Apr 29, 2014

F-35 Stealth Jet Can’t Hide From Russian Radar

The F-35 may be that the JSF is not, in fact, stealthy in the eyes of a growing number of Russian and Chinese radars. Nor is it particularly good at jamming enemy radar. Which means the Defense Department is committing hundreds of billions of dollars to a fighter that will need the help of specialized jamming aircraft that protect non-stealthy—“radar-shiny,” as some insiders call them—aircraft today.
These problems are not secret at all. The F-35 is susceptible to detection by radars operating in the VHF bands of the spectrum. The fighter’s jamming is mostly confined to the X-band, in the sector covered by its APG-81 radar.
What the JSF does have is a jamming function—also known as “electronic attack,” or EA, in militaryese—in the radar. It also has an expendable radar decoy—BAE Systems’ ALE-70. Both are last-ditch measures to disrupt a missile engagement, not to prevent tracking.

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