UV Stealth Technology for Navy Jet Aircraft

US Navy combat aircraft could one day be able to swallow the UV rays that highlight their presence on radar screens, if the Pentagon's plans to get such technology developed come to fruition.

The Pentagon's called on defence manufacturers to come up with a system that can deal with ultra violet energy in broadly the same way that present-day stealth aircraft scatter radar waves. In its own words, it's after a ‘UV obscurant device' capable of being ‘dispersed from an aircraft' that can work alongside the suite of countermeasures already in use, such as infrared flare releasers.

US Navy combat aircraft.

UV Ray Countermeasures

The US Navy's key combat aircraft is current the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and, in future years, it's set to become equipped with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II JSF (Joint Strike Fighter). Both could potentially benefit from having a UV ray countermeasures system like this in place.

The F-35 JSF already boasts advanced stealth measures meant to disperse and absorb radar waves but no official mention's been made of anything fitted to it that can deal with ultra violet rays, of the kind chased by heat-seeking missiles.

According to data published by Defence Today, stealth technology's now been developed to a level where aircraft radar profiles have become small enough that radar-guided missiles can't really detect them at all. The same, though, isn't yet true of the heat trails produced by their engines and one possible approach to dealing with this could involve a particle cloud that, when released, sucks in the UV rays, effectively confusing incoming missiles.

Jet Aircraft UV Rays

The system's described in the jet aircraft UV ray cloaking research proposals request as a ‘device that very rapidly generates an extended, dense cloud of material that absorbs in the UV region', adding that ‘metamaterials' and ‘quantum dots' could play a part.

No specific development timeframe for this UV stealth technology has been issued, nor any particular cost ceiling, but Armed Forces International will revisit this programme at a further point in its development.

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