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Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds

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Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 1:20:42 AM   


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The first thing I always do in a new Command scenario is to look at my sensors. Knowing where the enemy is and making sure the enemy doesn't know where you are is the key to winning; you cannot hit what you cannot see, and neither can they. Radar is one of the most common and useful sensors and it's the one I'll be talking about here. Generally, any time your radar is emitting, the enemy will be able to detect it, and vice-versa. That means you have to be pretty selective in your radar usage. However, there are a few very important exceptions...

AESA, LPI, peak power, and ESM sensitivity
In modern scenarios, sometimes you have access to planes with AESA radars. These are usually Western 4+ or 5th gen fighters like the F-22, F-35, and later versions of the Rafale, Typhoon (CAPTOR-E, not yet in service), F-16, F-15, F-18, and some others. An important advantage of these radars is that they often cannot be detected by the enemy, so you can use them continuously, which gives you a huge advantage. However, sometimes they can be detected by the enemy, and then you have to go back to being highly selective in their use. There are also a few non-AESA radars that are harder to detect, called LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) radars. Knowing what kind of radar you have and what kind of detection ability the enemy has can dictate your sensor usage and have a big effect on how you play a scenario.

I'll make a disclaimer here that I have at best a layman's understanding of electronics and radars, and I'm only doing this analysis as it applies to the game itself, not necessarily real-life. I've set up a Sqlite client (I use SQuirreL) and looked at the relevant database tables, and found some interesting things about radars and ESM systems, and then tested them in the attached scenario.

The primary attribute that seems to determine how easily a radar can be detected is the Radar Peak Power value. In my testing, I've found it's useful to consider radars as belonging to three broad categories:

1. Conventional radars are those with Peak Power greater than 1000, typically 10000 or more. Most radars fit into this category.
2. LPI radars are those with Peak Power exactly equal to 1000. In real-life, these are still relatively conventional radars, but they're specially designed to be hard to detect. There aren't very many of these in the game. The main ones are the APG-63(V)1 (F-15C), APG-70 (F-15C and F-15E), APG-71 (F-14D), RBE-2 PESA (Rafale), and CAPTOR (Eurofighter). AFAIK, there are no non-Western planes with these radars.
3. AESA LPI radars are those with Peak Power less than 1000, typically 200 or less. Most of the modern fighters with AESA radars fit into this category, like the F-22, F-35, F/A-18E/F/G, and late versions of the F-15, F-16, Rafale, Eurofighter, and B-1B bomber. There are only a few non-Western planes with these radars: the T-50/Su-57, J-20, and J-31.

In the game's database, each sensor has some Codes associated with it, and those Codes determine if it's an AESA, LPI, both, or neither, as well as having several other attributes (NCTR modes for instance). So although I think this is a useful categorization that broadly matches real-life, the categories I came up with here don't quite correspond exactly to the game data, because there are some radars that don't fit those categories:

* There are some AESA radars that are not LPI, and have much higher Peak Power (over 10000), and there doesn't seem to be a way to tell in the game interface whether a given radar is coded as "LPI" or not. The most common ones of these are the J/APG-1 AESA and J/APG-2 AESA (Japanese F-2), the J-11D AESA, J-15 AESA, and J-16 AESA (on the Chinese planes of those respective types), the Slot Back [N-010 Zhuk-AE] AESA (MiG-35), and the PS-05A Mk4 AESA (Gripen NG). I'm not sure if it's intentional that those are not coded as LPI.

* There is also one AESA LPI radar that has a Peak Power of 10000, about 100x more than the other AESA LPI radars: the EL/M-2052 on the Kfir C.10 (2014). Also not sure if this is intentional or not.

* Finally there are also a few radars with Peak Power lower than 1000 that are not AESA, including the radar with the lowest Peak Power of any airborne radar in the game: the APQ-181 on the B-2, with a Peak Power of 1.

For a given ESM sensor, it will generally detect Conventional radars from the longest distance, then LPI non-AESA radars, then AESA non-LPI radars, and then there's a big gap in distance before it's able to pick up the AESA LPI radars. Within those bands, the radar's Peak Power is what determines how far away it'll be picked up, and there's a bit of overlap. So to illustrate detection distances:

Conventional > LPI only > AESA only >>> AESA-LPI

Here are some examples to consider, in descending order of detection distance (see Results section below for details):
Pk Pwr	Radar Name			Example plane	Coding (AESA or LPI)
35000	AN/APG-63			F-15C (early)	neither
20000	Slot Back [N-019M Topaz]	MiG-29S		neither, detected further than the APG-65, not sure why
25000	AN/APG-65			F/A-18C (early)	neither
16000	AN/APG-66			F-16A		neither
10000	PS-37/A				AJ-37 Viggen	neither
100000	China KLJ-X AESA [Zhemchoug]	J-10C		AESA, non-LPI, this is the most powerful fighter AESA radar
6000	Anemone				Super Etendard	neither, this is one of the least-powerful Conventional radars
1000	AN/APG-63(V)1			F-15C (2001+)	LPI, non-AESA
1000	AN/APG-70			F-15E		LPI, non-AESA
1000	CAPTOR				Eurofighter	LPI, non-AESA
1000	RBE-2 PESA			Rafale		LPI, non-AESA (coded as PESA)
30000	Slot Back [N-010 Zhuk-AE] AESA	MiG-35		AESA, non-LPI, detected further than the Gripen NG radar, not sure why
30000	PS-05/A Mk4 AESA [ES-05 Raven]	Gripen NG	AESA, non-LPI
12500	J-11D AESA			J-11D		AESA, non-LPI
12500	J/APG-2 AESA			F-2B		AESA, non-LPI
200	AN/APG-82(V)1 AESA		F-15E (2018)	AESA, LPI
200	AN/APG-77(V)1 AESA		F-22A		AESA, LPI
180	AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA		F-15C (2010+)	AESA, LPI
160	AN/APG-81 AESA			F-35		AESA, LPI
140	AN/APG-79 AESA			F/A-18E/F/G	AESA, LPI
100	AN/APG-63(V)2 AESA		F-15C (2003+)	AESA, LPI, less peak power than the (V)3
100	AN/APG-77 AESA			F-22A (2006)	AESA, LPI, less peak power than the (V)1
100	CAPTOR-E AESA [CAESAR]		Eurofighter (T3)AESA, LPI
100	RBE-2AA AESA			Rafale (F3R)	AESA, LPI
1	AN/APQ-181			B-2A		neither

ESM systems
The primary attribute determining how "good" an ESM system is seems to be the ESM Sensitivity value. The lower the number (it's always negative), the more sensitive the ESM gear is, and therefore the farther away it can detect any given radar. There are 741 ESM systems in the game database, and the ESM Sensitivity values range from -107 (most sensitive) to -30 (least sensitive). I'm interested in the most sensitive ones, and here's how they break down:

ESM Sensitivity : Number of sensors with that value
-107 : 5
-100 : 6
-95 : 13
-90 : 21
-88 : 6
-85 : 16
-80 : 4
-75 : 62
-73 : 1
-71 : 4
-70 : 42

And all the rest are less sensitive. For the purposes of knowing whether you can use your radar with impunity in tactical situations, you'll need to know if you have a Conventional, LPI, or AESA LPI radar (and/or your radar's Peak Power and Codes), and the ESM Sensitivity of the enemy sensors. Note that if an ESM sensor is coded as "COMINT", it probably won't be able to pick up any radars, whereas "SIGINT" or "ELINT" will be able to.

Here are some examples to consider, in order of best ESM Sensitivity to worst:

-100: China BM/KZ 8608
This is the only airborne sensor with an ESM Sensitivity of -100, it's on the Y-8X Cub. It's tied for the best ESM in the game, excluding a few COMINT-only sensors that can't pick up radar, and it's the best airborne ESM sensor. The AN/BLQ-10(V)1 to (V)5 on some Los Angeles, Viriginia, and Ohio subs are also -100.

-95: Generic SIGINT (Late 2000s), EL/L-8300, AN/AYR-2
EA-03 UAV (China), RQ-170 and RQ-180, E-3 Sentry (2000 and later versions), F.50 Maritime Enforcer, and a few others. These are generally the best ESM sensors you'll find in common use. Of note, the EA-03 shows up in the recent LIVE scenario Commonwealth Collision, which is partly what inspired me to make this write-up. So if you have a modern E-3 Sentry in your scenario, don't just consider it as a radar plane, you also have one of the best ELINT systems in the game.

-90: AN/AYR-1, AN/ALQ-240(V)1, AN/ALQ-218, AN/ALQ-217, JD-16 ESM, AN/ALR-[44, 81, 82, 84, 86], J/HLR-109B
E-3 Sentry (1996 versions), E-2 Hawkeye (2003 and later), EA-18G, P-8A, JD-16 (China), ES-3A, EP-3C/E, P-1 (Japan) and others. These planes are pretty common in modern scenarios.

-85: AN/APR-50, AN/ALQ-210
B-2A, MH-60R. Not very many platforms with this level of ESM Sensitivity, though MH-60Rs are fairly common on ships.

-80: AN/ALR-76, Generic ESM [Advanced] (Early 2000s generation)
S-3B, SV-22D. Also not many platforms with this level of ESM Sensitivity, though S-3B Vikings are pretty common on carriers from 1990 onward.

-75: Generic ESM [Advanced] (Early 1990s and Early 1980s generations), ASIP, EIP, ARI.18240/1 Yellow Gate, ARAR-13A [DR 4000A], AN/APR-38 RHAWS, AN/ALQ-86, AN/ALQ-78
E-8 JSTARS, E-767, RC-135, U-2, RQ-4 Global Hawk (some Blocks), SR-71, Nimrod, BR.1150 Atlantique 2, F-4G, EA-6B, P-3C, many others. Planes with these systems are quite common.

-70: SPECTRA (all sub-types), DASS, BOW-21, AN/ASQ-239 Barracuda, AN/ALR-94, some other modern RWR systems
Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen, F-35, F-22. Worth keeping in mind that although the F-35 and F-22 are great ELINT platforms, their ESM Sensitivity is not very high in game terms, and they will not be able to pick up some LPI and AESA radars from useful distances. Many current Western RWRs are also of this sensitivity, though RWRs in the game typically have a max range of 120 nmi, compared to 500 nmi for ELINT systems.

Most older Western RWRs are -65 or -60, and most Soviet/Russian RWRs are -60 or -55. Most of the planes with the best ESM gear are US or other Western designs. There are relatively few Russian or Chinese planes that have advanced ESM systems, here are all the ones I've found:

-100: As mentioned above, the Y-8X Cub (China).

-95: Also as mentioned above, the EA-03 UAV (China).

-90: The only one is the JD-16 ESM on the JD-16 (China).

(There are no non-Western planes or sensors between ESM -90 and ESM -75, exclusive.)

-75: The Generic ESM [Advanced] (Early 1990s generation) shows up on a fair number of non-Western planes: the Anka-A ELINT UAV (Turkey), the Il-22 (Russia), the IL-76MD (Iraq), the KJ-200 and KJ-500 AEW planes (China), the PZL M28B (Poland), the Tu-142MK-E (India), the Tu-214 (Russia), and several variants of the Y-8 and Y-9 Cub (China). The only other -75 sensor in a non-Western military is the Vigile 200 on the CN-235-220M (Indonesia).

-70: The only 2 are the EL/L-8312A [EL/L-8300 Suite] on the HZ-6A Badger (China), and the AN/ALR-93(V) (a US sensor) on the F-CK-1 Ching Kuo (Taiwan).

-65: The only 2 are the Himalayas [RWR] on the T-50/Su-57, and the RWR [Baykal] on the Tu-160.

Keep this in mind as we go over the results below.

Results from the test scenario
Along with the scenario in the attachment, I also included a spreadsheet of my raw results. There are two significant outliers in the data. First is the J-10C with its extremely powerful AESA non-LPI radar, which can be detected at roughly the same distance as the lowest-power Conventional radars. Second is the Kfir C.10 with its AESA LPI radar that has about 100x higher Peak Power than the other AESA LPI radars, which can be detected at slightly less distance than the lowest-power AESA non-LPI radars. Another curious thing, mentioned briefly above, is that the MiG-29 and MiG-35 radars can be detected at longer ranges than I would think they should be, based on their Peak Power and other values, so not sure what accounts for that.

-100: All radars except the B-2's freakish APQ-181 can be detected far outside missile range. The lowest-power AESA LPI radars are picked up at about 180 nmi, higher powered AESA LPI radars are detected at 215 to 260 nmi, and all other radars are detected at 400 nmi. This means the Y-8X is an incredibly powerful unit in the game.

-95: The lowest-power AESA LPI radars are still detected at about 100 nmi, and higher powered ones up to 150 nmi. This is why you're likely to get unwanted attention if you use the F-35's radar very much in Commonwealth Collision. All other radars at detected at 400 nmi.

-90: AESA LPI radars are picked up between 55 and 85 nmi, so they can be used without being detected if you're careful. All other radars are still detected at 400 nmi.

-85: AESA LPI radars come into their own, getting detected at 30 to 45 nmi, well within modern missile range. Almost all other radars are still detected at 400 nmi though, except the lowest-power AESA non-LPI radars, which are detected around 300 nmi or more.

-80: AESA LPI radars can be treated as nearly undetectable for tactical purposes, only getting picked up at 20 to 25 nmi. Almost all other radars are still detected at 200 nmi or more though.

-75: At this point, you can treat AESA LPI radars as undetectable; they aren't picked up until 10 to 15 nmi. Non-LPI AESA radars are still detected at 100 to 200 nmi, LPI non-AESA radars are detected at 225 nmi, and most Conventional radars are still detected at 400 nmi. If you're flying against a non-Western airforce that isn't modern-day China, this is probably the best sensors the enemy will have, and it's where you start getting the most advantage from the AESA LPI radars on modern fighters.

-70: AESA LPI radars aren't detected until around 5 nmi; you're about as likely to be seen visually as to have your radar detected. Non-LPI AESA radars are detected within 50 to 100 nmi, so they're starting to get useful, all others are still picked up at over 100 nmi.

-65: Non-LPI AESA radars are detected from 30 to 55 nmi, so they can be used with care. LPI non-AESA radars are detected at around 70 nmi, so are still not tactically useful. All others get picked up at 100 nmi or more.

-60: This is where LPI non-AESA radars are finally useful, as they're not detected until 40 nmi, while Conventional radars are detected from 100 nmi or more. The RWR and ELINT systems on most Russian and Chinese planes are -60 or worse, including the Su-27/30/35, MiG-29, and J-11, and earlier planes, and those are the planes the LPI radars were designed to fight.

Other thoughts
There are a few buildings with ESM gear, including a Bunker (ELINT Station) and a Bunker (OECM Station), and some vehicles (search for ELINT under Facilities), and many ships and subs have ESM gear. And of course satellites don't show up in many scenarios, but ELINT is one of their primary missions as well. I haven't tested any of these yet, but for instance I have seen the bunkers and vehicles show up in a few scenarios, and it's good to know their ESM Sensitivity so you can tailor your radar use appropriately. I also haven't tested anything in the Cold War Database, though I assume the same principles apply.

All testing was done with the Steam version of the game on Windows 7, v1.14 Build 998.10, DB3000 Build 475.

Last but not least, big thanks to the devs for having such a nicely organized and normalized database!

Edited to update the test scenario and results. Now has more planes (F-14B/E and Su-35) and ESM band labels.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Amnectrus -- 9/18/2018 5:04:29 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 1:49:06 AM   

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Thanks, I actually had a question asked of me about LPI mode radars the other day. I wasn't enough of a radar geek to answer it.

(in reply to Amnectrus)
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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 2:14:54 AM   

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That is an amazing amount of info and please give the Community a week or so to digest it. Thank you for writing it up and sharing it with us.



“The study of history lies at the foundation of all sound military conclusions and practice.”
― Alfred Thayer Mahan

(in reply to SeaQueen)
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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 12:05:21 PM   

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Thanks for sharing, gives some nice insight on how CMANO does some of the work under the hood.
In real world application there shouldn't be any real difference between non LPI PESA or AESA based on the type alone. PESA can have LPI capability as well and while not as good as AESA LPI (AESA gives more options) it should definitely be better then non LPI AESA.

Also curious what values are given for the Irbis-E PESA on Su-35.


(in reply to kevinkins)
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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 3:01:49 PM   

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Thanks for this great Radar/ESM information. I've included your discussion and data in the CMANO unofficial Reference Library.

Any forum member can have access to this resource. Just PM me with you email address.

-Wayne Stiles

(in reply to Amnectrus)
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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 3:14:58 PM   

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Great info. Thanks very much!


Dave A.
"When the Boogeyman goes to sleep he checks his closet for paratroopers"

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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 5:17:01 PM   


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Where is the like button? As an EW n00b, I appreciate these explicative posts! If only there was a "EW for noobs" site or book...

(in reply to ultradave)
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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/17/2018 8:37:30 PM   


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Anybody knows the pk pwr for the AN/APG-71 (V) AST-21 upgrade?

In comparison to AN/APG-81 AESA ?


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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/18/2018 12:31:11 AM   

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I wonder what would the performance value of the GaN-based AESA radar. Like AN/SPY-6 that is very likely built with it to achieve 300nm detection range in theory, Compare to AN/SPY-1 that is only 175nm. Is there any real world aircraft or proposing designs will use GaN AESA?

I mean, none of those listed AESA or LPI AESA are GaN-built, could it be catagorize to something like GaN+LPI AESA, or just GaN AESA?

EDIT: Nevermind. Searched on Google for 3 hours, only some rumors about Saab GaN aircraft radar developments. Likely for improved EriEye AEW or some unaddressed fighters that Indian media circulated.

< Message edited by Dysta -- 9/18/2018 7:25:44 AM >


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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/18/2018 5:02:38 AM   


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Thanks everyone for the feedback so far! To reply to a couple posts here:


In real world application there shouldn't be any real difference between non LPI PESA or AESA based on the type alone. PESA can have LPI capability as well and while not as good as AESA LPI (AESA gives more options) it should definitely be better then non LPI AESA.

I was actually under the impression that all AESA radars were kind of inherently LPI; as I understand it, since an AESA is under such tight computer control, it can dial back the transmitted energy to the minimum needed to paint each individual target, and it can also do paints on multiple frequencies and integrate the returns. And that's before any additional computer tricks that could be done to the waveforms as well that might make them harder to recognize as radar transmissions. So the lower detectability of AESA radars in general is not too surprising to me, but I don't really know much about what goes into LPI and whether that can outweigh AESA's inherent advantages. Every once in a while I come across a thesis from the Naval Postgraduate School like this one but the math is well over my head.

The RBE-2 PESA on the Rafale is coded as PESA and LPI, but is detectable at exactly the same distance as the Conventional (non-*ESA) LPI radars like the APG-70, whereas the AESA non-LPI radars are detected significantly closer, so Command definitely seems to be doing something special with AESA radars, even when they're not coded specifically as LPI.


Also curious what values are given for the Irbis-E PESA on Su-35.

Really great question, as it turns out, and I learned something new...

First, the database shows the Slot Back [Irbis-E PESA] has a Peak Power of 44000, and is coded as PESA, non-LPI. The Su-35S L-Band Wing Radar has Peak Power of 2500, and not PESA, AESA, or LPI. So both are Conventional radars by my categorization. However, despite the very low Peak Power, the Wing Radar is actually detectable from farther away than the main Irbis-E radar. I have no idea what accounts for that. So that's the first thing I learned.

The second thing I learned is that the AN/ALR-76 does not detect the Su-35S L-Band Wing Radar at all, but the Generic ESM [Advanced] (Early 2000s generation) does. Turns out that's because of the frequency bands. It's not shown in the game interface, but in the database the ALR-76 covers E through J band, while the Generic ESM covers A through J band. It's confusing that L-band seems like it's outside of both of those, but (and this part *is* shown in the game interface) the name of the Wing Radar is referring to the "old" L-band, which is now the D-band, as shown in the game's DB viewer for the Su-35. Here's the Wikipedia article on radar bands; the "old" system is the IEEE system (not the "old" NATO bands), and the "new" system is the "new" NATO bands. Very confusing.

It would be helpful if the relevant bands were shown in the game's DB viewer for ESM systems as they are with radars and DECM/OECM systems (big thanks to the devs for putting that in a few patches ago, BTW), because it turns out they're pretty darn important. For instance, the ubiquitous Spoon Rest radar (SA-2) is A-band, and the Flat Face (SA-3) is C-band, but the F-22, F-35, Rafale, Eurofighter, and Gripen only detect down to D-band, meaning that if they're your only ELINT platforms, the first indication you'll have that a crap-tier SAM is out there could be the G-band Fan Song fire-control radar coming up at you... Surprise!

The bands aren't everything though, since for example the MM/ALR-730 on the BR.1150 Atlantic 1 [P-1150A] is G-band only, and yet can detect all of the I-band fighter radars. More experimentation, or some guidance from the devs on how the ESM systems work, might be needed.


Anybody knows the pk pwr for the AN/APG-71 (V) AST-21 upgrade?

The database shows the AN/APG-71(V) [AST-21 Upgrade] and AN/APG-71(V) [ST-21 Upgrade] both have Peak Power of 1000, and are coded as LPI. For comparison, the AN/AWG-9 has a Peak Power of 250000 and shows up like a searchlight on almost all ESMs. I added those to my test scenario, and as expected, the AWG-9 can be seen by pretty much anything from any distance, and the APG-71(V) behaves like the base-model APG-71.


In comparison to AN/APG-81 AESA ?

As modelled in the game, the APG-81 has longer max range and a wider search angle, but in a quick test I ran, the APG-71(V) picked up an air target farther away, though the APG-81 picked up a ground target farther away. The same was true of the APG-77(V)1 vs the APG-71(V).

Also, a request: For anyone who knows Lua, and if this can be done, future testing of this sort would be made a lot easier if it were possible to raise a message when any unit first detects another unit, and what the exact range was when it was detected (along with the names of both units). Right now I have to run it on time accel until I get a contact, then go into God mode and check the distance, and I have to do it for one ESM Sensitivity level at a time or else it's hard to see what unit is detecting what at any given time.

I updated my test scenario and results with more planes and ESM band labels, will edit my original post above.

(in reply to Dysta)
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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/18/2018 8:40:12 AM   


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Thanks you for the useful informations provided and your explanations. Great work!
I was wondering if even a part of those quality data can be displayed in the database viewer.

For missiles, for example, we don't know how good is a system against sea skimmers, low signature and fast targets.

I guess ESM sensitivity is related to generation level. Same for radar. Higher generation = better resolution, > % to pick up difficult targets, better ECCM. Correct?


< Message edited by giantsquid -- 9/20/2018 2:40:02 PM >

(in reply to Amnectrus)
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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/18/2018 10:26:26 PM   


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First, thanks OP for super interesting thread and lots of work.


ORIGINAL: giantsquid

I guess ESM sesnitivity is related to generation level. Same for radar. Higher generation = better resolution, % to pick up difficult targets, ECCM. Correct?

I also wonder if ECM generation level plays any role - my guess is, that if yes, not directly but in comparison to radar gen level (so if ECM gen level is lower than radar gen level, some penalty applies). But its just a hunch.

ECCM on the other hand is very complex matter, and there are few other threads on this forum devoted to it.

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RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/18/2018 11:32:33 PM   


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Regarding ESM Sensitivity, there doesn't seem to be a very strong correlation between generation and sensitivity level:

Generation : ESM range (for airborne sensors only)
Early 1950s : -50 (only)
Late 1950s : -50 (only)
Early 1960s : -55 to -60
Late 1960s : -50 to -75
Early 1970s : -50 to -70 (except the AN/ALR-44 on the EP-3C/E, which is -90)
Late 1970s : -55 to -80 (except the AN/AYR-1 on the E-3 Sentry, which is -90)
Early 1980s : -55 to -85
Late 1980s : -60 to -75 (except the China BM/KZ 8608 on the Y-8X, which is -100)
Early 1990s : -50 to -90
Late 1990s : -55 to -75 (except the AN/ALR-86 on the CN-235MPA Persuader [T.19B, VIGMA], which is -90)
Early 2000s : -55 to -95
Late 2000s : -55 to -95
Early 2010s : -65 to -90
Late 2010s : -70 (only)

So the upper level of sensitivity does mostly increase over the generations, but within each generation there are still plenty of less sensitive receivers. I was pretty surprised when I first found out about the SPECTRA, DASS, ALR-94, and Barracuda, which are all Late 2000s or later and on the best 4+ and 5th gen fighters, but only -70 sensitivity. Perhaps even more surprising is the L-265V Khibiny-MV (and -10V) on the Su-35 and late-model Su-27; it's Late 2000s, but -55 sensitivity, putting it seemingly on par with the SPO-10 Sirena-3M found in the MiG-21 and MiG-23. I haven't really done any testing with RWRs though, and I'm not sure exactly what effect the Generation has on the sensors. In the case of missile seekers vs countermeasures, I think it gives a fixed percentage increase in effectiveness, and I believe the same is true of jamming systems (the Khibiny is also a DECM), but much more testing would be needed for that. It's also worth keeping in mind that most radars in the game are still fully conventional, and so all this business with ESM Sensitivity and LPI and such can be a bit academic, depending on the scenarios you play. I like to stack the deck when I can though, and I like poking through the data.

(in reply to giantsquid)
Post #: 13
RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/20/2018 2:39:04 PM   


Posts: 212
Joined: 9/8/2014
From: Milan, Italy
Status: offline
That's surprising. Thanks for your efforts and explanations. So what does generations level do on radar and ESM?
We probably need our devs opinion on this topic...

I think this should put on top as sticky, being so accurate and interesting.


(in reply to Amnectrus)
Post #: 14
RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 9/20/2018 3:27:54 PM   

Posts: 7104
Joined: 11/28/2001
From: Finland/Israel
Status: online
My suspicion is that those sensitivity figures are comparable only within same generation devices. What effect "generation gap" has, is only known by Devs.


"To meaningless French Idealism, Liberty, Fraternity and Equality...we answer with German Realism, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery" -Prince von Bülov, 1870-

(in reply to giantsquid)
Post #: 15
RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 10/29/2019 9:40:04 AM   


Posts: 187
Joined: 4/25/2017
Status: offline

Thank you for doing this. I've found it to be extremely helpful!

(in reply to Sardaukar)
Post #: 16
RE: Modern airborne radar and ESM for data nerds - 10/29/2019 11:29:04 AM   


Posts: 64
Joined: 6/17/2017
From: Nederlands
Status: offline
I thank you as well, great work.

(in reply to c3k)
Post #: 17
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