SAC 'Divine Eagle' HALE AEW UAV

Deino

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The next mayor unveiling at Shenyang ... Finally, long expected, always in strange and stranger configurations ... but now here it is the PLAAF's BAMS-like UAV 'Divine Eagle' !!!

By the way via Huitong: http://chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.de/p/uavucav-ii.html

This large high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAV has been under development at 601 Institute/SAC as an "anti-stealth" AEW platform. The UAV features a novel twin fuselage/twin vertical tailfin design with the straight main wing extending across the rear fuselage. It also has a small wing structure connecting the forward sections of twin fuselages. A SATCOM antenna is expected to be installed inside one of the head bulges. The UAV is thought to be powered by a turbofan engine (WS-11?) located above the main wing and between the two vertical tainfins. As an AEW platform Divine Eagle is expected to have multiple conformal radar antennas installed on the forward fuselages facing different directions. The VHF meter wave radar is capable of detecting stealth aircraft at a relatively long range but suffers from a lower accuracy. Therefore several Divine Eagles may typically fly in a group formation ahead while being controlled via datalink by the AWACS flying behind in a safe distance or by the ground station protected by the air defense unit. Together they act as an airborne multistatic radar system and are able to pick up the radar reflection signals of the same stealth aircraft from multiple directions. As the result the UAV can extend both the detecting range and accuracy of the AWACS against stealth aircraft. The design of Divine Eagle appear to share some similarity with the Russian Sukhoi S-62 concept which first appeared around 2000. It was reported that Russian assistance was sought during the initial development stage. A technology demonstrator was built by the spring 2015. Some specifications (estimated): height 6m, length 14m, wingspan 35m, endurance >10hr, ceiling 18km. If successfully entering the service, Divine Eagle would become the first airborne anti-stealth radar system in the world to counter American F-22s, F-35s and B-2s.
 

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GTX

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Is it confirmed that it is twin fuselage? Some of those pictures look like there are just two close together.
 

Deino

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I would say YES !
 

AeroFranz

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Something looks definitely odd. In the three view the main wing centersection is mounted low, which would make sense to provide continuous load paths to the low-mounted wings outboard. However you can see the turbofan engine protruding significantly above the tops of the fuselages. It can't possibly be of such large diameter that it reaches that high from a low mounted position. What am i missing?


Another thing - i doubt the forward stabilizer/canard has that shape. Makes no sense from an aerodynamic and structural point of view. A straight surface makes much more sense.


If this is an AEW platform, then it makes sense to optimize the layout of sensor field of view. I'm not sure i know what this configuration buys over a more conventional single fuselage. You can still put arrays on both sides.
 

CJGibson

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Puts me in mind of the Supermarine Type 582AEW proposed for the Fleet Air Arm.

Chris
 

yasotay

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AeroFranz said:
Something looks definitely odd. In the three view the main wing centersection is mounted low, which would make sense to provide continuous load paths to the low-mounted wings outboard. However you can see the turbofan engine protruding significantly above the tops of the fuselages. It can't possibly be of such large diameter that it reaches that high from a low mounted position. What am i missing?


Another thing - i doubt the forward stabilizer/canard has that shape. Makes no sense from an aerodynamic and structural point of view. A straight surface makes much more sense.


If this is an AEW platform, then it makes sense to optimize the layout of sensor field of view. I'm not sure i know what this configuration buys over a more conventional single fuselage. You can still put arrays on both sides.

Do you suppose it is elevated due to cg issues? Move the thrust line up?
 

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Divine Eagle is less like BAMS and more like the cancelled Sensorcraft, I think.
Popsci did a decent summary of Divine Eagle's development process and posted the papers with original proposals for the sensor set up of the plane (a few typos in both write ups but more accurate than anything else out there).


http://www.popsci.com/china-flies-its-largest-ever-drone-divine-eagle


http://www.popsci.comine-eagle-chinas-enormous-stealth-hunting-drone-takes-shape
 

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AeroFranz said:
If this is an AEW platform, then it makes sense to optimize the layout of sensor field of view. I'm not sure i know what this configuration buys over a more conventional single fuselage. You can still put arrays on both sides.


Could volume be an issue along with weight?


If they want large side looking arrays on a single fuselage for a long endurance high altitude UAV, it'll either have to be a global hawk like fuselage or a flying wing/darkstar configuration.
A conventional global hawk fuselage might lack sufficient volume to haul the needed bits and bobs within its airframe in a conformal way (without becoming far wider like a flying wing or darkstar), while a flying wing or darkstar arrangement might be a bit too heavy due to all the extra weight in the "middle" of the fuselage (despite what I expect to be very good long endurance characteristics from the flying wing blended wing/fuselage)


So a compromise is a dual hull fuselage where each conventionally shaped fuselage has enough volume for the arrays and other equipment, but cutting out the "middle" of the flying wing to leave it empty thus getting rid of a lot of extra weight that current engines might be unable to support.
 

AeroFranz

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yasotay said:
Do you suppose it is elevated due to cg issues? Move the thrust line up?


The vertical location of the cg is going to be somewhere between the low mounted wings (where the fuel is, something like 30%+ of the total weight in a vehicle like this), and the centroid of the fuselages (assuming systems and payloads mass is distributed more or less evenly), so the low mounted thrust line would be fine. Mind you, it's not a huge driver, but it's one of those things that given the chance you'd optimize. So yeah, i still don't know what we're looking at. Maybe when we get better pictures...


The thing about twin fuselages is that for the same internal volume, you can make a larger single fuselage that has less "wetted area" - or less skin friction. The low frequency antennas should be on the wings anyway (at least that's what sensorcraft was aiming for), leaving the SAR ones in the fuselage. The one thing two fuselages give you, is somewhat span loading (see Rutan's Voyager) and lower structural weight. But the concept has been around for a long time and no one has bothered to do it, likely because by the time you look at what it actually takes to do it, weigh the pros and cons involving all facets of design, then it loses any perceived advantages. Stuff like, now you need two nose landing gears, with extra doors, actuators, passing data and power with electrical harnesses (heavy) from one side to the other, providing environmental control to the avionics and sensors in two fuselage, etc. Lots of duplication that eats up any perceived advantages.


By the way, did you notice the size of the vertical tails? They are humongous! That's because with the canard arrangement and a straight wing, the moment arm is tiny. They'd better stick conformal antennas or something in there, because that's a big weight and drag penalty.


All in all, I am stupefied by all these weird configurations Chinese designers are using (joined wings, twin fuselages). the reason tube and wing is universally adopted is almost Darwinian. It just works! Don't get me wrong, i think they look very cool, but at this point i can't find a justification for why they would do it, and remain a bit skeptical.
 

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I do have a tendency to be somewhat sceptical so, view the following comments accordingly...


I also look at that design and wonder at the logic of some of the design decisions. The sceptic in me wonders if they haven't taken a bunch of bits lying around the yard and 'codged' them together for other purpose than to actually fly a viable platform. As I don't pretend to know what's going on in the Chinese aerospace community, I'll leave to other to speculate...
 

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Wasn't the US sensorcraft proposal based on a trapezoidal wing shape, almost encompassing the fuselage from all sides? Putting sensors in such wings makes sense, i guess. Here we might be looking at much simpler, u2 like straight, long wings, where sensors may be looking only forward and backward. And i guess that's not something a sensorcraft wants as it flies elongated "8" patterns alongside the edge of contested airspace; it'd much rather have sensors looking sideways.
 

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totoro said:
Wasn't the US sensorcraft proposal based on a trapezoidal wing shape, almost encompassing the fuselage from all sides? Putting sensors in such wings makes sense, i guess. Here we might be looking at much simpler, u2 like straight, long wings, where sensors may be looking only forward and backward. And i guess that's not something a sensorcraft wants as it flies elongated "8" patterns alongside the edge of contested airspace; it'd much rather have sensors looking sideways.


They had considered a number of configurations, including a U-2 esque one.


Check the Divine Eagle thread over on CDF.
 

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At least nobody can claim it's a copy of something Western or Russian, you've got to give them that ;)
 

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quellish

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Trident said:
At least nobody can claim it's a copy of something Western or Russian, you've got to give them that ;)


There was a configuration under study very early in the Sensorcraft effort that was *very* similar but sensitive for historical reasons - there was design history shared with another program.
 

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The SAC 'Divine Eagle' is a large, slow, target loitering over the battle environment nicely silhouetted against the cold background of space. Plus it has to radiate to perform its mission.


Shoot it down and be done with it.
 

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Well, the same can be said of an E-3. China has long-range stealth fighters that would provide air cover. One can only assume that the size of the apertures gives the platform lots of standoff range.
 

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AeroFranz said:
Well, the same can be said of an E-3. China has long-range stealth fighters that would provide air cover. One can only assume that the size of the apertures gives the platform lots of standoff range.


Chinese stealth fighters would be of little use against long range anti air missiles. The point is that the 'Divine Eagle' is in many respects a maritime surveillance satellite and consequently is vulnerable to the same defensive countermeasures that would be used against satellites. Further there are several inexpensive concepts that if employed would wreak havoc with the complex kill chain the Chinese must use to locate and attack US Navy assets.
 

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by "Long range anti air missiles" do you mean something with more legs than AMRAAM? Right now there is no such thing in the inventory (although God only knows it could be useful). So conceptually, yeah, maybe. In practice the Chinese have hardware close to flying while the US does not have a program, let alone a missile in the flesh.


It is troubling that the Chinese have shown a remarkable willingness to spent money and resources coming up with systems that pose a credible threat to the US, and the only solution seems to be spending our way out of it. How sustainable is a situation where for every $1 spent by China the US has to spend $10?


The funny part is that this sensor platform, or the DF-21 for that matter, don't have to actually work to require the US to spend billions finding a counter.
 

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AeroFranz said:
by "Long range anti air missiles" do you mean something with more legs than AMRAAM? Right now there is no such thing in the inventory (although God only knows it could be useful). So conceptually, yeah, maybe. In practice the Chinese have hardware close to flying while the US does not have a program, let alone a missile in the flesh.


It is troubling that the Chinese have shown a remarkable willingness to spent money and resources coming up with systems that pose a credible threat to the US, and the only solution seems to be spending our way out of it. How sustainable is a situation where for every $1 spent by China the US has to spend $10?


The funny part is that this sensor platform, or the DF-21 for that matter, don't have to actually work to require the US to spend billions finding a counter.


An easy and relatively cheap way to defeat the Divine Eagle is to locate the Chinese UAV and have a Global Hawk UAV configured for jamming fly formation with it. What would the Chinese do? What could they do except grin and bear it.
 

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AeroFranz said:
by "Long range anti air missiles" do you mean something with more legs than AMRAAM? Right now there is no such thing in the inventory (although God only knows it could be useful). So conceptually, yeah, maybe. In practice the Chinese have hardware close to flying while the US does not have a program, let alone a missile in the flesh.


It is troubling that the Chinese have shown a remarkable willingness to spent money and resources coming up with systems that pose a credible threat to the US, and the only solution seems to be spending our way out of it. How sustainable is a situation where for every $1 spent by China the US has to spend $10?


The funny part is that this sensor platform, or the DF-21 for that matter, don't have to actually work to require the US to spend billions finding a counter.

Many possibilities exist since we are essentially looking at a Hit to Kill type of thing since this thing is not a hard maneuvering target. We tested a couple of T3 missiles in late 2013 that is documented in the T3 thread here. The ALHTK concept is also doable for such a type of mission. you could also do something around the extended range AMRAAM being developed by Raytheon for Ground to Air applications. Plenty of options if there is a need to do something.
 

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VH said:
An easy and relatively cheap way to defeat the Divine Eagle is to locate the Chinese UAV and have a Global Hawk UAV configured for jamming fly formation with it. What would the Chinese do? What could they do except grin and bear it.


A part of me has wondered if Divine Eagle might be tasked to do just that with Triton... A collision between two massive UAVs on the edge of space would be something to write about indeed.


I think the thing to keep in mind is Divine Eagle is just one of many C4ISR assets in a system and isn't meant to be a game changer but rather provide additional flexibility and capabilities. In other words, a variety of counters already exist, but how well those counters work in a war depends on how the preceding stages play out and how well each side uses their assets.
Just as a single F-22 could conceivably have a 8:0 kill ratio against PLAAF fighters, they can have a 0:0 kill ratio if they're killed on the tarmac by cruise missiles or IRBMs or don't have tankers to sustain themselves in the area of conflict, and LACMs and ballistic missiles can in turn be countered by AEW&C with fighter patrol, THAAD, aegis DDGs, etc...


As for actively emitting -- that is the sacrifice of being an active surveillance asset.
 

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Blitzo said:
VH said:
An easy and relatively cheap way to defeat the Divine Eagle is to locate the Chinese UAV and have a Global Hawk UAV configured for jamming fly formation with it. What would the Chinese do? What could they do except grin and bear it.



A part of me has wondered if Divine Eagle might be tasked to do just that with Triton... A collision between two massive UAVs on the edge of space would be something to write about indeed.



The proposal is to jam the hell out of the 'Divine Eagle'. With that it would be a mission kill. A soft kill. Nobody said anything about a collision between the platforms.


Another counter to the 'Divine Eagle' performing its mission would be to jam it just long enough to let penetrating assets slip through the Chinese picket line. The Russians used a tactic like that where a TU-95 Bear stood off and jammed sonobuoy transmissions on fields laid ahead of the battlegroup to allow Russian subs to slip through the barrier.

The point is that the Chinese anti access kill chain is complex and its complexity can be exploited

I think the thing to keep in mind is Divine Eagle is just one of many C4ISR assets in a system and isn't meant to be a game changer but rather provide additional flexibility and capabilities. In other words, a variety of counters already exist, but how well those counters work in a war depends on how the preceding stages play out and how well each side uses their assets.
Just as a single F-22 could conceivably have a 8:0 kill ratio against PLAAF fighters, they can have a 0:0 kill ratio if they're killed on the tarmac by cruise missiles or IRBMs or don't have tankers to sustain themselves in the area of conflict, and LACMs and ballistic missiles can in turn be countered by AEW&C with fighter patrol, THAAD, aegis DDGs, etc...

As for actively emitting -- that is the sacrifice of being an active surveillance asset.


The Chinese are a bit thin in the C4ISR area. Its not like they have an over abundance of assets needed to perform the anti access mission. The loss of something as important as the 'Divine Eagle' would spoil their whole day.
 

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VH said:
The proposal is to jam the hell out of the 'Divine Eagle'. With that it would be a mission kill. A soft kill. Nobody said anything about a collision between the platforms.


Another counter to the 'Divine Eagle' performing its mission would be to jam it just long enough to let penetrating assets slip through the Chinese picket line. The Russians used a tactic like that where a TU-95 Bear stood off and jammed sonobuoy transmissions on fields laid ahead of the battlegroup to allow Russian subs to slip through the barrier.

Oh I wasn't suggesting the goal would be to create a collision, it was just fanciful thinking on my part regarding the notion of close proximity HALE UAVs.


As for having a US uav in close proximity to jam the divine eagle, I suspect the AEW function of divine eagle would allow fairly early detection of any opposing UAV seeking to jam it before it reaches altitude. During peacetime that means divine eagle can simply fly a mission at a distance geometry away from the opposing UAV (able to be countered if the US saturates near space with jamming UAVs however... But of course PLA can also counter with ECM or ECCM versions of divine eagle) and during wartime, the AEW role of the divine eagle means fighters or SAMs can be directed towards the opposing jamming UAV before it reaches threatening range... Or launch missile at westpac US UAV bases. Which comes back to my statement that preceding stages of a conflict are important before discussing vulnerabilities for a particular asset.


I think the point I'm trying to make is that divine eagle is by no means invincible but it isn't exactly something that can be easily countered in wartime or peacetime against a competent enemy with a capable supporting capability.

It has many of the same vulnerabilities to mq-4c triton in a contested environment, but divine eagle is much more reliant on long range radar operating at stand off range against the enemy, and is likely to be deemed a fairly high value and thus defended asset like an AEW&C would be.


The point is that the Chinese anti access kill chain is complex and its complexity can be exploited


Complexity can cut both ways. On the one hand it needs to be properly integrated and many parts of it may be vulnerable to destruction but complexity and also provide a lot of redundancy.


[/size]The Chinese are a bit thin in the C4ISR area. Its not like they have an over abundance of assets needed to perform the anti access mission. The loss of something as important as the 'Divine Eagle' would spoil their whole day.



IDK, they're including a whole array of sensors including satellites, UAVs, SOSUS, submarines, surface ships, civilian vessels, MPAs, AEWC, ELINT, supported by standard combat aircraft, and offensive/defensive weapons.
Obviously we don't know how well all these assets are integrated together at present but from PLA literature and documents they are very much continuously developing them.
 

quellish

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Blitzo said:
but divine eagle is much more reliant on long range radar operating at stand off range against the enemy, and is likely to be deemed a fairly high value and thus defended asset like an AEW&C would be.


That depends very much on how they intend to get that radar data *off* the UAV.
 

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quellish said:
Blitzo said:
but divine eagle is much more reliant on long range radar operating at stand off range against the enemy, and is likely to be deemed a fairly high value and thus defended asset like an AEW&C would be.


That depends very much on how they intend to get that radar data *off* the UAV.

Elaborate? I presume it would be some sort of datalink but I assume you're being a bit more precise?
 

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Actually the 'Divine Eagle' is the Chinese attempt to make their version of a E8-Joint STARS
 

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VH said:
Actually the 'Divine Eagle' is the Chinese attempt to make their version of a E8-Joint STARS


No, they've had modified four Tu-154s which is their version of E-8, for years now.


Uv1HiCc.jpg



The original concept Divine Eagle was derived from specified both long range AMTI and GMTI radar capabilities with particular emphasis on UHF AESA radar for anti stealth duties.


If anything Divine Eagle is much more like the Sensorcraft concept from years back. But in the PLA I see them as semi forward deployed active sensor nodes with communication node functions. Kind of like MQ-4C, actually, only its primary active sensors will be multiple fixed radars with 360 degree coverage possibly operating on multiple bands, rather than only one rotating 360 degree radar operating in one band, and with a bigger focus on air surveillance as well as surface surveillance. I'm sure Divine Eagle will retain EO sensors and a ELINT/SIGINT suite, but its primary sensors will be actively emitting radar.


They will be useful operating close to or within Chinese airspace, in anti cruise missile roles. AEW&C are naturally the optimal way of coordinating cruise missile defence, but the human factor limits endurance of manned AEW&C. AEW UAVs can potentially provide round the clock monitoring to complement AEW&C.


http://www.spyflight.co.uk/sensorcraft.htm


SensorCraft


The USAF has learnt, through sometimes bitter experience, that however good a design looks on paper, it’s only by actually building, flying and thoroughly testing a design that its true capability can be determined. In recent years this practice has been used to good effect for a number of manned aircraft was also used in the development of the Dark Star and Global Hawk UAVs. Even though the Global Hawk has just begun full-scale production and entry into service and the Dark Star has evolved into a larger ‘black’ UAV, the Air Vehicles Directorate element of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio has already begun developing the concept of a next-generation advanced UAV to replace these vehicles.


Throughout the remainder of this decade the AFRL will investigate a wide variety of the latest sensors, communications links, air vehicle components and propulsion systems and consider how they can all be incorporated into the concept of a next generation long-range high-altitude ISR UAV – known as SensorCraft. When and if it finally enters service, this cutting-edge vehicle will carry an integrated mix of radar, cameras, ELINT equipment and data links, whilst orbiting a battlefield at 65,000ft for between 60-80hrs at around 350kts, gathering intelligence and passing it onto supporting elements in near real-time.


For the design of SensorCraft the traditional design process has been reversed. In previous UAV designs the vehicle has been constructed and then the sensors have been incorporated into the available space. In SensorCraft the optimum mix of sensors will be determined and then the vehicle design moulded around the systems, with sensor apertures embedded in the fuselage as necessary. This unusual approach to UAV design has already resulted in some radical proposals; in particular, a diamond shaped structure that would facilitate sensor coverage. Another proposal is for a flying-wing design, not dissimilar to the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber along with a large U-2 style design with a 200ft wing-span and an endurance of 60hrs.


Particular attention is being paid to the sensors planned for this UAV and they will probably operate on a wide variety of frequencies, such as VHF to allow foliage penetration and X-band for improved image resolution, as well as hyperspectral and passive sensors. There’s even as possibility that the vehicle will be able to operate in a bistatic mode, allowing for passive operations, and be equipped with active countermeasures. As technology advances, this next generation Global Hawk could well have a combined Air and Ground Moving Target Indicator (AGMTI) built into an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) giving it the air-to-air capability of an E-3D AWACS together with the air-to-ground function of the E-8 JSTARS.


The SensorCraft concept will allow the ARFL to establish how evolving technologies develop and enable the programme to determine if they can eventually mature into a viable UAV. The ARFL aim to launch an aircraft programme around 2010 and the eventual system could enter service around 2020.
 

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The most effective way to deal with 'Divine Eagle' is to use MALD-J to give the Chinese a healthy serving of Bakaa Valley 1982 with Pacific characteristics:


"....The jamming variant of MALD can work both as a traditional decoy like the ADM-160B and as a tactical jamming and spoofing asset, similar to the EA-18G Growler, although without the ability to address nearly as many threats at one time, or at the same ranges as the EA-18G can. What it lacks in power MALD-J makes up for in proximity, as it can fly toward a surface-to-air missile or radar site, be actively painted by it, and then proceed to jam it at fairly close range. Like its simpler cousin, the MALD-J can also produce fake 'ghost' contacts, appearing as many aircraft and then back down to one in the blink of an eye..."
 

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VH said:
The most effective way to deal with 'Divine Eagle' is to use MALD-J to give the Chinese a healthy serving of Bakaa Valley 1982 with Pacific characteristics:


"....The jamming variant of MALD can work both as a traditional decoy like the ADM-160B and as a tactical jamming and spoofing asset, similar to the EA-18G Growler, although without the ability to address nearly as many threats at one time, or at the same ranges as the EA-18G can. What it lacks in power MALD-J makes up for in proximity, as it can fly toward a surface-to-air missile or radar site, be actively painted by it, and then proceed to jam it at fairly close range. Like its simpler cousin, the MALD-J can also produce fake 'ghost' contacts, appearing as many aircraft and then back down to one in the blink of an eye..."


... So basically just EW in general?


Weapons like MALD-J would be used against PLA even without divine eagle's presence tbh. If anything Divine Eagle is meant to provide an additional level of redundancy against efforts like active jammers like MALD-J, EF-18G and passive detection methods aka stealth.




I also wonder if we're overestimating how politically viable it would be to jam each other's drones during peacetime. Supposedly a PLAN ship attempted to jam a USN drone in SCS a week or so ago, which caused a but of a story. If both sides end up jamming each other's drones as a matter of normalcy (say, PLA jams all USN Tritons in Pacific, US military jams all Divine Eagles in Pacific as well) I can't help but wonder if that will elicit persistent protests from both sides, as it's not so different to actually attacking each other's aircraft after all.


Furthermore, jamming Divine Eagle during peacetime wouldn't be so different to trying to jam a potential competitor's AEW&C, and I'm not sure if it is standard operating procedure for US to attempt and jam PLA AEW&C whenever they fly into the air or fly into international airspace to conduct surveillance missions.
 

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Blitzo said:
... So basically just EW in general?


Weapons like MALD-J would be used against PLA even without divine eagle's presence tbh. If anything Divine Eagle is meant to provide an additional level of redundancy against efforts like active jammers like MALD-J, EF-18G and passive detection methods aka stealth.




I also wonder if we're overestimating how politically viable it would be to jam each other's drones during peacetime. Supposedly a PLAN ship attempted to jam a USN drone in SCS a week or so ago, which caused a but of a story. If both sides end up jamming each other's drones as a matter of normalcy (say, PLA jams all USN Tritons in Pacific, US military jams all Divine Eagles in Pacific as well) I can't help but wonder if that will elicit persistent protests from both sides, as it's not so different to actually attacking each other's aircraft after all.


Furthermore, jamming Divine Eagle during peacetime wouldn't be so different to trying to jam a potential competitor's AEW&C, and I'm not sure if it is standard operating procedure for US to attempt and jam PLA AEW&C whenever they fly into the air or fly into international airspace to conduct surveillance missions.


The forcible entry of Chinese airspace would not rely solely upon EW methods and tactics. Notice that I said forcible entry. During peacetime there would be feints and probes to map out the Chinese electronic order of battle as best possible. Your assumption is correct that peacetime use of EW would accomplish little except to piss each side off.


I am thinking of MALD-J and the various flavors of that technology being used to degrade and neutralize the Chinese anti access strategies that would be used when all the chips are on the table.
 

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VH said:
The forcible entry of Chinese airspace would not rely solely upon EW methods and tactics. Notice that I said forcible entry. During peacetime there would be feints and probes to map out the Chinese electronic order of battle as best possible. Your assumption is correct that peacetime use of EW would accomplish little except to piss each side off.

I am thinking of MALD-J and the various flavors of that technology being used to degrade and neutralize the Chinese anti access strategies that would be used when all the chips are on the table.


I think you misunderstand me. I was saying that EW assets like MALD-J would be used against the PLA regardless of whether Divine Eagle is present or not. You've been describing MALD-J like it's a magic counter to Divine Eagle's capabilities, when really it is best described to have a general EW capability.


During peacetime, I was suggesting that both sides probably wouldn't use active EW against each other given the inherent aggressiveness of such actions, but would use use passive ELINT/SIGINT platforms against each other in the best way to (like you say) organize an orbat of each other's assets.




I think before one thinks about "countering" Divine Eagle, one first needs to consider just what kind of unique capabilities Divine Eagle offers on top of existing PLA capabilities. The way I see it, Divine Eagle offers the potential for a persistent, near constant AEW(&C) and surveillance capability of the western pacific and the area near China's airspace, that cannot be achieved by manned AEW&C or MPA aircraft to the same degree. The potential of long endurance with likely active radar and passive ELINT suites lends to both offensive purposes (offensive counter air, offensive anti surface, supporting forward surface and air forces generally with ISR and datalinking), as well as defensive purposes (namely coordinating national defense against low flying cruise missiles). The expected anti stealth capabilities and combined AMTI/GMTI on a single platform simply puts those roles onto a single platform rather than multiple, and when combined with a long endurance at high altitude, the sum is greater than its parts.


The easiest way to counter Divine Eagle would be just to take out the airbases hosting these UAVs. The other way is to use general EW like Growler, MALD-J, and other soft kill measures the same way one would try to counter an AEW&C plane, while Divine Eagle is in the air. then of course one can try to use fighters, SAMs and what not to shoot down the UAV while it is performing its mission.
But there's very little that can be done to directly counter Divine Eagle's greater endurance compared to manned AEW&C unless the USAF has a ray that can cause the fuel in one's tank to vanish.
The one "unique" vulnerability of Divine Eagle and all drones, is to possibly jam and/or hack the datalinking of the UAV to its controlling station, causing it to crash or maybe to assume control, but that's still very much a young capability that has not matured for any military on the planet as of yet... and if/once developed it could be used to exploit many UAVs of all nations. Also, more advanced UAVs should have greater autonomous capabilities to begin with not to mention ECCM to prevent such things from happening.


So on balance, even when considering all the potential ways that Divine Eagle can be countered, its unmanned nature and long endurance offer the potential of much superior surveillance capabilities simply on the basis of having more platforms in the air at one time.
This is not dissimilar to how MQ-4C is very much a game changer for USN in maritime surveillance because it is an unmanned aircraft with long endurance.
 

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Blitzo said:
I think before one thinks about "countering" Divine Eagle, one first needs to consider just what kind of unique capabilities Divine Eagle offers on top of existing PLA capabilities. The way I see it, Divine Eagle offers the potential for a persistent, near constant AEW(&C) and surveillance capability of the western pacific and the area near China's airspace, that cannot be achieved by manned AEW&C or MPA aircraft to the same degree. The potential of long endurance with likely active radar and passive ELINT suites lends to both offensive purposes (offensive counter air, offensive anti surface, supporting forward surface and air forces generally with ISR and datalinking), as well as defensive purposes (namely coordinating national defense against low flying cruise missiles). The expected anti stealth capabilities and combined AMTI/GMTI on a single platform simply puts those roles onto a single platform rather than multiple, and when combined with a long endurance at high altitude, the sum is greater than its parts.


The easiest way to counter Divine Eagle would be just to take out the airbases hosting these UAVs. The other way is to use general EW like Growler, MALD-J, and other soft kill measures the same way one would try to counter an AEW&C plane, while Divine Eagle is in the air. then of course one can try to use fighters, SAMs and what not to shoot down the UAV while it is performing its mission.
But there's very little that can be done to directly counter Divine Eagle's greater endurance compared to manned AEW&C unless the USAF has a ray that can cause the fuel in one's tank to vanish.
The one "unique" vulnerability of Divine Eagle and all drones, is to possibly jam and/or hack the datalinking of the UAV to its controlling station, causing it to crash or maybe to assume control, but that's still very much a young capability that has not matured for any military on the planet as of yet... and if/once developed it could be used to exploit many UAVs of all nations. Also, more advanced UAVs should have greater autonomous capabilities to begin with not to mention ECCM to prevent such things from happening.


So on balance, even when considering all the potential ways that Divine Eagle can be countered, its unmanned nature and long endurance offer the potential of much superior surveillance capabilities simply on the basis of having more platforms in the air at one time.
This is not dissimilar to how MQ-4C is very much a game changer for USN in maritime surveillance because it is an unmanned aircraft with long endurance.


Yes persistence is its long suit. By placing a Divine Eagle over the disputed South China Sea, the PLAN could monitor goings and comings with one platform.


Since China claims a stealth detection capability for one of the radars that Divine Eagle will be equipped with how real is this capability? Are there any sources that back up this Chinese claim of this radar detecting F-22s over Korea?
 

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VH said:
Yes persistence is its long suit. By placing a Divine Eagle over the disputed South China Sea, the PLAN could monitor goings and comings with one platform.


They could base one simply a few hundred km from Hainan and monitor most of the SCS, I think. Same goes for ECS.


Since China claims a stealth detection capability for one of the radars that Divine Eagle will be equipped with how real is this capability? Are there any sources that back up this Chinese claim of this radar detecting F-22s over Korea?


I think it was a claim made by the manufacturer, if I remember correctly. Obviously they're not going to release the actual data to just anyone, maybe if one posed as a nation's defense force official interested in buying the radar they would shed more light.


That said, UHF and VHF and long band radars do tend to have better anti stealth properties. Much as been made of E-2D's expected ability to be more effective against steatlhy targets compared to previous radars.
 

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