Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stealth bombers - How Stealth Works

Gizmodo - Stealth bombers are not invisible—far from it, in fact. The Northrop Grumman-designed B-2 Spirit has a hard-to-ignore 175-foot wingspan and a thin, disk-like silhouette that makes it look like a cross between a stingray and an alien craft from a summer blockbuster.

When one flies over your head, you stop and stare. The words holy shit might fall out of your mouth. Considering there are only 20 around, I’m going to argue the response is appropriate. They really don’t look like anything else in the world. Rather than evade attention, B-2s grab your attention by the shoulders and violently shake it. So how do they go stealth?

Turns out, it’s not just one thing; many factors contribute to a B-2′s supersneak powers. There’s no invisibility cloak here. B-2s combine the best radar-evading tech and design into a remarkably effective low-observability cocktail. In fact, since it was first displayed in 1988, only one B-2 has ever been lost—and not in combat. So the plane’s under-the-radar (and infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual, for that matter) design has been doing its job well. See, there’s more special about the plane than just its stealth status. The B-2 can also carry a huge weapons payload. Combine that with the ability to approach targets undetected, and this extremely expensive plane (we’re talking billions) is quietly proving its worth.            More