Stealth Fighter

Stealth means 'low observable'. The very basic idea of Stealth Technology in the military is to 'blend' in with the background. The quest for a stealthy plane actually began more than 50 years ago during World War II when RADAR was first used as an early warning system against fleets of bombers. As a result of that quest, the Stealth Technology evolved. Stealth Technology is used in the construction of mobile military systems such as aircrafts and ships to significantly reduce their detection by enemy, primarily by an enemy RADAR. The way most airplane identification works is by constantly bombarding airspace with a RADAR signal.

When a plane flies into the path of the RADAR, a signal bounces back to a sensor that determines the size and location of the plane. Other methods focus on measuring acoustic (sound) disturbances, visual contact, and infrared (heat) signatures. Stealth technologies work by reducing or eliminating these telltale signals. Panels on planes are angled so that radar is scattered and no signal returns. Planes are also covered in a layer of absorbent materials that reduce any other signature the plane might leave. Shape also has a lot to do with the `invisibility' of stealth planes. Extreme aerodynamics keeps air turbulence to a minimum and cut down on flying noise. Special low-noise engines are contained inside the body of the plane. Hot fumes are then capable of being mixed with cool air before leaving the plane. This fools heat sensors on the ground. This also keeps heat seeking missiles from getting any sort of a lock on their targets.

Stealth properties give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets. At a cost of $2 billion each, stealth bombers are not yet available worldwide, but military forces around the world will soon begin to attempt to mimic some of the key features of stealth planes, making the skies much more dangerous.

With the increasing use of early warning detection devices such as radar by militaries around the world in the 1930's the United States began to research and develop aircraft that would be undetectable to radar detection systems. The first documented stealth prototype was built out of two layers of plywood glued together with a core of glue and sawdust. This prototype's surface was coated with charcoal to absorb radar signals from being reflected back to the source, which is how radar detection systems detect items in the air.
Jack Northrop built a flying wing in the 1940's. His plane was the first wave of stealth aircraft that actually flew. The aircraft proved to be highly unstable and hard to fly due to design flaws. The United States initially orders 170 of these aircraft from Northrop but cancelled the order after finding that the plane had stability Flaws. Then in 1964, SR-71 the first Stealth airplane launched. It is well known as 'black bird'. It is a jet black bomber with slanted surfaces. This aircraft was built to fly high and fast to be able to bypass radar by its altitude and speed.

The idea is for the radar antenna to send out a burst of radio energy, which is then reflected back by any object it happens to encounter. The radar antenna measures the time it takes for the reflection to arrive, and with that information can tell how far away the object is. The metal body of an airplane is very good at reflecting radar signals, and this makes it easy to find and track airplanes with radar equipment.
The goal of stealth technology is to make an airplane invisible to radar. There are two different ways to create invisibility: The airplane can be shaped so that any radar signals it reflects are reflected away from the radar equipment. The airplane can be covered in materials that absorb radar signals.

A stealth aircraft is an aircraft that uses stealth technology to make it harder to be detected by radar and other means than conventional aircraft by employing a combination of features to reduce visibility in the visual, audio, infrared and radio frequency (RF) spectrum. They were invented by the Germans at the end of World War Two, with the Horten Ho 229. Well known examples include the United States' F-117 Nighthawk (1980s-2008) and the modern F-22 Raptor fighter.

While no aircraft is totally invisible to radar, stealth aircraft limit current conventional radar's abilities to detect or track them effectively enough to prevent an attack. Stealth is accomplished by using a complex design philosophy to reduce the ability of an opponent's sensors to detect, track and attack an aircraft.

Modern stealth aircraft first became possible when a mathematician working for Lockheed Aircraft during the 1970s adopted a mathematical model developed by Pyotr Ufimtsev, a Russian scientist, to develop a computer program called Echo 1. Echo made it possible to predict the radar signature an aircraft made with flat panels, called facets. In 1975, engineers at Lockheed Skunk Works found that an airplane made with faceted surfaces could have a very low radar signature because the surfaces would radiate almost all of the radar energy away from the receiver. Lockheed built a model called "the Hopeless Diamond". It was named that because it looked like a squat diamond and looked too hopeless to ever fly. For the first time, designers realized that it might be possible to make an aircraft that was virtually invisible to radar.

Reduced radar cross section is only one of five factors that designers addressed to create a truly stealthy design such as the F-22. The F-22 has also been designed to disguise its infrared emissions to make it harder to detect by infrared homing ("heat seeking") surface-to-air or air-to-air missiles. Designers also addressed making the aircraft less visible to the naked eye, controlling radio transmissions, and noise abatement.

The first combat use of stealth aircraft was in December 1989 during Operation Just Cause in Panama. On December 20, 1989 two USAF F-117s bombed a Panamanian defense Force Barracks in Rio Hato, Panama. In 1991, F-117s were tasked with attacking the most heavily fortified targets in Iraq and were the only jets allowed to operate inside Baghdad's city limits.

To date, stealth aircraft have been used in several low- and moderate-intensity conflicts, including Operation Desert Storm, Operation Allied Force and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In each case they were employed to strike high-value targets that were either out of range of conventional aircraft in the theater or were too heavily defended for conventional aircraft to strike without a high risk of loss. In addition, because the stealth aircraft do not have to evade surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery over the target they can aim more carefully and thus are more likely to hit the target and cause less collateral damage. In many cases they were used to hit the high value targets early in the campaign (or even before it), before other aircraft had the opportunity to degrade the opposing air defense to the point where other aircraft had a good chance of reaching those critical targets.

Stealth aircraft in future low- and moderate-intensity conflicts are likely to have similar roles. However, given the increasing prevalence of excellent Russian-built surface-to-air missile systems on the open market (such as the SA-10, SA-12 and SA-20 (S-300P/V/PMU) and SA-15 (9K331/332)), stealth aircraft are likely to be very important in a high-intensity conflict in order to gain and maintain air supremacy, especially to the United States who is likely to face these types of systems. It is possible to cover one's airspace with so many air defences with such long range and capability that conventional aircraft would find it very difficult "clearing the way" for deeper strikes. For example, China license-builds all of the previously mentioned SAM systems in large quantities and would be able to heavily defend important strategic and tactical targets in the event of a conflict. Even if anti-radiation weapons are used in an attempt to destroy the SAM radars of such systems, or stand-off weapons are launched against them, these modern surface-to-air missile batteries are capable of shooting down weapons fired against them.