‘Impossible’ to hide plane with electronic warfare technology, expert says

Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Matthew Walton sprays down a P-8A Poseidon with fresh water before its flight to assist in search and rescue operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014 in this US navy handout photo. — Reuters pic
Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Matthew Walton sprays down a P-8A Poseidon with fresh water before its flight to assist in search and rescue operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014 in this US navy handout photo. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — A Canadian electromagnetics expert has dismissed talk that the missing MH370 Boeing 777 aircraft could have been hidden from radar using electronic warfare technology, calling it “impossible”.

Toronto University researcher Dr George Eleftheriades said in a report in The Star today that the invisibility technology was still in the laboratory stage and is not yet available.

“Moreover, it would seem impossible to fit the airplane with such a cloak while in flight,” Eleftheriades was quoted as saying.

According to a CNN report in November last year, Eleftheriades and PhD student Michael Selvanayagam had found a new way to cloak large objects using tiny antennas.

Citing a paper published at the time in the Physical Review X journal, such “cloaking technology” generally would not make objects invisible to the human eye but undetectable by radar.

“They can even control the signals bouncing back to make objects seem larger or smaller than they already are,” CNN reported.

According to the report, the two researchers used nanoantennas to radiate an electromagnetic field to prevent waves from a certain object from reflecting back to a radar detector.

“The small antennas can be even printed flat to create a flexible skin for the desired object,” CNN reported.

“While the technology only works for radio waves at the moment, the researchers say the same principles could be applied to other waves such as light waves, which could potentially hide an object from the human eye.”

From a possible terror attack to pilot suicide, many theories have arisen since the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board. Search for the missing plane, now entering its 12th day, has expanded to 7.68 million square kilometres, which is an area the size of Australia.

Aircraft and sea vessels from 26 nations have joined the physical search at land and sea, while both local and foreign investigators, military and aviation experts continue to huddle over fragmented satellite and radar data to look for signs of the missing aircraft.

The magnitude of the search, the size of rescue operations, the multi-nation cooperation and the plausible theories surrounding MH370 have been described by many as “unprecedented”, likely making this the most baffling mysteries in aviation history.

As Malaysian Airlines (MAS) chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari admitted yesterday, after dismissing speculation suggesting the plane’s flight route had been programmed to veer off-course, once inside the aircraft, “anything is possible”. 

Related Articles

Up Next

Loading...