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Stealth aircraft lost

The F-22 Raptor fifth generation stealth air superiority fighter
A prototype of the F-35 Lightning II fifth generation stealth multi-role fighter

The only time that a stealth aircraft has been shot down was on 27 March 1999, during Operation Allied Force. An American F-117 Nighthawk fell to a Serbian Air Defense crew who were operating their radars on unusually long wavelengths to launch a Isayev S-125 'Neva-M' missile at it which brought it down. The pilot ejected and was rescued and the aircraft itself remained relatively intact due to striking the ground at a slow speed in an inverted position.

A B-2 crashed on 23 February 2008 shortly after takeoff from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The findings of the investigation stated that the B-2 crashed after "heavy, lashing rains" caused water to enter skin-flush air-data sensors, which feed angle of attack and yaw data to the computerized flight-control system. The water distorted pre-flight readings in three of the plane's 24 sensors, causing the flight-control system to send an erroneous correction to the B-2 on takeoff. The B-2 quickly stalled, became unrecoverable, and crashed. The sensors in question measure numerous environmental factors, including air pressure and density, for data to calculate airspeed, altitude and attitude. Because of the faulty readings, the flight computers determined inaccurate airspeed readings and incorrectly indicated a downward angle for the aircraft, which contributed to an early rotation and an un-commanded 30-degree pitch up and left yaw, resulting in the stall.

List of stealth aircraft


Fully stealth designs

In service
  • B-2 Spirit – Northrop Grumman
  • F-22 Raptor – Lockheed Martin / Boeing
Formerly in service
  • F-117 Nighthawk – Lockheed Martin
Under development
  • F-35 Lightning II – Lockheed Martin / BAE Systems / Northrop Grumman
  • PAK FA – Sukhoi
  • FGFA – Sukhoi / HAL
  • Chengdu J-20 – Chengdu Aircraft Corporation
  • AMCA – ADA / HAL
  • Next-Generation Bomber – Lockheed Martin / Boeing
  • PAK DA – Tupolev
  • 2037 Bomber
  • A-12 Avenger IIMcDonnell-Douglas / General Dynamics
  • Boeing X-32 – Boeing prototype
  • YF-23 Black Widow II – Northrop / McDonnell Douglas prototype
  • MBB Lampyridae – West German stealth fighter prototype
  • RAH-66 Comanche – Boeing Sikorsky
Technology demonstrators
  • BAE Replica – BAE Systems
  • Boeing Bird of Prey – Boeing
  • Have Blue – Lockheed
  • Mitsubishi ATD-X – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Northrop Tacit Blue – Northrop

Reduced cross section designs

  • Avro Vulcan – British strategic bomber with delta wing and buried engines that gave an unplanned low radar cross-section
  • B-1B Lancer – RCS to about 10 m2
  • Dassault Rafale – RCS to about 0.75 m2
  • Eurofighter Typhoon – RCS to about 0.25-0.75 m2
  • F-16C/D and E/F Fighting Falcon – from Block 30 has got reduced RCS to about 1.2m2
  • F/A-18E/F Super Hornet – The F/A-18E/F's radar cross section was reduced greatly from some aspects, mainly the front and rear. RCS to about 20dB lower as a F18 C/D
  • Horten Ho 229 – Flying wing turbojet fighter only 10% detected on radar, prototype test in 1944. Project cancelled in 1945 due to the worsening war situation.
  • Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird – Skunkworks Blackbirds were first production RCS aircraft; 1962 with CIA A-12, then later with SR-71, YF-12 and M-21 Blackbird series of aircraft
  • MiG 1.44 – Russian 5th generation fighter prototype
  • Mikoyan MiG-29K – Due to special coatings Mig-29K radar reflecting surface is 4-5 times smaller than of basic MiG-29. RCS to about 0.60-0.75 m2
  • Sukhoi Su-47 – Russian technology demonstrator
  • Messerschmitt Me 163B – rocket-powered fighter aircraft.
  • PZL-230 Skorpion
  • Novi Avion – Yugoslav prototype, designed to have a features to lower it's RADAR cross section
  • Chengdu J-10

Unmanned RCS designs

  • Boeing X-45 – Boeing, based on the manned Boeing Bird of Prey demonstrator ( technology demonstrator)
  • BAE Taranis – BAE Systems ( UCAV Technology Demonstrator)
  • Dassault nEUROn – technology demonstrator
  • EADS Barracuda – EADS of Germany (technology demonstrator)
  • Rheinmetall KZO – Rheinmetall (tactical UAV)
  • RQ-3 Dark Star – Lockheed / Skunk Works (cancelled)
  • Armstechno NITI – Armstechno, Bulgaria (tactical UAV)
  • Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel – Lockheed Martin
  • MiG Skat – Mikoyan, Russia
  • Northrop Grumman X-47B – USA (technology demonstrator)

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