Stealth Is Still the Critical Secret Sauce for Combat Aircraft
“Stealth” technology hasn’t been rendered obsolete by new radars and detection methods, and has, if anything, become even more of a critical design consideration for future combat aircraft, according to stealth veterans and experts at an AFA Mitchell Institute program at the US Capitol Wednesday.
Presenting a new report, “Survivability in the Digital Age: The Imperative for Stealth,” authors retired Maj. Gen. Mark Barrett (AFA’s former executive vice president) and retired Col. Mace Carpenter (a senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute) said stealth designs continue to be a relatively low-cost factor in new aircraft design, and are crucial not only to the survival of individual aircraft but in making a smaller force possible.
Without stealth, Barrett said, armadas of support and escort aircraft would be a required part of a strike package against targets protected by modern air defenses. But with modern stealth—as embodied in the F-22, F-35, B-2, and new B-21 bomber—those same missions can be flown with far fewer aircraft.