Radar-Invisible Stealth Aircraft Are Introduced (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: Two U.S. corporations, Northrop and Lockheed, developed and produced the first generation of “radar-invisible” aircraft.
During World War II, two weapons were developed that radically altered the thinking of the U.S. military-industrial establishment and the composition of U.S. military forces. These weapons were the atomic bombs that were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by U.S. forces and “radio detection and ranging,” or radar. Radar saved the English during the Battle of Britain, and it was radar that made it necessary to rethink aircraft design. With radar, attacking aircraft can be detected hundreds of miles from their intended targets, which makes it possible for those aircraft to be intercepted before they can attack. During World War II, radar, using microwaves, was able to relay the number, distance, direction, and speed of German aircraft to British fighter interceptors. This development allowed the fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force, “the few” who were so highly praised by Winston Churchill, to shoot down four times as many planes as they lost.
Because of the development of radar, American airplane design strategy has been to reduce the planes’ cross sections, reduce or eliminate the use of metal by replacing it with composite materials, and eliminate the angles that are found on most aircraft control surfaces. These actions help...
(The entire section is 973 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!