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Since 2007, Airbus Defense and Space (ADS) is working on in Manching and a demonstrator for difficult detectable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV Testbed low observable, LOUT). On November 5, the demonstrator as part of the ADS Trade Media briefing was presented to a group of journalists to the public. So far, the project, with the visual technologies to reduce the signatures in the radar, IR and developed acoustic range and their effectiveness were detected was kept secret and not available to the public.

The non-flying stealth demonstrator is twelve meters long, has a wingspan of also twelve meters and weighs about four tons. In scale 1: 1, it is like a subsonic aircraft designed with overhead, distraction inlets and outlets for the drive. In addition to the columns and edge-free design of the covers, for example, for drive or weapon / equipment bays especially the underside is provided with a special surface, the back and emissions greatly suppressed. Optical and electrical ports for sensors and active countermeasures are protected with special technology. At the top on the top is a cockpit-like structure that was used for the study of the passages for sensors. A manned version of the demonstrator is not provided. The tests on the demonstrator took place in a specially built hall with measuring radiation-absorbing wall construction, the largest of its kind in Europe, as project manager Mario Hertzog announced.

The LOUT demonstrator must have matched features in three dimensions.

  • For the reduction of signatures energy radiation is to be minimized in all relevant frequency ranges. As already mentioned above radar signature (low radar cross section, low radar cross section, RCS), IR signature considered low IR emissions as well as visual and acoustic signatures.
  • The electromagnetic emission control includes means such as the emission management, data links with a particular technology and new sensors with lower visibility.
  • To electronic countermeasures include use of eg whining - Täuschverfahren and gain opposing signatures.

After the start of development of the configuration of 2007 and the first tests of the radar cross sections, in 2010 awarded the contract to build the demonstrator and the development of LO technology, the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (now BAAINBw). After the construction of the demonstrator, the first tests were carried out with the base configuration, which then joined the iterative improvement of camouflage. The LOUT project has recently been completed, so the results could be presented for the first time publicly.

Airbus - Stealth Demonstrator LOUT enthüllt

A continuation of the project is not yet decided. But it is certain that the results achieved so far will feed into the development of combat aircraft of the future as the next tranche Euro Fighter and the Future Combat Aircraft (FCAS). It is conceivable to have to follow the static demonstrator unmanned airworthy version. But, there is no approaches.

Gerhard Heiming