A new spray-on ceramic which claims to be "harder than sand" and provides more coverage for stealth airplanes and bombers have been created. Compared to the older coating, it has more improvements, reported the Daily Mail.
Stealth jets' coating is better than ever
The North Carolina University made the material to resolve the limits of normal polymer skins that tear off aircraft skin and expose the aircraft to enemy radar scans.
Although the technology is not yet perfected, lab testing has shown that the new material can absorb more than 90 percent of the radar compared to 80 percent of its current materials used.
If applied to the F-22 with its paint peeling off, keeping its stealthiness becomes a concern.
Most traditional materials are rather brittle, and aircraft engineers build fighter planes with an additional layer of protection that usually slows it down unnecessarily when speeding up.
But, the new paint has made improvements over the limitations, a significant upgrade. It can also be applied in a span of just one or two days.
The first stealth plane, called HAVE Blue, was developed in the 1970s and flew for the first time in 1977, while Lockheed's F-11 Nighthawk was the first combat-purpose stealth fighter deployed during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1983.
Still, service members and scientists have been researching further developments to optimize the technology, culminating in the infamous F-22, noted UK Today News.
US Air Force has declared that it aims to cut its fighter jet fleet from seven to four, potentially pushing the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter out of operation. Since the stealth jets' coating has vastly improved, the next F-22 will be cheaper to maintain.
On a radar screen, the F-22 appears to be the size of a bumblebee; however, the polymer skin that covers jets is frail and eventually disintegrates.
Although it is in service for 16 years and costs $150 million, the F-22 saw a rise in repairs. It raised maintenance costs that is unacceptable.
Chengying 'Cheryl' Xu, who leads the project at NC State, took all of the limitations into account when developing a technology that can be applied to any aircraft.
Such technology does not make the aircraft invisible but provides it with some stealth, yet with disadvantages. These polymers are incredibly delicate, and when they are exposed to elements like salt and moisture, they will degrade or even peel off.
It is sensitive when exposed to temperatures exceeding 482 degrees Fahrenheit, located near the wing's tip and at the aircraft's back.
Improvements in the new coat keep its properties longer with a broad range of temperature with no peeling off.
According to Xu, as cited by Mirage News, "We recently obtained funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, that will allow us to develop and test significantly greater sample, and that's what we're working on right now."
The stealth jets' improved coating is better, said Xu, as technology is getting better.
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