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(USAF / John Rossino)

The Science of Stealth

The most classified technology in a stealthy airplane is its skin.

Redirecting Radar Contact

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(Lockheed Martin)

The Lockheed Martin F-35 has the most advanced stealth coating yet developed; it is more durable than that of previous generations. (The new coating is now being applied to F-22 Raptor airframes.) Like most stealth aircraft, the F-35 embeds within its airframe detectable energy sources such as radio antennas and carries inside radar-bright equipment like bombs. F-35’s skin sections are joined in sawtooth or “W” patterns rather than straight lines, to redirect a radar contact. Because of its “cleaner” shape, the prototype X-35 was stealthier than the production aircraft.

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