When engineers began working on the first stealth aircraft, they didn’t even know if it would fly. Sharon Weinberger, the author of the book “The Imagineers of War,” explains the incredible process that went into the designing the first stealth aircraft.
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Following is a transcript of the video:
So there’s different ways of creating stealth aircraft.
The very first one that DARPA funded, the “Have Blue” prototype, which was built by Lockheed Skunk Works division.
It basically used faceted panels, basically, they said let’s not worry about aeronautic design. Usually, you build a plane that will fly, and yes this plane had to fly, but they said suppose we build a plane where the main consideration was creating a shape that was as undetectable to radar as you could make it — and yet still have it fly.
So what they found at the time were faceted panels that basically deflected the radar energy away, and that’s why originally the “Have Blue” was called the Hopeless Diamond because it didn’t look anything like an airplane that could actually fly. It was very, very sort of bizarre looking in its initial incarnation.
This eventually became the F-117 and then led to a series of aircraft including the modern Joint Strike Fighter which is a stealth aircraft. Now stealth technology has gone off in different directions. There was of course also the stealth helicopters that were used in the raid on Abbottabad that ended in the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
Sort of the series of stealth aircraft that you see today can all be traced back to the DARPA program.