stealth foiled by mobile phones

From brian carroll <>
Date Tue, 12 Jun 2001 09:19:07 -0800

Mobile phones may foil stealth bombers

By Robert Uhlig in London

America's multi-billion-dollar stealth bombers could be rendered
obsolete by a British invention that uses existing mobile telephone
masts to detect and track aircraft that were previously invisible to

US stealth fighters and bombers such as the F117, B1 and B2 played
key roles in the Gulf and Kosovan wars as they are almost impossible
to detect using conventional radar.

However, the ease with which the mobile telephone mast system -
developed at a laboratory in Hampshire - can be used to detect the
aircraft has greatly concerned the military.

Mr Peter Lloyd, the head of projects at Roke Manor Research, said: "I
cannot comment in detail because it is a classified matter, but let's
say the US military is very interested."

Stealth aircraft, each of which costs at least $A3.6 billion, are
shaped to confuse radar. A special paint absorbs radio waves,
reducing the radar signature to the equivalent of a gull in flight.

The Roke Manor scientists discovered that telephone calls sent
between mobile phone masts detected the precise position of stealth
aircraft with ease. "We use just the normal phone calls that are
flying about in the ether," Mr Lloyd said. "The front of the stealth
plane cannot be detected by conventional radar, but its bottom
surface reflects very well."

Mobile telephone calls bouncing between base stations produce a
screen of radiation. When the aircraft fly through this screen they
disrupt the phase pattern of the signals. The Roke Manor system uses
receivers, shaped like television aerials, to detect distortions in
the signals.

A network of aerials large enough to cover a battlefield can be
packed in a Land Rover.

Using a laptop connected to the receiver network, soldiers on the
ground can calculate the position of stealth aircraft with an
accuracy of 10 metres with the aid of the GPS satellite navigation

"It's remarkable that a stealth system that cost 60 billion [$158
billion] to develop is beaten by 100,000 mobile phone technology,"
Mr Lloyd said. "It's almost impossible to disable a mobile phone
network without bombing an entire country, whereas radar
installations are often knocked out of action with a single bomb or

The Telegraph, London

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