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"Stealth: The Secret Contest to Invent Invisible Aircraft" by Peter Westwick

overscan

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The story behind the technology that revolutionized both aeronautics, and the course of history

On a moonless night in January 1991, a dozen airplanes appeared in the skies over Baghdad. Or, rather, didn't appear. They arrived in the dark, their black outlines cloaking them from sight. More importantly, their odd, angular shapes, which made them look like flying origami, rendered them undetectable to Iraq's formidable air defenses. Stealth technology, developed during the decades before Desert Storm, had arrived. To American planners and strategists at the outset of the Cold War, this seemingly ultimate way to gain ascendance over the USSR was only a question. What if the United States could defend its airspace while at the same time send a plane through Soviet skies undetected? A craft with such capacity would have to be essentially invisible to radar - an apparently miraculous feat of physics and engineering. In Stealth, Peter Westwick unveils the process by which the impossible was achieved.

At heart, Stealth is a tale of two aerospace companies, Lockheed and Northrop, and their fierce competition - with each other and with themselves - to obtain what was estimated one of the largest procurement contracts in history. Westwick's book fully explores the individual and collective ingenuity and determination required to make these planes and in the process provides a fresh view of the period leading up to the end of the Soviet Union. Taking into account the role of technology, as well as the art and science of physics and engineering, Westwick offers an engaging narrative, one that immerses readers in the race to produce a weapon that some thought might save the world, and which certainly changed it.
 

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Silencer1

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I wonder if the book contains any illustrations...
Is it possible to reproduce invisible aircraft on pictures? :cool:
 

FighterJock

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Looks like it is going to be an interesting book. Going to be a long time to wait however.
 

edwest

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A rather dramatic write-up. A review of early flying wings built by Northrop shows the difficulty of picking them up on radar. I suggest getting a copy of Jack Northrop and the Flying Wing - The Real Story behind the Stealth Bomber by Ted Coleman with Robert Wenkam. Mr. Coleman was a close associate of Northrop's at the company.
 

Vahe Demirjian

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A rather dramatic write-up. A review of early flying wings built by Northrop shows the difficulty of picking them up on radar. I suggest getting a copy of Jack Northrop and the Flying Wing - The Real Story behind the Stealth Bomber by Ted Coleman with Robert Wenkam. Mr. Coleman was a close associate of Northrop's at the company.
I'm not really convinced that the B-35 and B-49 would have invincible on radar had they gone into production. Also bear in mind that the SR-71, with its chines, could easily escape detection by enemy radar at high altitude, something the U-2 couldn't do. We'll see if this book mentions the SR-71, because most popular and semi-technical books consider the F-117 the first stealth aircraft.
 

elmayerle

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Be interesting to see how far they trace the history of each company's interest in low-observables. I've heard, from the then-Northrop Historian (Dr. Ira Chart) that Northrop's first real interest in low-observables came about from the difficulty in tracking Snark missiles in flight.
 

overscan

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He's a historian rather than an aviation author, so might focus more on people and politics rather than technical details. We'll have to see.
 

overscan

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A rather dramatic write-up. A review of early flying wings built by Northrop shows the difficulty of picking them up on radar. I suggest getting a copy of Jack Northrop and the Flying Wing - The Real Story behind the Stealth Bomber by Ted Coleman with Robert Wenkam. Mr. Coleman was a close associate of Northrop's at the company.
I'm not really convinced that the B-35 and B-49 would have invincible on radar had they gone into production. Also bear in mind that the SR-71, with its chines, could easily escape detection by enemy radar at high altitude, something the U-2 couldn't do. We'll see if this book mentions the SR-71, because most popular and semi-technical books consider the F-117 the first stealth aircraft.
No-one has ever suggested the B-35/B-49 were invisible to radar. They were harder to spot than the B-36 / B-47 on radar, with a lower detection range, but not operationally significant enough to make a difference.
 
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