An interesting situation is observed today with the renewal of the Air Self-Defense Forces of Japan with promising tactical aviation of the 5th generation. As the 10-year history of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' interaction with the TRDI Technical Design Institute in the development of advanced stealth fighters showed, the Defense Ministry of the Land of the Rising Sun took the embargo on the export of promising 5th generation F-22A fighters rather painfully. for obvious reasons (in order to avoid leakage of critical parameters of the AN / APG-77 radar, the AN / ALR-94 RER system, as well as the EPR profile of the airframe) introduced by American legislation in the summer of 2008.
The difficult situation with the Raptors provoked the Japanese government and defense department to implement plans to build a full-size prototype of the next-generation ATD-X Shinshin twin-engine multi-role fighter, in which there is a combination of the best electronic developments from the stuffing of the 4+ generation F multi-role fighter. -2A with the latest technologies for reducing the radar signature, as well as electronic control of the power plant based on two IHI XF5-1 engines (on a prototype, probably state-owned GE-F404). Naturally, the thrust vector deflection system based on three movable heat-resistant blades on the Shinsin looks more clumsy than the flat nozzles on the F-22A and the neat round nozzles on the Sushki (including the Su-57), but even this became huge for Japanese specialists. achievement, because this system is all-aspect, in contrast to the Raptor system, where the nozzles move exclusively in the vertical plane. Based on the statements of Mitsubishi Electronics specialists, the ATD-X airborne radar complex should have a spectrum of modes similar to the AN / APG-81 radar, including SAR (synthetic aperture mode), as well as directed radiation of radio-electronic interference.
A feature of this radar is the ability to operate in the longer C-band of centimeter waves at frequencies from 4 to 8 GHz. Consequently, the detection range of standard targets should be noticeably higher due to the lower absorption coefficient of the C-band waves by the atmosphere. Such technical qualities of the new Japanese AFAR radar with the J / AGP-2 index and based on gallium nitride APMs are absolutely not surprising, since it was the Japanese Air Force that became the world's first operators of F-2A fighters with radars represented by active phased array (before the first combat readiness "Raptors" with their APG-77). But by the end of 2017, almost 2 years after the first flight test of the demonstrator, news appeared in the Japanese and Western media that the government and the Air Defense Forces had ceased to consider the ATD-X project as a priority item in the fleet renewal program.
Initially, this was associated with an impressive financial investment in the organization of the corresponding production line and the finalization of the radar, the synchronization bus of the SPO, the INS and the module for exchanging tactical information with other combat units, as well as the purchase of the first batch of several dozen vehicles, which required about 40 billion dollars. As a result, in November 2017, the work was “frozen”. But already on May 5, 2018, it became known that the Japanese government is ready to invest more than $ 55 billion in the development of the F-35A and F-22A hybrid project proposed by Lockheed Martin jointly with Mitsubishi Electronics. This says only one thing: the US lobby in the defense sector of the Japanese industry retains a fairly strong position. Plus, it will take much less time to fine-tune the "filling" of a new vehicle than to create a new software architecture for the ATD-X weapons control system.
In parallel with the plan to start work on a new US-Japanese project of the 5th generation fighter, the first squadron of F-35A Lightning II stealth multipurpose fighters continues to form at Misawa airbase in accordance with a contract for the purchase of 42 aircraft signed between the Japanese government and Lockheed Martin”in early 2012. So, on May 15, 2018, the second Lightning was received in the squadron at the Misawa airbase, while its full composition will be indicated by the first days of June, when another 5 similar fighters will arrive in Japan.
But what threat can these vehicles pose to the super-maneuverable Su-35S multipurpose fighters deployed at the airbases of the Eastern Military District, as well as long-range MiG-31BM interceptors? After all, it is well known that the Lightnings have neither the highest flight performance, nor a decent range, nor such a powerful radar system (AN / APG-81), which could compete with the Irbis-E in terms of energy and range characteristics. ". The AN / APG-81 radar, although qualitatively distinguished by the presence of an active phased antenna array, which makes it possible to neutralize enemy radio-electronic interference by "zeroing" the required sectors of the radiation pattern, but its range on targets with EPR 1 sq. m remains within 150 km, which gives it only a slight advantage in terms of the spectrum of performing basic functions over the N011M Bars onboard radar of the Su-30SM fighter, with the exception of noise immunity and the possibility of radiating directional electronic interference. Consequently, the main threat in this case may come mainly from the equipment of the fighter, and here the Japanese have several trump cards that the Russian Aerospace Forces cannot yet boast of.
First of all, it is a long-range guided air-to-air missile AIM-120D / AMRAAM-2 (early index C-8), which has a powerful dual-mode solid propellant rocket engine with a significantly increased burnout period of a solid propellant charge. Thanks to this, the maximum flight speed of the rocket can reach up to 5200 km / h while maintaining excellent flight performance at a distance of 120 km. At ranges close to the maximum (160-180 km), when the fuel is used up, the rocket speed due to aerodynamic drag decreases to 1800-1400 km / h, and therefore relatively small aerodynamic rudders will not make it possible to turn on a highly maneuverable target (the rocket quickly will lose speed). This will be most pronounced at altitudes over 8 km, where the atmosphere is more rarefied. Another advantage is the radio module of a two-way communication channel, which can receive target designation not only from the carrier, but also from third-party means possessing Link-16 / JTIDS / TADIL-J terminals, for example, E-3C / G AWACS aircraft or Radar AN / SPY-1D (V), installed on the American destroyers URO class "Arleigh Burke". In the case of the Japanese Air Force, these are the Boeing E-767 AEW & C and E-2C / D.
Our Su-30SM and Su-35S pilots have at their disposal medium / long-range air combat missiles RVV-SD ("Product 170-1"). Due to the presence of cross-shaped lattice aerodynamic rudders, the planes of which continue to function effectively at angles of attack of 40 degrees, the maneuverability of these missiles at a distance of 80-90 km is about 20-30% better than that of the AIM-120D. So, the angular rate of rotation of this product approaches 150 deg / s. The missile is capable of intercepting most of the known types of radio-contrast air targets (from anti-radar and anti-aircraft missiles to AMRAAM or AIM-9X air-to-air missiles) at speeds up to 1000 m / s and overloads of about 12-15 units. But it also has significant drawbacks. For example, the propulsion system is less long-lasting and single-mode, because of which the best characteristics (without loss of maneuverability) are retained at ranges of only about 80-90 km, which does not reach the parameters of "AMRAAM-2".
According to the Moscow Research Institute "Agat", a developer of active-semi-active radar homing heads of the 9B-1103M-200PS type and active-passive RGSN of the 9B-1103M-200PA type, the inertial navigation unit of the rocket also contains a device for receiving a radio correction signal. But whether it can be synchronized with the terminals of the same AWACS A-50U aircraft is not known for certain.
But the Japanese defense department is not going to limit itself to the future purchase of AIM-120D for its Lightnings. The second ambitious goal, which is at the first stage of implementation, was the joint project of the Japanese company Mitsubishi Electric and the European concern MBDA Missile Systems to develop a promising hybrid of the long-range "direct-flow missile" Meteor missile and the Japanese missile for the Japanese Air Force. AAM-4B. According to information from the resource asia.nikkei.com with reference to Japanese sources, the project between the participants of the companies was agreed on November 27, 2017, and the first demonstrators will be built by the end of this year.
Judging by the information open to the press, the rocket body, including the integral rocket-ramjet engine (IRPD) from the Bayern-Chemie Protac company with a 10: 1 gas generator feed regulation depth, will be borrowed from the Meteor URVB project, thanks to which the new rocket will be able to overcome marching section at a moderate speed of 2, 5-3, 2M and an altitude of 20-25 km. At a distance of 130-140 km from the launch point, the gas generator valve can open as much as possible, and the rocket, without losing energy and maneuverability, rushes to intercept the maneuvering target. It will be extremely difficult to deceive or "twist" such a missile. As for the seeker, unlike the standard AD4A Ku-band ARGSN (installed on Meteora), Mitsubishi Electric will equip the new brainchild of European-Japanese cooperation with a unique active radar head with AFAR, which is now installed on medium-sized aircraft missiles. range AAM-4B Japanese Air Force.
This seeker with transceiver modules based on GaN will be able to capture standard targets such as a 4 ++ generation fighter at a distance of 40-50 km, select them against the background of a plume of dipole reflectors, and even partially "filter out" radio-electronic interference, the setting of which carries out a link Su-30SM or Su-34, equipped with containers for jamming in the C / X / Ku-bands L-175V "Khibiny-10V" and containers for group protection L-265. After all, the new Japanese-developed AFAR seeker will also be able to operate in the broadband LPI mode with pseudo-random tuning of the operating frequency. Consequently, it can be difficult to choose the most effective algorithm for the return noise interference even for the "Khibiny" computing facilities.
The only answer in this difficult race of air interception ammunition may be the earliest possible return of the Vympel engineers to fine-tune the RVV-AE-PD long-range missile to the level of operational readiness, because R&D work was successfully completed back in 2012, and with a direct-flow the engine of the 371st project had no problems. However, there are 5 more years for the main defense engineers of the country to think about the allocation of appropriate funds to complete the project of the 180-PD product, because the first tests of the European-Japanese missile are scheduled for 2023.