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Stealth Aircrafts – How system works?

Updated on March 12, 2011

Purpose of Stealth

The purpose of stealth in simple words means shielding your fighter jet from radar, so that when you are in enemy's territory, the enemy cannot find you on their radar system.

Read more about how stealth works?

Indian Sukhoi SU-30 MKI's wears a coat of RAM (radar absorbent material), which is why we see a coarse matt finish on the body, a common technique used in order to achieve stealthy characteristics. Designers would have to for go many things. The trade off is too much (lose speed, aerodynamic design, etc.)

A B2 stealth bomber has to make 3 million calculations a second just to stay airborne. Stealth aircrafts are not easily detected because of their shapes and the waves are deflected upwards. RAM and using composites is not the only way to avoid radar. The Russians have developed the plasma screening technique, an electron generator, which ionizes the air around the aircraft and thus a plasma cloud is generated and the plane becomes invisible on radar. This is most likely to be incorporated into the SU-47 or the PAK-FA.

How radar systems can detect a stealth aircraft?

If we use our radio networks with low frequency like radio or mobile and we do not have plasma technology as this is developed by Russians, low frequency would not help much.

Lower wavelengths are preferable. Reduction of radar cross section is the common technique used by Indians, whereas Russians use an ion jacket (Pak-Fa's plasma) signal jamming, nap of the earth flight, creating false clutter are used by the comanche. There is not one sure shot system, which can do all the work, but a combination of systems can do it.

Certain new high tech satellites are experts at plasma residue detection, for example., those used in Mars Express, Venus Express (ESA); MGS (NASA) type of probes in space, so if employed in earth orbit using latest microsatellites a hoard of these will make PAK-FA detection child's play for the US. The bottom line is there can never be perfect stealth.

What's stealthy to one wavelength may be visible on other wavelength. There is no perfect stealth, unless the Pak-Fa plasma shield begins series production. A combination of multiple radars can help. Chinese radar systems have detected F-117 in the past. Australian wake turbulence detectors have also detected stealth. For every weapon, there is a counter weapon. All planes show up on radar, some just have a smaller signature.

When an airplane loses its stealth

All airplanes lose their stealth, the moment they switch their radar on. Stealth just does not mean shielding your aircraft from radar. You have to do IR shielding (which includes ducting your engine exhausts). Also the stealthy bombers (B-2) use acoustic shielding to eliminate any jet noise. The B2 Spirit is so quiet that it will fly over your head at 500 feet and you would not hear a thing.

There is also a thing called visual stealth, which is achieved by performing night missions only. Besides, even a stealth plane like the raptor or JSF will not be stealthy when you are at its tail. Also, it will lose its stealth when it fires a missile for two reasons, one its own radar is on, second as soon as it opens its weapon bay doors, the stealth is compromised and the aircraft is visible to the radar. For this reason, the bay doors of raptor only open for less than a second. The first point of compromising stealth because of your own radar can be taken care of in BVR mode where the targets are assigned to you by a nearby AWACS (airborne warning and control system) like the hawkeye.

However, in close air combat, the only aircraft that will be stealthy will be the one, which is smaller in size, and for then, the only thing that matters will be the visual stealth. For this reason, the best plane is India's very own old Folland Gnat.

B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber
B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber
Indian Sukhoi Stealth Aircraft
Indian Sukhoi Stealth Aircraft
Stealth attack
Stealth attack
F-117 close combat
F-117 close combat
B-2 Spirit
B-2 Spirit
Aircraft bomb and missile control
Aircraft bomb and missile control
F-117 ground attack
F-117 ground attack
Radar system detecting stealth activity
Radar system detecting stealth activity
Configuration of stealth bombers
Configuration of stealth bombers
Visual stealth
Visual stealth

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    • soni2006 profile image
      Author

      Rajinder Soni 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Don't know about that

    • profile image

      Shweta jain 4 years ago

      Is stealth technology absorb the microwave , X -ray or other type of ray ??

    • soni2006 profile image
      Author

      Rajinder Soni 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for your comment friends

    • profile image

      hate aggressors 4 years ago

      first of all you don't need stealth technology in jet fighters if you only use them for DEFENSE purposes. as all these stealth tech only effective against head-on radar scanning. Meaning? its to avoid conventional radar sensor AHEAD on the plane's destination. So do note that STEALTH APPLICATION ON JET FIGHTERS ARE ONLY EFFICIENT FOR PRE-EMPTIVE USE. To AGGRESS. to penetrate enemy's defense.

      America and some big nations maybe need those because they have a future "aggressive" plans in their mind. For those who employ jet fighters to gain air superiority in their DEFENSIVE strategy wont need stealth. Its like, why do you need to "cloak" and disappear to protect your home? its ridiculous. because it will be more effective if you build walls and fences and hide behind it. And again, stealth application to the planes physicaly comes with sacrifices in aero efficiencies which actually are far more necessary to make a plane has superior maneuverability in combat.

    • profile image

      manjunatha 5 years ago

      vow, really a very nice article on stealth technology.but do we really need all these destructive technology?.

    • profile image

      HAMMAD HASSAN 6 years ago

      can an aircraft be stealyj in all aspects...???

    • profile image

      aa 6 years ago

      I hear that AESA radar remain stealth even when switch on.

    • profile image

      Manish 6 years ago

      than

      ks alot soni ...

    • profile image

      mithun 7 years ago

      can u plz give me more details about stealth detecting radars...? plz..

    • soni2006 profile image
      Author

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for coming here max and Tatara. I am happy you found the right info.

    • profile image

      Tatara 7 years ago

      I was looking for plasmastealth.

      Thx for your information.

    • profile image

      Max 7 years ago

      came from Google too, good article, now I know what I searched for.

    • soni2006 profile image
      Author

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot Mike.

    • profile image

      MIke 7 years ago

      thanks for theinfo, it was a great help!

    • soni2006 profile image
      Author

      Rajinder Soni 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for the comment and asking that really useful question Faustin.

      You asked, "Why would a plane seek to hide if it is armed enough to shoot down any enemy attacker (fighter of missile)?

      First of all, a stealth plane hides from the radar of the enemy attacker in order to be much more powerful than the enemy plane because when any plane enters in enemy's territory, it has a lot of risk being bombarded and destroyed to pieces because the enemy's radar and missile station have clear targets on the plane. To prevent this problem, stealth has been created as when the plane's stealth mode is on, the enemy's radars are not able to detect the plane and then it has enough time to shoot down other enemy's planes and tanks making them soft targets but remember one thing which I have explained in the hub above that whenever a stealth plane opens up its radar, it loses stealth.

    • profile image

      Faustin 8 years ago

      Hello. I've never flown but I like hearing stories about flying and flyers. Many thanks for giving a glimpse at the functionning of stealth. But, why would a plane seek to hide if it is armed enough to shoot down any enemy attacker (fighter of missile)?

    • soni2006 profile image
      Author

      Rajinder Soni 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      It is so good to hear that you landed via google. It is so satisfying for a writer when an article written by him/her helps people looking out for some information and they get it.

      Thanks for the comment and reading this article warplane lover.

    • profile image

      Warplane lover 8 years ago

      I just searched for how stealth works on google and landed on this really informational article today. Now I know what stealth is and how stealth system works. Thanks for writing out such a nice review of stealth system in Indian Sukhoi, B2 bombers and others.

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