The invisible flying object

The history of "stealth"

Stealth aircraft was the result of technological progress. In-1's, progress in the field of aircraft, in-2, the progress samoletounichtozheniya. For the U.S. stealth aircraft have such a "trick" for both the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation — highly maneuverable machine. "The private correspondent" continues a series of articles about the problems of modern military aviation.

Development of stealth (almost — a trick, a trick) to its birth to the development of radar technology. The emergence of radar very much influenced by the strategy and the strategy of the Air Force. In 1940, the locator in general played a seminal role. Thanks to him, the British Air Force won the "Battle of Britain" (a network of radars deployed in the south-east of the UK, which allows to detect more German planes over the English Channel and fit to soar on their interception) preventing such Makar, the invasion of the Germans in the peninsula. It condemned Hitler's war on two fronts, which could not end it for anything, except destruction.

As for the unique maneuvers of our aircraft ("cobra", "bell", "hook"), then, according to some practitioners, they are in a real fight at best worthless, and at worst — Furthermore, with the help of their fight can not win and surely lose. Nainteresneyshaya article Air Force Major General G. Timofeev on this topic has been posted in the magazine "Aviation History" (2001. № 4). As the creator of this article, no one has ever tried to do all these miracles maneuvers with suspended the aircraft missiles. In addition, it is difficult to imagine that all this "Cobra" en masse can be taught to front pilots (even if the combat training of the Russian Air Force will reach a relative normal level). Because there is the memory that our designers do not do what is necessary and what can not. And in the U.S. did not get involved in agility. And they went the other way — invisibility.

In general, the true problem of radar for military aviation began during the Vietnam War, when they completed the anti-aircraft missiles (SAMs), and the defense was combined and multilayer, fighters, SAMs, anti-aircraft artillery. The Yankees had to be trained to fly at low altitudes and low maximum, that "dive" under the lower limit of the detection area and the affected area radar air defense system. The great joy of pilots is not caused. In 1-x, low-altitude rapidly growing possibility of defeat machines antiaircraft fire, to which the first 1970 added portable air defense missile systems. In-2, repeatedly growing danger of collision with the ground, which in-3, gave rise to the pilots of strongest stress. Fourth, flying at low altitudes where the air density is the highest, led to inflated costs of fuel, in other words, a decrease in range and payload.

EW has long become specific form of fighting — since the beginning of the first radar, in other words, even during the second world war. For example, British and South American bombers during raids over Germany dropping foil strips, which provided continuous illumination on the German radar screens. Wide application EW equipment received in Vietnam, where the U.S. Air Force, having suffered the first very serious loss of Russian S-75, was used against them active interference and anti-radar missiles, so reducing the efficiency of air defense of North Vietnam at times. In Iraq, the first "Desert Storm" South American aircraft with electronic warfare is absolutely "crushed" Iraq's air defense. Like Israel in June 1982, used a very excellent means of electronic warfare, inflicting a crushing defeat on the Syrian air defense system in the Lebanese Bekaa valley.

Americans did their best in every possible way to push the radar, creating a huge number of tools and techniques of electronic warfare. But none of them was not a panacea. From clutter (such as duralumin foil) have long learned to build up by moving the mode selection purposes. From jamming — the restructuring of the carrier frequency radar and increase its capacity (besides jamming himself becomes a target for missiles, specifically induced by this hindrance). From anti-radar missiles — again the same frequency tuning and installation of several wrong emitters. In addition, the problem of anti-air defense uniformly transformed for aviation in some end in itself. Aircrafts more uveshivalis stations jamming and anti-radar missiles, more aircraft were allocated to defeat radar and air defense missile systems. This meant that the defense decides your puzzle — Avoid enemy aircraft objects (of troops, ships, units of military and civilian infrastructure, control centers, etc.) — by the very fact of its existence. The more effort and money is spent in the Air Force to fight the defense, the less there is to solve major problems.

Eventually convenient Yankees simply could not have thought of to solve the puzzle constructively — to make the invisible plane (more precisely, poorly visible) in the radar spectrum. In other words, the most effective area to reduce the cross section (RCS), which determines how much energy is reflected back to the radar plane. According to the latest very least better than lower ESR hemisphere frontal plane, which he "substitutes" locator opponent when approaching it.

To achieve this goal it was necessary to solve a lot of problems. In 1-x, literally on a plane to smooth the rough edges, which are particularly well reflect radio waves. In-2, to remove weapons from outer underwing hardpoints and ventral spread inside. B-3, to the fuselage and wings of these materials (or cover them with such materials) which do not reflect and scatter or absorb the radio waves.

Sheathing "invisible" should be very smooth, the wing and fuselage to be most relevant (better that they generally were one). Of the machine to give the facet shape formed by the huge number of flat faces to scatter radar radiation in different directions. Still need to drown in the fuselage vozduhopoglotiteli and make so that the enemy radar radiation through these same intakes did not fall on the compressor motor (it gives a very strong reflection).

All of these distortions, to put it mildly, does not make life easier designers. They lead to a significant increase in price of the aircraft to deterioration aerodynamics reduce battle load (the inner compartment breaks advance less guns than it can be hung on the outside) and range (mounted fuel tanks hang on the "invisible" can not, they have a huge EPR). Meanwhile least the Americans have decided to experience.

First, the 1970 experts at the office Skunk Works (Department of promising developments of Lockheed) under the control of Kelly Johnson started designing stealth aircraft technology with the introduction of stealth. In 1976 he ran across the programm under the control of the U.S. Air Force and was very hush-hush. The first flight of the F-117 layout was held in June 1981, the first production aircraft took to the skies in January 1982. It was built six pre-series and 59 series machines (each cost the Air Force to 111 million dollars).

F-117 out, for sure, the ugliest aircraft in aviation history (at least since the last "shelving units" of the early twentieth century). He came out similar to a pyramid. The des
igners have gained complete lack of right angles to the plane. Straight edges edges, flaps, manholes and sections were covered with special plates with a sawtooth border. All weapons and equipment, including antennas and toplivopriemnikom, stuck inside the fuselage. Aircraft skin covered with a special coating of radar absorbing materials. Canopy literally gilded (gold-bearing coating screened radiation radar). Vozduhopoglotiteli put away under the wing, closing bars of radar absorbing composites.

In the end, the EPR was in the front hemisphere F-117 only 0.01 square meters. m, while a conventional fighter is about 3-5 m. m, and, for example, the strategic bomber B-52 achieves 40 sqm. m

Its radar on the F-117 did not put because it would unmask him. Limited to frontal view station infrared and laser range finders. The combat load the aircraft was 2270 kg. Armament was located in the inner compartment and included ordinary bombs, smart bombs (ASD) with laser-guided anti-ship missiles, "Harpoon" UR "Maverick."

In the battle F-117, painted black, cast off only at night, keeping the total radio silence: invisibility brought to the absolute. He flew the plane, because of its own specific form, with great difficulty. Because of this, (also due to night flight regime) F-117 often fell (by August 1992 wrecked 4 cars). In fact, specifically the fall of aircraft forced the Pentagon in November 1988 to recognize the fact of their existence.

December 20, 1989 F-117 were first used in combat against Panama, which had never been even a hint of defense. A more serious challenge was the "Desert Storm" (the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in January-February 1991). It was attended by 42 "stealth", for whom this war was a triumph. They overcame a strong first Iraqi air defense system and struck important targets (first controls the country and the armed forces). Having made the least 4% of sorties aviation anti-Iraq coalition, they hit about 40% more priority objectives without suffering losses. For all this, however, it should be noted that the "stealth" advantage of all the fullness of intelligence disk imaging, which produces satellites and reconnaissance aircraft. In addition, in the air there were no enemy fighters, who oppose the F-117 was not capable in principle. Well, Iraq's air defense and ground was virtually one hundred percent suppressed in the first days of the operation.

Dances of Serbs on the ruins of "invisible» F-117 beheld the whole world, but to this day, 10 years later, it remains unclear who was hit, either the S-125 air defense missile systems, or "Cube" or the MiG-29. As the time for the final resolution of the issue was more than enough (neuzh something entirely absent from the Yugoslav military equipment documentation?), There is a suspicion that there is true South American version of the official — the plane fell himself. F-117 has a vile aerodynamics, because up to 10-ka "invisible" (from just 59 production cars) crashed for no war (not without reason at the end of last year the aircraft was removed from service USAF).

F-117 also took part in the second Iraq war (in 2003) and four years earlier — in the operation against Yugoslavia. There, on the night of 27 to 28 March 1999 single "Invisible" was as if beaten. However, so far it is not clear exactly who. Because it is possible that the aircraft fell to the Serb land itself, without the help of the Yugoslav air defenses. In 2008, the F-117 was removed from the U.S. Air Force, by that time had been lost for more than 7 cars (of them in combat — less than one). Until now, it is difficult to say to what extent the first "stelsovsky" pancake came out lumpy. Battle Performance F-117 as it turned out very highest, but rather greenhouse criteria. With all of this plane has a mass of bugs. First, a weak weapon, a small range and vile aerodynamics.

"Invisible" has become a top-level strategic bomber B-2. It's a plane in which the invisibility does not clashed with aerodynamics (he made on a "flying wing"). Aircraft with a wingspan of 52.5 m and a maximum weight of 181.5 tonnes is EPR 0.1-0.3 m. m (as in the big birds). The combat load — 22.7 m (at first it different ASD), range with one refueling — 18.5 thousand km. This provided a range of B-2 able to achieve at least some part of the world with its own database Whiteman in Missouri (which they almost never leave because of the secrecy and security of special criterion based in the hangars with a special microclimate), which was demonstrated during the the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Four years back the Americans began to buy fighter fifth-generation F-22, but the planned volume of purchases of only 183 cars (he has already made on 2/3). This aircraft is very expensive. And it makes a large extent worthless entire program from the F-22. If the country is planning to lead a normal war with a powerful enemy, the fighter in the war itself is a consumable item. So it was in all the wars fought wars where comparable forces opponents. If a fighter is transformed into treasure, whose death became the state disaster, the war can not lead. In other words, it is possible to lead the country against an order of magnitude more feeble. A relatively equal — is unrealistic. It may be recalled that the first programm Advanced Tactical Fighter, which was born out of the F-22, called for the purchase of 750 vehicles, eventually it fell by more than 4 times. In general, strategic bombers B-2 initially intended to purchase 132 and got 21. All for the same reason — because of the exorbitant prices.

In general, neither the F-117 or B-2 not in any way have been established for air combat. The first fighter-"invisible" became the F-22 Raptor («Moonlighting" — the first and currently the only aircraft in the world 5th generation). In this machine, the designers had to cooperate all: invisibility, speed, maneuverability, armament.

General requirements for the fighter to the fifth generation defined like this: low visibility (not only the radar, and infrared, and the presence of passive reconnaissance), supersonic cruising speed, the highest mobility, multi-channel Target and induced their missiles very highest degree of autonomy and automation battle work. Initially considered and demand versatility, in other words the possibility of successfully working prototype by air, land and sea targets, but as the development of the aircraft it has faded into the background. It was also removes the requirement to have the highest landing of property (in other words, the possibility to use small strips).

But we all came out with the maneuverability is very cool, because it began to represent as a panacea. On numerous air shows Su-27 and MiG-29 began to show breathtaking tricks such as "Bells" (the plane in the air outlines the contour of the object, as if hovering in the highest point), and even more spectacular "Cobra" (the plane is not just "gets in the tail" , and "rolls over", the pitch angle between the longitudinal axis of the aircraft and the horizontal plane is 120 degrees). It was undisputed evidence that our planes — most maneuverable in the world, because no machine more (at least the last combat serial) anything similar can not be.

Came to the Yankees masterpiece, at the moment it is difficult to say: F-22 has never been used in combat, and the real aspect is exactly that. But he only TTX highest. "Raptor" is the ESR of 0.1 m. m, for all that his own radar detects aircraft at a range of 300 km and cruise missiles — at a distance of 150 km. Armament (all of it is in the inner compartments) — 6 missiles AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X 2, and 20-millimeter gun. The aircraft can also carry two UAB satellite-guided JDAM, but its main task — to dogfight.

In all of all of this F-22 engine which has a thrust vectoring, zabugornoy became the first machine to achieve, apparently, and maneuvering characteristics comparable to those at the Russian aircraft. According to the last as the summer of 2006, he did so beloved among us "Cobra".

How can become air battle of the future, this will be discussed in the last article in the series.

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