In March 2016, Japan is planning to complete testing of the new generation Advanced Technology Demonstrator X aircraft, created using stealth technologies. The Land of the Rising Sun will be the fourth in the world to be armed with stealth aircraft.
Previously, the presence of combat aviation complexes created using technologies to reduce the visibility, could boast only Russia, China and the United States. The presence of "stealth" technologies is one of the mandatory parameters of the fifth generation aircraft.
The essence of stealth technology is to reduce visibility in the radar and infrared ranges. The effect is achieved due to a special coating, the specific shape of the aircraft body, as well as the materials from which its structure is made.
Radar waves emitted, for example, by the transmitter of an anti-aircraft missile system, are reflected from the outer surface of the aircraft and are received by the radar station - this is radar signature.
It is characterized by an effective scattering area (ESR). This is a formal parameter that is measured in units of area and is a quantitative measure of the property of an object to reflect an electromagnetic wave. The smaller this area, the more difficult it is to detect an aircraft and hit it with a missile (at least, its detection range decreases).
For old bombers, the EPR can reach 100 square meters, for a conventional modern fighter it is from 3 to 12 square meters. m, and for "invisible" aircraft - about 0,3-0,4 sq. m.
The EPR of complex objects cannot be accurately calculated using the formulas; it is measured empirically with special instruments at test sites or in anechoic chambers. Its value strongly depends on the direction from which the aircraft is irradiated, and for the same flying machine it is represented by a range - as a rule, the best values for the scattering area are recorded when the aircraft is irradiated in the forward hemisphere. Thus, there can be no accurate RCS indicators, and the experimental values for the existing fifth generation aircraft are classified.
Western analytical resources, as a rule, underestimate the EPR data for their stealth aircraft.
THE MOST KNOWN IN THE WORLD MODERN AIRCRAFT- "INVISIBLE":
B-2: American "spirit"
F-117: American Lame Goblin
F-22: American Raptor
F-35: American "lightning"
T-50: Russian invisibility J-20: Chinese "mighty dragon"
X-2: Japanese "soul"
B-2: American "spirit"
The B-2A Spirit heavy, stealth strategic bomber is the most expensive aircraft in the US Air Force fleet. As of 1998, the cost of one B-2 was $ 1,16 billion.The cost of the entire program was estimated at almost $ 45 billion.
The first public flight of the B-2 took place in 1989. A total of 21 aircraft were built: almost all of them are named after the American states.
The B-2 has an unusual appearance and is sometimes compared to an alien ship. At one time, this gave rise to many rumors that the plane was built using technologies obtained from the study of UFO wreckage in the so-called Area 51.
The aircraft is capable of taking on board 16 atomic bombs, or eight laser-guided bombs weighing 907 kg, or 80 227 kg bombs and deliver them from Whiteman airbase (Missouri) to almost anywhere in the world - the flight range of the "ghost" is 11 thousand. km.
Spirit is as automated as possible, the crew consists of two pilots. The bomber has a solid margin of safety and is capable of making a safe landing in a crosswind of 40 m / s. According to foreign publications, the RCS of a bomber is estimated in the range from 0,0014 to 0,1 sq. m. According to other sources, the bomber has more modest performance - from 0,05 to 0,5 square meters. m in frontal projection.
The main disadvantage of the B-2 Spirit is its maintenance cost. Placing the aircraft is possible only in a special hangar with an artificial microclimate - otherwise ultraviolet radiation will damage the aircraft's radio-absorbing coating.
The B-2 is invisible to legacy radars, but modern Russian-made anti-aircraft missile systems are capable of detecting and effectively hitting it. According to unconfirmed reports, one B-2 was shot down or received serious combat damage from the use of an anti-aircraft missile system (SAM) during the NATO military operation in Yugoslavia.
F-117: American Lame Goblin
The Lockheed F-117 Night Hawk is an American single-seat tactical subsonic stealth strike aircraft from Lockheed Martin. It was designed for covert penetration through the enemy's air defense system and attacks on strategically important ground targets.
The first flight was made on June 18, 1981. 64 units were produced, the last production copy was delivered to the USAF in 1990. More than $ 117 billion was spent on the creation and production of the F-6. In 2008, aircraft of this type were completely decommissioned, both for financial reasons, and because of the adoption of the F-22 Raptor.
EPR of the aircraft, according to foreign publications, ranged from 0,01 to 0,0025 sq. m depending on the angle.
The reduction in visibility for the F-117 was mainly achieved due to the specific angular shape of the hull, built according to the concept of "reflector planes", composite and radio-absorbing materials and a special coating were also used. As a result, the bomber looked extremely futuristic, and because of this, the popularity of the F-117 in games and cinematography can rival those of Hollywood stars of the first magnitude.
However, having achieved a significant reduction in visibility, the designers had to violate all possible laws of aerodynamics, and the aircraft received disgusting flight characteristics. American pilots nicknamed him "the lame goblin" (Wobblin 'Goblin).
As a result, six aircraft - almost 64% of the total - were lost from accidents of 117 built F-10A stealth aircraft. F-117 was used only by the most experienced pilots, but they were regularly crashed.
The aircraft took part in five wars: the US invasion of Panama (1989), the Gulf War (1991), Operation Desert Fox (1998), the NATO war against Yugoslavia (1999), the Iraqi war (2003).
In sorties, at least one aircraft was lost in Yugoslavia - an invisible aircraft was shot down by the Yugoslav air defense forces using the outdated Soviet S-125 Neva air defense system.
F-22: American Raptor
The first and so far the only aircraft of the fifth generation adopted for service is the American F-22A Raptor.
The production of the aircraft began in 2001. At the moment, several F-22s are taking part in the operation of the coalition forces in Iraq to strike at the militants of the terrorist organization Islamic State banned in Russia.
Today the Raptor is considered the most expensive fighter in the world. According to open sources, taking into account the costs of its development and other factors, the cost of each of the aircraft ordered by the American Air Force exceeds $ 300 million.
Nevertheless, the F-22A has something to brag about: it is the ability to fly at supersonic speed without switching on afterburner, powerful avionics (avionics) and, again, low visibility. However, in terms of maneuverability, the aircraft is inferior to many Russian fighters, even of the fourth generation.
The thrust vector of the F-22 changes only in one plane (up and down), while on the most modern Russian combat aircraft, the thrust vector can change in all planes, and independently of each other on the right and left engines.
There is no exact data on the RCS of the fighter: the spread of the figures given by different sources is from 0,3 to 0,0001 sq. m. According to domestic experts, the EPR of the F-22A ranges from 0,5 to 0,1 sq. At the same time, the Irbis radar station of the Su-35S fighter is capable of detecting the Raptor at a distance of at least 95 km.
At its prohibitive cost, the Raptor has a number of operational problems. In particular, the fighter's anti-radar coating was easily washed off by rain, and although over time this deficiency was eliminated, the price of the aircraft increased even more.
Another major drawback of the F-22 is the pilot's oxygen supply system. In 2010, due to asphyxiation, he lost control of a fighter and crashed pilot Jeffrey Haney.
Since 2011, all F-22A have been prohibited from climbing above 7,6 thousand meters. It was believed that at such an altitude, the pilot, when the first signs of suffocation appeared, would be able to drop to 5,4 thousand meters in order to remove the mask and breathe the air in the cockpit. The reason turned out to be a design flaw - carbon dioxide from the engines got into the breathing system of the pilots. They tried to solve the problem with the help of additional carbon filters. But the drawback has not been completely eliminated until now.
F-35: American "lightning"
The F-35 Lightning II ("Lightning") was conceived as a universal aircraft for the US armed forces and NATO allies, capable of replacing the F-16 fighter, A-10 attack aircraft, McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II vertical takeoff and landing attack aircraft, and carrier-based fighter-bomber McDonnell Douglas F / A-18 Hornet.
Huge money was spent on the development of this fifth generation fighter-bomber (expenses exceeded $ 56 billion, and the cost of one aircraft was $ 108 million), but it was not possible to bring the design to mind.
Analysts point out that the enemy radar suppression systems installed on the F-35 cannot complete their mission in full. As a consequence, this may require the development of a separate aircraft designed to suppress enemy radars to ensure the stealth of these fighters. Experts, therefore, question the feasibility of the multibillion-dollar Pentagon spending on the creation of the F-35 aircraft.
Some American media also note that the F-35 largely does not meet the requirements for fifth-generation aircraft: the Molniya is distinguished by its low thrust-to-weight ratio, survivability and maneuverability, and cannot fly at supersonic speed without afterburner.
In addition, the fighter is easily detected by radars operating at ultra-high frequencies, and its RCS turned out to be greater than it was stated in the characteristics. Nevertheless, foreign publications, according to the existing tradition, estimate the value of the effective scattering area of the F-35 aircraft, depending on the angle, at 0,001 sq. m. According to many experts, including Western experts, in terms of EPR, the F-35 is much worse than the F-22.
T-50: Russian invisibility
Russian specialists used certain elements of the stealth technology on such aircraft as the Su-34 fighter-bomber, the MiG-35 light front-line fighter and the Su-35S heavy fighter. However, the PAK FA T-50 heavy multipurpose fighter and the PAK DA long-range strategic bomber will become full-fledged stealth aircraft.
The T-50 (Advanced Frontline Aviation Complex, PAK FA) is the Russian response to the American fifth-generation F-22 fighter. The aircraft is the quintessence of all the most modern that is in the domestic aviation. Little is known about its characteristics, and most of it is still kept secret.
It is known that PAK FA was the first to use a whole range of the latest polymer carbon fiber reinforced plastics. They are two times lighter than aluminum of comparable strength and titanium, four to five times lighter than steel. New materials make up 70% of the fighter's materials coverage, and as a result, the aircraft's structural mass has been drastically reduced - it weighs four times less than an aircraft assembled from conventional materials.
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The Sukhoi design bureau declares an "unprecedentedly low level of radar, optical and infrared visibility" of the machine, "although the EPR of the fighter is estimated by domestic experts rather restrainedly - in the region of 0,3-0,4 sq. At the same time, some Western analysts are more optimistic about our aircraft: for the T-50, they call the EPR three times less - 0,1 sq. m. True data of the effective scattering area for the PAK FA are classified.
The T-50 has a high level of intellectualization of the board. A fighter's radar with a new active phased antenna array (AFAR) Tikhomirova can detect targets at a distance of more than 400 kilometers, simultaneously track up to 60 targets and fire up to 16. The minimum RCS of tracked targets is 0,01 sq. m.
PAK FA: combat wings of the future PAK FA engines are spaced from the longitudinal axis of the aircraft, such a solution made it possible to increase the thrust shoulder during maneuvering and make a spacious weapons a compartment capable of accommodating heavy weapons, inaccessible due to the size of the F-35 Lightning II. PAK FA is distinguished by excellent maneuverability and controllability in the vertical and horizontal planes both at supersonic and at low speeds.
Currently, the T-50 has first stage engines, with which it is capable of maintaining supersonic speed in non-afterburner mode. After receiving the standard engine of the second stage, the tactical and technical characteristics of the fighter will significantly increase.
The aircraft made its first flight on January 29, 2010. Serial deliveries of the PAK FA to the troops are expected to begin in 2017; in total, the military should receive 2020 fifth-generation fighters by 55.
J-20: Chinese "mighty dragon"
Chengdu J-20 is a Chinese fighter of the fourth (according to Chinese nomenclature) or fifth generation (according to the western). In 2011 it made its first test flight. The fighter is expected to enter service in 2017-2019.
According to some media reports, the J-20 is powered by Russian AL-31FN engines, and the Chinese military has massively purchased decommissioned engines of these brands.
Most of the tactical and technical characteristics of the development remain secret. The J-20 has a large number of similar and fully copied elements from the Russian MiG 1.44 technology demonstrator aircraft and the American fifth generation F-22 and F-35 fighters.
The aircraft is made according to the duck pattern: a pair of ventral keels and closely spaced engines (similar to the MiG 1.44), the canopy and the nose are identical to the same elements on the F-22. The location of the air intakes is similar to that of the F-35. The vertical tail is all-turning and has a geometry similar to that of the F-35 fighter.
X-2: Japanese "soul"
Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin is the prototype of the fifth generation Japanese fighter with stealth technology. The aircraft was designed at the Technical Design Institute of the Ministry of Defense of Japan, and built by the corporation that produced the famous Zero fighters during the Second World War. The fighter received the poetic name Shinshin - "Soul".
The ATD-X is similar in size to the Swedish Saab Gripen multi-role fighter, and in shape to the American F-22 Raptor. The dimensions and angle of inclination of the vertical tail, the shape of the influx and air intakes are identical to those of the American fifth generation fighter. The cost of the aircraft can reach about $ 324 million.
The first public demonstration of the new Japanese fighter took place at the end of January 2016. Flight tests of the aircraft were supposed to be carried out in 2015, but the development company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries could not meet the delivery dates set by the Ministry of Defense.
In addition, Japanese specialists need to modify the engine of a fighter with a controlled thrust vector, in particular, to test the possibility of restarting it in the event of a possible stop during flight.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense notes that the aircraft was built exclusively for the development of technologies, including ATD-X - "stealth". However, it could become the base from which a replacement for the Japanese F-2 fighter-bomber, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed Martin for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, will be created.
In this case, the ATD-X will have to be equipped with three times more powerful engines, and in the aircraft body there will be enough space for placing ammunition.
According to preliminary plans, development work on the creation of the new F-3 will begin in 2016-2017, and the first prototype of the fighter will take off in 2024-2025.