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The U.S. Navy's Sea Shadow (IX-529)

A stealth ship is a ship which employs stealth technology construction techniques in an effort to ensure that it is harder to detect by one or more of radar, visual, sonar, and infrared methods. These techniques borrow from stealth aircraft technology, although some aspects such as wake and acoustic signature reduction are unique to stealth ships' design.

Reduction of radar cross section (RCS), visibility and noise is not unique to stealth ships; visual masking has been employed for over two centuries and RCS reduction traces back to American and Soviet ships of the Cold War. One common feature is the inward-sloping tumblehome hull design that significantly reduces the RCS.

Contents

Examples

Several surface vessels employ stealth technology, amongst them the Swedish Visby class corvette, the Dutch Zeven Provinciën class frigate, the Turkish Milgem corvette, the Norwegian Skjold class patrol boat, the French La Fayette class frigate, the Chinese Houbei class missile boat and Type 054 frigate, the German MEKO ships Braunschweig class corvettes and Sachsen class frigates, the Indian Shivalik class frigate, the Singaporean Formidable class frigate, the British Type 45 destroyer, the U.S. Navy's Zumwalt-class destroyer and Finnish Hamina class missile boats.

French frigate Surcouf of the La Fayette class

The Visby was the first stealth ship to enter service, and is designed to elude visual detection, radar detection, acoustic detection, and infrared detection. Its surface is constructed from a carbon fibre reinforced plastic[1]. Avoidance of right angles in the design results in a smaller radar signature, reducing the ship's detection range.

Britain's Type 45 Anti Air Warfare Destroyer has similarities to the Visby, but is much more conventional, employing traditional steel instead of carbon fibre. Like the Visby, its design reduces the use of right angles.

The currently developed U.S. Zumwalt class destroyer — or DD(X) — is the US version of a stealth ship. The Sea Shadow, which utilizes both tumblehome and SWATH features, was an early U.S. exploration of stealth ship technology. The Arleigh Burke class destroyer also employs stealth technology without being a full stealth ship, similar to the German designs.

Artist's conception of the USS Zumwalt, the lead ship of the planned Zumwalt class of destroyer for the U.S. Navy
Type 45 Royal Navy destroyer

The Ady Gil, formerly the Earthrace, was also often compared to a stealth ship in the media after it had been repainted black with radar-scattering paint. While not designed for a stealth role, the changes were indeed intended for evading radar detection by the Japanese whaling fleet that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel was protesting.[2]

Shaping

In designing a ship with reduced radar signature, the main concerns are radar beams originating near or slightly above the horizon (as seen from the ship) coming from distant patrol aircraft, other ships or sea-skimming anti-ship missiles with active radar seekers. Therefore, the shape of the ship avoids vertical surfaces, which would perfectly reflect any such beams directly back to the emitter. Retro-reflective right angles are eliminated to avoid causing the cat's eye effect. A stealthy ship shape can be achieved by constructing the hull and superstructure with a series of slightly protruding and retruding surfaces. This design was developed by several German shipyards, and is thus extensively applied on ships of the German Navy.

See also

Sloped surface features visible in this frontal view of the Hamburg, a Sachsen class frigate of the German Navy
INS Shivalik of the Indian Navy under-construction. Apart from evading radar and acoustic sensors, the ship is engineered to give-off minimal infra-red emissions.

References

External links

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Simple English

]] A stealth ship that can hide from radar.


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