Military Review

Invisible flying object

History "Stealth"

The invisibility of aircraft was the result of technological progress. Firstly, progress in the field of aircraft manufacturing, and secondly, progress in the field of aircraft destruction. For the United States, stealth aircraft became the same “chip” as for the USSR and Russia - highly maneuverable aircraft. "Private correspondent" continues to publish a series of articles on the problems of the modern military aviation.

Technology stealth (literally - cunning, trick) owes its birth to the development of radar technology. The appearance of radars greatly influenced the strategy and tactics of the Air Force. In 1940, the locator played a landmark role. Thanks to him, British aircraft won the "Battle for England" (network Radar station, deployed in the south-east of England, allowed to detect German planes over the English Channel and take off in time to intercept them, thus preventing the Germans from invading the island. This doomed Hitler to a war on two fronts, which could not end for him with nothing but defeat.

As for the unique maneuvers of our planes (“cobra”, “bell”, “hook”), then, according to some practitioners, they are useless in real combat, at best they are useless, they can be harmful at worst; but sure to lose. An interesting article by Air Force Major G. Timofeev on this topic was published in the History of Aviation magazine (2001. No. 4). As the author of this article notes, no one has ever tried to perform all these miracles of pilotage with missiles suspended from an airplane. In addition, it is very difficult to assume that all these "cobras" in large numbers can be trained by combatant pilots (even if the combat training in the Russian Air Force reaches a relative normal level). Therefore, it seems that our designers do not do what they need, but what they can. And in the United States did not become involved in maneuverability. And went the other way - invisibility.

However, the real problem for combat aviation of the radar station became during the Vietnam War, when they were supplemented by anti-aircraft missile systems (ZRK), and the air defense system became combined and multi-layered, fighters, ZRK, anti-aircraft artillery. The Americans had to learn to fly at low and extremely low altitudes in order to “dive” under the lower boundary of the detection zone of the radar and the zone of destruction of the air defense system. It didn’t cause great joy to the pilots. First, at low altitudes, the probability of hitting the machine with anti-aircraft artillery fire, to which portable air defense systems were added at the beginning of the 1970, sharply increased. Secondly, the danger of a collision with the ground repeatedly increased, which, thirdly, gave rise to severe stress among pilots. Fourth, flying at low altitudes, where the highest air density, led to increased fuel consumption, that is, a decrease in flight range and combat load.

EW has long been a specific form of hostilities - since the appearance of the first radar, that is, during the Second World War. For example, British and American bombers during the raids on Germany dropped strips of foil, which gave a continuous flare on the screens of German locators. The broadest use of EW equipment was gained in Vietnam, where US aircraft, having suffered very serious losses from the Soviet C-75 air defense system at first, began to use active jamming and anti-radar missiles against them, thereby reducing the effectiveness of North Vietnamese air defense systems. And in Iraq at the beginning of the “Storm in the Desert”, American aviation, using EW means, completely “crushed” Iraq’s air defense. Like Israel, in June 1982 used EW very effectively, inflicting a crushing defeat on the Syrian air defense system in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley.

Americans tried their best to crush the radar, creating a variety of means and methods of electronic warfare. However, none of them became a panacea. From passive interference (such as aluminum foil) have long learned to build up using the mode of selection of moving targets. From active interference - restructuring of the radar carrier frequency and an increase in its power (besides, the jammer himself becomes the target for the enemy’s missiles, directed precisely at this interference). From anti-radar missiles - again by tuning the frequency and installing a few spurious emitters. In addition, the problem of combating air defense gradually turned into an end in itself for aviation. Airplanes were increasingly being hung with jamming stations and anti-radar missiles, more and more aircraft were allocated to destroy the radar and air defense systems. This meant that the air defense system was solving its task - preventing the enemy’s destruction of objects (troops, ships, military and civilian infrastructure, command centers, etc.) by the very fact of its existence. The more manpower and resources the Air Force takes to fight air defense, the less they are left to solve basic tasks.

In the end, practical Yankees simply could not fail to give birth to the idea of ​​solving the problem radically - to make the plane invisible (more precisely, poorly visible) in the radar range. That is, the maximum extent to reduce the effective scattering area (EPR), which determines how much energy reflects the plane back to the radar. At least it is desirable to minimize the EPR of the front hemisphere of the aircraft, which it “substitutes” for the enemy’s locator when it approaches it.

To achieve this goal it was necessary to solve many problems. First, literally smooth the sharp corners on the plane, which are particularly well reflected by radio waves. Secondly, remove the armament from the external underwing and ventral suspension units in the internal compartments. Third, make the fuselage and wings of such materials (or cover them with such materials) that do not reflect, but scatter or absorb radio waves.

The skin of the "invisible" should be as smooth as possible, the wing and fuselage should be maximally conjugated (it is desirable that they should be a single whole). The surface of the machine must be faceted, which is formed by a large number of flat faces for scattering radar radiation in different directions. It is also necessary to drown the air intakes in the fuselage and make the radiation of the enemy locator through these same intakes not reach the engine compressor (it gives a very strong reflection).

All these perversions, to put it mildly, do not make life easier for designers. They lead to a significant increase in the cost of the aircraft, to the deterioration of aerodynamics, to a decrease in the combat load (obviously less than weaponsthan it can be hung outside) and the flight range (the suspended fuel tanks cannot be hung up on the “invisibility”, they have a huge EPR). Nevertheless, the Americans still decided to try.

At the beginning of 1970's, Skunk Works' specialists (Lockheed's advanced development department), under the leadership of Kelly Johnson, began designing the inconspicuous aircraft using stealth technology. In 1976, the program passed under the control of the US Air Force and was kept as secret as possible. The first flight of the prototype F-117 took place in June 1981, the first production aircraft took off in January on the 1982. It was built 6 pre-production and 59 serial machines (each cost the Air Force 111 million dollars).

F-117 was probably the ugliest aircraft in the history of aviation (at least since the "shelves" of the early twentieth century). He came out like a pyramid. The designers have achieved the complete absence of right angles on the aircraft. Straight edges of edges, shutters, hatches and compartments were covered with special lining with a saw-tooth edging. All weapons and equipment, including antennas and fuel receivers, pushed inside the fuselage. The aircraft trim was covered with a special sheath of radio-absorbing materials. The cockpit canopy is literally gilded (the gold-bearing coating shielded the radar radiation). Air intakes were hidden under the wing, covered with grilles of radio-absorbing composites.

As a result, the EPR in the front hemisphere amounted to the total 117 square at the F-0,01. m, while in a normal fighter it is 3 — 5 square. m, and, for example, the strategic bomber B-52 reaches 40 square. m

Own radar on the F-117 is not set, because she would have unmasked it. Were limited to an infrared front-view station and laser range finders. The combat load of the aircraft was 2270 kg. The armament was located in the internal compartment and included the usual bombs, guided bombs (ALW) with laser-guided missile, the Garpun missile, the MAverik missile.

F-117, painted black, was sent exclusively at night, maintaining full radio silence: invisibility was brought to the absolute. The plane flew, by virtue of its specific form, with great difficulty. Because of this (and also because of the night flight mode), the F-117 fell regularly (by August 1992, the 4 machines had crashed). Actually, it was the fall of the aircraft that forced the Pentagon in November 1988 to admit the fact of their existence.

December 20 The X-NUMX of the F-1989 was first used in the battle against Panama, which never had even a hint of air defense. The Desert Storm became a more serious test (the war for the liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation in January-February of 117). It was attended by 1991 "invisible", for which this war was a triumph. They easily overcame the powerful Iraqi defense system at first and hit the most important targets (first of all, government and armed forces). Having completed less than 42% combat missions of the anti-Iraqi coalition aviation, they hit about 4% of their top priority targets without incurring losses. At the same time, however, it should be noted that the “invisible beings” used the fullness of the intelligence information that satellites and reconnaissance aircraft acquired. In addition, there were no enemy fighters in the air, which F-40 was not capable of resisting in principle. Yes, and ground defense of Iraq was almost completely suppressed in the first days of the operation.

Serbian dances on the wreckage of the “invisible F” X-NUMX have been seen by the whole world, but still, after 117 years, it remains unclear who shot it down: either the C-10, or the Cube, or the MiG- 125. Since there was more than enough time for the final resolution of the issue (did the Yugoslavs have any combat documentation equipment at all?), There is a suspicion that the official American version is true here too - the plane fell by itself. F-29 has disgusting aerodynamic qualities, so up to a dozen "invisible" (of all the 117 serial machines) crashed without any war (not without reason at the end of last year this aircraft was removed from service with the US Air Force).

F-117 also participated in the second Iraq war (in 2003 year), and 4 years earlier - in an operation against Yugoslavia. There, on the night from 27 to 28 in March 1999, one “invisible” was seemingly shot down. True, it is still not clear who exactly. Therefore, it is possible that this plane also fell on the Serbian land itself, without the help of the Yugoslav air defense. In 2008, the F-117 was decommissioned by the US Air Force, by this point at least 7 machines were lost (of which no more than one in combat). It is still difficult to say to what extent the first “stelsovsky” pancake came out lumpy. The combat effectiveness of the F-117 was very high, but in fairly greenhouse conditions. At the same time the plane had a lot of flaws. First of all, weak armament, short range and disgusting aerodynamics.

The Invisible Man of a much higher level was the strategic bomber B-2. This is a plane in which invisibility is not in conflict with aerodynamics (it is made according to the “flying wing” scheme). The aircraft with a wingspan of 52,5 m and a maximum mass of 181,5 t has an EPR 0,1 — 0,3 sq. M. m (like a big bird). The combat load is 22,7 t (first of all, it is various UAB), the flight range with one refueling is 18,5 thousand km. This range of flight provided the B-2 the opportunity to reach any point on the globe from its Whiteman base in Missouri (which they almost never leave because of secrecy and providing special conditions for basing in hangars with a special microclimate). in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Four years ago, the Americans began to purchase the fifth-generation fighter F-22, but the planned volume of purchases is only 183 machines (it has already been completed on 2 / 3). This plane is too expensive. And this makes the entire F-22 program pretty much useless. If a country plans to wage a normal war with a strong adversary, a fighter in such a war will be a consumable item. So it was in all the wars where opponents of comparable strength fought. If the fighter turns into a treasure, the death of which becomes a national catastrophe, then the war cannot be waged. That is, it can be conducted against the country by an order of magnitude weaker. And with a relatively equal - is impossible. It may be recalled that initially the Advanced Tactical Fighter program, from which F-22 was born, implied the purchase of 750 machines, as a result, it was reduced by more than 4 times. However, B-2 strategic bombers were originally supposed to buy 132, and bought 21. All for the same reason - because of the exorbitant price.

However, neither the F-117 nor the B-2 were in any way intended for air combat. The first invisible fighter was the F-22 Raptor (“in combination” - the first and to date the only fifth-generation aircraft in the world). In this car, the designers had to combine everything: invisibility, speed, maneuverability, weapons.

The general requirements for the fifth generation fighter were defined as follows: low visibility (not only radar, but also infrared, as well as the presence of passive reconnaissance), supersonic cruising speed, high maneuverability, multi-channel targets and missiles directed at them, a very high degree of autonomy and automation of combat work. Initially, the multifunctionality requirement was also considered, that is, the ability to work equally successfully on air, ground and surface targets, but as the aircraft was developed, it faded into the background. The requirement to have high take-off and landing characteristics (that is, the possibility of operating from short lanes) was also removed.

However, with our maneuverability everything worked out very well, so she began to be presented as a panacea. At numerous airshows, the Su-27 and MiG-29 began to show exciting tricks like “bells” (the plane describes the contour of this object in the air, as if hanging at the highest point) and an even more spectacular cobra (the plane does not just “get on its tail” , but also “lies on the back”, the pitch angle between the longitudinal axis of the aircraft and the horizontal plane is 120 degrees). This was undoubted proof that our aircraft were the most manoeuvrable in the world, because no other machine (at least, a combat serial) was capable of anything like that.

Whether Americans have turned out to be a masterpiece is difficult to say now: F-22 has never been used in combat, and this is the real criterion. But his performance is exceptionally high. "Raptor" has an EPR 0,1 sq. m, while its own radar detects aircraft at a distance of 300 km and cruise missiles at a distance of 150 km. Standard weapons (all located in the internal compartments) - 6 missiles AIM-120 AMRAAM and 2 AIM-9X, as well as 20-mm gun. The aircraft can also carry 2 UAD JDAM with satellite guidance, but its main task is air combat.

With all this, the F-22, whose engine has a deflecting vector of thrust, became the first foreign machine, which apparently reached maneuvering characteristics comparable to those of Russian aircraft. At least in the summer of 2006, he made the beloved Cobra.

What the air battle of the future can become, this will be discussed in the last article of the cycle.
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  1. Valx
    Valx 6 June 2013 23: 53
    UFO is an Invisible Flying Object and not Unidentified. How can one identify the Invisible? These are real aircraft that move freely underground, under water, in the atmosphere and in outer space. (approx. If anyone can hammer into his head that the earth is the same living substance as water, he will immediately understand everything). Here you need to be able to operate with a large amount of information, and our traditional science specifically gives only a narrow-profile volume, which does not fully determine what you see and on the contrary, makes you not believe what you saw.
    Why they move silently, because they do not use heat engines. Why invisible, but because ... !!! This type of aircraft for moving directly in the atmosphere can be assembled in any home garage, you only need to know what and how to do it. Technologies have been known for a long time, you just need to collect them to a single denominator, which will express a certain type of aircraft, or vehicle. The era of heat engines has long ended, but those in power have seized, like the Devil for a sinful Soul, so as not to lose such a feeding trough.
    Here is the "unidentified", "... The line appears on the paper, but the pencil is invisible ???". Crop circles appear and who draws them invisibly?

    PS The method, we see the invisible, was discovered by me recently and this is not an introscope.
    1. renics
      renics 6 December 2018 16: 40
      Quote: Valx
      devices that move freely underground, under water, in the atmosphere and in outer space.

      They also say that they dive into our Sun without any consequences?