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Stealth 101

Ever since their introduction in the 1980s, stealth aircraft have captured the public’s imagination. Commonly believed to be “invisible” to radar, stealth aircraft have provided the U.S. military with an unmatched advantage since their first use in 1989. These aircraft are beginning to proliferate around the world with Russia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, the UK, France, and the United States all having stealth aircraft programs at various stages of development. To date, the United States is the only nation that has used stealth aircraft in combat and currently operates at least four different stealth platforms: the B-2 Spirit bomber, the F-22 Raptor fighter, the F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter, and the RQ-170 Sentinel UAV. As stealth aircraft are set to represent increasing share of the global combat aircraft inventory, it is vital to understand this technology, its benefits, and its limitations.

 

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