27 September 2010

Questions Over F-35's Stealth Capability

27 September 2010

F-35 JSF (photo : Defense Industry Daily)

There are claims Australia's biggest ever defence purchase, the $16 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, has lost its biggest advantage - stealth.

Defence analysts say the new Russian L band radar will detect the fighter and can be fitted to Sukhoi jet fighters of the type flown by Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Vietnam.

The Liberal member for Tangney, Dr Dennis Jensen, is a former research scientist and defence analyst with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. He says the radar system can see through the F-35's stealth protection.

"The F-22 has been designed to be stealthy in a wider range of frequencies than the Joint Strike Fighter but also the F-22 has been designed to be in all aspects stealthy ... whereas with the JSF the major focus has been from the frontal aspect," he said.

"The stealth on the Joint Strike Fighter has been optimised around a certain set of frequencies and this is the problem with the radar that the Russians have developed to fit into the Sukhoi Flankers among others."

A spokesman for Defence Minister John Faulkner says Defence monitors all such technical developments.

He says ongoing analysis shows the Joint Strike Fighter will be able to meet Australia's requirements in all realistic threat scenarios.

He says that includes Indonesia's purchase of Sukhoi SU-35 fighters.

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