Air Force Reveals its New Aircraft Cloaking System Uses Dark-Emitting Diodes (DEDs)

Star Trek has finally met its match in real life with the U. S. Air Force's revelation of a new stealth technology that works as effectively as the “cloaking devices” used by Captain Kirk's nemesis, the Klingons. Officially announced, the X-86b is the world's first truly invisible airplane, according to the Air Force information office*. While most details of its operation are still classified, it has been confirmed that it uses a large array of carefully-modulated dark-emitting diodes “DEDs” to render the craft invisible to the naked eye.

Fig.1: A photo taken just outside Groom Lake of an aircraft reputed to be the X-86b 'DED Jet' displays a stealthy profile.

Fig.1: A photo taken just outside Groom Lake of an aircraft reputed to be the X-86b “DED Jet” displays a stealthy profile.

DEDs consist of a small semiconductor chip with a P/N junction coupled to an embedded quantum vacuum cavity. When reverse-biased, the cavity absorbs photons proportionally to the current flow through the junction. For more information, see the article “Zener-enhanced Dark Emitting Diodes (ZeDEDs) deliver 10X more Dark per Watt ” in this issue.

Although dark-emitting diodes (DEDs) have been manufactured for nearly three decades, their low efficiency and relatively narrow photonic absorption bands limited their use for anything beyond a handful of applications such as power off indicators and active camouflage systems, such as handheld “darklights” and so-called “stealth suits used by some special forces squadrons for covert operations. There have also been persistent rumors about “cloaking devices” for military vehicles, and the long-rumored “DED Jet”, believed to be in development since the early 1990's at the Air Force's Advanced Technology Center, located in Groom Lake, Nevada

The DED Jet's existence was confirmed for the first time yesterday by Pentagon officials, just prior to a hastily-arranged press conference with YoYo Dyne Propulsion Systems, a prime contractor for the project, based in historic Grovers Mill, NJ. In addition to the embarrassment it caused the Pentagon, the incident forced YoYo Dyne to prematurely announce a line of advanced darkness emitters, based on the company's new Zener-enhanced DED technology. Officials of the Grovers Mill NJ-based technology firm apologized for the sudden announcement of the ZeDED yesterday evening which caught the industry by complete surprise. “We'd been planning on introducing our new ZeDEDs at LightFair next month,” said John F. Cutbait, Chief Product Evangelist at YoYo Dyne. “Unfortunately, we had to change plans when the stealth aircraft we've been working on with the Air Force hit the news yesterday afternoon” he concluded.

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EDN.

1 comment on “Air Force Reveals its New Aircraft Cloaking System Uses Dark-Emitting Diodes (DEDs)

  1. Dr_Bob007
    July 26, 2015

    Impressive technology advancement. Seeing the photo purporting to be the application functioning on an aircraft does gets the mind considering the applications. Amazing of course!

    Especially from the perspective of a person's natural visibility/ability. I surmise this technology would be most likely deployed in application-specific utilities (such as propeller driven stealth drones; otherwise enabling them to become 'unseen' orbiting on station for extended periods of time). I imagine this is a good role; though I am unaware how much power is necessary to be generated to enable the array of Z-DED's to function as designed over what duration.

    Perhaps a custom designed surveillance drone would be designed to take advantage of the on-station loiter opportunity? Kind of an intersting perspective.

    From the perspecitve of aerial combat (if WWII 'eyes-on-target' aerial combat were the sole current skill set drivers enabling fighter pilots) that would be an exceptional advancement. However today things are far more advanced in almost all theaters.

    The plethora of technical tools commonly available within advanced fighters would likely offer solutions to this technology in conjunction with typical starwars like tech remotely tracking target signals from afar.

    Still, thermal exhaust from jet engines is a given. This heat byproduct is but one key driver. Heat trail is rather easily detectable (and trackable) using currently available FLIR technology; especially at altitude where outside air temperature is significantly lower.

    FLIR-specific tools designed to auto scan for thermal differentials at very high speed will alert to specific target zones which enable focused tracking by conventional FLIR means. (Note the exhaust plumes in the demonstration photo. I am reasonably certain the aircraft is not utilizing dry ice propellant? Or is it? Hmmm)

    Otherwise the 'practical' intent of application is more likely to deploy optically stealthy jet aircraft in non-advanced third world theaters of operation where defence threats occur using Sopwith Camel technology?

    Of course, there might be technical advance opportunity employing a tactical version of the “Solar Impulse 2”. I imagine that would be directly proportional to the required solar panel surface wing area. Seems reasonably logical this tech consumes a considerable amount of power to make the entire array of Z-DED's function as required across the otherwise 'viewable' surface area. And the SI2 uses all it currently has to enable long distance endurance flight. I cannot imagine it deploying anything other than a camera.

    Nonetheless, quite an impressively 'cool' technology these Z-DED's. One can imagine the application specific utility such as stealthy special ops applications.

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