Since the use of the F117 in the first Gulf War in 1991, stealth has been considered the essential characteristic of a combat aircraft, to be able to cope with the modern anti-aircraft defenses of a determined adversary. . And Lieutenant Colonel Zelko's aircraft, shot down by a battery of S-175 missiles (SA-3 in the NATO classification), when it had just opened its ammunition hatch on March 27, 1999 over Serbia, did not didn't change much.
Stealth had become the Holy Grail of aircraft manufacturers and world air force headquarters. From then on, several programs based on this characteristic were developed in the field of combat aircraft such as the American F22 and F35, the Russian Su57 or the Chinese J20, as well as strategic bombers, ranging from the American B2 Spirit and B21 Raider to the future HH -20 Chinese and Russian Pak-DA.
As always, while technologies for reducing the radar equivalent area of an aircraft continued to advance, other teams of researchers developed technologies to counter them and detect these aircraft despite their supposed radar invisibility cloak. Empirical at the beginning, these new counter-stealth technologies now reach levels of reliability making their operational use possible. In 2030, many of them will actually be in service, making the passive stealth used on devices like the F35, the Su57 or the J20, if not obsolete, in any case much less efficient.
Multistatism is based on the physical separation of the radar transmitter and receiver. Indeed, a stealth plane is never really stealthy, and when it approaches below a certain distance from a radar, it ends up being detected. Thus, for the F35A, public data estimates that an A-3 Sentry would be capable of detecting it at a distance of 30 km, while it is capable of detecting a Su-30 or an F-15 beyond 200 km. km.
However, by bringing the radar receiver closer to the target, the detection range with respect to the transmitter is increased, the signal power decreasing with the square of the distance between transmitter and target, as well as between target and receiver. . This technology involves being able to synchronize and make remote transmitters and receivers collaborate, but allows an initial response to be provided based on the use of existing radar technologies, to counter passive stealth. It is also being tested by numerous armed forces around the world, including in Europe.
2025: Low frequency radars
The rest of this article is reserved for subscribers -
Classic subscriptions give access to all Flash articles, Analyzes and Syntheses, without advertising , from €1.99.
Premium subscriptions also provide access to articles over two years old in the archive, as well as advanced research tools , and to publish two press releases or job offers per month for free in the Partners section ( + Push social networks / application).