17
$\begingroup$

Considering it is nearly undetectable on radar, it seems like it wouldn't have to worry about radar guided missiles; in addition to this it is sure to have sophisticated jamming capabilities. So why carry chaff? Just weight.

$\endgroup$
11
  • $\begingroup$ wikipedia says it carries flares for IR guided missiles $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 18:45
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Combat (particularly fighter) aircraft typically carry both chaff & flares. They aren't mutually exclusive. Wikipedia isn't the most credible source for the newest 5th generation stealth fighter either haha. $\endgroup$
    – Bassinator
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 21:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Chaff doesn't weighs much; the lighter it is, the longer it stays in the air. The F-22's payload is several tons. $\endgroup$
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 23:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ManuH the chaff itself isn't that heavy, but combine it with the equipment needed to launch it, the controls in the cockpit, the wiring, electrical circuits, probably automated systems as well integrated with the threat detection devices, it all adds up both in bulk and weight. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 7:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If nation A has top-secret stealth aircraft then surely it should assume the worst-case scenario, which is that nation B has a top-secret way of defeating their stealthiness. Because if nation B did have that then it would make every effort to keep it secret. $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 22:15

2 Answers 2

20
$\begingroup$

It certainly seems so.

Stealth aircraft are not invisible to radar, only less visible. Under certain conditions the adversary will be able to get a radar lock:

  • At close distance
  • With very high (focused) radar energy
  • At certain angles of incidence

Given these risks and the low weight of chaff, it wouldn't be be wise to not carry it.

One source that claims the F-22 carries chaff: http://science.howstuffworks.com/f-22-raptor8.htm

It releases flares to confuse heat seekers and sends out chaff, small pieces of reflective material, to disperse radar waves and confuse a radar-guided missile's tracking system.

It's even been used in the field, according to The Washington Post:

the [F-22s] shot flares and even chaff — clouds of metal meant to confuse radar systems but possibly used in this case as an additional visual warning.

$\endgroup$
8
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That said I did read or here somewhere (not sure where, but it was reliable-sounding source) that B-2 does not have chaff. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 9:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Good point. Keep in mind that chaff and jamming work together. Radar is beaten when the noise exceed the real signal. If you get a unjammed bounce off the chaff and a jammed bounce off a stealthy F22, the radar is quite likely going to give up. $\endgroup$
    – MSalters
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 12:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JanHudec This B-2 documentary mentions that the B-2 does not have chaff nor flares. $\endgroup$
    – florisla
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 9:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @florisla - There are strategic, technological and tactical reasons for this. The biggest reason is that the B-2 doesn't maneuver very well, and chaff/flares really only work in combination with high-G maneuvering to cause the missile to fall behind the aircraft's flight path. The B-2 was also designed to penetrate USSR territory unseen and launch nuclear cruise missiles at strategic targets. In that doomsday scenario, surviving to launch is the only goal; once the bomber's empty it might as well kamikaze, as its home base and the entire chain of command will all be gone before it returns. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 22:15
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ I can't validate beyond a personal anecdote, but the F-22 carries a chaff/flare system - I know this, because I've touched a prototype launcher. Back in high school (mid-90s), my school worked with Lockheed Martin via US First. One of the engineers we were working with had it on his desk. It was a surprisingly small device. $\endgroup$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 12:51
2
$\begingroup$

Yes. The F-22 carries a pair of AN/ALE-52 countermeasures dispensers capable of carrying combinations of chaff and flare cartridges. The dispensers are located on the underside of the fuselage aft of the main weapons bay. Similar to the gun muzzle, the dispensers are covered by a pair of fast acting fairing doors, which snap shut quickly after use to minimize disruptions in the radar cross section of the aircraft during use.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .