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Time for a UK SEAD/DEAD Capability?

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Time for a UK SEAD/DEAD Capability?

Old 19th Dec 2019, 22:08
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Time for a UK SEAD/DEAD Capability?

I’ve just been reading about the new Typhoon ECR. “Eurofighter ECR will be able to provide passive emitter location as well as active jamming of threats, and will offer a variety of modular configurations for electronic attack (EA) and suppression/destruction of enemy air defence (SEAD/DEAD). Latest national escort jammer technology will ensure national control over features such as mission data and data analysis. The concept also features a new twin-seat cockpit configuration with a multi-function panoramic touch display and a dedicated mission cockpit for the rear-seat.”

Is it time for the UK to have a SEAD/DEAD capability like others now have? Especially, as potential adversaries invest in higher end SAM capabilities and the RAF has gone from Low Level to Med/High Level tactics? SDSR20 anyone?






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Old 20th Dec 2019, 00:35
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We are getting a SEAD/DEAD capability: F-35, when it eventually gets Spear 3. The Typhoon concept is for nations who aren't in the 5th gen club. Perhaps some additional stand-off jamming support would be useful in a large-scale op, but then that's what NATO burden sharing is for...
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 07:21
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Maybe next time round - and without a GIB....

Alert 5 » Leonardo UK demonstrates new RWR technology for Tempest - Military Aviation News
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 11:57
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Easy Street said it - Typhoon ECR is an also ran prize for people who don't buy F-35.

an F-35 with a slack handful of SPEAR 3 and SPEAR 3/EW is going to be a far more capable SEAD/EW aircraft than any Typhoon ever built. personally i think we ought to go further and look at the lessons of ALARM vs HARM and develop a high speed, long range, but COST, SEAD missile - we already have a high speed missile body that will fit into the F-35B, lets put an Anti-Radiation seeker and guidence system on METEOR and Bob will be your Mums' gentleman caller...

the USN are developing the Next Generation Jammer pod to go on the E/A-18G to support F-35C/B operations - the obvious question will be whether it could be operated on an F-35B....
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 13:28
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Those two UK F-35 Lightning squadrons are really going to have to go some! Replacements for Tornado force, replacements for Sea Harrier and now a replacement for the Tornado EF3 capability...
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 14:14
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Those two UK F-35 Lightning squadrons are really going to have to go some... ...and now a replacement for the Tornado EF3 capability...
Not so much, the Tornado EF.3 lasted barely 18months, iirc, before the SEAD capability was removed/cancelled. The GR.1/4 carried ALARM from introduction until it was removed from the inventory in 2013 though...

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Old 20th Dec 2019, 16:05
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RP

Knowing PPRuNe, I would hazard a guess that his EF3 reference may have been a slightly tongue in cheek suggestion.

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Old 20th Dec 2019, 18:57
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With the pitiful range/endurance of the F35B, I don’t think so. So we would need to buy F35A (and some boom tankers) to do the SEAD/DEAD role or the better, and more expensive, F35C (which at least can use a drogue tanker). But these assets are EXPENSIVE compared to Typhoon ECR or aircraft like EA-18G Growler. Note that the RAAF ordered their Growlers around the same time as their F35As and see them as “complementary” to the F35A mission?

Then there are many articles like this that suggest that F35 needs a SEAD/DEAD and EW aircraft to support it’s mission: https://www.businessinsider.com/f-35-needs-electromagnetic-cover-from-growlers-2014-4?r=US&IR=T

As for range of the F35B - any truth in the rumour that the aircraft that took off from the QE this week had to ‘gas and go’ at Brize to get to Marham?
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 19:11
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
With the pitiful range/endurance of the F35B, I don’t think so. So we would need to buy F35A (and some boom tankers) to do the SEAD/DEAD role or the better, and more expensive, F35C (which at least can use a drogue tanker). But these assets are EXPENSIVE compared to Typhoon ECR or aircraft like EA-18G Growler. Note that the RAAF ordered their Growlers around the same time as their F35As and see them as “complementary” to the F35A mission?

Then there are many articles like this that suggest that F35 needs a SEAD/DEAD and EW aircraft to support it’s mission: https://www.businessinsider.com/f-35-needs-electromagnetic-cover-from-growlers-2014-4?r=US&IR=T

As for range of the F35B - any truth in the rumour that the aircraft that took off from the QE this week had to ‘gas and go’ at Brize to get to Marham?
The F-35C has an almost identical range and endurance to the B model - it's significantly heavier so burns more, so I don't follow your reasoning other than internal payload capacity? It's also the most expensive - the Treasury won't like that part.

F-35A is surely the most sensible choice? 9G (as opposed to 7.5G), longer endurance, internal gun.....

It's for the money and aeronautical geeks to decide if it's cheaper to modify the A with a refuelling probe, than it is to upgrade Voyager with a boom and train a cadre of boom operators.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 19:20
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LJ

Where was the boat if the extra distance from BZN to MAR was significant I wonder?


BVRAAM

I suspect that the greatest cost would be the change to the contract!
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 19:38
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BVRAAM

The range and endurance of the B model is most definitely NOT “almost identical” to the C model!


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Old 20th Dec 2019, 20:08
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Apologies - I got the range and combat radius mixed up according to a table based on data provided by this publication:

https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/D...R_Dec_2017.pdf

Still, the A model makes the most sense if the refuelling issue can be worked out. It's also the better looking version.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 20:55
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
With the pitiful range/endurance of the F35B, I don’t think so. So we would need to buy F35A (and some boom tankers) to do the SEAD/DEAD role or the better, and more expensive, F35C (which at least can use a drogue tanker). But these assets are EXPENSIVE compared to Typhoon ECR or aircraft like EA-18G Growler. Note that the RAAF ordered their Growlers around the same time as their F35As and see them as “complementary” to the F35A mission?

Then there are many articles like this that suggest that F35 needs a SEAD/DEAD and EW aircraft to support it’s mission: https://www.businessinsider.com/f-35-needs-electromagnetic-cover-from-growlers-2014-4?r=US&IR=T
You won’t get any disagreement from me on the A vs B question, but only the most hardcore FAA types want the UK to take all 138 F-35s as B-models. The question is ‘when’ there will be some A-models, not ‘if’ and they will have the extra legs needed to do SEAD/DEAD CAPs in support of their dumpy brethren.

Must admit, I’m sceptical about the whole concept of anti-radiation missiles these days. Modern SAM barely need to emit at all when fully networked. Location by ‘other means’ and targeting on coordinates, with active millimetric radar for terminal accuracy as per Spear 3 and AARGM, strikes me as a better concept.

Then there is the question of why bother with SEAD when you can sneak in and destroy the targets which actually matter... or lob these in from a safe distance. And finally I think you’d be very surprised at the relative cost of Typhoon (at a time where each order for a handful of new aircraft means keeping production facilities open for longer) versus F-35 (where unit costs are falling as the committed order book grows).

And finally finally... stand-off jamming, yes. But as I stated, we’ve got to leave some jobs for our NATO colleagues to do, and this is a good one to leave for the Germans given their reluctance to do anything too offensive.

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Old 20th Dec 2019, 22:48
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Back in the day at Nav School at Finningley, a somewhat gullible member of our course was spoofed into believing that a "Wild Weasel" two seat Jaguar was shortly to enter service with the RAF (this after a presentation about EW in the Vietnam War). Needless to say that when the "Dream Sheet" form, where you put down your preference for posting, appeared a few days later, his first choice was (in big capital letters to make it stand out - another suggestion from our course comic) the said Wild Weasel Jaguars. Inevitably, he disappeared from training shortly afterwards and was later discovered in Air Traffic Control.
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Old 21st Dec 2019, 02:28
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I'm trying to think of a situation where the RAF would need a stand-alone SEAD/DEAD capability when there are only 5 squadrons of fighters in service - and a drizzle of F-35's slowly arriving.

Seems like we're still thinking of a "full service" air force when in fact the UK can't afford anything like that
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Old 21st Dec 2019, 07:18
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I think a lot of top specialist functions are too much for a single country to maintain.

I thought for a long time if the NATO AEW force was a good model to expand.

Now we have a small scale but cross nation tanker force and a C-17 heavy lift capability - what else could go this way.
P-8 ops? Even C-130s - You could imagine Netherlands/Belgium/Denmark/Norway pooling together- with much benefit.

If each Typhoon country went for the SEAD version It would be a good idea to base them all at Leeming to use Spade but set up like TTTE at Cottesmore
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Old 21st Dec 2019, 11:08
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
I'm trying to think of a situation where the RAF would need a stand-alone SEAD/DEAD capability when there are only 5 squadrons of fighters in service - and a drizzle of F-35's slowly arriving.

Seems like we're still thinking of a "full service" air force when in fact the UK can't afford anything like that
Has Ms Abbott lent you her abacus?

Typhoon
1 Sqn
2 Sqn
3 Sqn
6 Sqn
9 Sqn
11 Sqn
12 Sqn
Plus 29 Sqn (biggest number of jets), plus 41 Sqn (effectively the OEU with a small number of jets)

So that is 7x FL Sqns and at least a further in reserve as the OCU/OEU.

Lightning
617 Sqn
Plus 207 Sqn (the OCU), plus 17 Sqn (the OEU)
Plus 809 Sqn for the Royal Navy

If I recall correctly, there is an intent to buy 138 F35 in total, which will mean more RAF and RN sqns are to come?
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Old 21st Dec 2019, 16:29
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Sorry - I was talking fighter squadrons - my mistake

Delivery of the final Tranche 3 aircraft brings to an end a production run of 160 Typhoons for the RAF that began in 2003. The RAF fields eight Typhoon units with 1 (Fighter), 2 (Army Cooperation), 6, and 9 (Bomber) squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland; and 3 (Fighter), 11 (Fighter), and 12 (Bomber) squadrons based at RAF Coningsby in England. There is also a permanent detachment (1435 Flight) located on the Falkland Island

With the F-35 only 617 is stood up and in action and it has about 6 -8 aircraft - a pretty small squadron IMHO and the rate of new deliveries is ... "measured"
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 09:04
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Ok so a total fleet of 298 Combat Air FJs (discounting T1a and T2), so why not a small fleet of Typhoon ECR (say 24) to provide a 24/7 pairs capability for high-end warfighting? Especially as the F35 is years away from having the full envisaged capability (and hence the RAAF bought Growlers along with their F35s). It makes no sense to buy Growlers for the UK as we have a Typhoon-based Combat Air fleet like the Australians are Hornet-based. As for the GIB, this mission is best done with two, unless you just want a F16CJ reactive shoot at SAMs capability (which we don’t these days as the early SAMs go out of service and are replaced by more sophisticated systems) also the ability to selectively jam various EW locally to assist the F35 mission should not be discounted (which is what the US and Australians use it for in support of F35 LO missions).

Surely, it should have at least made our shopping list?
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 15:23
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Those two UK F-35 Lightning squadrons are really going to have to go some! Replacements for Tornado force, replacements for Sea Harrier and now a replacement for the Tornado EF3 capability...
Have they cured the lack of range considering it's the stumpy lift fan version of the family [or do the initials USMC become a cure all?]
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