Revealed: China's Radars Can Track America's Stealthy F-22 Raptor
Under the NIFC-CA ‘From the Air’ (FTA) construct, the APY-9 radar would act as a sensor to cue Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles for Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets fighters via the Link-16 datalink. Moreover, the APY-9 would also act as a sensor to guide Raytheon Standard SM-6 missiles launched from Aegis cruisers and destroyers against targets located beyond the ships’ SPY-1 radars’ horizon via the Cooperative Engagement Capability datalink under the NIFC-CA ‘From the Sea’ (FTS) construct. In fact, the Navy has demonstrated live-fire NIFC-CA missile shots using the E-2D’s radar to guide SM-6 missiles against over-the-horizon shots—which by definition means the APY-9 is generating a weapons quality track.
That effectively means that stealthy tactical aircraft must operate alongside electronic attack platforms the like Boeing EA-18G Growler. It is also why the Pentagon has been shoring up American investments in electronic and cyber warfare. As one Air Force official explained, stealth and electronic attack always have a synergistic relationship because detection is about the signal-to-noise ratio. Low observables reduce the signal, while electronic attack increases the noise. “Any big picture plan, looking forward, to deal with emerging A2/AD threats will address both sides of that equation,” he said.
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Air Force.