The perfect Air Force mission would mean that pilots go completely undetected in enemy airspace, execute their mission and return home safely. Low Observable (LO) Technology, otherwise known as Stealth, makes aircraft extremely hard to detect. LO Technology is incorporated into a multitude of Air Force research portfolios, platforms and air bases. Basically, LO is a critical asset of every Air Force contingency. US allies and adversaries agree. The 2017 Aviation Week “State of Stealth” report states: “Perhaps the best evidence that stealth will remain relevant in military aircraft design for decades is the number of countries investing in the technology. In addition to the U.S., 11 nations are signed up to operate the F-35, and several more are interested. Russia has developed one stealthy fighter and China two. Both are also believed to be working on bombers with broadband stealth. Britain and France are collaborating on a stealthy unmanned combat air vehicle, while India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey are developing indigenous fighters, all of which feature stealthy airframes.” It’s critical to ensure the workforce stays on top of a holistic view of LO Technology development.
34 AFRL and Industry Engineers Attend Low Observable Short Course, Emphasizing a Holistic View
Under the sponsorship of AFRL/RY and in partnership with Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA), WBI hosted the first offering of a continuing professional education short course called “Fundamentals of Low Observable Technologies”. This multidisciplinary course is geared toward any scientist, engineer, or technician working with low observable (LO) systems; or looking for a broad exposure and understanding of LO technology.
It is especially relevant to newer engineers involved with designing, producing, flying, or maintaining LO vehicles. Engineers working on early-stage LO research benefit from understanding the entire lifecycle of LO technologies, which includes things like coatings, that maintainers must inspect and repair.
The first offering of this 3-day course was attended by 34 engineers at WBI’s Springfield Street location and took place March 12 – 14. The lectures were augmented with a focused tour of relevant aircraft displayed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. A second offering is currently planned for September 2019.