As soon as the idea of strategic bombing was conceived, men began to look at ways of detecting them – or at evading this detection. Today’s stealth technology as exemplified in the Lockheed Martin F-117A Nighthawk seems to have won a race which began in the 1930s with the possibility of developing a death ray! The radar weapons race hotted up when the British showed how vital it was in the Battle of Britain. This programme looks at developments ever since, with ever-more extraordinary ways of spotting all sorts of military and civil machines or of evading detection.
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The Gulf War 1991: The F117A Nighthawk is the most sinister looking aircraft in the sky, and the first design to be virtually invisible, even to the most advanced radar system. August 1940, the skies over south-east England: For the first time British controllers use radar to guide Spitfires and Hurricanes against the might of Hitler’s incoming Luftwaffe. If their new weapon had failed, World War II would have been over in a hurry, and Britain would have been ruled by the Nazis. The F117A Nighthawk, the plane that defies physics, and the world’s first radar controlled air defense system, and in the years in between, a back and forth battle between technologies to detect attacking aircraft, and countermeasures to evade evade enemy detection. This documentary tells us the evolution of the weapons race between radar and stealth.