The cloaking devices of “Star Trek” aren’t quite a reality yet – but stealth aircraft have gotten us a lot closer.
Military aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor or the B-2 Spirit aren’t technically invisible on radar, but their stealth technology makes them harder to detect and track. A stealth aircraft’s general design effectively reduces radar and thermal detection.
According to Forbes, no country operates more stealth aircraft than the U.S. The technology was primarily developed in the 1970s by Denys Overholser, a mathematician working for Lockheed Aircraft. The now-retired American Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk ground-attack fighter officially became the first aircraft with operational stealth technology in 1983. (This is every plane in the U.S. military.)
It is believed that the U.S. and Israel are the only countries that have used stealth aircraft in combat. The U.S. used them in the invasion of Panama, the first Gulf War, the Kosovo Conflict, the War in Afghanistan, the War in Iraq, and the 2011 military intervention in Libya. However, China, Iran, and Russia have their own stealth aircraft. (This is every plane in Russia’s air force.)
To identify the military aircraft that can’t be detected by the enemy, 24/7 Wall St. consulted a number of resources, including the U.S. Airforce and individual manufacturers for aircraft specifications. Aircraft are ordered by first flight date.
Click here to see 12 stealth planes used by global superpowers.
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