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Early 'stealth' aircraft

Jemiba

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When I browsed through Alec Brews "Boulton Paul Aircraft", I realised, that one of
the first "stealth" aircraft, wasn't any kind of weird type, but a good old Balliol, covered
with radar absorbing DX3 material. Later a Canberra was modified, too, using the same
coating and IR suppression, but no photos are included in this book.
Probably there were such experiments by other companies, too, during the late 50's ?
 

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GUNDAM123dx

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A rare photograph of the 'Stealth' Canberra WX161 at RAF Selghford while undergoing radar trials with Boulton and Paul. Dave Welch, via Phil Butler
 

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Archibald

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Well the first stealth aircraft was the Mosquito, as its wooden airframe didn't showed on early radars (although I never bought into that story: the Merlins were big metal masses, even if dug into the nacelles)
 

robunos

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I thought the first 'Stealth' aeroplanes were the various Great War Types that were covered in transparent 'Cellon' . . .


cheers,
Robin.
 

yasotay

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GUNDAM123dx said:
A rare photograph of the 'Stealth' Canberra WX161 at RAF Selghford while undergoing radar trials with Boulton and Paul. Dave Welch, via Phil Butler

More please...
 

Rickshaw

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Archibald said:
Well the first stealth aircraft was the Mosquito, as its wooden airframe didn't showed on early radars (although I never bought into that story: the Merlins were big metal masses, even if dug into the nacelles)

I'd have thought that the spinning propellers were much more of a large radar signature than anything else, from head on (and more than likely all other directions as well).
 

Jemiba

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robunos said:
I thought the first 'Stealth' aeroplanes were the various Great War Types that were covered in transparent 'Cellon' . . .

Well, it depends on definition, of course. At least today, "stealth" mainly means hiding something from radar, or other
means of detection other, than the human senses. For the latter, the word "camouflage" is more common, I think.

About the spinning prop, I don't think, that the Balliol in this guise was meant as a "stealthy aircraft" in itself, but for
testing the strength of the radar echoes of that machine, compared to a standard one.
 

Zoo Tycoon

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A few years back a number of pictures appeared in Flypast showing a twin engined Halifax. This was a four engined airframe whereby the two outers engines had been removed complete with pylons, necelles and the wing skin replaced to a flghtworthy standard. The article advised that it was modified late in WW2, where the aircraft location was and that it had flown trials in that condition, but the nature of the trials was not known. Also the aircraft serial number was either not known or had no officially record of such a modification;- can’t remember which.

I remember thinking at the time if this was done to quantify the difference in radar reflection between a twin and a quad engined aircraft. It’s a relatively simple engineering task which would yield high quality experimental data, critical for aircraft detection technology and thus would be kept very secret.
 

Dynoman

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Attempts by Fokker and other German-Axis manufacturers during WWI experimented with cellon acetate coverings to reduce visibility.
 

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Dynoman

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Although not produced the German Horten Ho 229 V3 was to incorporate charcoal mixed into an adhesive that was to be used in the plywood construction of the aircraft. The thought was that the charcoal would attenuate the electromagnetic energy of the Allies radar. Air and Space magazine carried an article on it.
 

Rickshaw

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Jemiba said:
About the spinning prop, I don't think, that the Balliol in this guise was meant as a "stealthy aircraft" in itself, but for
testing the strength of the radar echoes of that machine, compared to a standard one.

I cannot see how they overcame the problem of the spinning propeller and it's radar return...
 

CJGibson

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Perhaps they compared the before and after signatures?

Any joy on this twin-engined Halifax? I have nowt, but that's no surprise.

Chris
 

Rickshaw

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Zootycoon said:
A few years back a number of pictures appeared in Flypast showing a twin engined Halifax. This was a four engined airframe whereby the two outers engines had been removed complete with pylons, necelles and the wing skin replaced to a flghtworthy standard. The article advised that it was modified late in WW2, where the aircraft location was and that it had flown trials in that condition, but the nature of the trials was not known. Also the aircraft serial number was either not known or had no officially record of such a modification;- can’t remember which.

I remember thinking at the time if this was done to quantify the difference in radar reflection between a twin and a quad engined aircraft. It’s a relatively simple engineering task which would yield high quality experimental data, critical for aircraft detection technology and thus would be kept very secret.

The Halifax was originally designed as a twin-engined aircraft, the H.P.56, just as the Lancaster started out as the twin-engined Manchester. However, Air Ministry dropped the idea of two engines earlier than Avro and created the Halifax four engined bomber because they didn't believe that two engines would be powerful enough to carry the bomber to Germany and back. It was originally powered by Merlins but later marks used Hercules. Are you sure you're not talking about a H.P.56?

I cannot see a twin-engined Halifax powered by either Merlins or Hercules engines getting off the ground with anything like a full bomb load, let alone being lightly loaded for experimental purposes.
 

Hood

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I seem to have a vague recollection of reading something regarding a twin-engined Halifax for tests but I can't remember where I saw it (not Flypast).
 

yellowaster

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GUNDAM123dx said:
A rare photograph of the 'Stealth' Canberra WX161 at RAF Selghford while undergoing radar trials with Boulton and Paul. Dave Welch, via Phil Butler

It's WK161. Covered with DX.3 X-band absorbent tiles by Boulton Paul in 1957 (as a follow-up to the Balliol) and mostly flown on behalf of RAE Radio Dept up until 1963. The elongated and bulged jet-pipes were designed to mitigate radar reflections from the engine turbine disks. Apparently known as the "Rubber Duck" on account of the rubber composition of DX.3.
 

CJGibson

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WK161 is described, with photos and diagrams, in Black Box Canberras.

See here:

http://www.crecy.co.uk/black-box-canberras

Chris
 

Zoo Tycoon

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The Halifax twin- Definitely the pics I saw were in Flypast, and it’s a late production model with engines removed.

I’m sure I have the back issue but it’ll take a while for me to find it.

I agree no good for hauling bombs, or at light weight, it’s not going have a range of more than a hundred miles but powerful enough to get airborne. Hence why do something like this at a time when one these was in great demand?
 

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