F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (Full Version)

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DWReese -> F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/25/2020 1:28:37 PM)

I've been sand boxing (which is really most of what I do) and I noticed that the F-35 has an OECM Pod. (Many aircraft do.)

So, I set up a basic attack on a land target using F-35 to bomb a building and a Growler to jam the enemy's Tin Shield A radar unit. That occurred as expected.

Since the F-35 has a OECM jamming unit itself, I wanted to see if I could get by without the Growler. So, I repeated the exercise and (using the Scenario Editor) I jumped back and forth between sides and noticed that, even though the F-35 had its OECM activated ("JAM"), there was never a "JAMMED" message on the Tin Shield A.

So, I continued with the same scenario and added some enemy MIGs behind the radar unit, about 150 miles away. They immediately displayed the "JAMMED" message, so that I know that everything works properly.

So, my question is really about the AN/APG-81 OECM Pod. It states that it is for bands I/J. The Tin Shield operates in Bands E and F, so I guess that since they aren't the same, that's why the Tin Shield was never listed as being "JAMMED." That makes perfect sense.

The MIGs operate a radar on Band I, which means that they should have been jammed, and they were. Again, everything works fine.

So, the question is, are there any LAND-BASED radar units that use Bands I or J that would have been jammed by the OECM pod, or is that OECM pod really just to jam enemy aircraft radar? I know that the Growler takes it a step further and can jam everything, but I was hoping that the F-35 could be like a miniature version of the Growler, but I guess not (at least not with this land based radar).

Can someone educate me on the purpose of the AN/APG-81 OECM Pod, if it is something other than what I have stated? I would hate to have to test a bunch of different platforms just to find the same result. I'm hoping that someone knows the answer ahead of time. <lol>


Dragon029 -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/25/2020 1:42:39 PM)

In real life the OECM pod is the F-35's APG-81 radar performing X-band jamming (which covers the I and part of the J band). The F-35 also has towed decoys that have an active jamming capability, though what bands they operate in and how long they can jam (if they can receive power from the jet) can only be speculated (being decoys they likely aim to jam X-band and maybe Ku-band missile seekers).

The main purpose of the F-35's jamming is to jam aircraft, missile seekers, and at least some fire control radars. In terms of Russian SAMs, that'd include fire control radars such as the High Screen, Straight Flush, SA-6's 9S35, Low Blow and the Pantsir's 1RS2. The idea is that even if a low frequency radar manages to spot an F-35, and enemy IADS is able to sufficiently confirm that what they're looking at is a real aircraft (and not a decoy or EW trick), and sufficiently confirm that it's hostile, then the F-35s can still defeat the missile or (eg) Flankers sent up to engage them.

DWReese -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/25/2020 2:31:45 PM)

Thanks for the info.

I'll introduce some of those various SAMs to see how they react to the jamming, and then I'll send some MIGs after the F-35.

I did notice that the Growler seems to provide jamming coverage in all directions, but the F-35 is (front-only) directional. When the F-35 turned and headed for home, the MIGs were no longer "JAMMED." That doesn't mean that they could sufficiently lock on to the F-35 to fire at it, but that is probably because of its stealth design, and not the jammer.

Thanks again.


Sardaukar -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/25/2020 3:46:43 PM)

Check the jammer frequency bands on DB. Useless to jam radars working on different band(s) than jammer.

Actually those displayed were my request which got accepted, yay! [:D]

c3k -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/27/2020 11:45:10 AM)

It'd be nice to see the bands in a visual display, both of the jammers and the emitters. Right now, you've got to read the database and pull the data. A graphical interface on the unit display would make this type of information instantly available.

The database in CMO/CMANO is fantastic. The depth of information is somewhat difficult to plumb when in the midst of the game.

DWReese -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/27/2020 5:28:26 PM)

I agree.

Simply seeing the word "JAMMED" when there are multiple platforms that can be JAMMING can be a little misleading. In this case, I was originally under the impression that it was the F-35's OECM pods because they were much closer that was doing the jamming on the land-based radars. But, when the Growler landed, it was obvious that the F-35's pod didn't do anything to land-based radars.

I'm sure that it isn't a critical issue, but it would be nice if there was a way to tell what is actually being JAMMED and by what platform.


Dragon029 -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/28/2020 1:05:49 AM)


I did notice that the Growler seems to provide jamming coverage in all directions, but the F-35 is (front-only) directional. When the F-35 turned and headed for home, the MIGs were no longer "JAMMED." That doesn't mean that they could sufficiently lock on to the F-35 to fire at it, but that is probably because of its stealth design, and not the jammer.

Yep; I should note that in CMANO/CMO the OECM capability is just modelling the APG-81; the ALE-70 towed decoys / jammers used by the F-35 are only modelled in Command as countermeasures (you'll see them mentioned in the logs if an F-35 is engaged by a radar guided missile).

If you want to maintain jamming, it's advisable to setup flights of F-35s so that their approach to a target is staggered, or where you have F-35s outside enemy IADS that provide radar overwatch and continuous jamming while other F-35s exfiltrate out of the enemy's engagement zone; then once they're safe, the F-35 flights swap roles, or another F-35 flight rotates in as one rotates out.

DWReese -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/28/2020 2:01:39 AM)

I have yet to see any land-based radar units indicate that they have been JAMMED by ANY F-35 OECM. I have seen enemy planes, but no land-based stuff. I assume that this means that they aren't operating with I and J (or whatever that is). I also assume that since the radar unit and the SAM unit aren't indicating that they ARE being JAMMED, then they aren't being JAMMED.

So, thus far, it does not appear to me that the F-35's OECM has had any affect of land-based units. Perhaps I just have tested the proper ones as of yet, but I have yet to see it at this point.

I'm not saying that it doesn't work. I'm saying that I haven't seen it work.


Dragon029 -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/28/2020 6:51:09 AM)

Doing a quick test of the radars I mentioned in a previous post; the High Screen, SA-3's Flat Face and Pantsir's Hot Shot radar were jammed, the others I probably just got wrong.

DWReese -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/28/2020 12:40:07 PM)


You are correct. Everyone of those units (certain radars within them) do appear as "JAMMED." I had not seen that.

Since there are so few, you wonder why with something so expensive as the F-35 why it wouldn't possess the ability to JAM others.

I have noticed that the JAMMING is totally DIRECTIONAL. As long as the plane has the radar in its frontal cone, then it will be JAMMED. As soon as it turns away, the JAMMING no longer takes place, and the SAM is able to fire at it.

Thanks again.


Dragon029 -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/29/2020 8:24:42 AM)

As mentioned before, the F-35's jamming capability is directional because it's being performed by the F-35's radar; if you want to maintain continuous jamming against targets using F-35s, use the tactics I mentioned earlier.

As for why the F-35 doesn't have additional equipment to jam other types of radars, it's generally not necessary; to shoot down an F-35, an enemy radar has to:

1. Detect a flying object.
2. Determine what it is (while trying not to get tricked by electronic warfare or decoys).
3. Determine that it's hostile.
4. Get a consistent enough target track so that you know where the target is moving.
5. Launch a missile at the target and get the missile roughly near the target so that the missile's seeker can detect the target.
6. The missile has to detect the correct target.
7. The missile has to maintain a sufficiently accurate track all the way to the target.

If any of those things don't work, the jet won't get shot down. Most long range missiles use radar guidance, and missile seekers or launcher illumination radars typically use X-band or something very close to it, which the F-35 can already jam very well with its radar. For the other steps, stealth will generally be enough to screw with the opponent's ability to respond in the first place.

DWReese -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/29/2020 10:47:31 AM)

Again, you are correct. Shooting it down is almost next to impossible. I flew the thing over half of the radar units, and numerous SAMs and they could occasionally pick up its presence (usually with their TV equipment), but they couldn't get enough accurate data to shoot at it.

You are correct, it is pretty awesome as is.


14yellow14 -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/29/2020 7:23:20 PM)



DWReese -> RE: F-35 OECM AN/APG-81 Pod (9/29/2020 7:44:29 PM)

You are correct, in game terms. The Growler covers the whole map. The F-35 only JAMs in front. On the few times that it was shot at during my experiment it was when the F-35 was departing the area (tail to the SAM) and then it was detected, but only if it was close enough.

Losing a Growler in a scenario should be worth NEGATIVE ONE THOUSAND POINTS. <G>

I like Growlers.


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