STAR TREK BOMBER
The B-2 Spirit, a US stealth bomber. The B-21 will be even more stealthy
THE United States Department of Defense is planning to introduce Star Trek-style ‘invisible’ planes that cannot be detected by radar, a detection system that uses radio waves.
American engineers have been asked to come up with bat-shaped bombers and refuelling aircraft that can ‘cloak’ themselves to escape enemy radar, just like Romulan and Klingon alien spaceships in the sci-fi series, Star
Trek. The alien races in the TV show developed a powerful energy screen that could make their spacecraft invisible to sensors.
What seemed like science fiction may now become science reality, as the new generation of bat-shaped B-21 bombers are being developed at a US Air Force base in the Californian desert. Around 100 of the bombers will be built at a cost of $550 million (£413 million) each.
The Russians are leading the way with invisible aircraft. Their aircraft can vanish from radar, and their air force use super-sensitive radars that have a range of up to 340 miles (547km). Earlier this year, the first Russian stealth fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57 – nicknamed Ghost – was unveiled.
So how will the B-21 planes become ‘invisible’? The trick is to fool radar detectors into thinking the plane is not there, or is in a completely different, false location. To do this, American scientists are working on a highly advanced material for the frame of the B-21 bombers that can absorb radio waves. They also want to introduce a cooling system that would reduce the plane’s heat, helping it avoid detection by heat sensors.
A Klingon from Star Trek