Chinese Scientists Develop Plasma Invisible Cloak for Military Aircraft

Scientists and engineers from Western China have developed a plasma stealth technology that is simple in structure but capable of making almost any military aircraft invisible to radars. Unlike previous developments that created a plasma cloud around the aircraft, this innovation can be adapted to protect sensitive sections of a military aircraft, such as radar equipment, cabins, and other zones that are most often detected by enemy radars.

The system can be activated at any time to mislead radar operators. Plasma can change the frequency of reflected signals, forcing enemy radar to record incorrect data on the position and speed of the aircraft and receive false signals. It can also act as an invisible “shield” against powerful microwave weapons.

Scientist Tan Chang, working on the project, emphasized in a published article on SCMP that the new technology has several advantages such as a simple design, an adjustable power range, and high plasma density. Tan and his colleagues from the Center for Plasma Technologies of the Sian Institute of Aerospace Movement suggest that this technology can soon be applied to various military aircraft to meet China’s growing needs in advanced military potential.

Plasma, consisting of electrically charged particles, when interacting with electromagnetic waves – for example, radar radiation – forces ionized particles to move accelerated and collide. This causes the energy of the waves to disperse, resulting in a decrease in the power of the reflected signal.

Current stealth aircraft, such as the F-22 and F-35, rely on radio-absorbing coatings and special geometry, which can reduce their aerodynamic characteristics and increase costs. For example, the F-22 has difficulties in close combat, while the F-35 struggles to maintain supersonic cruising speeds.

The Tan team tested two types of devices. One creates a plasma layer using a radioactive isotope that radiates high-energy rays to ionize the surrounding air, creating a thick and dense plasma layer that disperses radar signals. Another device uses high-frequency, high-voltage electricity to activate and ionize the gas environment outside the aircraft, creating a plasma region. Both methods have successfully passed flight tests.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.