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"... I have genuine concerns about the observables performance of the JSF and Super Hornet when confronted with a 20 kiloWatt peak power radar like the Irbis E .. "

IRBIS E (Russian Radar) -
Feb 18th 2008 - Releasable LM Response to Kopp and Goon Questions

Dear Dr Gumley,

Peter (Goon) has graciously passed on to me the LM response concerning my parametric range curve chart including the Irbis E radar. I have to admit I am a little perplexed with their response, insofar as the chart is the type of material a third year electrical engineering undergraduate should have no difficulty with.

In terms of validation, the source material for the chart can be found here (you might need to enable Russian Cyrillic UTF-8 fonts on your computer):

NOTE - download the pdf here to see the Russian links

These are largely authored by senior engineers at the NIIP Tikhomirov plant (Beliy, Bodrunov, Il'in, Tagantsev) - NIIP Tikhomirov are the Russian counterparts to the US NorthGrum and Raytheon radar houses. I have merely plotted their cited performance figures. Now if the LM folks do not believe what NIIP Tikhomirov are saying about the Irbis E, they can always punch the raw radar parameters in (aperture area, TR module noise figure - this a hybrid array with AESA style receive path, peak power - all public), make some reasonable assumptions about aperture taper function and transmit feed loss, and get a separate estimate to the NIIP Tikhomirov data.

I have genuine concerns about the observables performance of the JSF and Super Hornet when confronted with a 20 kiloWatt peak power radar like the Irbis E - NIIP Tikhomirov were very blunt in stating their design aim of matching the range/footprint performance of the top US radar, the APG-77(V)1 in the F-22A. With radar power aperture in this class you need exceptional VLO performance to get tactically credible effect, and there is nothing in either JSF or Super Hornet designs which has convinced me - or any of my US colleagues - that the JSF and Super Hornet are in this bracket.

It is not clear to me that the LM folks who produced the response were qualified in the area. My research background in this area is quite deep and long running, I did a decent chunk of my doctoral project in AESA design theory years ago, I was an invited contributor to Skolnik's Radar Handbook third edition (Ch 5 - refer HERE), have done studies on RCS reduction techniques, and published some landmark papers on electromagnetic weapons, including one very recently (refer http://www.argospress.com/jbt/Volume10/10-3-4.php).

I would really love to know who the cited LM's 'best radar technologists in the US' are since none of my colleagues in the US radar community had any issues with the chart in question! Radar range equation 101 stuff. If LM wish to dispute the performance of the Irbis E that is something they will have to take up with the Tikhomirov NIIP engineering folks - who are no dummies. Some years ago I had occasion to talk shop with Dr Vladimir Kucher, chief design engineer at Phazotron NIIP, Tikhomirov's principal competitor. Kucher was research lead on the first Russian production AESA for the MiG-35, unveiled last year, and I can assure you that Kucher is no dummy.

Given that you are now on the Fighter Review steering committee, you might consider getting the above Russian material translated for the strategic / capability survey component.


Feb 18th 2008

Dr Carlo Kopp, MIEEE, SMAIAA, PEng
Defence Analyst and Consulting Engineer
Editor: Air Power Australia @ http://www.ausairpower.net