posted on May, 9 2006 @ 06:55 AM
I read numerous posts here on ATS about the flaws of Stealth Aircraft, and how they don't work as claimed. In all fairness, I think everyone could
use a look as how Stealth Technology works. Many of us (myself inculded) often expect the mythical "Invisible Plane". No Aircraft has ever achieve
perfect invisibility. As far as we know according to modern Science, this is an Impossible goal. Here's what we have:
Stealth Technology is really about Low Observability (LO), the science of making an object look smaller than it really is.
To Put LO in perspective, let me use an analogy:
Everyone knows that money is NOT invisible, however size affects it obserability.
If you drop a Dollar Bill on the floor, It's easy to spot, even in a room with thick carpet. Now if insead, you drop a dime in the same room with the
thick carpet, you might never find it back. Obviously the dime is Not invisible! However, because of it small size it is easily hidden in the thick
carpet. You might even be moving it around without being aware of it as you shift throught the carpet looking for it! In this exampe, the dime is like
a stealth aircraft: It's not invisible, but it is very hard to find, even if you know what you are looking for!
So how do you make a hugh airplane small enough to be overlooked?
First, realise that radar can (IN THEORY) detect anything. Radar sends out electromagnetic waves that are reflected off the surface of an object. What
the radar is looking for is an Echo! When that radar hits an object, an echo is prodused by the radar waves. An antanna at the radar site picks up
this echo and sends it to a computer. The computer calculates the direction and strength of the echo and how long it took to come back. Using this
information, the radar displays the approxamate size and distance of the object. Now, if the radar displayed Every single Echo of any size or
stength, the screen would be too cluttered to be useful. (you'd be picking up dust particles in the air!) The computer sorts through all of the
echos and throws out the ones that are too weak to be anything large enough to affect air traffic control (probably around the size of a medium
sparrow or robin). These really weak echos (called Noise) are never displayed on the radar.
Now, what does this have to do with a Stealth Plane like the B-2?
Planes like the B-2 are design to deflect most of the Radar that hits them away for the source. They are also covered with a radar absorbing skin or
paint, which makes the echo much weaker. This makes a stealth aircraft seem to be so small that it easily get lost among the countless random echos
that come back to the radar. The Radar Echo of the Stealth aircraft blends in with the random echos, which are called Noise! The radar sends all of
the echos both Aircraft and noise to the computer in the Radar Control Center. The first thing the computer does is seperate useful echos from noise.
The "Noise" is throwen out and never recoded, analysed, or displayed. Since the Radar Refection form the Stealth is lost in the Noise, it too is
tossed by the computer without being analized or recorded. For this reason, the stealth aircraft never shows up on the radar screen!
That is the basic theory behind Radar stealth. As with everything, the theory doesn't work 100% perfectly in practice. For one reason, The use of
deflection means that the RCS isn't uniform. Stealth aircraft are more visible at some angles and less visible at others. Second, the more Radar
energy that is directed at an object, the stronger the echo, so the Aircrafts RCS actally increases as it get closer to the radar site. Third,
Maintaining a stealthy surface requires careful attention to details. If you miss something, such as a small gap or fastener, the RCS skyrockets.
In addition to the Radar, other things such as Heat, noise, Electronic emissions, and even visual signature can be used to find an aircraft. All of
these things need to be addressed to make the plane stealthy!
I hope this explaine Stealth Technology a little better!