No secrets: US sees all of Russia’s invisible aircraft – that’s how

WASHINGTON – Fighter planes and ships that are designed to be invisible to radar are helpless under the watchful eye of SAR satellites, a synthesized aperture radar, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defense Express.

No secrets anymore - see how U.S. detects Russian stealth planes
Photo credit: Defense Express

Back in 1955, the Soviet Union flew its new bombers to international air shows to create the illusion that it had more aircraft in its arsenal than it did. This frightened the West with the sudden and rapid progress of the USSR with new weapons.

However, the artificial “breakthrough of Soviet bombers” was later refuted when American U2 aircraft were able to systematically photograph Soviet airbases.

This allowed the United States to count all the Soviet bombers, and they turned out to be much smaller than the intelligence had predicted. But the search for the right answer took several years and incredible resources.

Commercial satellites now allow anyone with Internet access to receive the same information. And Russian bombers can be watched almost in real-time – thanks to improved high-frequency coverage, image quality, and a variety of providers.

Of particular interest are satellites with a synthesized antenna aperture. Unlike traditional satellites with optical channels, SAR can see objects on the Earth’s surface through clouds and at night.

At the request of the American analytical organization U.S. Naval Institute, one of the American companies Capella Space, which has satellites with radar with synthesized antenna aperture [SAR] and provides radar satellite images, has taken images of selected Russian airbases and aircraft at these bases.

The results, as reported in U.S. Naval Institute, were obtained in just a few hours. Images from Capella Space satellites have a resolution [VHR] of up to 50 cm. They also have a low noise level.

One of the chosen targets was a base with Russian naval reconnaissance Tupolev Tu-142 Bear. This aircraft has repeatedly been the “hero” of reports of its interception near Alaska, Japan, and Europe.

These large aircraft with characteristic swept wings with four turboprop engines are “relatives” of those bombers that terrorized the West more than 65 years ago.

The Tu-142 Bear was very clear in the image. Engines and wings are visible on radar images with a synthesized aperture. It was just as easy to see some Tu-22M Backfire naval bombers. Radar reflections vary depending on the angles of the aircraft to the sensor, but analysts can easily identify these aircraft.

A more difficult challenge was the new generation of Russian invisible fighters. The image provided by Capella from Akhtubinsk airfield in Russia captures several aircraft.

No secrets anymore - see how U.S. detects Russian stealth planes
Photo credit: Defense Express

One of the photos shows two new Russian Su-57 Felon 5th generation fighters.

They can be distinguished from Su-34s parked nearby. MiG-31 Fox Hound and small Su-25 Frog Foots were found elsewhere in the base.

Detailing of the images shows, according to analysts from the U.S. Naval Institute, which can determine the types of aircraft. This can be important for naval planners, as more and more countries are adopting both surface and fifth-generation surface fighters.

This also applies to ships that are made by stealth technology. They, like the Su-57, still can not hide from SAR satellites.

As an example, analysts from U.S. Pat. Naval Institute provides images from space of Chinese missile boats Type-022.

No secrets anymore - see how U.S. detects Russian stealth planes
Photo credit: Defense Express

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