F-22 is capable of preventing a hit-and-run attack from the Su-35

One thing is clear – Russia very quickly developed successful electronic warfare systems. Whether they are better than the Western ones, the war in Ukraine still cannot determine it. But the claim that Ukraine is losing 10,000 drones a month to successful jamming by the Russian military shows to serious progress.

F-22 Raptor has a suitability and cyber survivability issue
Photo credit: Pixabay

Why do we start with electronic warfare systems if the F-22 and Su-35 meet in the air? Because in this battle, Russia will have equal capabilities in terms of electronic technology. Before Ukraine, the US was thought to have advanced in this domain of military development. It is still considered because the US Air Force has not engaged in equal aerial combat in modern times.

On the other hand, Russia already uses these systems. But it is also difficult to predict their effectiveness if faced with a system of the same competitive level. However, there are claims that the F-35 faced the Russian L-175V Khibiny [Khibiny-10] jamming system and became highly vulnerable. That’s why we’re leveling the playing field in terms of electronic warfare systems.

Iran buys 24 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighters produced for Egypt
Photo credit: UAC

Why F-22 and not F-35?

Yes, first we need to clarify the reason for putting the F-22 in the foreground instead of the F-35. And the reason is the following: F-22 in a direct air battle with its older brother will win. Many factors, as well as technical data of the two aircraft, speak for this.

The F-22 is faster than the F-35. The maximum speed of Mach 1.6, which is not even certain that the F-35 will reach, is a far cry from the F-22’s, which is Mach 2.25. Let’s face it: Mach 1.6 is a speed difficult to achieve for the F-35. Speaking of speed, the F-22 is more maneuverable than the F-35.

There are more facts. For example, an F-22 can climb 62,000 feet in one minute. Impressive considering that the F-35 can reach 17,000 feet less in a minute, i.e. 45,000 feet. And last but not least, the stealth performance of the F-22 is superior to that of the F-35. I.e. The Raptor has poorer radar visibility than the F-35. According to local American sources, some of the technologies used in the F-22 are classified by the Pentagon and very few people have access to them.

In today's warfighting environment, the F-35 outperforms the F-22
Photo credit: via Twitter

Run-and-hit is the superiority of the Su-35

Russian fighters are famous for their maneuverability. Whether in close combat or beyond visual range, the Su-35 is one of the most maneuverable fighters in the air. It is an “agile” aircraft thanks to its two engines with increased thrust. This allows the pilot to make sharp and tight turns. The F-22 cannot do so, although as far as the maximum speed indicator is concerned, the two fighters are equal: 2.25 Mach.

The run-and-hit strategy depends on these engines. High-G turns to change direction and help the Su-35 evade an air-to-air missile. This makes it difficult for the F-22 to maintain its location against the Russian Flanker-E fighter. In this strategy, the Su-35 must be seen by the F-22. This means close combat, and if it gets there, the L-175V Khibiny will be able to jam the F-22’s systems and sensors.

If the jamming is successful, it will be difficult for the F-22 to detect and track the Su-35. This allows the Su-35 to launch surprise attacks and then quickly disengage before the F-22 can respond. Exactly the same case described by the pilot of the F-35 when he met the Su-30 over the Baltic. In general, the Su-35’s hit-and-run attack strategy can be effective against the F-22 if executed correctly.

Opposition

As we said above: hit-and-run is an effective attack if executed correctly. But exactly the same rule applies to the pilot in the cockpit of the F-22. A well-trained pilot will not allow close air combat. Therefore, despite the superior qualities of the Su-35, the F-22 should be the winner in this fight. This is how.

The F-22 has advanced sensors and situational awareness. Even if the Su-35 tries to avoid detection. This means that the F-22 is aware of the presence of the Su-35 even when the two fighters are at a great distance.

The F-22’s AN/APG-77 radar can detect and track targets up to hundreds of miles away, while its AN/ALR-94 Electronic Support Measures System can detect and locate enemy radar emissions. This allows the F-22 to attack enemy aircraft beyond visual range, giving it a significant advantage in air-to-air combat.

The F-22’s advanced sensors also include an infrared search and track system, which can detect and track heat signatures from airborne targets. This allows the F-22 to detect and engage enemy aircraft that may be trying to evade radar detection by flying at low altitudes or using stealth technology.

F-22 pilot helmet
Photo credit: Quora

In addition to its sensors, the F-22’s situational awareness technology includes a helmet-mounted display system that provides the pilot with a 360-degree view of the battlefield. This allows the pilot to see and engage targets in any direction, without having to turn the aircraft. The F-22’s advanced avionics also include a data link system that allows it to share information with other aircraft and ground-based systems, providing a more complete picture of the battlefield.

But still…

So, up to this point, we have understood that for the Su-35 to perform a hit-and-run attack, it must get close to the F-22. It is clear from the above that this is hardly possible. The F-22 has a perfect countermeasure. But if, for some reason, a dogfight does occur and the Su-35 overcomes the F-22’s defenses, what happens next?

If it does come down to close air combat, the F-22’s advanced stealth technology gives it an edge. Both fighters are extremely fast. Pilots can lose sight while performing complex maneuvers in the air. Then they run on momentary awareness. But it depends on the radar capabilities of the aircraft.

I.e. the Su-35 radar cannot detect or detect at any time the F-22. If it is lost from the sight of the Su-35 pilot, the radar in the Russian fighter cannot be relied upon. This will literally “hide” the F-22, and it is quite possible, in such a scenario, that the F-22 will attempt a run-and-hit attack and then escape. And this attack is likely to be successful.

F-22 stealth coating
Photo credit: USAF

Infrared suppression

But the F-22 will not rely solely on the anti-radiation coating that absorbs radar beams and does not reflect them back to the Su-35’s radar. The F-22’s stealth technology includes infrared suppression. It reduces the thermal signature of the aircraft and the electronic countermeasures used.

Unknown: F-22 Raptor covered with a mosaic of reflective material
Photo credit: Santos Caceres

F-22 infrared suppression works by reducing the amount of heat that is emitted by the aircraft. This is achieved through the use of special coatings on the aircraft’s skin that absorb and dissipate heat. These coatings are made of materials that have a low thermal conductivity, which means that they do not conduct heat well. This helps to reduce the amount of heat that is emitted by the aircraft and makes it more difficult for infrared sensors to detect it.

The F-22 also uses a system called the AN/ALR-94 Electronic Support Measures [ESM] system to detect and locate threats. This system is designed to detect and locate radar emissions from enemy aircraft and ground-based radar systems. It can also detect and locate other electronic emissions, such as those from communication systems. The AN/ALR-94 system is highly advanced and is capable of detecting and locating threats from long ranges.

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