Stealth technology


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

Stealth technology is a mass media term. The correct term in relation to aircraft is low observable (LO Technology). It covers a range of techniques used with personnel, aircraft, ships, submarines, missiles and satellites to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar, infrared, sonar and other detection methods. It corresponds to military camouflage for these parts of the electromagnetic spectrum (Multi-spectral camouflage).

Development of modern stealth technologies in the United States began in 1958, where earlier attempts in preventing radar tracking of its U-2 spy planes during the Cold War by the Soviet Union had been unsuccessful. Designers turned to develop a particular shape for planes that tended to reduce detection, by redirecting electromagnetic waves from radars. Radar-absorbent material was also tested and made to reduce or block radar signals that reflect off from the surface of planes. Such changes to shape and surface composition form stealth technology as currently used on the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit "Stealth Bomber"
 
How does stealth technology work?
 
The goal of stealth technology is to make an airplane invisible to radar. There are two different ways to create invisibility:

(i) The airplane can be shaped so that any radar signals it reflects are reflected away from the radar equipment.

(ii) The airplane can be covered in materials that absorb radar signals.

Most conventional aircraft have a rounded shape. This shape makes them aerodynamic, but it also creates a very efficient radar reflector. The round shape means that no matter where the radar signal hits the plane, some of the signal gets reflected back:

 A stealth aircraft, on the other hand, is made up of completely flat surfaces and very sharp edges. When a radar signal hits a stealth plane, the signal reflects away at an angle.

In addition, surfaces on a stealth aircraft can be treated so they absorb radar energy as well. The overall result is that a stealth aircraft like an F-117A can have the radar signature of a small bird rather than an airplane. The only exception is when the plane banks -- there will often be a moment when one of the panels of the plane will perfectly reflect a burst of radar energy back to the antenna.



Tuesday, 27th Dec 2016, 11:10:00 AM

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