The Science of Stealth
The most classified technology in a stealthy airplane is its skin.
- By Roger A. Mola
- Air & Space magazine, September 2013
Although some features of the SR-71 Blackbird were designed to reduce its radar cross section—smoothing the sides of the fuselage into chines and canting the vertical stabilizers inward—it cannot be considered a stealthy aircraft. It did employ a type of RAM, known as “iron ball,” containing molecules of carbonyl iron ferrite.
Although the composition of coatings on stealth aircraft flying today is classified, the B-2 Spirit bomber, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter have skins that are complex and costly variations on the formulas, materials, and application techniques designed generations ago for the SR-71 Blackbird.