Essay about Stealth Technology

15621 Words Oct 24th, 2010 63 Pages
IMPACT OF STEALTH TECHNOLOGY ON AIR DEFENCE

“Stealth refers to a wide range of steps that can be taken to make aircraft harder to detect. There is a payoff and a price.”

- Jay H Goldberg [i]

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

1. The latest trends in military aircraft manufacturing are towards development and incorporation of technology which can provide with means to avoid detection. This enhances its survivability by reducing its radar signature and hence reducing the possibility of being detected by enemy radars. The degree to which this is achieved differs from aircraft to aircraft. Certain aircraft like the B-2 and F-117 have been manufactured with this technology as the basis and are thus referred to as Stealth Aircraft. In
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As the Coalition offensive air campaign intensified over Iraq, its planners came to the conclusion that 'Stealth' aircraft could be used very differently, in fact audaciously because of the "inherent degree of air superiority enjoyed by the platform."

3. In the late 1950's the American CIA began sending Lockheed U2 spy-planes over the Soviet Union to take photographs. The U2's flew at 80,000ft (24,000m) to be out of range of anti-aircraft fire, and inadvertently it was found that they were not being detected by Russian radars. These extraordinary planes were little more than jet-powered gliders built of plastic and plywood. On take off they jettisoned their small outrigger wheels from the ends of their wings and they landed on their main retractable wheels in the centre. It was not until May 1960, after more than four years of over flights, the Russians shot one down using new radar equipment belonging to SA-2 surface to air missiles. Even then the U-2 did not receive a direct hit. A missile exploded close enough to put the fragile aircraft into an uncontrollable dive, and the pilot, Gary Powers, had to eject.

4. The success of the U-2s led to highly classified research work in the US, known as 'Stealth', to create a military aircraft that was invisible to radar. The U-2 had gone undetected for so long because it was made of non-metallic materials which absorbed radar waves and not reflecting

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