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I found an article submitted to the 2003 SPIE conference on IR technology (SPIE is the International Society for Optical Engineering) on the Pirate system.

 

I think we have a wrong impression of its capabilities, and that in fact TucksonSonny's claims are closer to the truth.

 

It actually is designed primarily as a long-range, large Field-of-View optical AIR-TO-AIR sensor enabling track while scan of multiple targets and assisting radar through sensor fusion. My guess is a faint RCS merged with a faint IR footprint make one identified bandit at long range. The design does cope with the enormous challenges this poses in resolution, data flow and processing power.

 

 

There are 7 operating modes, amongst them IRST modes like MTT, STT, SACQ and a lot of FLIR modes. Tracking and scanning for arrays of space can be shared with multiple aircraft.

 

It also fields a frontal long-range missile detection and warning function.

 

It features NCTR, target ID and magnification, ranging and a lot of very advanced imagery functions. It couples very advanced optical systems (in fact, the optical gear is way beyond standard IRST designs) with ultrahigh bandwidth capabilities and huge processing power. 24 million pixels/sec at 14 bit resolution. The big advantages in imaging technology have to do with the possibilities of post-processing.

 

No indications are given of course on actual range and performance, but it is explicitly stressed that its design requirements are long-range, wide FOV detection and tracking, covering the whole missile engagement range.

 

Since it is in full development right now, I really wonder if these goals will be achieved. If I'm right, the Luftwaffe will NOT buy this expensive system, the UK is.

 

Anyway, anyone who has a small, 100 euro digital camera today knows what an incredible evolution has taken place in optical processing. No more blurred, overexposed images. Professional resolution. movement compensation. Filtering. contrast adjustment. For 100 bucks.

 

To give an example: at excavations in Egypt, we take photos from the hip of hieroglyphs on walls with one side in darkness and the rest in plain sun. Previously, these photo's where useless. Now, we can read every single inscription no prob at all.

 

The multimilllion Euro Pirate project is just one of the many IR-systems being fielded today that really bring "Enhanced Visual Range". Ad we are NOT talking 10 nm here. We're talking long-range track-while-scan of multiple targets with wide FOV. A similar system is in the works for F-35.

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I'd like to know what 'long range' and 'wide FoV' are ... I have seen some of the F-14's new IRST footage and it certainly appears that PIRATE, as you describe it, is not a -new- thing, at least not entirely.

 

Any IR system is -extremely- delimited by atmospheric conditions, one way or the other.

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No data have been given, unfortunately. There is a lot of detail however on the optical part and lens construction, in particular because the challenge has been described as marrying the two rather contradictory goals of long range and wide FOV.

 

Now "long range "has of course some meaning in an air-to-air fast jet context. It cannot be what we would call "short range" :)

 

What strikes me is that the project is described as primarily an air-to-air IRST thing; I always thought of it as primarily a FLIR.

 

I dunno about the F-14D IRST, but does it have multitarget track while scan? Was it not mainly used for visual ID? And I doubt it will be sensor fused with the radar, something which is at the core of Pirate.

 

The IRST in development for F-35 will be even more complex, but I didn't find any detailed info on that yet.

 

The very interesting difference with an air-to-air radar is that you can take real "snapshots" of particular area's at high resolution, as if you would use a Synthetic Aperture Radar in air-to-air. Pirate allows you to take "pictures" from a tracked contact and display it on MFD or on the helmet visor.

 

All of this is not so new given the advances in FLIR's like the Sniper pod, but the whole track-while-scan part of a large volume of airspace gives it an extra dimension.

 

We should be cautious however that Pirate is still not operational and to my knowledge experiences delays.

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No data have been given, unfortunately. There is a lot of detail however on the optical part and lens construction, in particular because the challenge has been described as marrying the two rather contradictory goals of long range and wide FOV.

 

It's likely a pretty crafty solution :)

 

I dunno about the F-14D IRST, but does it have multitarget track while scan? Was it not mainly used for visual ID? And I doubt it will be sensor fused with the radar, something which is at the core of Pirate.

 

I don't know - I mean, the F-14D carried pretty much all-new avionics in this respect ... ie. this wasn't yoru F-14A IRST. The way it did its scan, I wouldn't be surprised if it could indeed track multiple targets, or fuse with the radar. However I have my doubts about the claims being made there. I suppose kinematic ranging wouldn't be too hard.

 

The very interesting difference with an air-to-air radar is that you can take real "snapshots" of particular area's at high resolution, as if you would use a Synthetic Aperture Radar in air-to-air. Pirate allows you to take "pictures" from a tracked contact and display it on MFD or on the helmet visor.

 

Actually you can do this with radar too to some extent, in particular with AESA.

 

Another thing to consider is that the IR FPAs used in those systems are actually pretty low-res compared to the cameras we do get to use today.

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I think we have a wrong impression of its capabilities, and that in fact TucksonSonny's claims are closer to the truth.

 

It actually is designed primarily as a long-range, large Field-of-View optical AIR-TO-AIR sensor enabling track while scan of multiple targets and assisting radar through sensor fusion. My guess is a faint RCS merged with a faint IR footprint make one identified bandit at long range. The design does cope with the enormous challenges this poses in resolution, data flow and processing power.

 

Doesn't look like any of us had the wrong impression of the Pirate system. It's a powerful IRST system for sure, but there is no indication that it will detect an F-22 at any meaningful distance at all (which is TucksonSonny's claim).

 

 

There are 7 operating modes, amongst them IRST modes like MTT, STT, SACQ and a lot of FLIR modes. Tracking and scanning for arrays of space can be shared with multiple aircraft.

 

It also fields a frontal long-range missile detection and warning function.

 

It features NCTR, target ID and magnification, ranging and a lot of very advanced imagery functions. It couples very advanced optical systems (in fact, the optical gear is way beyond standard IRST designs) with ultrahigh bandwidth capabilities and huge processing power. 24 million pixels/sec at 14 bit resolution. The big advantages in imaging technology have to do with the possibilities of post-processing.

 

No indications are given of course on actual range and performance, but it is explicitly stressed that its design requirements are long-range, wide FOV detection and tracking, covering the whole missile engagement range.

 

...and? If that's all it can do, then there's nothing for an F-22 to worry about. The advanced optics can be mitigated easily in multiple ways, and post-processing IR imaging technology is nothing new.

 

The multimilllion Euro Pirate project is just one of the many IR-systems being fielded today that really bring "Enhanced Visual Range". Ad we are NOT talking 10 nm here. We're talking long-range track-while-scan of multiple targets with wide FOV. A similar system is in the works for F-35.

 

Track-while-scan of multiple targets is useless if it can't pick out even one ;)

 

Sounds like something handy to have, for sure, but it's not the magical anti-Raptor tool that TucksonSonny is making it out to be.

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"Doesn't look like any of us had the wrong impression of the Pirate system. It's a powerful IRST system for sure, but there is no indication that it will detect an F-22 at any meaningful distance at all (which is TucksonSonny's claim)."

 

Yo can not even make this comment, you just don´t know. You don´t know for sure the f22 capabilities, and you don´t know the Pirate capabilities.

 

Raptor designers can see it is invisible, and Pirate designers can say they can see it. Both of them has the same probabilities till they face no air.

 

Ir tech in space can see the heat of a light bulb thounsounds of KM away, and with the advance of electronics, none of us can for sure claim such this thing. As the original poster said, we have seen the advance of optics with our little digital cameras of 100 bucks, what can be built right know will a millon bucks. We just don´t know.

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Yo can not even make this comment, you just don´t know. You don´t know for sure the f22 capabilities, and you don´t know the Pirate capabilities.

 

Raptor designers can see it is invisible, and Pirate designers can say they can see it. Both of them has the same probabilities till they face no air.

 

Um, what? The claim I made was that there is NO indication that PIRATE can detect the F-22 at any meaningful range, which doesn't mean that it CANNOT. It just means that there is NO indication of this.

 

On the other hand, there ARE people saying PIRATE can pick out the F-22. If there is no evidence either way, how can ANYTHING be proven true or not true? As far as I'm concerned, you're nitpicking (badly I might add) and my statement is legit.

 

BTW, I still would like someone to provide some solid evidence that IR and EO sensors are any good at reliably detecting *anything* without a HUMAN at the controls or without a crapload of false positives. Radar has doppler, IR and EO has...what? Black magic?

 

Ir tech in space can see the heat of a light bulb thounsounds of KM away, and with the advance of electronics, none of us can for sure claim such this thing.

 

Yes, I'm sure technology has advanced so much since the PIRATE program was initiated so that they can pack all the optical/infra-red goodies from a multi-ton satellite designed with the sole purpose of spying on things and thenpack it into the tiny IRST sensor that is now on the Eurofighter.

 

As the original poster said, we have seen the advance of optics with our little digital cameras of 100 bucks, what can be built right know will a millon bucks. We just don´t know.

 

It doesn't matter if optics advanced a thousand years - optics RELY on light to see anything. Disadvantages = night, sun, bad weather, haze, etc.

 

And now that I think... if the raptor flis at a mach 2 speed as a cruise speed, I wander how it cover the heat produced by hipersonic speed, is it cover with ice ? (joke)

So, IR technology could be the answer to detect the raptor... ?????????

 

One, Mach 2 is not hypersonic. Two, the F-22's airframe does have cooling features applied to it to lower its IR signature significantly. Yes, IR sensors can probably find an F-22 easier than radar can (if you don't mind sifting through a lot of false positives first), but since IR sensors have a lower detection range than radar anyway, the detection range is the same (100 nm * 0.1 [radar] is the same as 50nm * 0.2 [iR]) even if IR is twice as effective as radar.

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^^^^there is no way to tell but my bet is on the radar.

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A concorde at cruising speed heats up only 100C ... according to the IR propagation formulae I found, that's not really hot enough to detect much farther than an aircraft travelling at mach 0.9 ... I'm not sure why people whink that supersonic speed will make a fighter glow in the dark. ;)

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Because they build the noses of supersonic planes out of titanium & high temperature stainless alloys to resist the heat?

Or because the blackbird has so much allowance for expansion as the skin heats up that the fuel tanks leak when before it takes off (& it is several inches longer when cruising than when sitting on the ground waiting to fly)?

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And also remember that resistance increases by the ^2 of the speed, so a plane flying at twice the speed (same alt) will have 4x more resistance (now that was completely boring and cliche, eh?).

 

Any hypersonic is beyond Mach 5.0, below that it's called supersonic. Alos remember the SR-71 had to deal with over 300 C* of heat, and that was at Mach 3. it also depends on the material, if it's porrous and not smooth (the little corticies that form in such holes aren't really helping lift at such speeds). Remember why the techs of the B-47 had to walk on special shoes?

 

But why are you whining about, nobody will ever shoot the F-22, not in our dimension at least, so why all the scared talk?

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I have seen some of the F-14's new IRST footage and it certainly appears that PIRATE, as you describe it, is not a -new- thing, at least not entirely.

 

could you post a link? I'd be quite interested in watching it. thx

 

Any IR system is -extremely- delimited by atmospheric conditions, one way or the other.

 

agree.

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And also remember that resistance increases by the ^2 of the speed, so a plane flying at twice the speed (same alt) will have 4x more resistance (now that was completely boring and cliche, eh?).

 

Any hypersonic is beyond Mach 5.0, below that it's called supersonic. Alos remember the SR-71 had to deal with over 300 C* of heat, and that was at Mach 3. it also depends on the material, if it's porrous and not smooth (the little corticies that form in such holes aren't really helping lift at such speeds). Remember why the techs of the B-47 had to walk on special shoes?

 

Um, doing the math for your little speed thing (SR-71 at Mach 3 deals with 300 C of heat and that heat increases by a factor of ^2), that would mean a plane travelling at Mach 1.7 would only have to deal with about 96 C* ;)

 

Either way you look at it, even without active cooling measures, a plane going at Mach 1.7 doesn't generate enough body heat to make it a glow in the dark like some you are saying. Maybe its because all other fighters need AB to reach Mach 1.7 and THAT's what is throwing you off. Afterburners make you stick out like a sore thumb - body heat, not so much (yet) - but previously the speeds attained by a supercruising F-22 was only attainable by AB.

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^^^^I was under impression that body heat was what enabled all modern aspect IR missile track capability.

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A concorde at cruising speed heats up only 100C ... according to the IR propagation formulae I found, that's not really hot enough to detect much farther than an aircraft travelling at mach 0.9 ... I'm not sure why people whink that supersonic speed will make a fighter glow in the dark. ;)

 

Yes but the air temperature at high altitudes is very cold and in the negative. So, 100C (I am not even speaking of the exhaust coming out of the engines) on an uniformly cold background, there is a possiblity that latests IR sensors can pick up such difference. Personally, I am not sure why some people think it is impossible.

Furthermore, iirc, atmospheric conditions at high altitude are more favorable for good observation as most clouds form at low and medium altitudes.

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Oops, I should have made clear I only thought that TucksonSonny's guess about the *range* of the Pirate sensor had some basis, I do not believe it is very conclusive to detect an F-22, it was not designed for that in the first place.

 

Of course the combined use of radar and pirate, with fused data, whereby the IR data are used to complement and enhance the radar picture and help better track the contacts is part of an answer, but nowhere in the info I got it is even stated that this would be a goal. Countering stealth is simply not part of the requirements for Pirate.

 

The Captor/Pirate combo should be very good against less radical stealth designs, allowing solid ID against "faint" contacts and strong lock throughout the missile engagement zone (something on our wislist for Lockon's F-15). It is clear this combo is excellent against ECM.

 

The main, currently proven, achievements are a) an excellent long linear CMT detector with TDI, combined with large dynamic range due to very very good detector NETD, combined with b) an out-of-common pre-filtering/post-processing effort involving several hundred manyears of development.

 

The pre-filtering and post-processing is discussed at length and is truly impressive: the bag of tricks that are used to filter false contacts and optimize scan is amazing.

 

PS. to my knowledge F-22 and B-2 have special fuel cycling underneath the skin to provide cooling precisely to reduce IR detection probability.

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^^^^I was under impression that body heat was what enabled all modern aspect IR missile track capability.

 

It is, but IR sensors STILL, and ALWAYS, will have a longer-detection range when locking onto an afterburning plane than if they just try to pick out a plane through body heat alone.

 

Sure, IR sensors will track anything, provided that they are in range to see it. It's going to be hard to pick out a jet from any meaningful BVR range by relying on airframe heat alone. That's the point I'm trying to make - supersonic airframes do NOT attract IR sensors on their own to the extent that you can pick one up at 40-50 nm (which would be a useful BVR range).

 

Yes but the air temperature at high altitudes is very cold and in the negative. So, 100C (I am not even speaking of the exhaust coming out of the engines) on an uniformly cold background, there is a possiblity that latests IR sensors can pick up such difference. Personally, I am not sure why some people think it is impossible.

Furthermore, iirc, atmospheric conditions at high altitude are more favorable for good observation as most clouds form at low and medium altitudes.

 

Conversely, there is much less airframe heating at high altitudes because air that high is *much* less dense, greatly reducing friction. Forcefeedback's Heat ~ Velocity^2 rule of thumb is just something to illustrate the relationship - it's by no means definitive or exact.

 

Keep in mind, this is all BEFORE we factor in the IR stealth of the Raptor.

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Not glow in the dark but. Up there you are not unde 20 Cª. Temperatures up there are below cero, a body with 100 Cª up there, for sure "glows". As I said: the hubble IR tech added later when nasa send "mechanics" to repair it´s optics, can give us the image of a little body small as a light bulb and with the sme heat, at thounsand km away. Of course you can not put that equipment in a plane for obvious reasons (despite it value is a lot of millons and and made piece by peace and built under very special conditions (cero dust etc), but again: what could you build with actual military tech wich we all know if far more advanced than the available to the public and haveing some millons to spare?

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Not glow in the dark but. Up there you are not unde 20 Cª. Temperatures up there are below cero, a body with 100 Cª up there, for sure "glows". As I said: the hubble IR tech added later when nasa send "mechanics" to repair it´s optics, can give us the image of a little body small as a light bulb and with the sme heat, at thounsand km away. Of course you can not put that equipment in a plane for obvious reasons (despite it value is a lot of millons and and made piece by peace and built under very special conditions (cero dust etc), but again: what could you build with actual military tech wich we all know if far more advanced than the available to the public and haveing some millons to spare?

 

Who said the F-22's airframe heated up to 100 C? Furthermore, flying Mach 1.7 at 50-60 000 ft produce much less friction than say flying Mach 1 at 10 000ft. Thirdly, those satellites you're talking about ARE military ;)

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"The airframe of the SR-71 is very unique. To withstand the friction-generated heat at Mach 3+, over 90 percent of the airframe is made of titanium composite. Also to withstand heat, the main gear tires have been impregnated with aluminum and are filled with nitrogen."

 

"The component parts of the Blackbird fit very loosely together to allow for expansion at high temperatures. At rest on the ground, fuel leaks out constantly, since the tanks in the fuselage and wings only seal at operating temperatures. There is little danger of fire since the JP-7 fuel is very stable with an extremely high flash point."

 

According to the flight manual of the SR-71 the maximum speed is "Mach 3.3+ (Limit CIT of 427 degrees C)" which presumably means that at 80,000 ft Mach 3.3 gets you a skin temperature of 427 degrees C ? (801 degrees farenheit)

 

http://www.sr-71.org/

 

which about fits with this from another site:

 

"How hot does the aircraft get flying at Mach 3+? From 600 to 900+ degrees Fahrenheit on the airframe. Temperatures on the J-58 engine exhaust reach 3200 degrees. "

 

Again at 85,000 + feet, which if this is true:

"Furthermore, flying Mach 1.7 at 50-60 000 ft produce much less friction than say flying Mach 1 at 10 000ft"

probably makes the F-22 toasy warm at mach 2 at 55,000 feet :-)

 

http://www.wvi.com/%7Esr71webmaster/srqt%7E1.htm

 

 

Mach 3.3 is a good deal faster than mach 2, but the air is a damn site thinner at 80,000 ft than 60,000 ft too...

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