posted on May, 19 2004 @ 08:00 AM
There are two important points being missed on the topic of Plasma Stealth. 1st, Plasma Stealth is not needed because US designed
technologies in conventional stealth technologies, such as shaping, RAM, IR supression, and LPI emitters, have already produced LO aircraft which are
virtually indistinguishable from background noise and clutter. The challenge is to design an LO aircraft with advanced combat capabilities that
incorporate these LO technologies without sacraficing performance.
I know for a fact that the USAF has designed prototype systems that are so LO that they can be detected by the "hole" in the clutter and multipath
that they produce as they transit the battlespace. To go that LO is pointless. Up to a certain degree stealth is pretty much a moot point and begins
to demand too much from your airframe. And besides, as it has been repeatedled pointed out but rarely acknowledged, the object of stealth is to
provide a tactical advantage on the battlefield, not to produce total invisibility for an aircraft, otherwise it would be called "invisibility" and
not "stealth". A large portion of stealth involves mission planning and electronic warfare, anyways.
2nd, why would anybody waste their time on developing a stealth system that runs on electrical power? The whole point of stealth is to reduce your
signature....all signatures...including electromagnetic. Produce a signature, not matter what spectrum you are using, and the enemy will devise a
system to detect to emanations. Ionized plasma is a high-power energy source, which can be detected at extended ranges. And besides, what happens
when your crappy Czech electrical generator konks out over enemy territory? No more plasma - no more reduced radar signature.
Now I'm not saying that the Russian industrial base is incapable - we all know that is not the case. Just look at the aircraft Suhkoi is producing.
Masterful. However, plasma stealth will never be a practical way of providing low observability in the tactical battlespace, especially at low
altitudes, for combat aircraft. Maybe, just maybe, it could be useful on large, high-altitude recce and spacial mission aircraft of high value. But
not on a fighter or attack aircraft.