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October 30, 2014 By Joseph P. Farrell

This article was shared by Mr. M.N., a regular reader here, and it's worth passing along, especially in view of America's "Pivot to the Pacific" strategy and its growing concern over China's growing power. America's doctrine of warfare as it has emerged since World War Two (under the learn-while-you-burn tutelage of the Germans) has been one of technological and fire-power superiority and attrition, backed up by an immense logistical capability, a doctrine that, in some sense, had to emerge to combat the cluster of potential enemies arrayed against it in the post-war world, and in a world with an economically powerful and technologically capable China, with a vast population base, that doctrine is even more reliant upon technology and fire-power attrition. And the key to that doctrine is in turn the necessity of achieving and maintaining air superiority. To this end, of course, America has developed an expensive array of radar stealthy fighters and strategic bombers, a luxury that smaller powers cannot afford.

Except... there's a glitch in this wonderful stealthy world: it doesn't work as well as the popular imagination thinks it does:

Did China Just Render America's $1 Trillion Stealth Fighter Program Obsolete?

I hope you caught the problems here(and let's also recall, in this regard, Lockheed Martin's fusion reactor claims, and the lack of any really good hard data backing it up):

"In a 2013 RAND Corporation report, one of the nation's foremost military analysts, blasted the F-35 for being a fighter that "can't turn, can't climb, can't run." Proponents of the F-35 reply that because it's stealthy, it shouldn't have to do any of those things -- lobbing missiles at its foes from over the horizon, and long before they can even see it.

"Unfortunately, it turns out that the F-35 may not do the "invisibility" thing very well, either.

"As recently revealed, China has a new device that may be able to track Lockheed's F-35 fighter with "passive" radar detection technology. Dubbed the DWL002, China's equipment can apparently detect stealth aircraft at distances of up to 400 kilometers -- and 600 kilometers for larger "stealth" targets -- processing "pulse, frequency agility, pulse duration, tactical air navigation system, distance measuring equipment, jitter/stagger radar, and identification friend or foe" signals emitted by the otherwise stealthy aircraft to determine its location."

And there's more bad news of an historical nature to ponder:

"This problem with the F-35's lack of invisibility, it turns out, is not limited to China. According to DN, both the Czechs and the Ukrainians have similar systems for passive intercept of electronic signals, capable of detecting stealth aircraft.

"Similarly, Aviation Week reported earlier this year that certain very high frequency (VHF) radar systems, such as Russia's P-14 Oborona VHF early warning system, and its 3D Nebo SVU active electronically scanned array (AESA), may also be capable of detecting the F-35. (A new Chinese naval radar system, Type 517M VHF, may be similarly effective against the F-35.)

"And of course, there is the Balkan War incident to keep in mind. On March 27, 1999, Serbian anti-aircraft forces used a 1960s vintage P-18 VHF acquisition radar system (working in conjunction with an SA-3 SAM system for proximity targeting) to detect and down a F-117 stealth fighter jet."

And let's not forget the recent USS Donald Cook incident either, where an obsolescent Russian Sukhoi-25 apparently shut down the missile frigate's Aegis missile defense system, not even allowing it to reboot.

Now there's two problems here, and one of them is well-known, and the other concerns my high-octane speculation of the day. The well-known problem is this: radar is not, as the popular imagination has it, a "bounce," but rather, is a secondary transmitter effect. The radar signal itself stimulates a current in objects which become a secondary transmitter via resonance, transmitting a signal back... know the resonance, and, theoretically, viola... one can stimulate that secondary current effect. Now, with stealthy aircraft, all the gimicks are meant to damp this effect. Looking at the Serbian downing of the F-117 in 1999, my guess is that this would appear to have been the basis of their ability to down the aircraft, probably, as hinted at in the article though not openly stated, through some sort of interferometry effect that magnified that secondary transmitter effect.

Which brings us to the second problem, one huge with implications for the "Pacific pivot," for after a trillion dollars, it appears, at least on the surface, that we're left with, as the article begins, with an aircraft that (1) can't climb, (2) can't turn, (3) can't run, and (4) can't be invisible either. So why not simply build a conventional aircraft to do all those things, like France, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan and anyone else with an air force does? Indeed, all of those countries certainly have the technological capability to build stealthy aircraft, yet, they do not do so. And I suspect the question is more than just budgetary concerns; they also know these basic principles, and know, ultimately, that there can be countermeasures conceivably rendering stealth not-so-stealthy.

So why does the USA insist on pursuing it?

My high octane suspicion is that "stealth" programs are exactly that, "stealthy" not in the radar invisibility sense, but in the budgetary sense, and that the real money is going for something else, and altogether much more exotic than stealth. After all, this is Lockheed-Martin we're talking about folks, and you cannot tell me that $1,000,000,000,000 has only bought a plane that can't climb, can't turn, can't run, and can't ultimately be stealthy. A trillion dollars would buy lots of big underground facilities, fusion reactors, DARPA warp drive projects, and tractor beams though... but that's another story...

See you on the flip side...