Myths about stealth aircraft

Stealth is invisibility

Probably one of the most popular myths that can be heard even from people who seem to be versed in military affairs - "stealth" means invisibility. Of course, invisibility is not implied in the visible range, but for radars. Allegedly, the stealth technology has the task of making the object military equipment on photos (airplane, helicopter, tank, and so on) completely invisible to radio waves. Perhaps the engineers really would like to achieve this, if it were possible. But to create complete stealth even for the radar is unrealistic, and no one is striving for this.

Even the coolest stealth aircraft can still be detected. At different angles, the EPR (effective scattering area - how large the object looks for the radar) can vary greatly. And, if you are not lucky and the plane falls under the radar “weak” side - the range of its detection will increase significantly.

What can we say about objects such as helicopters, in which it is difficult to hide the screw, or ships - too large to even go unnoticed at a serious distance. Therefore, the objective of the stealth technology is not to make the target completely invisible. Reduce the range at which detection will occur - yes. Mislead the enemy with a smaller target size - yes. To complicate the guidance of weapons of destruction - yes again. But unfortunately, this is often forgotten. Including the media are to blame for this, which is easier to use the beautiful, but incorrect word "invisible" than terms like "stealth aircraft."

Stealth is an invention of Americans

The most “patriotic” myth presented. Allegedly, "stealth" is a global deception on the part of the Americans with the aim of forcing the USSR to spend money on an arms race. According to the adherents of this myth, the truth is encrypted in the name itself: stealth can be translated from English as "trick". Who and why left such a clue is unclear. Apparently, the mysterious American engineer-truth-teller. To prove that the "stealth" is functional, it is almost impossible for the average layman. To do this, you must either know physics at least at the university level, or have access to secret test data. It is also impossible to verify experimentally - none of us has a radar and a "stealth" plane. But there are a couple of interesting points that ruin this myth in the bud. If stealth is a hoax, why did they continue to spend money on it even after the collapse of the USSR? Why have technologies begun to be applied around the world, including in our country? Of the explanations, only a world conspiracy remains. And with this, it’s not to us, but to specialized institutions.

Stealth is always like a masterpiece of cubism

The very first stealth aircraft looked really unusual. Broken shapes, no bent lines and smooth transitions. To this day, when we talk about stealth aircraft, just such a picture is born in the head. But in the late 80s, the image of such machines began to change. Already the B-2 looked almost like a normal flying wing, the F-22 and F-35 looked like quite ordinary airplanes. Many decided that there was a partial rejection of the "stealth" in favor of normal aerodynamics, so that the planes did not fly like bricks. In fact, these changes were the result of the development of computing power. Calculating "stealth" without the use of computers is simply impossible. In the 70s, the development of computing power allowed only objects consisting of planes to be counted. That is why such unusual forms went that they forced me to fly through a stump-deck. But computers improved rapidly, and soon it became possible to calculate much more complex, but familiar to our eyes and aerodynamics forms, while maintaining a high level of invisibility. True, there are no alternatives to broken shapes at objects like ships - too large.

Stealth" invented by a Soviet scientist

Surprisingly, the source of this myth is the memoirs of Ben Rich, the head of Skunk Works since the creation of the F-117 and F-22 there. The American writes that at the beginning of the 70s they came across a translation of the 1962 book by the Soviet professor Pyotr Ufimtsev, "The method of boundary waves in the physical theory of diffraction". And supposedly it was thanks to this find that the ECHO-1 program was launched, which was subsequently used to create the F-117. From here we started talking about our stupid generals who overlooked the advanced concept, and, conversely, that it was a special KGB operation for the Americans to engage in a “fictitious” “stealth”. This story is also confirmed by the fact that Ufimtseva immediately after the collapse of the USSR was invited to work in the United States - it was on the stealth technologies.

So, is stealth a Russian invention?

First, memoirs are a poor historical source. Especially the memoirs of a man like Ben Rich. And secondly, new documents recently declassified, as well as the memoirs of other participants in the work on the F-117, shed light on this story. Ufimtsev’s work was really used, but not as a basis, but only in the process of bringing the program to mind. The Americans simply did not have to spend a couple of months on the calculations already made by the Soviet professor.