China advances anti-stealth materials for fighter jets that will effectively leave their aircrafts undetected by today’s cutting-edge radars. It’s an innovative technique that proves the Asian country is gaining ground on the strength of their airforce. With better stealth approaches, their prowess is sure to improve.
Chinese researchers at the University of Huazhong have managed to create a practical and functional material that will evade detection. There are multiple options out there, but have proven themselves to be inappropriate for jets. The existing stealth materials are reportedly very heavy and thick, which makes them highly unsuitable for fighter jets.
Typical technologies to avoid detection imply using the plane’s geometry to reflect the radio waves. They are specifically made to absorb the waves and turn them into heat, instead of reflecting them back at their source. This successfully avoids radars from tracking down their signals.
However, the researchers managed to simulate those radar-detecting properties in a much thinner and lighter fabric. It’s just 5/16 of an inch, and has the ability of covering a wide range of frequencies. The ‘active frequency selective surface’ (AFSS) material has the ability to meld, much like a chameleon’s skin does to color, to radio frequency it encounters.
This innovative, and incredibly light material, is placed under a layer of copper resistors that is 0.04 millimeters thick. This could drastically improve stealth capabilities of Chinese fighter jets. And, according to lead researcher Wenhua Xu, is also 10 times thinner than any other material existent for the same purpose.
The effectiveness of the new technology is reportedly successful also against UHF radars (ultra-high-frequency), which are the latest tech used by military services, groups, or organizations, such as the Pentagon. Due to its adaptability, AFSS manages to evade detection by plying to the wide range of frequencies commonly used.
Stealth is considered to being one of the main technologies that have brought the U.S. military to being one of the dominant forces in the world. It has effectively neutralized and saw to many gains through to technological superiority. China seems to be edging onto that field. The new AFSS could highly advance their military capabilities, both for fighter jets and ships.
It has not yet been confirmed if the material has been placed in use to some of their aircrafts, such as the Chengdu J-20 or the Shenyang J-31. However, Wu claimed that their breakthrough material could make fighter jets more efficient than U.S.’s Lockheed Martin F-35, which may not have such excellent capabilities of evading UHF radars.
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