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reply to post by PlatinumShatinum
So the one F-117 that was shot down means that they were a huge waste of money? That's a hell of a record to have, thousands of combat missions, through some of the most heavily defended airspace we've flown combat aircraft through, and one shot down, and one or two damaged.
Yup, that's a huge waste of money.
Northrop have been using flat panel AESA for testing aircraft to satellite high speed high bandwith communications.
That's already been in use for SATCOM for some UAV's, but it hasn't really been advertised. The tech has actually been around since the 90's. The first NG is talking about there is for the B-2 AESA specifically, which adds a capability. It isn't even really NG's first foray into the underlying technology.
A dish is frequency independent, well other than the feedhorn. That is what makes it so handy for microwave work. AESA on the other hand wouldn't be optimal in a full duplex system unless you had TX and RX panels. I can see this getting ugly in complexity, though with buckets of money, that might not be an issue.
But using enough antennas to make up for a lack of a dish would probably negate stealth. It could be done, but this doesn't look like a slam dunk to me.
A dish reduces the power requirement on the transmitter, while AESA requires real amplifiers. This is probably not a big deal, but not trivial either since the heat has to be managed.
Those have traditionally been seen as the draw backs, yes. But as costs per T/R module continues to decrease, we'll see them increasingly used for the advantages. If you plan on using AESA from the get go, it's easy to use liquid cooling (fuel tank exchangers). If not, you have to find room for liquid cooling somewhere.
Anyone see a connection between the rumored (black program?) RQ-4B Global Hawk "Block 50" and the RQ-180? RQ-180 certainly must use something in the RQ-4B/C ground station family.edit on 14-12-2013 by TAGBOARD because: (no reason given)