I am moving your intended discussion on Chinese sensor fusion to this thread as it is the more appropriate thread on the subject matter.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.
Appreciate this post. Definitely a good read. Defining sensor fusion according to NATO standards and progression patterns is better than nothing.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.
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.
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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 :
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
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
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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. .
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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.you suggest Su-34 has DRFM but lacks interferometric abilities.
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 ..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?
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.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.
Naval and land radars do it all the time. Back during WW2 so did radars then.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.