Stealth Plasma could trigger a 75-year air defense strategy

In our history of October 19, 2021 for Russian hypersonic missile “Zircon”., we quoted Kremlin Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov as saying, “We have made progress, in particular, in the field of hypersonic weapons and (those) based on new physical principles.”

It now turns out that these “new physical principles” may not be so new after all, but rather date back to 1999 and are related to plasma stealth. Plasma stealth is the use of ionized gas, or plasmato reduce radar cross section (RCS) of an object, such as an airplane.

As described, hypersonic vehicles or weapons fly so fast that the air in front of them forms a plasma cloud that absorbs or interferes with radar waves, making the object virtually invisible to radar systems.

What is plasma?

Plasma is often called the fourth basic state of matter, along with solid, liquid and gas. Plasma is matter in which one or more orbital electrons are detached from atoms to form an ionized gas.

Plasma is the most common form of ordinary matter in our universe, and by “ordinary” we mean that we do not include dark matter or dark energy. Plasma is what makes up the stars, including our Sun, and two examples of plasmas used in our daily lives are neon signs and plasma TVs.

Plasma can be created by heating a neutral gas or by subjecting a gas to a strong electromagnetic field. The presence of freely charged particles in the plasma makes it electrically conductive and reacts to externally applied electromagnetic fields.

A-12 reconnaissance aircraft. Source: USAF / Wikimedia Commons

Plasma has been shown to interfere with radar waves, reducing the radar cross section (RCS) of the aircraft. Known as plasma stealth, the technology to use this was first proposed in 1956 by a General Electric engineer named Arnold Eldridge. In the 1960s, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded a project to reduce the RCS of US reconnaissance aircraft, in particular the Lockheed A-12, which is believed to be uses a fuel additive containing cesium to significantly reduce the engine ‘s radar signal, and electron beam to generate a cloud of ionization in front of the air intakes to hide his entire back of the radar waves. The system has been tested but never put into operation.

What is radar?

Long range radar
Long-range radar used to track space objects and ballistic missiles. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Radar, which means Outsideit gave eexecution and Рanging, is a detection system that consists of a transmitter that produces electromagnetic waves in the spectrum of radio or microwaves, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna, a receiver and a processor. Radio waves, which can be either pulsed or continuous, are reflected by an object and then returned to the receiver, and the bi-directional travel time, strength, and Doppler displacement of the reflected signal provide information about the range, size, and size of the target. speed.

How the radar works
How the radar works. Source: Smithsonian Institution

The first radar units were developed in great secrecy by several nations just before and during World War II. A key development was the invention of the cavity magnetron in the United Kingdom, which allowed the creation of relatively small systems with a resolution of less than a meter. A cavity magnetron is a high-power vacuum tube capable of generating microwaves by the interaction of a stream of electrons with a magnetic field as it moves along a series of small, open cavities.

Radar is used to detect planes, ships at sea, spacecraft, rockets, meteorological formations, terrain and even cars on the roads. If you have ever passed a police officer stopped on the side of the road directing radar in the opposite direction, you have experienced the use of radar. The planes have a radar system called TCAS, which means TTraffic signal and ° Colizia Aemptiness Csystem to help them avoid collisions in the air. However, there is a loophole in the ability of all radars to detect objects and that is plasma.

Winning radar

IN National Aviation Center for Reporting Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) reports an incident that occurred on the evening of March 19, 2020, when two FedEx pilots were flying a Boeing 767 cargo plane 37,000 feet north over Monterey, Mexico. Suddenly a bright object fell from the sky above them, then stayed in step with them for more than 30 minutes, soaring between 1,000 and 2,000 feet (305 – 610 m) from the top of their wings.

Grabbing a video camera, the captain recorded the meeting, which showed a bright object shrouded in a shining and pulsating plasma cloud. What the captain did next was the most interesting thing, he tilted the camcorder down to show his radar screen, which, although the subject was clearly visible through the windshield of the plane, showed no signs of the radar object. .

TCAS aircraft screen
TCAS aircraft screen. Source: Jemr69 / Wikimedia Commons

NARCAP Director Ted Rowe he said The Daily Mail that the meeting “… confirmed what I was talking about all the time, which is that UAP [Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon] are periodically detected on the radar. He turned on his camera on his radar monitor and there was no detection. ”

In January 1999, the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS published an interview with Anatoly Koroteev, who was director of the Russian Research Institute of Thermal Processes, now called Keldish Research Center. In the interview, Koroteev described a plasma stealth device that was developed by his organization.

In its June 2002 edition, the then name Electronic Security Magazine reported that “plasma cloud generation technology for stealth applications” developed in Russia has reduced the aircraft’s RCS by a factor of 100 and that it has been tested on a Su-27IB fighter-bomber.

Now known as IN Journal of Electromagnetic Dominance, this magazine is published monthly and covers the development of electronic warfare, signal intelligence, electronic intelligence and communication intelligence. Posted by The Association of Old Crows, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is an international nonprofit professional organization specializing in electronic warfare and tactical information.

The name “Old Crows” comes from the use of electronic warfare to disrupt Axis communications and radars during World War II. Allied equipment operators were known as “Ravens”, which over time changed to “Grani” and then to “Old Crows”.

Using stealth plasma

When an electromagnetic wave encounters plasma, the wave imparts energy to the ions and electrons in the plasma. Part of the energy of this wave will be returned to the wave by the particles, and part of it will become heat. If the plasma absorbs all the energy of the incoming radar wave, it will reduce the RCS of the object to all levels except undetectable, and will make this object almost completely invisible to radar.

Difficulties arise because radar waves have widely different frequencies. It’s a lotlighter aircraft have attack and reconnaissance radars operating in the 8.5-11 GHz and 13-18 GHz bands; short wavelengths in the 2.7-10.5 GHz band are widely used for surface search, low-flying target detection and ship piloting; while over-the-horizon radars can operate in the HF band (3-30 MHz) and space surveillance and early warning radars operate in the VHF and UHF bands.

Due to the different frequencies of the radar waves used, the plasma must be variable in terms of its density, temperature and magnetic field.

Another difficulty is the amount of electricity needed to produce plasma large enough to surround an entire aircraft. A more economical solution is to surround only the most radar-reflecting surfaces of the aircraft, such as turbojet fan blades, engine air intakes, vertical stabilizers and the aircraft’s own radar antenna.

In early 2010, aircraft manufacturer Boeing filed a number of patents related to plasma stealth. These include an electric pulse airflow control system, a plasma-generating device used to generate plasma flow at the rear edge of the aircraft that can change its RCS, a plasma propulsion system used to camouflage the open space of the aircraft. fighter, plasma-activated cascade grille for use on the rotor blade and airflow control system on the surface of the wing with a pulse discharge.

Whether or not plasma stealth is the “new physics” that the Russians describe, the fact is that the systems we have relied on for more than half a century to keep our skies safe will have to change and evolve.

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