The Macross Valkyrie Thread

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Seto Kaiba
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Re: The Macross Valkyrie Thread

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri May 22, 2020 2:37 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:56 am
Also, by your explanation, does that mean when a machine is given the YF designation, it means NUNS or its local branch is seriously evaluating the machine?
Sort of.

The Prototype (Y) status prefix indicates that the aircraft in question is a test property under active development as part of a military development program, and is at least theoretically intended to go into mass production it the design meets the military's requirements. Sometimes, prototype designations are used to camouflage a program's actual intentions in order to keep certain details out of the public record at the time. For instance, the USAF has used incorrect prototype designations to conceal the existence of derivative programs... the SR-71 the USAF gave to NASA for testing was given the designation YF-12C to conceal the existence of the SR-71 program. In-universe, the YF-30 Chronos was given a prototype designation instead of an experimental designation so that its developer could avoid disclosing the specifications of the proprietary system it was actually an experimental technology demonstrator for... the Fold Dimensional Resonance system.


False Prophet wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:56 am
It's likely before that point, the machine has some kind of company internal-only designation, right? Has there ever been a case of NUNS getting it wrong and awarded the YF designation to a machine that was basically half-baked in the design process?
It depends on the program, really.

Very rarely, there will be an undesignated early proof-of-concept that will be known only by a codename... such as the Lockheed Have Blue (AKA the "Hopeless Diamond") that was an early proof of concept for another program that was codenamed Senior Trend (the YF-117) that was developed into the F-117A Nighthawk. Have Blue would likely have been classified as an Experimental plane if it hadn't been so damned secret.

The normal trajectory in Macross is to start with an Experimental (X) airframe to prove out the concept, then a Prototype (Y), then the final aircraft.

Because the designation system is based on the intended use of a design and its level of development, I don't think there is really any case of the military assigning an incorrect designation by accident. There are cases where they have done so deliberately either to indicate a design was put into production without approval (e.g. the VF-27 the NUNS considers to be YF-27 and YF-29B) or to conceal the existence of a program (e.g. the YF-12C/SR-71).


False Prophet wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:56 am
Say, how hard is it to maintain VF with stealth capability like the VF-17? I recently read some articles from the 1990s complaining about how much money went to maintaining the F-117 and the B-2 (like storing them in environment-controlled rooms), both of which becoming basically paperweights.
The problems experienced by the F-117, B-2, F-22, and F-35 are because those aircraft are passively stealthy and derive their stealth from a combination of the shape of their airframes, special composite materials used in their airframes that absorb or at least do not reflect radio waves, and a special paint that contains iron particles which absorb radar waves and convert their energy into heat. The issue with the aforementioned aircraft is in the iron-based paint, which doesn't hold up well in humid environments because of the binders used to hold the iron in its structure and keep it adhered to the composite airframe.

Macross's VFs don't really have that problem. Most of them primarily rely upon active stealth technology to conceal themselves from detection. That's a system that analyzes incoming radar waves and produces a wave of equivalent frequency and amplitude but with an opposite phase. This effectively cancels out the radar wave by making the net amplitude of the combined radar wave 0, so the enemy radar sees that space as empty despite it actually getting returning radar waves. This method is called active cancellation, and it's also commonly used in noise cancelling headphones and other noise cancellation technologies. Some VFs do also have passively stealthy designs to complement their active stealth systems and have passive stealth coatings, but those coatings are a lot more robust since they have to stand up to things like atmospheric reentry.
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False Prophet
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Re: The Macross Valkyrie Thread

Post by False Prophet » Sat May 23, 2020 3:54 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:37 pm
Macross's VFs don't really have that problem. Most of them primarily rely upon active stealth technology to conceal themselves from detection. That's a system that analyzes incoming radar waves and produces a wave of equivalent frequency and amplitude but with an opposite phase. This effectively cancels out the radar wave by making the net amplitude of the combined radar wave 0, so the enemy radar sees that space as empty despite it actually getting returning radar waves. This method is called active cancellation, and it's also commonly used in noise cancelling headphones and other noise cancellation technologies. Some VFs do also have passively stealthy designs to complement their active stealth systems and have passive stealth coatings, but those coatings are a lot more robust since they have to stand up to things like atmospheric reentry.
While we are talking about active stealth technology, has it ever been specified which part of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum do these devices cancel? What about visible light and laser A.K.A. LIDAR and photonic radar? And wouldn't it be possible in theory for them to make the machine invisible? I am not very solid on the theory of destructive interference?

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Re: The Macross Valkyrie Thread

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sat May 23, 2020 4:37 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:54 am
While we are talking about active stealth technology, has it ever been specified which part of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum do these devices cancel?
The Active Stealth systems in the Macross universe are a countermeasure against radar systems of all types... not just detection, search, and reconnaissance radar systems, but also from the targeting and guidance radar systems that are used by radar-guided missiles. This is why missiles in the Macross setting usually have two or more guidance systems working in tandem.

There is, consequently, a bit of an arms race between radar and active stealth technologies as radars strive to reliably pierce active stealth concealment and active stealth strives to counter those advances. Because the active stealth is limited by the transmitting power of the concealed aircraft, it's possible for larger and more powerful radars to simply "burn through" active stealth by transmitting radar pulses that are too strong for the stealthed aircraft to counter. The current state of affairs is that 3rd Generation active stealth systems have enough of an edge of radars that it isn't that necessary to adopt passively stealthy designs. When the VF-17 was developed, radars had begun to beat out the 2nd Generation active stealth technology and thus adoption of passively stealthy designs to reduce the burden on active stealth for concealment became a thing. Its derivative, the VF-171, was developed with a 3rd Generation active stealth system and thus can hang missiles and bombs on its wings without compromising its stealthiness.

False Prophet wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:54 am
What about visible light and laser A.K.A. LIDAR and photonic radar? And wouldn't it be possible in theory for them to make the machine invisible? I am not very solid on the theory of destructive interference?
Laser radar is called LADAR, and light radar is LIDAR.

There's no active stealth countermeasure for detection using light, either regular optical cameras or LIDAR/LADAR systems... though those tend to have a very limited range. There are some passive stealth measures used to keep detection via infrared to a minimum, but ultimately there's no way to conceal the very hot exhaust coming out of the back of the aircraft.

Radar is essentially the dominant long-range early-warning, detection, and search sensor technology... though fold wave radar is rapidly gaining ground there as well as systems become small enough to mount on VFs and precise enough for detecting small objects instead of just large warships. Variable Fighter Master File asserts that one other design feature incorporated into 5th Generation VFs is a fold wave-absorbent material used to reduce the detection crossection of a VF by fold wave radars.
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