In the grand race to device advanced flying fighters, capable of going unnoticed in enemy territory, a couple of researchers from China have announced that they are o a verge of a major breakthrough. Stealth planes become stealthier when using the material created by the think thanks from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
This technique or rather this initiative is not something new under the sun. Ever since the Cold War, great nations such as China, Russia and the United States have struggle in order to create the perfect stealth airplane. The capabilities of such a plane are quite numerous: aerial reconnaissance, surgical strikes with minimal collateral damage and site-to-site surveillance are just a couple of uses we can think of when we talk about of when it comes to the invisible warrior.
As we said the technology itself is now new, but how the Chinese managed to improvise around it is simply astonishing. Traditionally, the material used to construct radar absorbing layer is bulky and puts a lot of strain on the aircraft’s overall weight. And, in some cases, the layer seems to quite inefficient.
So, how does the stealth system work? A typically broadcasts microwaves in the air. When those microwaves hit an object, either in mid-air or on the ground, they bounce of it. Then, a set of powerful antenna relays are employed to capture the bouncing signal and determine its source. This is your typical radar 101.
The layers mounted of a plane are capable of absorbing incoming microwaves, thus ensuring that the plane doesn’t show up on any radar. The plane itself is not invisible, per se. Not in a Wellsian way, for that matter.
That’s all fine and dandy, but classical materials used to construct stealth system have a couple of limitations. Against conventional radar waves, the place will go unnoticed, but when bombarded with ultra-high frequency radio waves, the layer becomes useless.
That’s where the Chinese come in. The material devised by the Chinese researchers is capable of absorbing any kind of radio wave, including UHF waves, making stealth planes become stealthier. One of the scientists working on the project told that the material makes use of surface, which is very thin and uses a special technology caller active frequency-selective surface absorber. Basically, the material can be fine-tuned in order to absorb any form of radar wave.
There is one more thing to add: beneath the fine sheets of radar absorbing material, there are a lot of circuit boards, capacitors, diodes, making thousands of adjustments per second.
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