By Becky FerreiraPosted 01.13.2012 at 1:12 pm 34 Comments
The science of stealth has long been a matter of fading into already obscure environments—the night sky, say, or the deep sea. But engineers are now developing materials that could hide anything in plain sight. Instead of bending light inward, like water and glass do, these optical metamaterials bend it outward, guiding photons around an object like river water around a stone.
By David HamblingPosted 01.13.2012 at 11:02 am 12 Comments
Manned surveillance missions are critical to obtaining useful intelligence. But sending a soldier into sensitive areas can often be too dangerous. Scientists are developing robots that could do the job. Last spring, the Advanced Technologies Laboratory at Lockheed Martin unveiled a prototype that uses sensors to model its environment, detect potential threats, calculate lines of sight, and locate good hiding places.
By David HamblingPosted 01.11.2012 at 10:18 am 11 Comments
Defense systems can detect stealth submarines using two methods: sonar, which bounces sound waves off a craft, and radar, which can identify subtle disturbances on or below the ocean’s surface that can indicate a sub at depth. Now scientists are developing acoustic and fluid cloaking methods that could defeat both tactics.
Invisible warriors: the engineering breakthroughs that will make everything from planes to subs to soldiers...disappear
By David HamblingPosted 01.04.2012 at 10:03 am 55 Comments
The youngest active stealth bomber in the U.S. turns 15 this year, and the other 19 B-2s in the Air Force fleet are nearly five years older. Meanwhile, the integrated defense systems they face have become much more sophisticated. Multi-static radar, which is now relatively common, is so sensitive that it can detect certain stealth craft. To stay ahead of such defense systems, the Air Force has budgeted $3.7 billion over the next five years to develop a successor to the B-2 that could be active by 2020. Actual designs of the new bomber are classified, but some secrets are already out.
If reports from Fox News are correct, the "Beast" is out of the bag. U.S. military sources appear to be confirming reports--first circulated yesterday by Iranian state media--that Iran has in its possession one of America's most sophisticated pieces of stealth technology: the RQ-170 drone, a.k.a. "the Beast of Kandahar" (the same drone that provided support for the Osama bin Laden mission back in May). U.S. military sources have confirmed that the Iranians have the drone, Fox says, but say there's "absolutely no indication" it was shot down, as Iran claims.
Staring at distant, faint objects to study the origins of the universe requires several layers of engineering skill and design trickery. The people at NASA are no strangers to this, having invented all sorts of new materials to improve telescopes and other observational tools.