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Lockheed Martin F-35
Lightning II Technology

YOU TUBE - F-35 Technology

The technology designed into the F-35 dates back to 1996. That is when its development contracted was enacted. Stealth technology has changed since then, but the F-35 has, thus far, not kept up to date.

A major problem for the F-35 is that it is designed to have a stealth capability confined primarily to X-band. That is the band wave covered by the APG-81 radar of the aircraft. However, this leaves it susceptible to detection and tracking by other radars.

The Lockheed F-35 is equipped with an expendable radar decoy (the BAE ALE-70) that can be towed, or be free flying. Its defense is limited to emergency situations to prevent a missile from locking onto the aircraft. It has very limited electronic anti-detection and tracking technology.

When the F-35 was on the drawing boards, Lockheed calculated that low-band stealth, limited jamming, and passive electronic surveillance were sufficient for an aircraft that would be deployed by 2010. They didn't take into account the delays in aircraft development, along with advances in stealth detection technology. Had defensive electronic anti detection upgrades since been added to the F-35 program, they would have been one of the areas being blamed for rising prices and delays. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that no new electronic anti detection stealth technology has been added to the original Lockheed F-35 design.

Whereas past technology VHF analog, mechanical, radars are negated by original F-35 technology, new high power VHF AESA (Active, Electronically Scanned Array) radars, and ultra high frequency wave trackers are not.

Aircraft stealth doesn't make them undetectable, rather stealth aircraft deflect radar so as to lower the amount of returned signal. Some of the signal still finds its way back to the radar, but it is weak. The concept of stealth is to have the return signals lower than the filtration level of radar controlling computers. In order to filter out false positives, older radars filtered out return signals that appear too small to be an aircraft.

It is said that the F-35 has the radar return the size of a small bird. Today there are radars like Iron Dome that can detect small rockets and artillery shells in flight, guiding missiles or guns to down them.

Radars can distinguish between small, slow, low flying objects and small, fast, high flying objects, as birds will not be flying at jet-like speeds and altitudes. If a radar picks up a small object flying fast and high, it will not be a bird. Depending on its flight behavior, not size alone, the type of vehicle can be distinguished.

A low band radar can detect the F-35, but alone can not hone in on its position close enough for interception. A high band radar and/or infra red sensors will have to be used in conjunction with the low band radar for missile guidance. An example of how these work together are the L-band radars carried by the Russian stealth fighter that provide information to the aircraft's other sensors that can hone in on its target. Around high-value ground targets, an entire network of radars can work together to cover the sky.

Advanced Chinese Radar

Advanced Chinese Radar

Active electronically scanned array (AESA), sometimes called active phased array radar (APAR), with ranges of up to 500 km, using high speed electronics combining continuous wave and pulse transmission emitted in short intervals, are capable of almost continuous targeting objects such as the F-35. A modern radar network can scan all around the sky several times a second. It will be able to track multiple targets at once, distinguishing them from clutter, guiding missiles and guns to lock on their targets.











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