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China Has Developed an Aircraft “Wrap” to Keep Their Jet Fighters Under the Radar

An expensive car may look smoother once a professional aftermarket garage upgrades it with the utmost enhancements, but when it comes to all things aviation-related, design is replaced by utility. That is why the Chinese layer scientists have determined it's not just a wrap that makes their jet fighters look good, but, in fact, a very thin cover that keeps them under the radar, literally.
Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter which was revealed in December 2010 1 photo
The military may be spending billions on the research and development of new aircraft, but performance is not sufficient for success in battle to be obtained. Sometimes, it’s the looks that matter most, especially when you want to lay low. The radars used by the military nowadays are a lot more efficient than those dating 20 years back, of course, but so are aircraft.

China’s researchers have published a paper called “An ultra-thin broadband active frequency selective surface absorber for ultrahigh-frequency applications” this week in the Journal of Applied Physics. According to Popular Science, it details a material just 5/16 of an inch thick that can safeguard stealth planes against ultra-high-frequency (UFH) radar detection.

Similar to how color-changing wraps work in the automotive industry, this material tunes itself to a range of detection frequencies, therefore protecting against a large swath of radar scans. Why UFH and not all the other frequencies? Because it appears this is currently the path some jet fighters remain bare-headed.

The majority of the airplanes currently flying the skies stay hidden from radar detection in two ways: through their body geometry that reflects radio waves away from their receivers, and due to materials that absorb the waves. According to the source, aircraft such as the B-2 Spirit bomber, the F-22 and F-35 fighters are using such technologies, and it’s Pentagon’s way to protect nuclear bombers, spy planes and so on.

These aircraft do share one weakness, though, which is the UHF radar, which can pick up traces of the plane that older generation radars miss. That’s where China’s new technology comes in.


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