficient is your design..
One cannot pass macroscopic judgements on such variables as they are very a/c specific, mission specific and of course tactic/payload config
My point being that the larger radomes(airframes) don't translate into a weaker BVR posture straight-off.
Yes there is a obvious limit to this analogy; otherwise we'd all be flying 747s and A-380s with Phoenix-esque missiles.
Though the Russian a/c which we so easily mock at BVR are well below that limit.
Infact.. forget Russian a/c..
Look at a/c like the F-15..
I actually believe that the latest F-15 model will not be a wash out against the F-35 if they both have their resp AESAs(APG-63/81). At BVR and WVR;
even with the stealth disadvantage.
It eventually boils down to this:
1) Who can see whom first so as the achieve optimal engagement posture(and surprise?)
2)Who has the longer missile envelope in BVR. If envelope have minor differences and great overlpas then who has the thrust to enter the other
envelope(and thus validate his own), take shots and then exit the opponent envelope before he gets his shots off.
3)In WVR who has more energy to spend,better off-boresight capabilities, greater alphas, T/W(climb rates and accn) etc.
IMHO there's a major misconception that the 'lighter jet' is 'better' hands down in WVR.
The US already has an airborn radar that is really big and has lots of chips, transmitter power and processors - its called the E-3 Sentry. Big is
not what you want in a tactical aircraft. You want small, lightweight, and powerful with low heat production and power consumption.
Thanks for the heads-up on the E-3
The E-3 is good for its job; no doubts there..
But what is better?
An E-3 commanding battlespace Ops over a 100km away with little or no firepower or a F-22 commanding the battlespace right in the midst of it all.
Of course both simply awesome together but I'm asking comparatively.
Sure the E-3 can even guide missiles onto terminal targets but when you have similar capabilities on a combat capable and active platform then you
have more options.
You get a de-centralised battlespace governance/hierarchy and that means more battlespace awareness.
Small + lightweight doesn't always make a winning combination in WVR and definitely not in the BVR missilier role.
If you have a comparatively higher heat signature than your opponent but you can still see+engage him before(or around the same time) he can see you
then all bets are off.
Finally if you have more energy and WVR characteristics like T/W, alpha etc. than your foe, it doesn't matter 'much' if you're even twice his
You have better cards.
Though I do admit a larger opponent makes a better gunsight target than a smaller one!
While its true that the eventual introduction and mass production of next generation Russian radars may pose serious threats to our 25+ year
old designs such as the F-15 and F-16, large radomes equal larger RCS.
This is exactly where the DoD wants it:
US = deploying state-of-the-art airframes and electronics today
Russia = marketing potential countermeasures and competitors 10 years later
True.. if you can ALWAYS keep that 10 year buffer at a constant.
However I somehow don't believe that the gap will remain constant; It hasn't been constant ever if am not mistaken.
And as for the radars I mentioned; they're not next gen..far from it.
Infact the PESA radars I mentioned are quite current gen and have been operational on certain Su-3X variants for more than 5 years now.
Obviously this doesn't mean that 'all' Su-3Xs have that capability, and that the entire Russian(or chinese or any other) Su-3X force is in general
'superior' to the American F-15/16/18 AESA capable force unit-for-unit.
Infact more than half the Su-3Xs worldwide probably do NOT possess these massive PESA radars ett all, but this doesn't mean that the east is devoid
of such capabilities
The Russian AESA and LPI radars would be truely next gen and they will come into service with fighters like the MiG-35 and PAK-FA.
IIRC the MiG-35 fields a working non-prototype AESA radar as of today.