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AlfaSigma February 23rd, 2012 03:46 PM

Plasma Stealth
 
I'm surprised that there isn't more talk about plasma stealth. Based on what I've read it's about ionizing air in between the aircraft and the radar which can be done by RF emitters. EM radiation supposedly is absorbed by the layer. If this technology really works as some say it is a most important development. For example it could allow at least some degree of LO without recourse to expensive or delicate coating or to ultra high precision machining/matching of aircraft structures.

Am I missing something?

StobieWan February 23rd, 2012 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlfaSigma (Post 239978)
I'm surprised that there isn't more talk about plasma stealth. Based on what I've read it's about ionizing air in between the aircraft and the radar which can be done by RF emitters. EM radiation supposedly is absorbed by the layer. If this technology really works as some say it is a most important development. For example it could allow at least some degree of LO without recourse to expensive or delicate coating or to ultra high precision machining/matching of aircraft structures.

Am I missing something?

It'd be a two way thing - you'd be flying deaf and blind.

I've heard it talked about constantly with reference to various Russian systems but they're very visibly pursuing a fairly standard path of RCS reduction, which in itself should tell you all you need to know.

Todjaeger February 23rd, 2012 11:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by StobieWan (Post 239996)
It'd be a two way thing - you'd be flying deaf and blind.

I've heard it talked about constantly with reference to various Russian systems but they're very visibly pursuing a fairly standard path of RCS reduction, which in itself should tell you all you need to know.

It is also worth noting the issues some of the hypersonic systems are having with respect to guidance and telemetry. Due to the high speeds and the interaction with and effect hypersonics have on the atmosphere around them, a 'plasma stealth' field basically gets generated around the vehicle. As a result the test vehicles have apparently been getting blinded and the monitoring systems have been losing comms and telemetry links, which has been causing merry havoc in testing.

-Cheers

ngatimozart February 24th, 2012 02:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Todjaeger (Post 240021)
It is also worth noting the issues some of the hypersonic systems are having with respect to guidance and telemetry. Due to the high speeds and the interaction with and effect hypersonics have on the atmosphere around them, a 'plasma stealth' field basically gets generated around the vehicle. As a result the test vehicles have apparently been getting blinded and the monitoring systems have been losing comms and telemetry links, which has been causing merry havoc in testing.

-Cheers

Does this 'plasma stealth' effect operate right across the EM field? I was just wondering because of the blind and deaf comment. Visible light is at a extremely high frequency (400 - 789 THz) and at the extremely short wavelength (380 - 750 nanometres). This would be LOS but would it be possible to use lasers as the medium to pass sensor and control data through the effect?

AlfaSigma February 25th, 2012 10:15 AM

Ok about the self blinding but even used intermittently, directionally and in conjunction with other techniques it would be a great advantage. Breaking the contact and moving is all you need to survive. Network many platforms and you have a formation that while moving, intermittently hide, sense, communicate and fire. How do you defend against that?

Also not for every system, blindness would be a limitation. Ballistic and inertially guided terminal systems don't present an obvious and essential need to sense or communicate.

Another thing that comes to mind is that this technology gives the advantage to the offense over the defence. As such it is destabilizing.

If it works to any decent degree plasma stealth is a major thing. Probably the reasons why it's not talked about much are the newness and its high importance.

Bonza February 25th, 2012 06:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlfaSigma (Post 240130)
If it works to any decent degree plasma stealth is a major thing. Probably the reasons why it's not talked about much are the newness and its high importance.

Actually I think the "if it works" part is probably one of the more significant reasons, because I haven't seen anything to indicate it actually does work, at least not in the manner referred to as a system for enhancing an aircraft's LO properties. There's obviously some significant practical issues with creating a buffer zone of ionised air around an aircraft moving at hundreds, or perhaps thousands, or kilometres per hour.

And the idea anyway is not entirely new, do some googling, it's been talked about for some time. Personally I think it's more the practical issues that mean it's not frequently discussed around here, or when it is, is greeted with some skepticism.

gf0012-aust February 25th, 2012 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonza (Post 240147)
There's obviously some significant practical issues with creating a buffer zone of ionised air around an aircraft moving at hundreds, or perhaps thousands, or kilometres per hour.

And the idea anyway is not entirely new, do some googling, it's been talked about for some time. Personally I think it's more the practical issues that mean it's not frequently discussed around here, or when it is, is greeted with some skepticism.

.... and maintaining comms while said plasma bubble is generating....

AlfaSigma February 26th, 2012 10:10 PM

I assume the Russian system creates a zone of ionization some distance away from the platform and in a specific direction based on the fact that the RF emitter takes up a very small area on the aircraft's skin. In this case the comms limitations would subsist only in that direction and I don't see how its operation would be affected by aircraft speed.
Those problems would present themselves in other approaches, like for example attempts to manage the field that naturally occurs at hypersonic speed or to create one that wraps close around the airframe.

In any case if the field can be turned on and off at will, the technical level limitation of a platform to comms and sensing in RF could be overcome at the operational level by having many platforms integrated alternating functions.

gf0012-aust February 27th, 2012 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlfaSigma (Post 240241)
I assume the Russian system creates a zone of ionization some distance away from the platform and in a specific direction based on the fact that the RF emitter takes up a very small area on the aircraft's skin. In this case the comms limitations would subsist only in that direction and I don't see how its operation would be affected by aircraft speed.
Those problems would present themselves in other approaches, like for example attempts to manage the field that naturally occurs at hypersonic speed or to create one that wraps close around the airframe.

In any case if the field can be turned on and off at will, the technical level limitation of a platform to comms and sensing in RF could be overcome at the operational level by having many platforms integrated alternating functions.

the comms issues are not about how fast the plane is travelling

any ionisation forward of the skin does not create a "standoff delta" where you can magically transmit through that delta vacuum.

PhysicsMan February 27th, 2012 01:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ngatimozart (Post 240039)
Does this 'plasma stealth' effect operate right across the EM field? I was just wondering because of the blind and deaf comment. Visible light is at a extremely high frequency (400 - 789 THz) and at the extremely short wavelength (380 - 750 nanometres). This would be LOS but would it be possible to use lasers as the medium to pass sensor and control data through the effect?

It does not operate in the whole spectrum, just the part that excites the plasma. It happens to be the range in which the targeting radars work. The energy plasma responds to can be tuned (within the same wavelength range, pretty much) by changing the plasma constituents (=source gases).

PhysicsMan February 27th, 2012 01:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonza (Post 240147)
Actually I think the "if it works" part is probably one of the more significant reasons, because I haven't seen anything to indicate it actually does work, at least not in the manner referred to as a system for enhancing an aircraft's LO properties. There's obviously some significant practical issues with creating a buffer zone of ionised air around an aircraft moving at hundreds, or perhaps thousands, or kilometres per hour.

And the idea anyway is not entirely new, do some googling, it's been talked about for some time. Personally I think it's more the practical issues that mean it's not frequently discussed around here, or when it is, is greeted with some skepticism.

It works, no doubt about that. As you said, practical issues...
Also, it's a misconception that the plasma would be created from the surrounding air. It most likely will not be the case. There's no need to rely on the unpredictable air around. Besides, they will want to tune the plasma to the wavelengths of their choice, so they will use on-board gases instead, with the exact properties they want.

PhysicsMan February 27th, 2012 02:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gf0012-aust (Post 240252)
the comms issues are not about how fast the plane is travelling

any ionisation forward of the skin does not create a "standoff delta" where you can magically transmit through that delta vacuum.

Plasma boundaries are fairly precisely confined, so it shouldn't be a problem to devote a plasma-free area on the plane's surface for the transmission.

gf0012-aust February 27th, 2012 03:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PhysicsMan (Post 240260)
Plasma boundaries are fairly precisely confined, so it shouldn't be a problem to devote a plasma-free area on the plane's surface for the transmission.

if you create a comms friendly pocket on the boundary then any half decent spectrum interrogation process will probe and find.

you don't need much to detect a spike in the boundary. there's been a fairly solid review and remapping of affected spectrum in the last few years. hard to hide and not difficult to trace anomalies - esp with some of the smart AI developed in recent years that probes those waveforms.

AlfaSigma February 27th, 2012 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gf0012-aust (Post 240252)
the comms issues are not about how fast the plane is travelling

any ionisation forward of the skin does not create a "standoff delta" where you can magically transmit through that delta vacuum.

We are not understanding each other.

Does anybody know how the Russian system actually operates?

PhysicsMan February 27th, 2012 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gf0012-aust (Post 240263)
if you create a comms friendly pocket on the boundary then any half decent spectrum interrogation process will probe and find.

you don't need much to detect a spike in the boundary. there's been a fairly solid review and remapping of affected spectrum in the last few years. hard to hide and not difficult to trace anomalies - esp with some of the smart AI developed in recent years that probes those waveforms.

In that case it will be challenging to resolve the comms issue. The plasma can't be turned on-off very quickly so that they could send a signal out in a fraction of a millisecond and have it back on immediately. A possible solution is to use a different EM spectrum range that doesn't get absorbed (longer wavelengths).


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