How to be a Master of Disguise in 3 Steps
Want to be a master of disguise? Discover how our technology is helping the men and women of the armed forces master the art of disguise to escape enemy detection.
When it comes to national security, the art of disguise is an important skill to master, and technology is taking that skill to a whole new level.
To learn the tricks of the trade, check out how Lockheed Martin is developing advanced systems to make warfighters virtually undetectable.
1. BUILD A COMPREHENSIVE DISGUISE
In order to give the F-35 fighter jet its hide and seek powers, engineers integrated stealth performance into every aspect of the jet’s design.
With the F-35, stealth is not a single component. The airframe shape, the systems and sensors, the manufacturing process – all of these factors contribute to the fighter jet’s unique stealth capability.
Two ways the F-35 team helps the jet maintain its low observability include:
- The fighter jet is shaped so any radar signals it reflects are directed away from the transmitting radars—similar to a slanted mirror.
- The fighter jet is equipped with radar-absorbing materials, and its surface is blended and smoothed, enabling radar energy to smoothly flow across it—similar to water flowing across a smooth surface.
2. HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT
It’s not always about hiding, it’s about detecting threats.
The F-35 is designed to identify and track targets with its Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). As a passive sensor, EOTS can be used without emitting radar – allowing the F-35 to maintain its stealthy profile.
EOTS ensures that F-35 pilots stay ahead of threats, detecting airborne and ground targets day and night.
At the same time, sea-based electronic warfare systems are protecting ships from threats you can see, like enemy aircraft, and threats you can’t see, like modern guided cruise missiles. Lockheed Martin is partnering with the Navy to add and upgrade capabilities through the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program.
3. USE DECOYS TO SKIRT DETECTION
Take a hint from cuttlefish—when danger looms, the animal uses its ink to create confusion and allow it to quickly jet away from predators.
Lockheed Martin developed a similar self-defense mechanism with a decoy system deployed on multiple ship classes, including the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship. The Automated Launch of Expendables system (ALEX) is designed to distract and confuse opposing forces.
ALEX helps automate the process of gathering information, determining which decoy to launch and deploying the decoy to cloud adversaries’ ability to strike. Decoys include radio frequency, infrared and anti-torpedo capabilities, depending on the scenario:
- Radio Frequency Expendable Decoys emit or reflect radio waves, which are then picked up by an adversary’s radar. The decoy can help project a larger presence or project a different location of the ship.
- Infrared Expendable Decoys emit heat into the atmosphere which can be tracked by the opposing forces’ missiles. The decoy is able to project heat away from the ship, to increase the likelihood a missile misses its target.
- Anti-Torpedo Expendable Decoys create acoustic sound waves under the sea to attract enemy torpedoes, while keeping sailors and ships safe.
These systems and technologies are helping to protect U.S. and allied forces from evolving threats, and stand as a necessary part of any military platform’s self-defense.
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