In the air…and in the sea.
Stealth doesn’t just apply to aircraft—submarines have been incorporating stealthy features for decades. Among submarines, the most powerful combination of lethality and stealth is almost certainly the Ohio-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines.
Stealth, or the idea of reducing the ability of the enemy to detect a weapon, has been around since the first caveman sewed a pocket into his clothing and hid a rock in it.
Thousands of years later, with the ability to detect objects on the ground, in the air and at sea using electromagnetic radiation, hiding weapons in plain sight has become much harder. The idea of making an aircraft invisible to radar waves was not pursued as the properties of radar with regards to object shape were not fully understood.
Recommended: US Army’s 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War
Pyotr Ufimtsev, a Russian physicist, published a number of papers on predicting the reflection of electromagnetic waves—radar waves. The Soviet Union, not understanding the gravity of his work, translated many of them into English.
But aerospace engineers at Lockheed did, and extrapolated from it a correct theory on reducing the radar cross section of aircraft. The result was the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth “fighter.” Since then, stealth has been an integral part of every tactical aircraft deployed by the United States. Here are five of the most lethal stealth weapons of war.
Famous for being the fastest plane ever built, the SR-71 is less well known for being a stealthy aircraft. The SR-71, which cruised at Mach 3.2, was one of the first aircraft to incorporate multiple stealth features into its design.
Recommended: Who Swallows North Korea after it Collapses?