At what exact distance the stealth F-35 fighter can be seen on the radar?

WASHINGTON, (BM) – American journalists learned from what distance the enemy’s air defense radar “sees” the fifth-generation fighter F-35 Lightning II, learned citing Popular Mechanics.

Read more: The new Russian radar leaves no chance for F-35 or any invisible aircraft

Although US President Donald Trump recently reiterated that the American stealth fifth-generation F-35 multipurpose fighter-bomber is truly “invisible” and “simply impossible” to see with the naked eye, in reality this is certainly not the case.

Indeed, some journalists from US edition of Popular Mechanics have found out exactly at what distance the long-suffering fifth-generation fighter cannot be seen on radar.

The F-35 multifunctional fighter-bomber becomes visible to air defense radars at a distance of seven miles, or 11.3 kilometers, journalists note, without specifying, however, which radar in question. “This gives the F-35 a lethal advantage over the enemy, allowing it to bypass enemy air defense missile systems and ambush enemy fighters,” experts say.

It is also noted that the fourth generation fighter F-16 Fighting Falcon, for example, can be spotted on radars at a distance of 100 miles, or 160.9 kilometers from the radar of the enemy’s air defense system. Recently it became known that the US naval aviation has already begun work on the successor to the F-35: at the moment, a project team has been formed and its leaders have been appointed.

The appearance of the platform has not yet been fully formed, it is only known that it will have to replace the entire Boeing F / A-18 Super Hornet family of modifications E and F, plus EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft created on its basis, which now form the basis of carrier-based aviation.

Read more: Spanish company will manufacture the digital S-band radar of the F110 frigate totalling €150M

The NGAD (Next Generation Air Dominance) project will have a greater range without refueling (at least a thousand nautical miles), have low visibility and all the features of the F-35 fighter, but at the same time it will be able to perform the tasks of the Hornets.

The stealth we knew lost its luster

The myth of the invisible stealth F-35 of the US Air Force has long been debunked, and we want to note not only from their Russian competitors, but also from the Germans and Chinese.

We all already know that Russia has a quality radar system integrated into the S-400 air defense complex. This is exactly the main starting point that the S-400 is the best system in the world. However, Washington’s disagreement that Ankara bought these Russian systems did not come from the system’s destructive power, but from its ability to successfully intercept any stealth technology currently available in the world.

In fact, Washington has long acknowledged this fact, following a statement by Pentagon officials about a year ago when they landed that “the fact that the radar saw us does not mean that the system will be able to bring down the fighter.”

Exactly almost a year ago the German company Hensoldt created a radar station, whose work has denied the F-35’s heavily promoted “invisibility”.

Read more: GPS war: Russia has been jamming F-22 and F-35 in the Middle East

With the help of the new radar, the manufacturer decided to detect the F-35 flight. Moreover, it was a convenient opportunity – two “invisibles” arrived from Arizona at the Berlin Air Show, held in April 2018 of the year. For a more accurate fixation, the radar used the power of signals from Polish FM emitters broadcasting inland to Germany. However, the American fighters did not take to the air at the designated exhibition, but the Eurofighters flying were “caught”.

As it turns out, then Hensoldt relocated the radar with a folding antenna (placed in a van or SUV) to a new site located 150 km from Berlin. The equipment was placed among the horses on a pony farm, not far from the airport. As one eyewitness explained, “someone from the Berlin air show appeared and stayed here for two or three days.” At the same time, every step of the F-35 was recorded by “agents” in anticipation of their flight.

As soon as the fighters were in the air, the radar began tracking them. Data collection was based on signals from ADS-B transponders. The so-called Luneberg lenses are equipped with machines so that their movement can be recorded by ground services. The soaring F-35s were just equipped with them.

However, as the manufacturer assures, the radar is capable of detecting targets regardless of whether radar reflectors are installed on them. According to Hensoldt, a passive radar operates in a different spectrum, which makes the presence (or absence) of these lenses unimportant.

The German military has already appreciated the new creation. The Bundeswehr is currently considering a passive radar created by the company as a technology capable of significantly expanding the combat capabilities of troops, in particular, in the matter of air defense. Last fall, in the south of Germany, large-scale testing of a system that recorded the entire flow of aircraft was carried out.

Read more: Chinese air defense systems intercepted F-35s in Iraqi airspace, sources said

Moreover, significant adjustments were made to the program for creating a new combat aircraft, in which Germany, France and Spain participate. “The stealth we knew lost its luster” – writes in this regard, the publication c4isrnet.


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