U.S. and Dutch fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters do not use radar deflectors in exercises for the first time.
Here's What We Know
The U.S., the Netherlands and Italy's Falcon Strike 2022 joint exercise kicked off on Nov. 15. The location is the Italian Amendola air base. The exercise will continue through November 28. It focuses on improving joint operations between current and past generations of fighters, as well as between different countries that have F-35 Lightning II aircraft in service.
The fighters in the exercise are divided into Blue Air and Red Air teams. This is done so that pilots faced with other aircraft of the fifth generation, as such aircraft are already in the armament of potential adversaries. First of all, we are talking about China with its Chengdu J-20, but we should not forget about the Russian Su-57, despite all its problems.
Falcon Strike 2022 became the first exercise, where F-35 Lightning II fighters do not use Radar Cross Section (RCS) reflectors. This reduces the radar signature and allows for stealth mode capabilities.
U.S. fighters are equipped with Luneberg lenses. They are radar reflectors that make the F-35 Lightning II visible to radar. The lenses are also used by another fifth-generation aircraft, the F-22 Raptor. Usually aircraft are equipped with such devices in peacetime, including during exercises.
Source: The Aviationist