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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The American Approach Part III: Future TTP - Network Centric Warfare & Cyber weapons

Image 1: F-35 weapons bay testing

Author's Note: This article is a continuation of the series Divergent Thinking: How Best to Employ Fighter Aircraft which details the American approach to fielding fighter aircraft. The series is F-35 centric given its key role in the future USN, USMC, and USAF.
Part I
Part II

The F-35 will compose a significant portion of the future USAF, USN, and USMC fighter fleets well into the 2030s and 2040s. Keeping a fleet of combat aircraft relevant to potential national security challenges over the course of their 20 to 30 year service life is achieved both through not only new capabilities via upgrades but also through the development of new techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTP). Leveraging the immense technological capabilities of the F-35 to the fullest extent possible is the responsibility of the USAF's Weapons Test School and various test and evaluation units. The Weapons Test School at Nellis and test and evaluation squadrons (TES) are staffed by some of the most experienced and talented instructor pilots within the USAF.

"The Weapons School cadre also authors tactical doctrine, and conducts tactics validation. Actively collecting tactical knowledge and lessons learned from deployed units, evaluating solutions in exercises, and formally preparing them for application across the force, the Weapons School provides a controlled learning environment and knowledge trust for best practices in air, space and cyber combat techniques." - USAF, 2014

These pilots effectively translate the capabilities of the aircraft into actual tactics or methods of employment to be used on the battlefield. The Weapons School and TES units will have to cope with the following challenges with respect to keeping America's F-35 fleet capable for the next two to three decades:
  • Proliferation of advanced foreign fifth generation aircraft such as the Chengdu J-20, Shenyang J-31, and Sukhoi PAK FA
  • Integration with 4th generation aircraft into the 2020s and 2030s 
  • Expanded air-to-air role as a result of early F-22 production termination and eventual F-15C retirement in the late 2020s to early 2030s
  • Proliferation of Very High Frequency (VHF) radars which have the potential to degrade the stealth characteristics of small low observable aircraft as per the Raleigh scattering regime
  • Increasingly capable surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems such as the S-400 and the HQ-19
  •  Increasingly capable Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) jammers will degrade the effectiveness of beyond visual range radar guided missiles such as the AIM-120
  • Proliferation of Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems among 4.5 generation and 5th generation aircraft will increased likelihood of detection within short to medium range 
  • Operating within contested anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environments
  • Integration within combined arms approach and compatibility with allied forces 

These developments collectively represent a significant challenge toward keeping the F-35 relevant. Technological upgrades alone would be insufficient to maintain a force capable of countering these emerging national security threats. Historically, the innovative methods devised by of the Weapons Test school and TES units have been able to cope with emerging national security challenges and are poised to do so for future decades (e.g. new TTP and concepts developed post-Vietnam in Part II). The process of developing new TTP for the F-35 will likely resemble the process for developing new TTP for the F-22 by the 422nd TES and the Weapons School.

The 422nd TES received its first F-22s in 2004, a year before the first combat F-22s reached IOC status, in order to vet the equipment and systems within the Raptor in terms of both warfighting capabilities and reliability under simulated combat conditions (Majumdar, 2009). The initial work done by TES units usually identifies teething problems with the aircraft. For example, the 422nd identified software reliability issues with the AN/APG-77 radar which have since been rectified as a result of input from the 422nd. After identifying and rectifying potential technological issues, the TES pilots create new methods of employing fighter aircraft. New TTP are strenuously evaluated with aggressor units in large simulated combat exercises such as Red Flag, Red Air, or Northern Edge. The USAF also has access to Su-27s and Mig-29s aircraft to further heighten the realism of combat training which are flown from Groom Lake, these aircraft were obtained as a result of the "Constant Peg" program.

For example, the 2006 exercise Northern Edge provided F-22 pilots an opportunity to evaluate the methods of contributing toward the efforts of Blue Force even after expending their payload of air-to-air missiles:

"After their missiles were fired, the F-22′s active and passive sensor capabilities functioned as the Raptor’s last weapon. Northern Edge 2006′s Raptors remained in the fight, flying as stealthy forward air controllers and guiding their colleagues to enemies sitting behind mountains and other 'Blue Force' AWACS blind spots." - Defense Industry Daily, 2013

The initial process for developing new TTP for the F-35 has already begun as both the 31st and 422nd TES under the 53rd Wing are receiving F-35 aircraft:
"As part of the Joint Operational Test Team, we take the aircraft hardware and software released from developmental test, our training from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin (AFB, Fla.), the administrative and logistics support we get from the Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin, and we integrate all of these disparate elements with maintenance practices, tactics, techniques and procedures required to create an incredibly lethal weapon system that can go out and win the nation’s wars...'We’ve got a brand new tool with a whole new set of capabilities that has never been used by the combat air forces. We have to take that tool and find out the best way to utilize it, to go out and defeat an enemy on the battlefield,'"- Commander of the 31st TES Lt. Col. Steven J. Tittel, 2013
While the specifics of any new TTP created for the F-35 are likely to remain classified, the following are plausible methods of employment in which the F-35 can be expected to be utilized over the next three decades:

Coordination Between Sensors and Shooters 

Image 2: Allied force networked via ATDL in an A2/AD environment (Image Credit: Northrup Grumman).

Both the USAF and USN are finding new methods of networking assets to facilitate greater situational awareness and coordination between C4ISR, bomber, and fighter aircraft. Data links form the basis for the USN's Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) concept which would allow assets such as the E-2D Hawkeye and F-35C to provide targeting data via the advanced tactical data-link (ATDL) or tactical targeting network technology (TTNT) waveform to cue missile launches from other assets such as the F/A-18E/F and UCLASS.
"...the Rockwell Collins-designed tactical targeting network technology (TTNT) waveform, an individual platform does not necessarily need to generate its own tracks.To eliminate the target once it is located—in the air, on land, or floating on the ocean—the Growlers or the E-2D would relay via Link-16 a 'weapons quality' track to one of the Super Hornets, which would actually destroy the threat. 'That F/A-18E/F and the F-35C out front, they don’t even need to have their radars on,' Manazir said. 'They don’t need to be contributing to the picture themselves, they are just receiving this data.” Moreover, the F/A-18E/F would not even necessary even control the weapon that it launches—other than pulling the trigger. The E-2D, the EA-18G or even another Hornet or F-35C could guide that weapon, Manazir said." - Dave Majumdar and Sam LaGrone, 2014
Coordination between multiple sensors and shooters within NIFC-CA greatly increases the range of a carrier air wing as individual aircraft can engage targets beyond the range of their own individual radars so long as targeting data is provided by other friendly assets. Data links such as TTNT waveform create new opportunities to increase the effectiveness of a mixed 4th and 5th generation fighter force into the 2020s and 2030s. The USAF's service life extension programs (SLEP) will keep more than 200 F-15C/Ds and 300 F-16s in service until around 2030 and the F/A-18E/F is not scheduled to be replaced until the 2030s by a yet to be determined 6th generation design. Due to the internal carriage of weapons, 5th generation aircraft such as the F-35 generally carry fewer air-to-air weapons than equivalent 4th generation aircraft (the small CUDA air-to-air missile will be discussed in Part IV). However, the individual survivability of a 4th generation aircraft is low as they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to long-range radar guided missile exchanges meaning they might not be able to fully make use of a comparatively larger missile load. Coordination between 5th generation and 4th generation aircraft via data-links effectively mitigates the aforementioned shortcomings of both aircraft.

Image 3: F/A-18C with ten AIM-120 and two AIM-9 air-to-air missiles

For example, the F/A-18E/F could act as a missile truck as it can carry up to 12 AIM-120D radar guided missiles and 2 AIM-9X Block II missiles to the F-35C's four (six AIM-120D on Block 4). The F-35C's stealth and enhanced situational awareness would allow it to stay on station within a highly contested anti-access environment and designate targets to the more vulnerable Super Hornets even after expending its internal air-to-air payload. USAF F-35A's and F-22A's could also provide targeting data not only to one another but also friendly F-16s and F-15s in a similar manner.

A major hindrance for the F-22 has been its interoperability with other systems due to its intra-flight datalink (IFTL) which can only transmit and receive data from other Raptors or specialized gateway communication aircraft. Plans to install the F-35's multifunction advanced data link (MADL) in the F-22 have effectively been put on hold due to funding limitations (Defense Industry Daily, 2013). However, increment 3.2A upgrades in conjunction with Project Missouri will allow the Raptor to transmit and receive Link 16 in a minimally detectable low-probability of intercept mode.
"Lockheed Martin, has demonstrated a new data-linking capability it developed for them secretly through 'Project Missouri', a proprietary program. During the demonstration, Lockheed validated the use of a Link 16 transmit capability from the twin-engine F-22 Raptor and showcased an exotic waveform developed by L-3 Communications and optimized for low-probability of intercept/low-probability of detection transmissions (LPI/LPD), says Ron Bessire, vice president of technology and innovation at the company's Skunk Works." - Amy Butler, 2014
Future American fighter aircraft will be able to seamlessly operate as part of a larger networked force across minimally detectable and jam resistant data links. The F-35's integrated avionics suite and sensors are crucial to implementing both the USAF's and USN's vision of a highly coordinated mixed 4th and 5th generation fighter force.

Cyber and Electronic Warfare 

Image 4: The F-35's integrated avionics and sensor suite

Even in the midst of sequestration, systems and agencies related to cyber warfare have experienced consistent budget growth rates as a result of Congressional prioritization. Concepts and systems such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) "Plan X" program increasingly seek to integrate cyber attacks with conventional kinetic strikes. Although the exact nature of the F-35's cyber capabilities remains classified, the F-35 has immense potential for use as a cyber weapon delivery platform as a result of its AN/APG-81 AESA radar and AN/ASQ-139 electronic warfare system:
"An enemy’s radios and radars are run by computers, so you can transmit signals to hack them. If the enemy’s computers are linked together then your virus can spread throughout that network. The enemy does not have to be connected to the Internet. You just need the enemy’s radios and radar to receive incoming signals...the AESA radar’s beams can throw out those zeros and ones to ANY sort of receiver. And an enemy’s radar is a receiver. His radios are receivers. Some of his electronic warfare sensors are also receivers." -Colin Clark, 2014
The effects of a future F-35 deployed cyber weapon are likely to be similar to BAE system's "Suter" which has already been deployed by US aircraft in coordination with L-3 Communications.
"[Suter] allows users to invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see, and even take over as systems administrator so sensors can be manipulated into positions so that approaching aircraft can't be seen...The process involves locating enemy emitters with great precision and then directing data streams into them that can include false targets and misleading message algorithms." - Aviation Week, 2007
The US has deployed Suter via the EC-130 in both Iraq and Afghanistan to neutralize insurgent IEDs linked to wireless telephone systems. Plans to integrate air deliverable cyber weapons into the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) system have also been discussed. Israel is also suspected of utilizing Suter or a similar weapon to infiltrate and disable the Syrian integrated air defense system (IADS) surrounding a Syrian nuclear reactor site during "Operation Orchard" in 2007. Given the success of Suter in a SEAD role, its plausible future F-35 deployed cyber weapons could mask incoming radar contacts or display false signals to enemy fighter pilots which would greatly degrade the enemy's situational awareness (Clark, 2014). 

The United States is not unique in terms of possessing an air deliverable cyber weapon, both the Russian and Chinese militaries have been developing similar capabilities to target high priority US aircraft such as the E-3 and E-8 (Aviation Week, 2012). However, the F-35 is comparatively less vulnerable to similar cyber attacks as the AN/APG-81 radar features a low probability of intercept (LPI) mode. Successful delivery of systems like Suter requires a robust emitter locating capability which LPI modes make significantly more difficult via emission control principles. LPI software governs the duration, intensity, and space of signals to ensure a pilot maintains a high degree of situational awareness while mitigating the probability of detection by emitter locator systems. (Bill Sweetman, 2000). Equivalent Russian and Chinese aircraft are likely to be comparatively more vulnerable to US cyber weapons as a result of less mature LPI technology.

Russian AESA radars such as the Phazotron Zhuk AE/ASE are a generation behind their US equivalents in the areas of TR module packaging and cooling technology (Kopp, 2012). Although information on the state of Russian LPI software is scarce within the public domain, it is plausible to assume Russian LPI software is also comparatively less mature compared to current Western designs given the performance of the Phazotron Zhuk AE/ASE in all other non-LPI areas resembles primitive US AESAs. Similarly, Chinese AESA technology is less technologically mature than their Russian equivalents with no confirmed fighter mounted AESAs designs as of July 2014 outside of dubious internet leaks on various Chinese aviation forums. Although, most US intelligence officials believe the J-20 will be equipped with an AESA when it reaches initial operating capability (IOC) in 2018.


Image 5: A pair of Northrup Grumman E-2D Hawkeye aircraft. The E-2D along with the F-35C forms the linchpin of the USN's NIFC-CA concept. Current carrier air wings typically include 4 E-2C aircraft.

A significant outstanding issue with relation to the current adoption of network centric warfare and cyber weapons is the vulnerability of allied AWACS aircraft. Given the US focus on network centric warfare, where AWACS aircraft such as the E-3 and E-2 act as the central node of a network, a cyber weapon infecting an E-3 or E-2 remains a potential vulnerability from which the larger networked force could become compromised. Even if the F-35 is a reduced risk from becoming the initial point from which an enemy cyber weapon infects an allied network due to LPI, Chinese or Russian forces could still indirectly infect F-35 units as a result of the cyber weapon proliferating throughout the network from the AWACS aircraft.

The maximum effective range of an enemy air launched cyber weapon is likely dependent upon the range and accuracy of enemy emitter locator systems. However, given the intensity and volume of signals emitted, AWACS aircraft are comparatively more vulnerable to detection via emitter locator systems than other types of aircraft. The US Military is already in the process of enacting measures to mitigate the damage resulting from high intensity electronic jamming on its networks but publicly available information on measures to protect networks from air launched cyber attacks is understandably limited. Successful protection of AWACS aircraft against enemy cyber weapons is crucial to implementing network centric warfare. Potential methods to reduce the vulnerability of AWACS aircraft might include measures to reduce electronic emissions of AWACS aircraft or network diversification not dependent upon a "central node" based system. Both the USAF and USN should work in consultation with USCYBERCOM, DARPA, and other relevant agencies to develop appropriate countermeasures to protect US networks.

Developments in network centric warfare and cyber weapons have the potential to maintain US superiority in air-to-air combat and enable SEAD missions within contested A2/AD environments. The combination of the two techniques leverages the United States' existing competitive advantage in the fields of avionics and software relative to potential strategic competitors. As discussed in Part II, the US doctrines such as information dominance seek to attain situational awareness while degrading or denying the enemy's situational awareness. The combination of cyber weapon such as Suter and network centric warfare achieves both these objectives.

Author's Note: Stay tuned for the next article in the series, "The American Approach Part IV: Future TTP -  Countering Foreign 5th Generation Threats". If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to message me on the forum (ID: "mangler-muldoon"), send me an email, or leave a comment.

Sources (In addition to Parts I and II)

  1. Israel suspected of 'hacking' Syrian air defences, John Leyden, 2007.
  2. Five years on, new details emerge about Israeli strike on Syrian reactor, Amos Harel, 2012.
  3. New details of Israel’s 2007 attack on the Syrian Nuclear reactor emerge, Richard Clements, 2012.
  4. China, U.S. Chase Air-to-Air Cyber Weapon, David A. Fulghum, 2012.
  5. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Stays On-Track, Jan Tegler, 2011.
  6. Active Electronically Steered Arrays A Maturing Technology, Carlo Kopp, 2002. 
  8. Aerospace System Improvements Enabled by Modern Phased Array Radar, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, 2002.
  9. Phazotron Zhuk AE/ASE Assessing Russia's First Fighter AESA, Carlo Kopp, 2012.
  10. ‘A God’s Eye View Of The Battlefield:’ Gen. Hostage On The F-35, Colin Clark, 2014.
  11. Lockheed’s Secret ‘Project Missouri’ Links F-22, F-35, Amy Butler, 2014.
  12. Talking Stealth: USAF Pushes for 5th to 4th 'Gateway', Amy Butler, 2013.
  13. JSF: Integrated Avionics Par Excellence, Charlotte Adams, 2003. 
  14. F-35 Electronic Warfare Suite: More Than Self-Protection, Ron Sherman, 2006.
  15. FIGHTER EW, Bill Sweetman, 2000.                                                                         
  16. F-35 as ISR collector, Dave Majumdar, 2010.
  17. Inside the Navy’s Next Air War, Dave Majumdar and Sam LaGrone, 2014.
  18. ANALYSIS: Northrop, Lockheed vie to connect F-22 to airborne network, Stephen Trimble, 2014.
  19. Navy: F-35C Will Be Eyes and Ears of the Fleet, Dave Majumdar, 2013. 
  20. Introducing the USAF’s airborne networking future, Stephen Trimble, 2008.
  21. F-22 Raptor: Capabilities and Controversies, Defense Industry Daily, 2013.
  22. F-35 Enters Operational Testing at Edwards and Nellis Air Force Bases, Defense Update, 2013. 
  23. Simulation plays vital role in building F-35 tactics and aircraft development, Dave Majumdar, 2012. 


  1. I keep forgetting to ask you this; considering the F-35 can be fitted with drop tanks and isn't really a dog-fighter to begin with - couldn't the military make do with just the B and C or even just the B variant and produce and maintain more at lower cost as a result?

    The A variant doesn't appear to be a technical stand out and it isn't even that much cheaper as an alternative. While I love the idea having giant aircraft carriers, they're proportionally giant targets for future wars so wouldn't it be better to settle for a fleet of numerous helicopter carriers with F-35 Bs than a few giant carriers with Cs?

    1. Whoops! Sorry for the late response, I didn’t see your comment. I'm aware of studies done on eliminating the A variant and only producing the C variant for the USAF and B for the USMC as planned. The projected cost savings would be fairly minor over the long-term and the C has reduced maneuverability in some respects when compared to the A in some respects due to the elongated wings. I think the A will make a fine dogfighter in the sense of air-to-air capabilities, its just the nature of dogfights has somewhat changed from what we are typically used to with network centric warfare, low observability, etc. (although with caveats, many of the same principles apply).

      A problem with mass production of the amphibious assault ships is there are several responsibilities that they simply cannot accommodate. There is a major economy of scale type benefit from operating the 100,000 ton super carriers over the 45,000 ton amphibious assault ships. Lazarus has some really good information on the topic of why super carriers will continue to be relevant over the amphibious assault ships:

      I’m not too worried about the safety of carrier groups with respect to the DF-21D. I think the threat of the DF-21D "carrier killer" is immensely over hyped. Historically speaking, there have been two ways to defeat a missile: kinetically – ensuring it is physically unable to intercept the target e.g. maneuvers or by launching an interceptor, and the second is guidance based such as launching chaff, jamming, or decoys. The critical weakness of the DF-21D is guidance, it must receive updates from Beidou (Chinese GPS) to hit the moving aircraft carrier. Any form of midpoint updates can easily be jammed or spoofed. Once the DF-21 no longer has GPS, it must rely upon its surface aperture radar (SAR) which can also be defeated either with jamming or Pandarra Fog:
      The real threat comes from Chinese submarines and cruise missiles but the US is in the process of developing a host of measures to defeat those as well.

    2. As usual, so thorough Matt! Thanks!

  2. "Russian AESA radars such as the Phazotron Zhuk AE/ASE are a generation behind their US equivalents in the areas of TR module packaging and cooling technology"

    Which AESA radars are so good? Those of the F-18E/F (Horror - Hornet)? In addition, the operating range AESA radar LPI is detected by ground stations of electronic warfare.
    Work LPI radar mode shortens the range of the station.
    Radar FAR Su-35 also has a mode of operation.

    In India, in April 2010, he participated in the trials for the moment radar Zhuk-AE in less FGA-29 version of the 684 elements of the transceiver and the target production version FGA-35 for MiG-35. Modules T / R were still produced in France.
    Only a prototype station Zuk-AE FGA-29 had trouble with cooling system, not new - FGA 35 having a diameter of 688 mm. has 1,016 units of T/R. And now the question for the experts: Which of these radars can be mounted in a modified MiG-29 SMT and why?

    The next question is why Russian AESA is worse if can guide probably R-37M in the PAK-FA? And what can be said about N036 AESA mounted on the PAK-FA?

    For sure the range is larger than the F-35 and F-22. Otherwise he could not be effectively guide the R-37M. The rest is conjecture.


    1. The Hornets APG-79 is capable but the the APG-77(v)1 is the most capable fighter mounted AESA radar at this moment. Its a fourth generation array with 1,500 T/R modules and LPI. The APG-77(v)1 works in conjunction with the ALR-94 rwr which has a maximum range of 250 nm far exceeding most fighter radars and could provide targeting information for an AIM-120 via narrowband interleaved search and track (NBILST) mode:

      Well according to Rosoboronexport, the MIG-29SMT uses the Zuk-ME. Plus, these are electronically scanned arrays (ESA) which are less problematic than AESAs in terms of cooling:

      The N036 AESA is likely to be on par with the APG-77(v)1 in terms of raw detection power but LPI becomes a problem. In any engagement with an F-22, its more than likely the ALR-94 will detect the signals being emitted from the N036 long before either the N036 or APG-77(v)1 detect the airframes. Furthermore, the PAK-FA is not nearly as stealthy as originally believed, patent documents filled by Sukhoi indicates it has an rcs of .1m^2 compared to the F-22's frontal of .0001m^2 (largely due to the shielded jet intakes).

      So even with an R-37M, the PAK-FA will be detected first without being able to see the F-22. Longer missile range won't help if you can't acquire the target and make use of that extra range.

    2. *unshielded e.g. no DSI or S-shaped intakes.

    3. Thank you for your answer Matt.

      I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that more reliable source than your not comment on N036 AESA radar PAK-FA.
      Missile R-37M are able to destroy maneuvering target size of the F-16 at a distance of 280 km.
      For such a purpose to destroy narpiew need to detect it, then some idea of ​​the R-37M. This means that the detection of the F-16 is at a much greater distance.
      The export version of the R-37 has a range of the +200 km. There is no such rockets armed AmerykaƄakich Air Force ...

      And that's all for now you can guess about what each other represents the radar PAK-FA.
      Read about how to build a radar system in the Su-35. As for the architecture and not the type of radar.

      Even if you buy the F-35, and is already known in Poland, it would have little chance for winning the air superiority over the Poland.
      Our only chance is to build a very good airdefense.

      Most important and most faithful allies of the U.S. can not buy technology in aircraft such as the F-22, AIM-120D, AGM-154 Jassam.
      In the days of the Warsaw Pact, Poland could buy from the Soviet Union every modern system of the battlefield.

      I think that I even now Russia has sold to Poland, the export version of the PAK-FA with R-37M export version.

      The F-22 even in the weakest version of what we do not have to dream, as the Japanese.

      The answer to the riddle of AESA in a MiG-29 SMT:

      In the case of SMT-29 MiG possible only buildings FGA-29 radar on-board power source because the energy is not able to provide a sufficient amount of its cooperation with FGA-35.

      I will not answer you how far away the Raptor is detected by the Russian AESA. I'm not that brave and I have no such knowledge.

  3. narpiew-first

    Sorry for the confusion.

  4. I have a little gift for you:,13190.60.html


    1. 15 February 1978 MiG-31Test RLU-31 "Curtains"(Zaslon) long distance 10 targets. Targets are Tu-16 bomber
    2. Test 18.08.1993 r. Interception to 319.4 kilometers, the destruction to 228 km
    3. Test 21.04.1994 1 Mig-31 vs 4 miG-21( Question: what is the effective field reflection radar beam in front of the MiG-21?)

    I believe that the West does not appreciate the possibilities of modern radar Russian production.


    1. Thank you for the good read, I'm always interested in learning about Russian avionics. I hadn't heard of 1978 testing results before re the Mig-31. Most of what I know about the Mig-31 is a result of what a Polish viewer showed me while back:

      "Fire control system RP-31 Curtains fitted with slotted antenna system scanned electronic phase N-007 with a range of 260km to seek equal to an effective reflection surface 16m, and a range of automatic tracking purposes oscillating in the limit of 160 km in the front hemisphere. For the rear hemisphere, these numbers are 90 and 70 km. Reach target tracking, ranging from beatings 3m in front hemisphere is 90km."

      (In Polish):

      What is often fixated in these discussions is the maximum demonstrated range of the MIg-31, the figure cited by "John Cool" and others ( tends to be 200 km against 16m^2 targets. I'm not sure if the Tu-16's involved in the 1978 test have a larger rcs than that but it would make sense given the 300km + figure. The key in all this is the rcs target size corresponding the range figures. For example for an rcs of 3m^2, the Mig-31's radar detection range goes down to 90km. The mission of the Mig-31 was an interceptor against American bombers with huge rcs e.g. B-52 with 100m^2 or B-1B with reduced 10m^2 (also used against the SR-71).

      Non stealthy 4th generation aircraft such as the Mig-29 and F-15 tend to be around 5m^2 while the F-35's rcs is around .0015m^2 and the F-22 is at .0001m^2. Meaning the F-22 has an rcs 50,000 times smaller than the F-15 (3,333.3 times smaller for F-35). Even modern Russian radars such as the NIIP Iribis-E have difficulty tracking and detecting such small targets:

      Detection range on an F-35 is 28 nautical miles (51 km) and detection range on F-22 would be 15 nautical miles or 28 km. Older Western 4th generation aircraft and certainly many of the Eurocanard 4.5 designs are vulnerable to Russian radar and missile technology (150 nm or 277 km detection range against 1m^2 rcs Eurofighter Typhoon) but the F-22 and F-35 will be able to both detect and engage Russian aircraft before being detected. The axiom "you can't shoot what you can't see" very much applies to discussions of detection ranges and rcs target sizes.

  5. Of course you're right about the test in 1978. This applies to the first version of the N007. The plane is used to test the MiG-31.
    In tests of 1993 -1994 was involved probably MiG-31BS and rocket R-33S, and MiG-31M and rocket K-37. They are often mistaken for both tests and both aircraft.
    Shot on goal - probably a remote-controlled MiG-21. In different positions give different RCS.
    The Russians are testing each new weapon system at maximum distances of action.

    At this time, the MiG-31, BM is equipped with modernized missile R-37M (modified) with extended range.

    We still buy from American F-35, the problem lies in the fact that we have not yet AIM-120D.
    Buy 60 F-35 plans to Poland without the AIM-120D, is pointless.

    If the United States Senate does not consent to purchase along with modern aircraft missile that the F-35 can be detected before they still make for a distance of about 120/130 km miles to fire AIM-120 C-7 in the best conditions of firing.
    The AIM 120 C-5 is approximately 100 km in the best conditions of firing.
    Besides, we both know that the extent of the actual launch is a little different depending on the targets.

    RCS F-35 in different positions relative to the radar is different. You can use thermo finder which detects sometimes plane of 200 km.
    Open hatches chambers of AIM-120 causes an increase in RCS and detection of F-35.
    Do you have AIM-120D is to detect the F-35 is less likely.
    To have the perfect RCS need to be nakierunkowany ahead on goal and the large distance from it.

    You're wrong MiG-29 9.12 / 9.13 with Mig-29M2 / 35. It's two different planes with different RCS.
    So how the F-16A and F-16C Block 52 +.

    MiG-29 9-12/9.13 modernization of the type Mig-29 SMT 9.18/9.19. It's an old generation MiG-29. But I was lowered in the course of modernization SMT RCS aircraft.

  6. It may sound simplistic in this age of "net centric" warfare, but a long range aam would be a huge benefit. I'm talking about something like the old AIM-152 concept. I know it's 20+ years old, but there is still no substitute for kinematics.

    1. I wasn't aware of the AIM-152, but conceptually it makes a lot of sense. The AIM-54 was never very accurate despite its range. Similarly, the major problem with radar guided missiles these days is the advent of effective DRFM jammers. Missiles can be defeated in one of two ways: disrupt its ability to physically reach its target or by disrupting the missile's ability to acquire the target. Agility wise, missiles have advanced to the point where disrupting guidance is really the only viable option. Its a valid point, despite the major upgrades to the AIM-120 included in the D variant, the US is still in need of a higher performance longer range missile. DARPA used to be working a new air to air missile called the Triple Target Terminator (T3) which would be a ram jet powered long range air to air missile. The program is now officially canceled due to cost concerns but its possible a follow on is in development as a black project.

      Ideally, any new long range US air to air missile would have both an active radar guided seeker and short range IR acquisition as to be more effective against low observable aircraft.

  7. Why is the saw tooth design more effective than a simple angle?

    I often wonder that when I see the missile bay doors, which could be more aerodynamic if swept at an angle like a stealth wing rather than a messy and boxy saw tooth that it is.

    1. In most of the discussions I've read on the use of sawtooth surfaces to reduce rcs, they have been mostly related to engine nozzles rather than weapon bay doors ( they are also occasionally found on landing gear doors of stealth aircraft as well). Regardless of the design used, once the bay doors are opened, the stealth of the aircraft is compromised (hence the need for quick missile deployment systems).

      Its my understanding that in general, planform alignment is preferable to the sawtooth design but the former is much more difficult as it has to be designed into the aircraft from the get go. I'll look into it further but I'm afraid I don't have a better answer on the top of my head as of now, sorry :(