Ask anything Thread


slouuuma

Just Hatched
Registered Member
I'm very interested in PLAAF radar brigades & their equipment , i searched the internet for Plaaf radar brigades orBat & their AOR ( Area of responsability ) without succes .

Can you please help me with that ?
 

Xsizor

Junior Member
Registered Member
Any informative sources where i can read on "Radome-cum-Radar" or Radar-baked-into-Airframe technology , its viability, technical feasibility studies etc that were conducted in the past and the present ?
This image of the JY-300 gives me ideas as well as questions.


1. Radoms protect the Radar. Radomes have always been a limitation as it could interfere with the radar and therefore it had to be created specifically and with care. We do know that. But Is it possible to have a radar without a radome ?
2. Couldn't the JY-300 provide a stepping stone for further developments into a surface baked primary radar that would give away with the Radomes? A carrier capable, Flying wing UAV, extrapolated/ derived from the sharp sword program is in consideration. Wouldn't YJ-300 be quiet helpful for such a platform?
Then this tidbit -
"The JY-300 is the world's first unmanned aircraft that integrates radars with airframe, which means radar antennae are part of the craft's skin," Rong told China Daily by phone on Friday from the sidelines of the ongoing 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

Putting these aside, I am convinced that exposed radars would be something that had been pursued by the US and the USSR during the cold war. They may/may not have made it into actual prototypes but it is quite surprising to believe that these two superpowers never even thought about the idea. I'm sure some scientists at some research centre thought about it.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
You are referring to conformal arrays. Its basically a kind of AESA phase array. However just because you see a conformal array doesn't necessarily mean its radar. They are often used for communication for example. Subs in particular, especial Russian ones, use conformal arrays for their sonars.
 

Brumby

Major
J-20, Su-57, Su-35, and J-16 are all the latest and greatest frontline fighters in RuAF and PLAAF. They were introduced into their respective airforces about a decade (in case of the J-20 and Su-57 more than a decade) after the introduction of Typhoon and Rafale. In the total absence of information regarding Russian and Chinese avionics, I think I would be comfortable with the assumption that the Russian and Chinese engineers have been able to combine data from multiple sensors and alleviate the pilot's workload in a way that I'm sure Typhoon and Rafale is able to do. The reason for my assumption here is because Russian and Chinese engineers have access to software developers and at least for Chinese domestic industry, they should also have access to any hardware that is required for this job. If I'm wrong here I would like to know exactly what about sensor fusion presents as an overwhelming challenge because to me it seems like it's simply a task of getting software to give outputs by combining information collected through different means.

We've read through a Chinese source reviewing and comparing the Su-35 with the J-16 and the source claiming that the Russian "Duel" optimisation system on the Su-35 is interesting and something absent from Chinese fighters (at least claimed to be) but relies heavily on collecting all sorts of emission and RCS data to feed the program. This at least alludes to the Su-35 having some rudimentary machine learning onboard. I'm sure the airforce would have prioritised sensor fusion and minimising pilot workload over offering narrow AI assistance. With respect to Chinese fighters. The source claimed that J-16 has better sensors and avionics overall but lacks a machine learning ability. To say nothing of Su-57 and J-20. Since Chinese domestic semiconductor, electronic, and software abilities are very unlikely to be worse off compared to French, German, and British equivalents from 10 years ago, I'd be comfortable betting that the latest Chinese frontline fighters feature at least similar sensor fusion.
I am moving your intended discussion on Chinese sensor fusion to this thread as it is the more appropriate thread on the subject matter.

If you are comparing across different platforms you will need a baseline or else the entire conversation is meaningless without a reference point.

Superficially, there are at least three areas that are relevant to baseline :
1)The avionics databus configuration;
2)The qualitative nature of the sensors; and
3)The senson fusion architecture

In the context of comparative development of European sensor fusion vs Russian/Chinese, the conversation needs to be about the qualitative nature of how you get there rather than the end point because the differentiation is not discernible at the front end.

Avionics databus
Sensor fusion is about moving sensor data through the system and the avionics databus determines the level of throughput and latency. The Rafale and Typhoon both adopt the STANAQ 3910 which is fibre optic. In contrast, the SU-35 uses the MIL 1553B although Russian sources said that it is using a version that offers fibre optics. As for the Chinese, AFAIK the J-10B is still using the archaic ARINC429. I have no further info on the more modern platforms.

upload_2019-11-16_12-12-53.png

Sensors
I do am not going to labor on all the sensors but only sufficient to make a point to highlight details do matter. Among the sensors I will pick on RWR because there had been significant development and movement in this area over the past 20 years Basically every fighter plane flying today has one for self protection in their jamming suite. However it would be highly ignorant to think that they offer similar capabilities. They could be :
a)Analog
b)Analog digital
c)Analog digital integrated
d)Analog digital integrated with DRFM
e)Analog digital integrated with DRFM/interferometric
f)Analog digital integrated wideband with DRFM/interferometric
g)Analog ditial integrated wideband channelised with DRFM/interferometric
h)All digital
i)All digital plus cognitive EW

I don't follow Typhoon/Rafale development that closely but I would guess that as with most modern Western development they are currently either at (f) or (g) and has some type of development plans to move to (h) probably by 2025-30. (i) is part of their 6th gen plans. The Swedish tends to lead the European in terms of electronics and the following is an excerpt on SAAB's current plans featured in the November 2019 edition of Journal of Electronic Defense (JED). Basically, they are going for all digital

upload_2019-11-16_12-55-12.png


The Russians in recent years may have got to at least (d) with their more advanced platform. For example, the Khirti SAP-518 jamming pod has DRFM and is standard configuration in their SU-34.

Sensor Fusion Architecture
Basically sensor fusion is a planned design into your platform. It is not an after thought. In other words, retro fitting is not a technically and financially viable option. Both the Rafale and Typhoon sensor fusion architecture are rather similar in that it is a correlation track approach. In other words, the raw data is processed and filtered at the sensor level and the respective sensor tracks are then correlated centrally into one track. There are lot of issues at this level not because of technology but the nature of the beast. One of the major challenge is de-cluttering due to dual tracks and having to resolve the conflicts. .

upload_2019-11-16_13-11-13.png

upload_2019-11-16_13-11-39.png
 
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ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
I am moving your intended discussion on Chinese sensor fusion to this thread as it is the more appropriate thread on the subject matter.

If you are comparing across different platforms you will need a baseline or else the entire conversation is meaningless without a reference point.

Superficially, there are at least three areas that are relevant to baseline :
1)The avionics databus configuration;
2)The qualitative nature of the sensors; and
3)The senson fusion architecture

In the context of comparative development of European sensor fusion vs Russian/Chinese, the conversation needs to be about the qualitative nature of how you get there rather than the end point because the differentiation is not discernible at the front end.

Avionics databus
Sensor fusion is about moving sensor data through the system and the avionics databus determines the level of throughput and latency. The Rafale and Typhoon both adopt the STANAQ 3910 which is fibre optic. In contrast, the SU-35 uses the MIL 1553B although Russian sources said that it is using a version that offers fibre optics. As for the Chinese, AFAIK the J-10B is still using the archaic ARINC429. I have no further info on the more modern platforms.

View attachment 55225

Sensors
I do am not going to labor on all the sensors but only sufficient to make a point to highlight details do matter. Among the sensors I will pick on RWR because there had been significant development and movement in this area over the past 20 years Basically every fighter plane flying today has one for self protection in their jamming suite. However it would be highly ignorant to think that they offer similar capabilities. They could be :
a)Analog
b)Analog digital
c)Analog digital integrated
d)Analog digital integrated with DRFM
e)Analog digital integrated with DRFM/interferometric
f)Analog digital integrated wideband with DRFM/interferometric
g)Analog ditial integrated wideband channelised with DRFM/interferometric
h)All digital
i)All digital plus cognitive EW

I don't follow Typhoon/Rafale development that closely but I would guess that as with most modern Western development they are currently either at (f) or (g) and has some type of development plans to move to (h) probably by 2025-30. (i) is part of their 6th gen plans. The Swedish tends to lead the European in terms of electronics and the following is an excerpt on SAAB's current plans featured in the November 2019 edition of Journal of Electronic Defense (JED). Basically, they are going for all digital

View attachment 55226


The Russians in recent years may have got to at least (d) with their more advanced platform. For example, the Khirti SAP-518 jamming pod has DRFM and is standard configuration in their SU-34.

Sensor Fusion Architecture
Basically sensor fusion is a planned design into your platform. It is not an after thought. In other words, retro fitting is not a technically and financially viable option. Both the Rafale and Typhoon sensor fusion architecture are rather similar in that it is a correlation track approach. In other words, the raw data is processed and filtered at the sensor level and the respective sensor tracks are then correlated centrally into one track. There are lot of issues at this level not because of technology but the nature of the beast. One of the major challenge is de-cluttering due to dual tracks and having to resolve the conflicts. .

View attachment 55227

View attachment 55228
Appreciate this post. Definitely a good read. Defining sensor fusion according to NATO standards and progression patterns is better than nothing.

So given the sensor and databus reference points, I can generally see where the Europeans are at in 2019. It appears the more recent Russian equivalents are not far behind since you suggest Su-34 has DRFM but lacks interferometric abilities. If this public information is accurate, then it's fair to say Russian fighters at least do feature components that are conducive towards what NATO defines as sensor fusion?

J-10B came out in 2008 and we have no information on more modern Chinese fighters. If the J-10B is using a system used by European fighters more than a decade older, it's fair to say the gap is roughly indeed at least 10 years if progress is linear and parallel. If this is true, Chinese databus for most modern fighters would roughly be where NATO fighters were at in the naughties. Similar to what I suggested in the original post. To be honest I doubt Chinese impovements in these fields is without a higher rate of progress. The only data point we have on Chinese fighters is the J-10B which was designed in the early naughties. Beyond the structural changes i.e. DSI intakes, the new radar, and the inclusion of IRST, most other subsystems would be the same as the J-10A otherwise they wouldn't have brought out a J-10C with few obvious differences to the B model apart from a different radar and more new protrusions. This seems to suggest the possibility of J-10B's comparitively archaic (for its time period compared to Europeans) ARINC429 is carried from the J-10A which was started in the 80s and more or less finalised in the 90s. If this is the case, it puts it nearly right next to Europeans. Of course this theory also suggests the possibility that CAC may have not bothered with upgrading the databus on J-10 because they weren't able to while the J-10A could have been using something obsolete compared to NATO. Beyond the J-10B who knows what other changes were implemented on the J-10C.

We have no references and info on any other modern Chinese and Russian fighters and in areas outside of databus then. Even the databus info we do have does not work against the idea that Russian and Chinese sensor fusion is somehow lacking. Su-34 may have only reached service not too long ago but I would say this is because a cash strapped RuAF is prioritising funds and the Su-34 was designed and finalised a while before this.

I'm not sure why sensor fusion cannot also be modified for an older plane. I understand how it is worked into the design more effectively if planned from the start but this doesn't preclude modifying an existing older design with upgraded sensor fusion. It's a matter of find space and miniaturising the components. This could be anything between impossible and being an achievable task. I'd admit I wouldn't have a clue though but to think PLAAF and RuAF would continue to buy 70s designed fighter in 2019 shows that external frame doesn't restrict internal upgrades. I know new fittings isn't a simple matter but also doubt either of these airforces are comfortable flying and buying fighters without competitive sensor fusion when their industries have newer designs and can work on different designs if sensor fusion must be baked in from the planning stage. Seems like a very important aspect to ignore.

After all if Typhoon and Rafale allegedly have plans to move from what is speculated to be at scale f or g, to scale h by 2030 or so, then what exactly stops the flanker or the J-10 series from moving up the scale from wherever the J-10b, Su-27sm, Su-34 were at? I'm going to speculate the more modern Chinese and Russian 4th gens are higher than the Su-34 so not far behind the European fighters if at all.

All this is to say nothing of their latest fighters; Su-57 and J-20.

I'm also curious why many online seem to consider SAAB's EW and data management in such high regard while many also like to bash the compact Swedish fighter. The F-16 forum is divided but no one seems to have info outside of some NATO exercises where the Gripen managed to sneak itself into surprising positions without being detected. Courtesy of smaller RCS, terrain usage, and good jammers I'm guessing? But are the Swedes truly at the forefront of EW and sensor fusion? even when compared to the rest of NATO's big players?
 
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ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
Should also be said that it's possible Chinese developers are truly actually still about 10 years behind on the sensor fusion componentry while emphasising and prioritising other areas like radar. In a zero sum game where every decision has an opportunity cost, fighters like the J-10C and J-16 feature AESA radars and have for many years while NATO airforce Typhoons and Rafale have only just received their AESAs if I'm correct in assuming they have. I'm aware of AESAs for these fighters having been made available recently. It's entirely natural for available technologies to not have reached older units waiting for upgrades if their airforces will ever bother to upgrade them. So J-10B using an archaic databus doesn't surprise me if the information is even true.

If the J-10B still uses older databuses like ones on Tornado and Sea Harrier, its overall sensor fusion is obviously lacking compared to 2019 NATO fighters. Then again the J-10A came out a bit late but represents a solid step forward for Chinese military aviation industry. Variants developed from the A model were all playing catch up with the C variant finally being able to stand toe to toe with the best in its class. At least on paper and based on limited pieces of information glued together with speculation.
 
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Brumby

Major
you suggest Su-34 has DRFM but lacks interferometric abilities.
No. I said the SU-34 has at least DRFM but because I don't know whether it includes interferometer I cannot say either way. That said, the SU-34 likely being the default SEAD/DEAD platform in Russia's inventory would warrant such a capability. It would be a case of funding priority rather than a technology hurdle.

If this public information is accurate, then it's fair to say Russian fighters at least do feature components that are conducive towards what NATO defines as sensor fusion?
The case for whether to incorporate sensor fusion for Russia or for China is rather independent to that of Nato. The main driver for sensor fusion is to enhance situational awareness for the pilot.In a pre-sensor fusion environment, sensor information are displayed separately in the pilot's cockpit This was a significant workload on the pilot assessing threat information as they come through from different screens ..

upload_2019-11-16_17-13-32.png

Fusing the different sensor tracks onto a single display relief the pilot to concentrate on the important matters.

upload_2019-11-16_17-22-40.png

I'm not sure why sensor fusion cannot also be modified for an older plane. I understand how it is worked into the design more effectively if planned from the start but this doesn't preclude modifying an existing older design with upgraded sensor fusion. It's a matter of find space and miniaturising the components. This could be anything between impossible and being an achievable task. I'd admit I wouldn't have a clue though but to think PLAAF and RuAF would continue to buy 70s designed fighter in 2019 shows that external frame doesn't restrict internal upgrades. I know new fittings isn't a simple matter but also doubt either of these airforces are comfortable flying and buying fighters without competitive sensor fusion when their industries have newer designs and can work on different designs if sensor fusion must be baked in from the planning stage. Seems like a very important aspect to ignore.

After all if Typhoon and Rafale allegedly have plans to move from what is speculated to be at scale f or g, to scale h by 2030 or so, then what exactly stops the flanker or the J-10 series from moving up the scale from wherever the J-10b, Su-27sm, Su-34 were at? I'm going to speculate the more modern Chinese and Russian 4th gens are higher than the Su-34 so not far behind the European fighters if at all.
I think you are too focus towards the idea that sensor fusion is a hardware and software centric program. While technology might be the enabler, the complexity is in automating a process that historically is the purview of the pilot's decision making domain.
 

ougoah

Captain
Registered Member
I understand the purpose of sensor fusion and the idea behind it. Given the reference scale you offered, we can only conclude either we just don't know enough about Russian and Chinese sensor fusion developments and the equipment used or the points of reference which we think we know i.e. Su-34 and J-10B, compared to NATO systems, it would appear that they do position somewhere on that scale at least when it comes to databus.

The only thing that actually is interesting out of all this is SAAB's supposed skills in sensor fusion. With exercises between PLAAF and Thai Gripens, I wonder if the Thais offered a close look at their Gripens and how highly the PLAAF pilots who exercised against Gripens rate the fighter. While it would depend on the conditions of the exercise and how much each party were willing to reveal, it still makes me wonder if the Thais were able to catch the PLAAF fighters like the Gripens were able to in Red Flag exercises.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
Any informative sources where i can read on "Radome-cum-Radar" or Radar-baked-into-Airframe technology , its viability, technical feasibility studies etc that were conducted in the past and the present ?
This image of the JY-300 gives me ideas as well as questions.


1. Radoms protect the Radar. Radomes have always been a limitation as it could interfere with the radar and therefore it had to be created specifically and with care. We do know that. But Is it possible to have a radar without a radome ?
Naval and land radars do it all the time. Back during WW2 so did radars then.

1wqe4r3w24t35.jpg


Modern aircraft radomes are also there for the obvious aerodynamic reasons, but land based and naval radars can either be or without radomes.

Could radomes interfere with radar? Of course, but there is also the other way around that it could enhance it using bandpass materials. Radar interference from other radars and radio sources could be blocked by the radome which uses a polarizing material that only allows the operating frequency range of the host radar to get through. That reduces interference and can improve receiving gain.



2. Couldn't the JY-300 provide a stepping stone for further developments into a surface baked primary radar that would give away with the Radomes? A carrier capable, Flying wing UAV, extrapolated/ derived from the sharp sword program is in consideration. Wouldn't YJ-300 be quiet helpful for such a platform?
Then this tidbit -
"The JY-300 is the world's first unmanned aircraft that integrates radars with airframe, which means radar antennae are part of the craft's skin," Rong told China Daily by phone on Friday from the sidelines of the ongoing 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

Putting these aside, I am convinced that exposed radars would be something that had been pursued by the US and the USSR during the cold war. They may/may not have made it into actual prototypes but it is quite surprising to believe that these two superpowers never even thought about the idea. I'm sure some scientists at some research centre thought about it.

Why do you need to get rid of the radome when it can enhance receive gain by reducing outside interference. The way that conformal radar looks, if its bare naked, it will likely create drag from all those elements that make up the skin.

In the case of the JY-300, the conformal radar itself should be under a bandpass metamaterial skin that acts as a radome, and not necessarily the skin itself.
 

Deino

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Not sure, where to post this ... and maybe it's a bit too early to post, but I have an idea concerning the PLAN's STC: As it seems the KQ-200 and KJ-500H assigned to the 3rd Naval Air Division gained two digit serials, in the same way now the new H-6J carry only two digit numbers and recently the J-15s also gained new two digit serials ... so, could it be that this is a STC-fleet-wide re-numbering? And given the theory, that the Type 002 carrier will be assigned to the STC, this could be a hint, that the J-15s will be transferred to the STC?

What do you think of this idea?

KJ-500 + KQ-200 STC.jpg H-6J 02 - 20191214 STC - 1 part.jpg J-15 no. 24 new system - acer31.JPG
 

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