China Claims It Has the Tech to Track F-22s over the East China Sea




 

Dave Majumdar

Security,

But can they shoot a stealth fighter out of the sky?

China Claims It Has the Tech to Track F-22s over the East China Sea

Real or fake news? You decide.

State-run Chinese media is claiming that the People's Liberation Army has been able to track the U.S. Air Force's Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighters over the East China Sea. While the Chinese report might be easily dismissed as propaganda-it is not beyond the realm of possibility. In fact-it's very possible that China can track the Raptor. Stealth is not a cloak of invisibility, after all. Stealth technology simply delays detection and tracking.

(This first appeared in 2016.)

First off, if a Raptor is carrying external fuel tanks-as it often does during "ferry missions"-it is not in a stealth configuration. Moreover, the aircraft is often fitted with a Luneburg lens device on its ventral side during peacetime operations that enhances its cross section on radar.

That being said, even combat-configured F-22s are not invisible to enemy radar, contrary to popular belief. Neither is any other tactical fighter-sized stealth aircraft with empennage surfaces such as tailfins-the F-35, PAK-FA, J-20 or J-31. That's just basic physics.

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