Stealth technology also termed LO technology (low observable technology) is a sub-discipline of military tactics and passive electronic countermeasures, which cover a range of techniques used with personnel, aircraft, ships, submarines, and missiles, to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar, infrared, sonar and other detection methods. It corresponds to camouflage for these parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Development in the United States occurred in 1958, where earlier attempts in preventing radar tracking of its U-2 spy planes during the Cold War by the Soviet Union had been unsuccessful. Designers turned to develop a particular shape for planes that tended to reduce detection, by redirecting electromagnetic waves from radars. Radar-absorbent material was also tested and made to reduce or block radar signals that reflect off from the surface of planes. Such changes to shape and surface composition form stealth technology as currently used on the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit “Stealth Bomber”.
The concept of stealth is to operate or hide without giving enemy forces any indications as to the presence of friendly forces. This concept was first explored through camouflage by blending into the background visual clutter. As the potency of detection and interception technologies (radar, IRST, surface-to-air missiles etc.) have increased over time, so too has the extent to which the design and operation of military personnel and vehicles have been affected in response. Some military uniforms are treated with chemicals to reduce their infrared signature. A modern “stealth” vehicle is designed from the outset to have a chosen spectral signature. The degree of stealth embodied in a particular design is chosen according to the predicted threat capabilities.