The Korean military has reportedly succeeded in developing the core technology for stealth fighter planes. Stealth technology is used to disguise aircraft or vessels from detection by radar, infrared or sound detectors. Stealth is considered a key field in future warfare, and world military powers such as the U.S., China, Japan and Russia have been focusing efforts on developing it.
A Korean military source on Monday said that the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and other local defense research institutes began developing stealth fighter technology and application systems in 1999. They developed radar absorbent material by the end of 2002, and are now aiming to finish developing all core technologies for functional stealth by mid-2010.
Military authorities plan to finish tests of some of the radar absorbent material for application to weapons systems, including fighter jets, by the end of this year.
According to the military source, top-secret ground tests were done on F-4 fighter jets and miniature jet fighter models equipped with the radar absorbent material until 2007. The tests were satisfactory. It has not been revealed if the domestically developed material is ordinary paint or come in some other form. F-117 fighter bombers, an early U.S. stealth aircraft, used thick stealth painting. The newer F-22 stealth fighters reportedly use a much thinner coating.
The ADD and other local defense research institutes have also developed stealth configuration technology to design fighter jets and vessels that can effectively avoid radar detection.
The military source explained that Korea is developing stealth technology as "U.S. F-22s are already deployed for war-related duties, and neighboring countries such as China, Russia and Japan are striving to secure the stealth technology and apply it to their weapons systems with the aim of securing command of the air in Northeast Asia."