Aussie air zealot savages prêt-à-porter stealth fighter

#1
A colourful Australian IT engineer and airpower zealot has published a stinging attack on the F-35 stealth jet fighter, which is to be purchased by military forces worldwide including those of the US and UK.

Dr Carlo Kopp - to quiet applause from many in the aerospace world - says the F-35 "is demonstrably not a true stealth aircraft", and contends that it will be easily defeated by Russian-made radars and missiles.
The F-35 A model, for normal runways, now in flight test


Dr Kopp's report, Assessing Joint Strike Fighter Defence Penetration Capabilities, is published at his Air Power Australia website, where he campaigns against Australia's stated policy of purchasing F-35s. Kopp believes that the land down under should instead keep on operating its 1970s-era F-111 swingwing bombers, and ask the US to buy the latest Raptor super stealth fighters as well - though these aren't on offer for export at present.

The F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter and as "Lightning II", is mainly built in America. However, the programme has many overseas industrial partners - particularly including the UK - and unlike the Raptor it is intended for wide export to US allies from the outset. Within the US armed forces, it is intended to be an "affordably stealthy" and numerous supplement to small numbers of dedicated air superiority planes like the Raptor and the US Navy's Super Hornet.

F-35s are supposed to focus mainly on air-to-surface strike missions, but also to offer a solid performance in air-to-air combat, especially at long ranges using advanced missiles and low radar signature to good effect. The F-35, unlike the Raptor, is also to be available in vertical-landing jumpjet (F-35B) and catapult/tailhook aircraft carrier (F-35C) versions.

Carlo Kopp, however, reckons the F-35 is terrible:

As with claims made for Joint Strike Fighter air combat capability, claims made for the Joint Strike Fighter concerning the penetration of [enemy air defence networks] equipped with modern radars and SAMs are not analytically robust, and cannot be taken seriously.
Continues here, Dr. Kopp most unimpressed...
 
#2
Read it on pprune. I'm not sure I'd trust an opinion that is based on how the thing looks - it's a 4th generation stealth, they don't need to look like something out of Batman anymore. His point about the latest Russian stuff is valid, but the stealth tech does reduce detection range. In any case, most likely bad guys won't be packing the latest gear, and if they are there are other ways to take them on than stealth - STEAD, ECM, stand-off weapons, etc.
 
#3
The Dr is right, it's the biggest con going. Not only is is not very stealthy, The payload that can be carried internally (especially on the F35B model (the one we have selected) is pitiful. Do you know that it cannot carry any Stomshadows internally and I think only 1 externally. As it stands at the moment it is not being modified to accept the Meteor BVR missile and will carry 2 ASRAAMS externally. Thus destroying any chance of stealth anyway. Not too mention its poor range and no internal cannon! All of that and it was supposed to be cheap!!! The costs are going through the roof. It makes the Typhoon look like a bargain. there are also serious concerns about its agility! By all accounts its a bit of a BRICK!

Lets leave the programme now before its too late.. Oops it already is too late.
 
#4
Mike Sparkes + M113 =Carlo Kopp + F111.

You do the math.

Mick.
 
#5
What does the F35 offer that the Typhoon doesn't?
 
#8
Carlo Kopp gets a lot of derision, some of it justified, some of it not. A lot of highly regarded aviation journalists rate some of his analysis even though he has a clear and biased agenda, is an electronic engineer (not aeronautics) and does sometimes stretch his points. That said he produces very detailed analysis and sets out his methods for all to criticise where a lot of his oppponents simply attack the man or say something along the lines of you are wrong but we can't tell you because it's secret.

There are many many things that seem wrong with the F35 and many arguments against but if we are to have fast jet carrier aviation its probably the best option, although deeply flawed (both the aircraft and ist integration with the wider UK capability)

Wether we should have fast jet carrier aviation is of course another argument.
 
#9
The F-35 Lightning 2 is an aeroplane which is having trouble already.The development flight programme is not going well and costs are overunning.

There has been critism from a Netherlands government audit of the programme,which found the offsets offered for procurement of this airplane have not been honoured and the cost per airplane has soared.

These have been repeated attempts to have Rolls-Royce excluded from this airplane in the States.The reluctance of the Americans to provide source codes for this airplane to foreign customers have received wide publicity.

IMHO,the Yanks should have gone for F-16 block 60 for their Air Force,and Super Hornets and re-vamped AV-8s for their Marines.

As for the Brits,navalised Typhoons?.
 
#11
Didnt the Serbs shoot down a F117 by swamping the area with active Radar and then firing into the blank spot
 
#12
tropper66 said:
Didnt the Serbs shoot down a F117 by swamping the area with active Radar and then firing into the blank spot
Pretty much. I think they fucked around with the wavelengths on the radar installations, the sort that are designed so that the radar won't pick up birds etc.
 
#13
Wasn't it also to do with them using old fashioned VHF radar whose wavelengths defeated all the stealth stuff which was based on more modern higher frequency equipment.

I believe the Russians are actively selling these VHF radar sets precisely on the promise of defeating stealth
 
#14
tropper66 said:
Didnt the Serbs shoot down a F117 by swamping the area with active Radar and then firing into the blank spot
No. The Serbs shot one F-117 down and damaged another, but not by that means. It was lost as much due to predictable tactics by the USAF as anything else, although the Serbs were VERY good SAM operators.

Karlo Kopp is a bit of a biased comedy act to be honest who seems to get much of his knowledge from theoretical publications rather than first hand experience. The only type he sees any use for in the RAAF is the F-22 which they are not going to get. Nor frankly do they need them.

In fairness however, the F-35 probably isn’t the best option for Australia. Notwithstanding the fact the F-35B variant would be able to offer them the option of getting them back into the fixed wing carrier aviation business via their amphib carrier programme, in my opinion it is too expensive and not best suited to Australia’s needs.

PartTimePongo said:
What does the F35 offer that the Typhoon doesn't?
Aside from carrier compatibility, it offers Low Observability (LO, ie ‘stealth’) and exceptional sensor capabilities. In reality, the Typhoon and F-35 compliment each other very well. The Tiff has an excellent dynamic performance and manoeuvrability, coupled with a decent range and payload in both air-air and air-ground ops. The F-35 is primarily optimised for air-ground ops with a good air-air capability when required. However, being stealthier than the Typhoon, it is potentially able to penetrate or remain in high threat areas (eg an SA-20 MEZ) and do its job without having to spend all its time manoeuvring like a b’stard to avoid supersonic telegraph poles! The F-35 also promises to have exceptional active and passive sensor capabilities in an ISR role.

The UK has not yet actually signed on the dotted line for F-35 although we have committed considerable money as the only Level 1 partner. We will however be receiving 3 F-35Bs for OT&E from next year. Nevertheless, technically, the UK could still opt for another Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) choice such as the FA-18E/F or Rafale M. Navalised Sea Typhoon is a non-starter unless you wish to enhance BAeS share prices.

Contrary to many however, the F-35 Programme is progressing remarkably smoothly given its status as the most complicated military aircraft project in history. It has to balance the requirements of 3 variants for 3 US (USAF, USN and USMC) and 2 British (RAF and RN) services as well as at least 9 other nations, each of whom have varying levels of influence over its design.

Range is not great on the F-35B variant, but still broadly comparable to the Typhoon. The importance of LO and the associated limited payload is arguably overstated. However, the fact it can’t carry Meteor is not ideal. In most cases, the scenario will probably allow carriage of external stores and/or fuel with little impact on the mission.

Meanwhile, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and technology access remain an issue, albeit less so for the UK than other nations. However, overall, design and test flying is going relatively well. What many commentators fail to realise is that many of the advanced systems are developments of those on the superlative F-22 which is already in service with the USAF. Whilst the Raptor aircraft has suffered its share of bugs, all new types do, particularly when it was such a step up from the F-15. However, as those bugs are ironed out, so they will feed into F-35 technology. Additionally, Lightning II sensors and systems are already being tested on a 737 testbed.

In short, the status of the F-35 programme is far from as dark as some would suggest and it promises to provide a genuine Fifth Generation fast jet to the RAF and RN.

Do we need Typhoon and F-35? Imho, yes we do. Whether we can afford it however is another matter given increasing pressure on Defence.

Regards,
MM
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
Well, the bad news for the septics is that the Swedish (I think it was them) developed a multi-node radar system that could cover the whole of Norway (about 90 odd nodes) that worked in nodal pairs and completely defeated stealth technology by looking at the 'shadow' left by the aircraft in flight.

Apparently, this entire stealth defeating country-wide radar system would have cost around $150 million - a drop in the ocean compared to other systems.

Our Aussie, albeit not quoting this particular piece of info is actually correct - it's already obsolete.

Anti-stealth Radar - ONE

We've seen many anti-stealth ideas come and go over the years, such as the UK's cell-phone radar concept or the Russian Nagira high-powered radar. But AASR is the first advertised system-level attack on stealth to emerge from a full-up combat radar house -- and these are the people -- the former Ericsson Microwave, acquired by Saab in June 2006 -- who produced the world's first airborne AESA and notched up a number of other firsts over the years.
If these anti-stealth radar systems are reaching maturity over the next ten years, we could sure save ourselves a fortune on buying US fighters right now.
 
#16
yes, sneaky so-and-sos the Swedes. They did some very clever stuff in the Cold War with datalinks that isn't fully appreciated.

I would echo MM, and add that there is a problem with the whole Air Power Australia campaignm, which is predicated around the RAAF getting the F-22. There are a series of commnets, articles, press guff from the organisation which deprecate all potential rivals to the Raptor.

There is an incredibly silly piece on the APA site which says that the RAF would be better off buying the F-16 and binning Typhoon - and that's an article written after the first Tranche 2 Typhoon joined the RAF - since it would save money to do so (an argument which makes Lewis Page look like Clausewitz, it's so daft)

The F-35 comes in for regular flak from the Kopp crowd (or should that be Kopp Krowd?), and IIRC, the Super Hornet has come in for similar hatred. I think that the only airframe they've not rubbished yet is the Rafale, and I daresay that as soon as anyone suggests that the RAAF might profit from buying this that we'll get an article with lots of graphs and financial figures explaining how the Rafale is rubbish and that only the F-22 will do...
 
#17
So network your kit and make sure its long wavelength, use IR detection and make sure you have well trained operators and it seems from what you are saying the whole LO/Stealth thing can be significantly degraded.

Of course the US realises this and even the US Navy has its own active jamming aircraft but I don't see any on our horizons.

Another issue I read about was that of the F35 talking to other aircraft, if it uses Link 16 then you might as well throw the whole stealth thing out of the window and it apparently comes with something called MADL for communicating with each other and the US are planning on having this kit on other aircraft but again I am not sure where we are with this.

Sounds like a typical case of us having the barest bones of a capability in the smallest possible numbers but so denuding it of all the other bells and whistles it becomes a poor shadow of what it could be.

Personally I don't think we can afford it
 
#18
meridian said:
So network your kit and make sure its long wavelength, use IR detection and make sure you have well trained operators and it seems from what you are saying the whole LO/Stealth thing can be significantly degraded.

Of course the US realises this and even the US Navy has its own active jamming aircraft but I don't see any on our horizons.

Another issue I read about was that of the F35 talking to other aircraft, if it uses Link 16 then you might as well throw the whole stealth thing out of the window and it apparently comes with something called MADL for communicating with each other and the US are planning on having this kit on other aircraft but again I am not sure where we are with this.

Sounds like a typical case of us having the barest bones of a capability in the smallest possible numbers but so denuding it of all the other bells and whistles it becomes a poor shadow of what it could be.

Personally I don't think we can afford it
Meridian, neither do I, furthermore our tiny/poor excuse for Aircraft Carriers equipped with this White Elephant are not worth the expense either.
 
#19
"furthermore our tiny/poor excuse for Aircraft Carriers equipped with this White Elephant are not worth the expense either. "

I lived through the End of Empire, when we gave up control of 'Half' the World and the withdrew into our Euro Shell.
Quite correct, I believe.
Now this carrier thing does bother me. Power projection, two largest warships ever for the Royal Navy.
I just cannot understand why we need carriers or just who UK is going to threaten, surely those days are gone.
Are the carriers, 4 Billion & their air armada 35 Billion, Britians contribution to Euro Force ? or are we seriously returning to Days of Conquest ?
john
Just so I don't deviate too much from the thread, I was always given to understand that Stealth did not mean Radar Invisibility. The 'Signature' was greatly reduce meaning that at long range there was no or little Radar 'reflection' said to be the equivalent of a Large bird. A 600 knts large bird.
 
#20
chippymick said:
Mike Sparkes + M113 =Carlo Kopp + F111.

You do the math.

Mick.
:lol:

Mike Sparkes! Haven't seen that name in a long, long time.
 
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