Radar Absorbent Materials: Levelling up the game of Stealth Aircraft
Overview of Radar Absorbent Materials
The constant technological advancements in communication and electronics have raised the application of radar-absorbing materials, especially in aircraft. The radar-absorbing material absorbs incident radiation as effectively as possible to lower the results of reflected RF radiation. Therefore, this material is highly used in aircraft. According to MarkNtel Advisor’s report, “Global Radar Absorbent Material Market Forecast (2022-2027)”, RAM is highly being used, resulting in increasing demands due to several countries’ concerns to strengthen their defense systems, leading to stronger national security by increasing procurement of modern aircraft.” Radar absorbent materials and structures are basically designed to absorb radar waves and convert them to heat. Since the radar waves are not returned and get absorbed, it provides a reduced signature of detection.
Major Application: Vehicle Disguise in Stealth Technology
RAM or Radar Absorbent Materials is majorly used in stealth technology by disguising a vehicle or structure from radar detection. Stealth technology, also called LO technology (low observable technology), is one of the sub-disciplines in military tactics and passive electronic countermeasures. It covers several methods and technologies to make aircraft, personnel, ships, submarines, missiles, and satellites less visible, aiming to make them invisible to techniques like radar, infrared, sonar, and other detection methods. Imagine a big vehicle, an aircraft. Let’s say its position and presence are easily detectable through radar. To understand this, you must first refresh how radar works!
How Radar Absorbent Materials Works
RADAR stands for Radio Detection and Ranging. It functions by sending out electromagnetic waves similar to, let’s say, the waves of your wireless computer networks and mobile phones. The signals are then sent out in short pulses, which may be reflected by objects found through the radar. When these signals hit the object, they get reflected and scattered back to the radar. It is similar to an echo; when you shout into a hill, the sound waves reflect, and you hear a similar sound.
similarly, the radar works in identifying objects and can calculate the source of echo or reflection through its position. Radar is one of the most common methods for detecting and tracking aircraft; that’s why to protect the location of the aircraft and complete military operations unnoticed and escape from the territory unrecognized, the application of RAM and further stealth technology is implied.
What Radar Absorbent Materials Does
Absorbing the Radar wave makes the aircraft undetectable in the eyes of the radar. When the radar receives no reflection of its sent signal, it does not recognize the presence of an aircraft and moves to a different location or position. RAM can surely lessen the reflected signal’s strength but cannot completely absorb the frequency. The material’s ability to absorb the given frequency of the radar wave depends upon its composition and elements. RAM cannot always perfectly absorb the different frequencies of radar, but it has greater frequency than other materials. Jaumann absorber layer is one of the most utilized types of radar absorbent material, first introduced in 1943.
It is a resonant absorber comprising two spaces, a reflective space and a ground plane, and works depending upon the spacing between the first reflective surface and the ground plane. After advanced technological modifications, some Jaumann absorbent materials use a series of dielectric surfaces separating conductive sheets.
From Aircraft to Military Drones
The military demand for lightweight, efficient technology to effectively strengthen security, spy, and do other tasks has welcomed the integration of military drones into protective services. Modifications in RAM and developments towards making it more lightweight to complement the small machinery of the drones showcase the applications, advantages, and flexible features of absorbent material application. Recently, the University of Michigan has been researching the working of carbon nanotubes as stealth technology for a
ircraft; thus, there is far greater scope for new development in radar-absorbent materials.
To Bring Things Together
Every country’s common yet individual goal is to strengthen its military and indulge in further research and developments in stealth technology and RAM components, opening avenues for further wonder and advancement in the already terrific technology of Radar absorbent materials. Moreover, the possible application of the different types of RAMs in differently shaped vehicles has already favored the military industry.