Russia is believed to be continuing its pioneering work on the development of a plasma cloud generator to provide active stealth protection for combat aircraft. Details are sparse but the Keldysh Research Institute, under then leadership of Anatoly Korotoyev, is known to have developed a plasma generator weighing around 220lb (100kg), suitable for installation on a tactical fighter aircraft. This has been tested on models and on real aircraft, with the Su-32/34 strike fighter believed to be the first combat aircraft to incorporate the system in its airframe. In essence, the system requires an energy source on the aircraft to energise the surrounding air, most probably at the leading edges of the aerodynamic surfaces, causing ionised air in the boundary layer to flow around the airframe, shrouding it in an impenetrable radar screening cloud. Unfortunately, the power requirement for the generator is high and the system would probably only be activated when an enemy radar is detected. The presence of the 'cloud' around the aircraft would also block transmissions from the aircraft being protected, but it is possible that appropriate gaps in the 'cloud' could also be created to overcome this. The high power generation requirement and additional weight of the system is probably easier handled by the Su-32 than by smaller fighters, such as the MiG-29.
Date Added : Tuesday, October 15, 2002AirForces Monthly: The world’s number one military aviation magazine