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Those who question the stealth features of the PAK-FA

Pierre Sprey

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Those who question the stealth features of the PAK-FA

Post  Pierre Sprey on Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:44 am

There is a rather larger contingent of pundits out there who love to go over the Pak Fa's stealth features and look for holes. And they always compare it to the Raptor. If the Raptor has it and the Pak Fa doesn't then the Pak Fa ain't stealth is how it goes. They make these long blathering posts that question aspects of the Pak Fa. Most of them think, just by eye balling certain angles or little details, that they've uncovered a stealth deal breaker. When in reality, its usually just lame little details that they are totally blowing out of proportion. And they become so sure of themselves. I call them stealth absolutists.

And the worst part is, that they don't even realize that they are questing the very stealth designation of the Pak Fa. Do they think that the Russian MOD was bluffing when they stipulated stealth or something ? Do they think that Sukhoi is lying when they say that the aircraft has met the terms of the tender ?

One example is the air intake of course. That one famous picture that shows some of what they believe is the 1st stage of the engine. These guys say that this is a deal breaker. When in reality, the YF 23 had superior all aspect stealth than the F-22 Raptor and it has more engine exposed than the Pak Fa.

Does anyone here question the stealth of the Pak ?

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Re: Those who question the stealth features of the PAK-FA

Post  GarryB on Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:50 am

The design of the US aircraft (F-22 and F-35) are 100% compromised on favour of stealth.

The PAK FA is from the start a stealth fighter hunter... hense it keeps the IRST despite the reduction in stealth, it has long wave radar antennas in its wings.

Priority number one is manouver performance, stealth is important but it wont be the most stealthy aircraft that wins... when AAMs are defeated by jamming and cannons are the last resort my money would be on the PAK FA and Su-35 and MiG-35 with their cannon.

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Re: Those who question the stealth features of the PAK-FA

Post  hoom on Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:43 am

I do question the stealthiness, at least of the prototypes we've seen.
There really are a bunch of obvious failures to align panel edges/minimise gaps & that means it clearly can't have as low an RCS as F-22/F-35.

If the production version actually applies this level of detailing all over then T-50 should be well up there with the US fighters in RCS reduction

On the other hand I also question widely thrown about RCS numbers 0.0x m^2 or lower for F-22/35 when you have ~0.4m^2 radar antennae like this on the front

These are literally designed to be excellent Radar Reflectors & I really can't see any reason that they would bounce back significantly less than equal-area RCS (without severely limiting capability), certainly no way they can be orders of magnitude less than their literal area.

But on the basis of what we've seen I don't think full effort at frontal RCS minimisation is a particularly important factor in T-50 design:
F-35 puts nearly all eggs in the frontal RCS basket
F-22 also has excellent manoeuvrability to fall back on.
There is almost certainly enough RCS reduction to give T-50 the jump on T4 gen planes 1v1.

T-50 shifts a lot of emphasis to 360deg situational awareness via cheek & rear antennae, extra Optical coverage & L-band wing leading edge antennae.

(not sure there are actually antennae for all those lobes/frequencies Suspect)

When you read scenarios where F-22/35 get their massive test/exercise victories vs G4 planes the G4 planes have no idea where the stealth planes are which allows the stealth planes to get on flank/rear & launch surprise attacks.

I think the Russian intent is that they're going to have at least a rough idea where the stealth planes are via wing-embedded L-band radars &/or operating defensively in range of ground based L-band radar &/or will be facing enemy AWACS.
Various articles over the years have pointed out that long wavelength radar with modern signal processing as seen on AWACS & Russian ground radar can easily locate stealth planes to within a few hundred meters which totally destroys those scenarios.

Meanwhile those cheek radars allow a high range of defensive avoidance manoeuvre for the T-50 to dodge inbound missiles while still providing guidance to outbound missiles & maintaining strong warning/EW/ECM in direction of threat (F-22/35 lose a lot outside 120deg frontal AESA arc).

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Re: Those who question the stealth features of the PAK-FA

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