SEAD aspect in HX program

When laymen are talking about the Finnish Hornet Replacement Program (HX-Program for short) they seem to actively forget the role of SEAD/DEAD aspect in modern aerial warfare. It is utterly impossible to fight even semi competent enemy without robust capabilities in electronic warfare domain. This mean both offensive and defensive capabilities.

Stealth or avoiding detection by enemy in wide area of electromagnetic spectrum, from from infra red seen light to ultra violet and onward to radar domain. now a days from approximately 800 MHz to 12 or so GHz. All HX candidates do quite differently in different domains of these: Swedish JAS-39 E is quite small platform with single engine which turns it very low observable in seen light and, I suspect it is not confirmed, in IR. The french have taken great pains to make Dassault Rafale very low observable in IR domain. The Lockheed F-35 is a stealth jet, so it is very difficult to pick up in radar, but the most powerful jet engine it has gives out a quite substantial heat bloom. These are here given as examples what stealth across electro-magnetic spectrum means. All HX candidates take pains to make their offerings as low obs as possible in all parts of spectrum. this means twisty air ducts, and controlled directions where magnetic reflections are reflected to color schemes, the air superiority grays, that the fighters sport.

All HX candidates have AESA radars which can be used to jam enemy radars and to cancel radars radiation. Jamming is quite straightforward: you send energy straight into enemys radar to make  it impossible to “see” past the radiation. As an (bad and inaccurate) analogy like shining lamp into other guys eyes, so that he cannot see past it. The active cancellation of radar emissions is very nifty electronics and mathematics: When you detect radar radiation, you send radiation against it in exactly opposite phase of sine curve. When those waves collide they cancel each other out. And thus render the sending plane invisible. timing and phase need to be quite exact: if you are off by 60 degrees, you end up strengthening the signal you are trying to dampen.

The jamming works sort of like guys having red glasses and lamps and blue glasses and lamps and all in black jumpsuits (because they reflect the minimum amount of light): Guys with red glasses and lamps (as analogy a “some band in spectrum” transferred into seen light domain) could not see the guys with blue lamps and glasses and vice versa. Both could see the guys with white lamps though.

In this analogy we put the guys in a dark sports hall: no light apart what you produce, or the guys at the same team produce. So you wave the beams around in dark hall, and when you catch somebody in the beam you can see them. This is the basic scenario; you cannot see other teams light because of your different colored lenses. Now someone starts jamming: they have other teams lamp and when they are in say red teams beam, they start the “jamming” red light and shine it against the other guys eyes, until they can escape the beam or at least force the other to look away.

Now you want to use the active cancellation, the blue team will don blue uniforms for active cancellation(as a “color 90 degrees off red” light). Now it becomes impossible to see other team, because their jumpsuits do not reflect other teams color, so there is no light to see for other team. guys with white lamps would not have any problems seeing the guys in red and blue jumpsuits though.

AS mentioned, the AESA radars are useful as radar jammers and can also fry offending electronics to some range. So they are really useful tools in this sense. Where the edge goes? Presumably to Boeing F/A-18 E which should have the most powerful radar in HX race as counted in radar elements.

Then there are the anti radiation missiles that come into play. European competitors are rather weak in this domain, but because Brasilian air force picked Gripen and they have a modern anti radiation missile MAR-1 thus Gripen E has the lead in this category. Not only they have the AREXIS EW platform but also existing modern anti radiation missile. Of course Boeing F/A-18 E/F/G might have overall lead because of dedicated jamming platform and AGM-88 HARM and it’s more modern version AARGM missile as kinetic solution for your all Air defense radar  problems. This missile is also integrated into F-35 plane.

Because of Germany’s ARMIGER programs cancellation. This left Germans with seeker head that is suitable for METEOR missile, so it is possible to adapt METEOR for anti radiation use for Typhoon, F-35, Dassault Rafale and yes also for Gripen. Right now France is still relying on her Exocet modified anti radiation missiles, ARMATs so they do have a missile, but which is not integrated into Rafale. SCALP/Brimstone might fill the bill, but are more in cruise missile category than in much lighter anti radiation missile category.


About epamuodikkaitaajatuksia

Reilu nelikymppinen jannu, joka on huolissaan siitä miten maanpuolustus ja turvallisuus makaa Lapissa, Suomessa ja Euroopassa. Harrastuksina Amerikkalainen jalkapallo ja SRA ammunta. A guy about 45, who has a "thang" for military current issues, defense and shooting. Not to forget American football.
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