A newly invented stealth material for military aircraft and ships can easily fool radars, Chinese researchers are now claiming in a study published in the journal of Applied Physics.
The futuristic fabric, designed by experts at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, promises to make combat equipment impossible to detect, by concealing its shape and size.
According to study lead author Wenxhua Xu, the state-of-the-art creation, which serves as an ultra-thin invisibility cloak, is capable of adjusting to various radar frequencies, absorbing these bandwidths.
This type of exceptionally advanced camouflage is similar to the way a chameleon dramatically alters its color when feeling threatened or while under the effect of other environmental stimuli.
The recently designed electronic material is called “active frequency selecting surface” (AFSS), and it’s basically a highly stretchable layer just 0.3 inches thick (7.8 mm), made up of capacitors and copper resistors. Underneath these components are semiconducting diodes and capacitors from a printed circuit board.
Normally, microwave energy is employed in order to obtain radar cross-section data (RCS), based on how signals are being reflected by the target observed through fog or clouds.
This way, it is possible to determine the size of incoming objects, and also to distinguish between stealth aircraft (with has a low RCS due to smooth, specially angled surfaces, as well as absorbant paint), and passenger planes (with a high RCS caused by rounded surfaces, and bare metal fabric).
The fact that AFSS is so incredibly thin, having a width 10 times as small in comparison with traditional absorbing materials, makes it ideal for disguising military aircraft or warships.
The fabric is capable of cheating even the most innovative anti-stealth radar, by scattering and absorbing signals, so that few radio waves can bounce back to the source.
This is possible even when the side scans that are being conducted use ultra high frequencies (UHF), which were previously considered almost impossible to deceive, because they could only be soaked up by thicker, more impractical material.
In the past, stealth aircraft could only defend itself against super high frequency (SHF) signals, but now it appears even UHF, longer-length waves can be successfully avoided.
More exactly, AFSS can easily absorb radar signals between 0.7 and 1.9 Ghz, diminishing reflectivity by 10 to 40 dB, and thus rendering modern radars completely powerless.
Although the United States used to have a clear edge over the rest of the world when it came to stealth technology, it appears that China might soon overtake it, if current trends continue.
One such example was when the Asian superpower developed the J-32 stealth aircraft, probably following a data breach which allowed it to access design data pertaining to the American F-35 fighter.
What’s surprising is that Chinese researchers have chosen to make their newest invention public, despite the fact that it could’ve provided them with such an obvious strategic advantage, as far as radar avoidance was concerned.
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