IIT Mandi researchers develop a new technology to make military equipment invisible to radar
IIT Mandi Reseachers team

Guwahati: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (Mandi) have developed an artificial material that can make stealth vehicles and covert establishments less noticeable to radar.

The material has the ability to absorb a broad spectrum of radar frequencies, regardless of the direction of the incoming radar signal. It can also be utilized to cover windows or glass panels in stealth vehicles and covert establishments, making them invisible to radar.

The results of this study have been published in the journal, IEEE Letters on Electromagnetic Compatibility Practice and Applications. The study was co-authored by Dr Shrikanth Reddy, Assistant Professor at the School of Computing and Electrical Engineering at IIT Mandi, and his team, Dr Awanish Kumar, the first author, and Mr Jyoti Bhushan Padhi.

Radars are used in defence and civil sectors for surveillance, navigation, and tracking of aircraft, ships, ground vehicles, and movements within covert establishments. Being undetectable by radar is an important defence strategy, as it reduces the risk of being targeted by enemy weapons. This technology can also be applied in the commercial sector, as it can help reduce radiation leakage from buildings, making them more secure. For instance, it can be used in private or covert establishments to protect information and privacy.

Radar Cross Section (RCS) reduction is a technique to make an object less noticeable to radar. This can be achieved by using materials that can absorb radar signals or by shaping the object in a way that makes it challenging for radar to detect.

Dr Reddy from IIT Mandi explained the research, saying, “We have developed a technology based on Frequency Selective Surface (FSS) that absorbs a broad range of frequencies used in radar, making the surface invisible to radar.”

The proposed design uses an optically transparent ITO-coated PET sheet with FSS patterns created on it using laser engraving technology. Due to the symmetrical and lossy nature of the FSS patterns, the proposed absorber is polarization-insensitive and absorbs a wide range of electromagnetic wave frequencies within the C, X, and Ku bands.

Tests revealed that this FSS technology can absorb more than 90% of the radar waves across a broad range of frequencies. The team conducted experimental studies on their design and found that the results were in line with the theoretical analysis, confirming its effectiveness.

Dr Reddy added, “This technology can be applied to the windows or glass panels of stealth vehicles and covert establishments because of its optical transparency. The team has already created a prototype and the results have been published in the IEEE Journal. This technology has the potential for RCS reduction and absorption of unwanted radiation leakages.”

Radar-absorbing materials are crucial for defence applications, as they help to minimize or eliminate the radar signature of military equipment, such as aircraft, ships, and vehicles. These materials can also be used to safeguard vital infrastructure, like communication towers, power plants, and military bases from radar detection, preventing hostile entities from targeting these facilities during conflicts.

The work by IIT Mandi emphasizes the significance of utilizing advanced technology and materials in the development of radar-absorbing materials for defence purposes.

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