Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sensor Fusion. I got skooled by a Jar Head but questions remain.

Yesterday after my post on sensor fusion and saying that we've been deceived I got a note from a Jar Head telling me the what for's and how's.

Awesome.  My basic presentation stands but I did not fully account for the computational power (I think that's the terminology) used to paint a perfect picture for the pilot.

That got me searching this morning and I ran across this info from SAAB.  Of all the major industry players they appear to be the most open about what they're doing, what they hope to accomplish, how they're gonna get there and what they're offering the customer.

It doesn't look too very different from the spill we're getting from the F-35 Program Office.  Check out the website here and the pics below....

Want an even bigger kick in the pants?  Check out this Aviation Week article I dug out the archives...
New sensors being developed for the JAS 39E and close to starting flight tests on the JAS 39-7 Gripen Demo testbed will be able to detect low-radar-cross-section (RCS) targets, and will provide the pilots in a Gripen formation with a new level of situational awareness, according to Bob Mason, Selex-ES marketing director for advanced sensors.
The JAS 39E will have three Selex-ES sensors. The Raven ES-05 active, electronically scanned array radar (AESA), developed by the company's Edinburgh unit, will be the first production AESA to be mounted on a “repositioner,” a rotating mount that gives the radar a ±100-deg. field of view around the nose. The Skyward-G infrared search and track (IRST) system (from Nebbiano, Italy) is based on experience with the Eurofighter Typhoon's Pirate IRST and Selex-developed land- and sea-based IRSTs. The fighter also has a new identification friend-or-foe (IFF) system with three electronically steerable antenna arrays, which matches the radar's range and field of view.
The three main sensors will cue one another automatically to display to pilots a fused picture of airspace around the fighter; it will also be fused with the JAS's new electronic-warfare system. Finally, sensor data can be shared between Gripens in a flight via data link.
The IRST is capable of detecting low-RCS targets at distances compatible with a beyond-visual-range missile launch, Mason says. “We have seen them,” he responds when asked if Selex IRSTs have tracked low-RCS targets. “We are looking at very small delta-Ts [temperature differences between the target and the background]. Some infrared absorbent paints cause more friction than standard surfaces, and that causes kinetic heating that the IRST will pick up.” Skyward-G does not depend on a supersonic target—“skin heating at 300-400 knots is significant”—and detects heat radiating through the aircraft's skin from the engine, as well as skin friction and the exhaust plume.

That as usual SNAFU! Blog was right.  Sensor fusion as being trotted out by the F-35 isn't  game changer anymore.  Many are working on it.  In this case our friends at SAAB and I would bet body parts that I highly value, our enemies as well.

Additionally the building blocks for Sensor Fusion are its AESA and with the addition of the latest generation SNIPER pod with the right programming, any fighter jet can have that ability.

The real question is the same that has now cropped up with the ACV.  Has the USMC waited so long for the vehicle and the F-35 to arrive that its obsolete before it enters service?  Lets be actual and factual.  The latest block Super Hornet will match the F-35 in sensor and kinematic performance.  It might lead by way of stealth but it is obvious that even  in the open source world that advantage is being quickly eroded.

We should cancel the F-35.  Nuff said!

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