• Stealth, or the ability to reduce one’s detectability by radar, has become a key aspect of aircraft design.
  • Stealth involves carefully designing an aircraft to minimize the effectiveness of enemy radar.
  • Brought to its logical conclusion, stealth can result in some unusual aircraft, such as the F-117A Nighthawk and the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

In the back-and-forth struggle to survive in the air, one of the most important features a warplane can have is a reduced radar cross-section, or stealth. In a world where detection is a matter of life and death, stealth is now a must-have feature for fighters and bombers.

Here, we break down how stealth works, and how air forces use it to defeat enemies—both in the air and on the ground.

Integrated Air Defenses

Starting in the 1960s, the combination of ground-based radar, surface-to-air missiles such as this North Vietnamese SA-2 Guideline, and centralized command-and-control proved