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Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:24 AM

Navy's Move To Growler 70% Complete; Build-Up Reflects Stealth Doubts [View all]


Navy's Move To Growler 70% Complete; Build-Up Reflects Stealth Doubts
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: November 15, 2012

WHIDBEY ISLAND, WASHINGTON: "Every two weeks, we get another Growler," Cmdr. Christopher Middleton said at the Navy's electronic warfare hub here. The Navy target is to buy 114 EA-18G Growler aircraft. And it's those Growler aircraft that will be the cutting edge of future Naval strikes against future "anti-access area denial" defenses like those being built by China.

To break through such defenses, the Navy is very publicly working on a joint "AirSea Battle" concept with the Air Force, but the two services have taken starkly different approaches to defeating enemy radar.

The Air Force retired its last radar-jamming aircraft in 1998 and placed its bets on radar-evading stealth aircraft: the twin-engine F-22 Raptor and its single-engine cousin the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter, both built by Lockheed Martin. The Navy has taken the exactly opposite path. While it will eventually (and somewhat reluctantly) acquire its version of the F-35, the Navy continues to buy both non-stealthy attack planes and powerful jamming aircraft to blind enemy radars: the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and its electronic warfare variant the EA-18G Growler, both built by Boeing.

Navy leaders have long been skeptical of stealth, and for good reason. Stealth certainly shrinks an aircraft's radar return, but it cannot eliminate it. And because Moore's Law doubles available computing power every 18 months, radar systems just keep getting ever better at detecting the subtle clues of a stealth plane's presence. From a Navy perspective, the only sure way to keep a radar from seeing you is to jam it -- and then, ideally, to blow it up.

In case you are not familiar with Moore's Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law

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Reply Navy's Move To Growler 70% Complete; Build-Up Reflects Stealth Doubts [View all]
unhappycamper Nov 2012 OP
global1 Nov 2012 #1
unhappycamper Nov 2012 #2