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The F-35: Mediocre at Everything and Expensive as Hell


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#41 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:29 PM

View PostTraveler, on 17 September 2015 - 02:23 PM, said:

ETA: The sensor array is missing some major functions. This is a real clusterfuck. Why they dont just rely on warthogs for close air support missions is beyond me. For some reason, the MIC keeps trying to get rid of the most feared and effective CAS weapon ever created, to come up with this boondoogle. What Don said.

F-16s are cheap. Warthogs are cheap. Both are paid for.

Any other questions?
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#42 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:35 PM

View PostTraveler, on 06 February 2016 - 09:27 AM, said:

Huge mistake to load too many different duties on one airframe. Especially VTOL. Thankfully, F-16s will still be around.

You would think that the Air Force would get tired of being bailed out by the National Guard.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#43 Traveler

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 03:36 PM

Unfair to use my comment history! I have read quite a bit since I posted that 2015 and 2016 comment. If it works as advertised, it is a major game changer. Much more so than I realized back then. I am open to changing my mind as I get more info. I have been following the boondoggle and glitch threads pretty closely since then. Do you get quora? Fascinating military/aviation thread.
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#44 LFC

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 04:55 PM

View PostTraveler, on 13 June 2019 - 03:36 PM, said:

If it works as advertised...

*cough* F-22 *cough**cough*
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#45 George Rowell

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:06 PM

I read quora and it has got some good write-ups on most things. The one awful thing about the F35 is it's range. The F35B was designed for a carrier group under the assumption that carriers could approach foreign shores with impunity. In those times the DF-26 and the Kinzhal 'carrier killers' did not exist, not to mention India's Brahmos. In a real war against a near-peer adversary any carrier group foolish enough to be within a thousand miles of the enemy mainland will be sunk in minutes.
I have heard pro-carrier advocates say that the group can protect itself from missiles. That is blarney for a number of reasons.
Carrier killer missiles travel at hypersonic speeds and are often launched in pairs and are almost impossible to intercept.
If the carrier group manages to shoot down an incredible 99% of the incoming missiles then the remaining 1% will take out every ship in the fleet.
Even if every missile could be intercepted, a shore line can hold 10x more missiles than a carrier group can. Just attrition will leave every ship defenceless.
Saturation attacks, of say 100-1000 missiles will overwhelm anything. The argument against this is the enemy could not mount a saturation attack because they cannot control so many missiles. Really?
These are definite, existing and very real. Below are some other factors

EW has arrived to the point where long range radar detection cannot be guaranteed. America's competitors, notably Russia, cannot directly challenge America's military dominance so they have spent the last decade or so developing assymetric weapons. Specifically Russia has developed the Krasukha (ground) and Khibiny (air) EW weapons using advanced computational techniques. If EW warfare did not work then the US would not be buying their own EW Growlers, that is an acceptance that EW is effective unless perhaps we think everything we do is better. These will make detectable ranges of missiles much less.

Stealth itself is under threat from several sources. The US is supposed to have new laser/RF radar with huge bandwidths that can virtually see planes in 3D and get images from stealth planes too. To be clear these still employ radio pulses but use lasers to process the return signals. One expert said it could recognize a human face from 100's of kilometers away. The difficulty has always been down mixing and analysing the return signals. This is meant to be new idea but in 1986 I was shown an experimental RF optical mixer, so a lot of supposedly secret games are being played. If it ever was a secret it is not now. The Chinese, Italians and Russians are using these same techniques in fact he Chinese have openly written several papers on it. These systems are said to be hard to jam but that is a double edged sword. Incoming missiles may be easier to detect but more difficult to jam too. There are many other areas of counter stealth progress.

The missiles fired at carrier groups will not be using radar up to the last moment. Inertial guidance is now so accurate the missile only has to activate it's radar in the last few seconds.

Research is also progressing on light laser radar and also (spooky) entangled photon radar. The Chinese say they have ranges of 50k plus with spooky radar. Bear in mind that this will pick up a plane made of wood let alone an F35.

The longer time marches on the less useful stealth will become, which is the only real advantage the F35 has over another air frame. As these systems are now being countered we are hearing more and more about preemptive strikes. The US is trying to ring Russia with fast response weapons facilities and Russia is telling the US to count the flight time minutes of submarine launched missiles off the American coast. Go ahead Putin said recently, count it.

As always it never ceases to be exciting, but back to the F35, I think it is rubbish. I reckon if the military were honest they would admit that sensor fusion on an F15/F18 air frames with their higher performance envelopes, particularly the F15 range, would likely serve the US much better in years to come. Even so, for decades we have only developed relatively short range carrier jets. Here is what Defense News has to say. "Rescuing the carrier from history’s graveyard of superseded military technologies will require an urgent intervention, and it’s not just about replacing the relatively limited-range Hornet, according to a study released this year by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments."
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#46 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:30 PM

View PostGeorge Rowell, on 13 June 2019 - 08:06 PM, said:

One expert said it could recognize a human face from 100's of kilometers away.

With a sufficiently large antenna, yes. However, "sufficiently large" is proportional to the wavelength of the signal, and for ~10-3 m resolution using ~10-3 m wavelength signals at 105 m range you're going to need sending and receiving antennae on the order of at least 104 m diameter. Which, using shore-based arrays is doable but not in a mobile (airborne, shipborne, missile, etc.) application. We're pushing the state of the art in photolithography already with 15 nm features created with 193 nm wavelength light, but we are using some tricks (immersion, artificial apertures, partial-depth paths, etc.) that you can only do in a totally controlled environment.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#47 George Rowell

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:48 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 13 June 2019 - 08:30 PM, said:

With a sufficiently large antenna, yes. However, "sufficiently large" is proportional to the wavelength of the signal, and for ~10-3 m resolution using ~10-3 m wavelength signals at 105 m range you're going to need sending and receiving antennae on the order of at least 104 m diameter. Which, using shore-based arrays is doable but not in a mobile (airborne, shipborne, missile, etc.) application. We're pushing the state of the art in photolithography already with 15 nm features created with 193 nm wavelength light, but we are using some tricks (immersion, artificial apertures, partial-depth paths, etc.) that you can only do in a totally controlled environment.
How do you get the 104 m diameter, are you talking about getting enough return signal or something else? An unloaded antenna looking into 50 Ohms will be best at 1/2 wavelength won't it? (1/4 + 1/4) BTW, the actual reference was to a face at 400km

Edit
I am assuming that we are sending out a radar pulse and getting resolution from the angle of rotation of the antenna. I think you may talking about something far more complex that is beyond my ken and indeed may be the principle actually involved with this new type radar.
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#48 George Rowell

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:52 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 13 June 2019 - 08:30 PM, said:

With a sufficiently large antenna, yes. However, "sufficiently large" is proportional to the wavelength of the signal, and for ~10-3 m resolution using ~10-3 m wavelength signals at 105 m range you're going to need sending and receiving antennae on the order of at least 104 m diameter. Which, using shore-based arrays is doable but not in a mobile (airborne, shipborne, missile, etc.) application. We're pushing the state of the art in photolithography already with 15 nm features created with 193 nm wavelength light, but we are using some tricks (immersion, artificial apertures, partial-depth paths, etc.) that you can only do in a totally controlled environment.
Getting 15nm from 193nm sounds - bloody good!
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#49 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:25 AM

View PostGeorge Rowell, on 13 June 2019 - 08:52 PM, said:

Getting 15nm from 193nm sounds - bloody good!

To me, and my optics professor who does interferometric telescopy, it sounds -- to put it politely as possible -- fucking incredible. However, that's what's going on in state-of-the-art semiconductor mass production.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#50 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 07:31 AM

View PostGeorge Rowell, on 13 June 2019 - 08:48 PM, said:

How do you get the 104 m diameter, are you talking about getting enough return signal or something else? An unloaded antenna looking into 50 Ohms will be best at 1/2 wavelength won't it? (1/4 + 1/4) BTW, the actual reference was to a face at 400km

Edit
I am assuming that we are sending out a radar pulse and getting resolution from the angle of rotation of the antenna. I think you may talking about something far more complex that is beyond my ken and indeed may be the principle actually involved with this new type radar.

It's more basic than that. Basically diffraction: https://en.wikipedia...-limited_system
The same effect that keeps us from using optical microscopy to examine viruses and has astronomers building humongous telescope arrays (two of the most notable are in New Mexico less than an hour from here and in Oz) in order to get finer resolution.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#51 George Rowell

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 10:34 PM

At the receiving end of a radar pulse I was surprised to read that modern R.A.M coating material attenuates almost linearly, without spikes or troughs, the RF current over a frequency range of more than an order of magnitude. That made my eyes water.
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#52 George Rowell

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 11:47 PM

F35 PCB's - no problem. A Chinese company makes the pcbs that control the F35's engines, lighting, fuel and navigation systems. What could be wrong with that?


https://www.telegrap...5-fighter-jets/
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#53 Traveler

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:25 AM

The PCB seems like a nothing burger, but an embarrassing one for sure. The bare boards only have the wiring needed to build them, not the actual circuitry involved. I suppose you could try to figure out which wire goes to what component and how they are processed by the component, but that seems awfully elusive.

As to the F-35 itself, its integrated battle space capability is the key element. AWACs are toast anymore with long range ARMs, so the F-35 will be the battlefield sensor of the future. This is something the US is decades ahead of Russia and China. As for carriers, they ain't getting close until the missile sites are taken out by missiles. And the subs are taken out by subs. But I agree, it is insane to build more of them.
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#54 George Rowell

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:37 AM

Actually it is quite simple. Find distinctive crystal footprint. See what pins it connects to the processor. The processor series can then be easily identified. Then the I/O comms can be identified. Then work on the buses. Should not be too difficult to map out the entire board in a day or two.
Other ways to identify a processor are the distinctive decoupling caps on the processors supply pins. Once you have got the processor type everything fall into place.

But what the hell the processor does is another matter. Two boards can be identical but have quite different functions.
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#55 Traveler

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 10:06 AM

The level of expertise on this forum is illuminating indeed. Thanks.

So do you think its a big deal to know the board?
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#56 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 11:04 AM

View PostGeorge Rowell, on 17 June 2019 - 09:37 AM, said:

But what the hell the processor does is another matter. Two boards can be identical but have quite different functions.

Especially once you get into custom ICs or customized ones (microcontrollers with software-defined functionality or FPGAs).

Now, the good news for bad guys is that these things are golden opportunities. The bad news is that hacked chips are pretty easy to spot unless you have a supply of ones that were hacked up a step in the process (you inserted a workaround to their checksum integrity system, for instance.)
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#57 George Rowell

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:27 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 17 June 2019 - 11:04 AM, said:

Especially once you get into custom ICs or customized ones (microcontrollers with software-defined functionality or FPGAs).

Now, the good news for bad guys is that these things are golden opportunities. The bad news is that hacked chips are pretty easy to spot unless you have a supply of ones that were hacked up a step in the process (you inserted a workaround to their checksum integrity system, for instance.)
Indeed, FPGAs and custom chips with internal oscillator (maybe spread spectrum) can be extremely difficult to determine given a blank PCB. The output pins can be configured in multiple ways as well. They can be much much faster too but despite the term 'field programmable' I find they are best used on a stable design that is not going to change. Analog sections, my biggest bugbear, can be a bit disappointing too, input leakage, NOISE, supply rejection, CMRR, frequency response, slew can be really mediocre but if you can accept that then most of the peripherals can be stuffed inside a single anonymous chip. This makes it virtually impossible to deduce from a blank PCB.

I just checked out the sort of computational power in an F22. I was surprised that they have 700MIP processors and 300Mbyt of memory. Pretty good for the time considering the electronics often lags in military designs. The F35 is all about computational power so it should be state of the art and modular. At least we hope so. It costs enough.
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#58 George Rowell

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:24 PM

View PostTraveler, on 17 June 2019 - 10:06 AM, said:

So do you think its a big deal to know the board?

If they use off-the-shelf processors then it will be quite easy to reverse engineer the hardware. Now let me backtrack a bit. If the PCB's use Field Programmable Logic Arrays/gate arrays then not so easy. This is because the oscillator can be inside the chip and the output and input pin functionality can be changed too. To be honest I assumed that the boards stuck in the F35 will be not far off the development stage and not FPLA/FPGAs because you need to be more sure that the design is not going to change. That probably sounds counter-intuitive.
Once the design is stable an FPGA is compact, multi-functional and anonymous. They have drawbacks on the analogue side if you want the very best otherwise they are very appealing and the logic is damn fast too because it is effectively hard wired. I am not sure without looking it up but an order of magnitude improvement in speed over a processor would not be unusual. Sub-nano second is not a challenge any more. The last time I looked some of the stuff was rated in tens of pico-seconds. I believe some high end metal detectors use programmable arrays, as much to stop copying as to enhance performance.

The bottom line is that if they use normal processors the hardware can be reverse engineered. If they use FPGAs then it gets difficult. My view is why increase the risk by letting a Chinese company anywhere near a PCB anyway?
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#59 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 07:14 AM

Pardon to the rest of you, I think this is turning into Geroge and me so I'll keep it short:

Noise in analog portions of FPGAs: JESD-204

Internal oscillators: Trimmed RC for cheap, on-chip LC for really low phase noise. Both can be kept in tolerance by providing an external source, which is going to be a temp-stabilized crystal because the military loves them.

FPGAs are still lower performance than hard logic by an order of magnitude or so (or were, 5-10 years ago when we were prototyping new processors) but have probably fallen even farther behind as the logic gets more and more routing limited. Just remember that there are only two speeds in any application: fast enough and not fast enough. One of the benefits of FPGAs is that they don't have to have all of the diagnostic functions built in, they can be added on the test bench. The ones we like are not hard-coded but rather initialized by bootstrapping from an external ROM with a very small internal one that only holds the security keys to verify the external one.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#60 George Rowell

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:44 AM

If phase noise counts I use a TO23-5 crystal driver to pump giant square wave into my processor. For Traveler's benefit though, getting back to that Chinese company, using an FPLA/FPGA will make it harder to deduce the hardware from a blank PCB.

I recently looked into FPLAs to build a pulse metal detector, mainly to control an external high speed A/D after coming up against the inadequacies of the internal AD's on the cortex M4. The biggest name in metal detectors uses FPLA's too. My whole life I have been fighting that damned noise floor, but it is mentally rewarding too.
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