The Commander of the US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command wants to develop “Star Trek” electronic cloaking technologies to protect military aircraft.
General Carlton Everhart has called for Silicon Valley technology companies, specialists at the Pentagon’s new innovation office and the wider defense industry to build something capable of altering a plane’s radar image, to either hide it completely or trick the system into thinking it’s in an entirely different location.
One of Air Mobility Command’s responsibilities is refuelling US armed forces aircraft in mid-air.
General Everhart says he’d like to see both brand new and bulkier, first-generation Air Mobility Command aircraft receive the treatment, which he believes will have the dual-benefit of also keeping fighter jets hidden from enemies.
Gadgets and tech news in pictures Gadgets and tech news in pictures
“I’ve got airplanes with big fat bodies and long wings,” General Everhart told .
“I’ve got first-generation tankers refuelling fifth-gen fighters. The enemy doesn’t have to look for the fighter – he just has to look for me.”
Unfortunately for General Everhart, the idea is yet to get off the ground, as the industry hasn’t always taken his requests seriously.
“I asked industry for a cloaking device and they all laughed — they said you’ve been watching too much [science fiction]. I said, ‘Listen to me — this is what I want — something that would be able to change the waveform’.
“I’m piggybacking off industry. If I put it in the military acquisition system, it would be 50 years before I get it out because of the regulations that we have.”
General Everhart also revealed that he wants to fit Air Mobility Command tankers with lasers capable of destroying ground-to-air missiles, rather than just sending them off-course, as they currently do.