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So What Makes the F-117A a "Stealth Fighter"?

We often hear about the F-117A and it’s ability to hide from enemy detection.  I think most understand there is some amazing technology behind the design.  We did a little research and found out the information for you.  Check it out!

The F-117A Nighthawk is the first aircraft with the ability to penetrate high-threat airspace while utilizing stealth technology. Equipped with a unique radar scattering design and radar absorbent surfaces, the F-117A is able to attack critical targets with amazing accuracy while remaining virtually invisible to enemy eyes.

Vital to the Nighthawk being a stealth fighter is its radar-absorbent material (RAM), which is paint outfitted with a special iron compound that dissipates radar waves. Underneath the paint is a layer of tiny triangles that trap radar inside a maze of surfaces. This combination of materials allows pilots to fly in enemy territory with a low risk of being detected on the radar of adversaries.

Also important to remaining undetectable is the external geometry on the F-117A. Incorporated is a mixture of flat and angled panels designed to scatter radar signals in every direction except back to the source’s receiving antenna. There are no rounded surfaces that might return a signal, which is why the Nighthawk has an angular canopy and enclosed engine spaces.

Zigzag strips are found on all movable panels, most prominently on the canopy doors, the IRAD shields, and the bomb bay doors. They are necessary in order to scatter radar signals. More importantly, they allow the F-117A to open the bomb bay doors and assume the profile of a normal aircraft. It is also likely that a radar warning system is installed on the aircraft that will keep the bomb bay doors closed if being tracked.

Posted by on May 11th, 2011 :: Filed under: Blog,Military