F-35: a game changer in modern warfare

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F-35: a game changer in modern warfare

By Lee Tae-hoon

Officials of Lockheed Martin say that the F-35 Lightning II is a game changer in 21st century warfare where most nations are trying to reduce their defense budgets amid a volatile economic climate.

They claim that the F-35 is the only fighter jet available on the market with all-aspect stealth, first-look, first-shot, first-kill capabilities at an affordable price to purchase and sustain over the next few decades.

"The F-35's very low observable (VLO) stealth feature revolutionizes the way pilots engage or fight adversaries," said David Scott, director of the company's F-35 international customer engagement office.

He made the remarks against claims from its rivals, EADS and Boeing, that the F-35's stealth capability may become obsolete as the latter's Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars or other advanced radars can detect the stealth aircraft upon the opening of its internal weapons bay to fire a missile.

Dogfight debate

"They are saying that it is not valuable to detect somebody at a long range, but it is," Scott argued.

"It allows you to have a better situation awareness of the battle, allowing you to determine whether you close in and fight, disengage, swing around and come in from the side or from the back where the enemy cannot see you."

The F-35 is currently capable of carrying a full complement of 8,278 kilograms of fuel and four AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) internally. Lockheed Martin claims that its research shows the F-35 has the capability to carry up to six AMRAAMs internally.

According to a calculation by a senior EADS radar expert, the Captor-E, which will use 1,426 T/R modules and is scheduled to be integrated onto the Eurofighter Typhoon in 2015, is capable of recognizing the F-35 at around 59 kilometers away.

He acknowledged that the chance is high for the F-35 to detect and fire missiles first against fourth-generation jets, such as the Eurofighter or Boeing's F-15, but claimed that the latter are capable of dodging missiles and successfully counterattacking at such a long range.

His calculation shows that the F-35's APG-81, which allegedly has 1,400 T/R modules, will be able to recognize the Eurofighter or semi-stealth fighter at 120 kilometers or farther based on the assumption both radars have the same capability.

In this regard, Scott said that an advanced fighter might be able to lock on to the F-35 momentarily upon its launching of a missile, but will not be able to keep track of it due to the latter's inherent low observable stealth design and as it would be busy dodging the missile for survival.

"Once the F-35 opens its weapons bay and fires a weapon, the enemy may be able to see something for a moment, but it disappears again," Scott said.

"Being detected doesn't mean that you are being tracked and targeted with weapons. Now they know you are out there. They don't know where you are and will be busy avoiding the missile you just launched."

Stephen O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president for F-35 business development, claims that it is unrivaled in air-to-surface capability, and is second only to the F-22 in air-to-air capability.

"Using U.S. Government analysis tools and highly accurate and classified data, the F-35 has been shown to be six times more capable in air-to-air engagements than any fourth Generation aircraft," he said.

Low price to purchase, sustain

O'Bryan stressed that the average unit recurring flyaway cost of the F-35 will be approximately $65 million when measured in 2010 economics.

"The economies of scale, coupled with the benefit of commonality, represent the opportunity for great savings for Korea regarding F-35 operations and support costs when compared to the other FX-III competitors," he said.

O'Bryan noted that though it does not account for annual inflation projections, the $65M price tag includes much more than some media often speculate.

"It includes the engine and all mission systems such as the APG-81 AESA radar, internally mounted targeting system, electronic attack and warfare systems, self-protection systems, infra-red missile warning system, communication and navigation equipment, and the helmet mounted display that is also used as a night vision system."

He said that many of the mentioned systems are added on to the price of fourth-generation aircraft.

8,000 hour stealth guarantee

Randy Howard, Lockheed Martin's director of the Korea F-35 Campaign, said that the F-35 was designed from the very beginning to be VLO and its stealth coating is resilient enough that the aircraft's radar cross section will not suffer after numerous day-to-day operations.

"You can even take a knife and hardly scratch the finish of the F-35," he said.

"Given what we know, it comes with a guarantee of the radar cross section at the end of 8,000 flight hours. It's essentially guaranteed to be a VLO for the life of the aircraft."

Howard said even if there is a scratch, there is a tool that allows mechanics to quickly find the impact of the scratch and whether it needs to be fixed.

"It is twice as cheap in maintaining the aircraft to remain as a VLO compared to the F-22. It is significantly supportable, cheaper and better than the F-22," he said.

"It is a 21st century tool for 21st century aircraft to maintain VLO."

Howard added that the techniques and tools that maintain VLO will be locally trained so that it will be easier to maintain.

He also stressed that the F-35 provides an inherent capability to collect intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data and perform many of the command and control functions found on traditional high value but vulnerable assets.


Korean Language

F-35와 유로파이터가 맞붙는다면?

스텔스 성능을 자랑하는 F-35와 유로파이터가 공중전으로 맞붙는다면 어떤 결론이 나올까?

유로파이터를 생산하는 EADS 테스트 파일럿들에 의하면 F-35 8기와 유로파이터 (타이푼) 4기가 맞붙는다는 가정하에 컴퓨터 시뮬레이션을 돌려 보았는데 공격과 방어 두 시나리오 모두 유로파이터가 완승 했다고 한다.

반면, F-35를 생산하는 미국의 록히드마틴의 스티브 오브라이언 부사장은 미정부의 분석 툴과 아주 정확한 기밀 데이터를 사용해 분석한 결과 F-35가 어떠한 4세대 전투기와 공대공으로 맞붙었을 때 6배 성능이 우수하다는 결과가 나왔다고 한다.

한편, 한 EADS 레이더 전문가에 의하면 레이다반사면적 (RCS)이 F-35가 0.1 제곱미터라 가정했을 때 유로파이터는 2015년 탑재될 Captor-E AESA 레이더를 사용한다면 59km에서 F-35를 감지할 수 있다고 한다.

이 레이더 전문가는 59km에서 F-35가 미사일을 발사한다면 무장력이 좋고 민첩한 유로파이터가 미사일을 자체방어 시스템으로 따돌리고 역습해 F-35를 격추시킬 수 있다고 주장했다.

하지만 F-35의 전면 RCS는 레이더 전문가가 가정한 0.1 보다 낮은 0.01 수준으로 알려져 있어 유로파이터는 더 근접해 공격 당할 수 있는 여지가 있다.

마이클 비숍 유로파이터 레이더 개발팀장은 유로파이터 RCS가 미사일 수준인 0.5라 가정하면 88 km, 무인기 수준인 1.0이라 가정하면 103km 앞에서 F-35가 유로파이터를 레이더로 잡을 수 있다고 말했다. 이는 F-35의 APG-81 ASEA레이더가 유로파이터 Captor-E 탐지거리 같다는 전재하에서이다.

이에 대해 록히드마틴 데이비드 스캇 국제고객 담당 이사는 F-35는 더 멀리 볼 수 있고 먼저 공격할 수 있는 스텔스기라는 장점을 절대 간과해서 안 된다 말한다. 왜냐면 F-35는 전략적 우위를 확보하지 못했다 판단되면 교전을 피하면 되고, 필요 시 상대방의 레이더가 감지할 수 없는 후방 또는 측면으로 근접 접근 해 미사일을 발사 할 수 있기 때문이다.

그는 EADS가 F-35는 지상전 능력을 빼면 별볼일 없다는 주장에 대해 공중전에도 F-35는 F-22를 제외한 어떠한 전투기보다 공중전에 뛰어나다 주장한다.

스캇 이사는 또한 F-35가 내부무장창에서 미사일을 발사 할 때 유로파이터가 AESA를 통해 잠시 감지 할 수는 있지만, 상대는 미사일을 피하느라 겨를이 없어 반격하는 것은 사실상 불가능 할 거라 주장한다. 그는 또 F-35 자체가 워낙 낮은 RCS를 가지고 있어 미사일 발사 시 잠시 레이더에 감지되어도 그 후 바로 적의 레이더망에서 사라져 버린다 말했다.

한편 록히드마틴 랜디 하워드 이사는 F-35 스텔스 코팅은 그 유지비는 F-22의 반 이하이고 칼로 긁어도 기스가 나지 않을 정도로 내구성이 뛰어나다고 주장했다. 하워드에 의하면 F-35는 8천시간 스텔스 비행 보증기간이 있어 사실상 한번 구입하면 30-40년 은퇴할 때까지 스텔스 기능 저하애 대해 우려할 필요가 없다고 한다.

By Lee Tae-hoon

Officials of Lockheed Martin say that the F-35 Lightning II is a game changer in 21st century warfare where most nations are trying to reduce their defense budgets amid a volatile economic climate.

They claim that the F-35 is the only fighter jet available on the market with all-aspect stealth, first-look, first-shot, first-kill capabilities at an affordable price to purchase and sustain over the next few decades.

"The F-35's very low observable (VLO) stealth feature revolutionizes the way pilots engage or fight adversaries," said David Scott, director of the company's F-35 international customer engagement office.

He made the remarks against claims from its rivals, EADS and Boeing, that the F-35's stealth capability may become obsolete as the latter's Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars or other advanced radars can detect the stealth aircraft upon the opening of its internal weapons bay to fire a missile.

Dogfight debate

"They are saying that it is not valuable to detect somebody at a long range, but it is," Scott argued.

"It allows you to have a better situation awareness of the battle, allowing you to determine whether you close in and fight, disengage, swing around and come in from the side or from the back where the enemy cannot see you."

The F-35 is currently capable of carrying a full complement of 8,278 kilograms of fuel and four AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) internally. Lockheed Martin claims that its research shows the F-35 has the capability to carry up to six AMRAAMs internally.

According to a calculation by a senior EADS radar expert, the Captor-E, which will use 1,426 T/R modules and is scheduled to be integrated onto the Eurofighter Typhoon in 2015, is capable of recognizing the F-35 at around 59 kilometers away.

He acknowledged that the chance is high for the F-35 to detect and fire missiles first against fourth-generation jets, such as the Eurofighter or Boeing's F-15, but claimed that the latter are capable of dodging missiles and successfully counterattacking at such a long range.

His calculation shows that the F-35's APG-81, which allegedly has 1,400 T/R modules, will be able to recognize the Eurofighter or semi-stealth fighter at 120 kilometers or farther based on the assumption both radars have the same capability.

In this regard, Scott said that an advanced fighter might be able to lock on to the F-35 momentarily upon its launching of a missile, but will not be able to keep track of it due to the latter's inherent low observable stealth design and as it would be busy dodging the missile for survival.

"Once the F-35 opens its weapons bay and fires a weapon, the enemy may be able to see something for a moment, but it disappears again," Scott said.

"Being detected doesn't mean that you are being tracked and targeted with weapons. Now they know you are out there. They don't know where you are and will be busy avoiding the missile you just launched."

Stephen O'Bryan, Lockheed's vice president for F-35 business development, claims that it is unrivaled in air-to-surface capability, and is second only to the F-22 in air-to-air capability.

"Using U.S. Government analysis tools and highly accurate and classified data, the F-35 has been shown to be six times more capable in air-to-air engagements than any fourth Generation aircraft," he said.

Low price to purchase, sustain

O'Bryan stressed that the average unit recurring flyaway cost of the F-35 will be approximately $65 million when measured in 2010 economics.

"The economies of scale, coupled with the benefit of commonality, represent the opportunity for great savings for Korea regarding F-35 operations and support costs when compared to the other FX-III competitors," he said.

O'Bryan noted that though it does not account for annual inflation projections, the $65M price tag includes much more than some media often speculate.

"It includes the engine and all mission systems such as the APG-81 AESA radar, internally mounted targeting system, electronic attack and warfare systems, self-protection systems, infra-red missile warning system, communication and navigation equipment, and the helmet mounted display that is also used as a night vision system."

He said that many of the mentioned systems are added on to the price of fourth-generation aircraft.

8,000 hour stealth guarantee

Randy Howard, Lockheed Martin's director of the Korea F-35 Campaign, said that the F-35 was designed from the very beginning to be VLO and its stealth coating is resilient enough that the aircraft's radar cross section will not suffer after numerous day-to-day operations.

"You can even take a knife and hardly scratch the finish of the F-35," he said.

"Given what we know, it comes with a guarantee of the radar cross section at the end of 8,000 flight hours. It's essentially guaranteed to be a VLO for the life of the aircraft."

Howard said even if there is a scratch, there is a tool that allows mechanics to quickly find the impact of the scratch and whether it needs to be fixed.

"It is twice as cheap in maintaining the aircraft to remain as a VLO compared to the F-22. It is significantly supportable, cheaper and better than the F-22," he said.

"It is a 21st century tool for 21st century aircraft to maintain VLO."

Howard added that the techniques and tools that maintain VLO will be locally trained so that it will be easier to maintain.

He also stressed that the F-35 provides an inherent capability to collect intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data and perform many of the command and control functions found on traditional high value but vulnerable assets.


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