1997-10-01

Measuring Low Observable Technology's Effects on Combat Aircraft Survivability 975544

The introduction of Low Observable (LO) technology on combat aircraft has produced a leap in aircraft survivability but also raised some difficult questions. How do you quantify survivability, and since new technology tends to be expensive, how LO does an aircraft need to be to accomplish its mission? This paper will show how low observability dramatically improves combat aircraft survivability by reducing an air defense's ability to detect, track, intercept and destroy an LO aircraft. Important aircraft signatures that can be detected such as radar, visual, infrared and intentional emissions are discussed in detail as well as methods to reduce those signatures. LO and mission planning tactics' impacts on threat system capabilities are examined and examples of LO aircraft penetration of a notional hostile air defense are shown. The conclusion is that through the use of mission planning tactics and low signature, LO aircraft can survivably penetrate heavily defended air space with little support in order to accomplish their mission.

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