If there are any aircraft that are most sought-out for anywhere across the world, they are America’s elite set of F-35 fifth-generation stealth jets. Renowned for their stealth technology, the jets have enabled the US to stamp absolute air dominance as it provides the Air Force, Navy, and Marines a supreme jet that is simply unmatchable.
But what sets the F-35 a cut above the rest is its Electronic Warfare (EW) system, considered to be world’s most advanced system, coupled with its stealth technology, which makes use of its integrated stealth design, to make not only the most survivable combat aircraft ever built, but to make it invisible to detection or tracking by radar and other sensors.
However, despite US President Donald Trump reiterating the same beliefs of the fighter jets being “truly invisible and simply impossible to be seen with the naked eye”, a German defense contractor, Hensoldt has debunked such myths by stating that its newly invented radar system, named TwInvis, which reportedly it tracked the jets for nearly 100 miles.
According to a press report, TwInvis was set up at the 2018 Berlin Air Show in Germany, which was participated by two US Air Force F-35s, which were tracked by the radar system for over 93 miles (150 kilometers).
The passive radar system, which operates by studying electromagnetic emissions in the atmosphere, thinks radio station signals, Television signals, cell phone tower signals, and commercial radars, can detect aircraft moving through this invisible sea of signals by “reading how the signals bounce off airborne objects”.
However, it can only be used as an early warning radar by detecting a stealth fighter’s approach and is still not sophisticated enough to guide radar-guided missiles. Although, according to press reports, TwInvis can still provide enough location data for an infrared-guided missile to search for a target’s hot engine exhaust.
Moreover, the radar system could be refined with complementary systems to make it more effective in stealth detection, forcing adversaries to purchase even expensive passive systems.
The second contender for pinning a hole in F-35s ‘invisibility’ myth are Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missiles, which are considered by far the world’s most advanced air defense systems, boasting the ability to successfully intercept any stealth technology currently available in the world.
As reported earlier by the Eurasian Times, Tod Wolters, the commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe explained – “You cannot operate an F-35 in the vicinity of an S-400. They won’t talk to each other, and what the two military devices will aim to do, certainly the S-400s against the F-35s, is to exploit the F-35’s capabilities.”
Ever since the deployment of Russia’s S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) within Russian borders in 2007, it has garnered an impression of being one of the most lethal air defense systems in the world and purchase orders from China, Turkey and India only added to its reputation.