Air Forces have been getting better and better at making their planes practically invisible to radar. Now, Navies may be starting to catch up, according to Military.com.The site highlights "three new high-profile designs: the Visby corvette, designed by the Swedish shipbuilders Kockums, the British Type 45 Destroyer, designed by BAE Systems, and the U.S. Navy's DD(X) destroyer, under construction by Northrop Grumman."The ships each have their own ways of escaping detection. The Visby's: plastic.
It is the largest vessel ever constructed of carbon fiber -- a super-hard, lightweight plastic that is also used in the making of race car chassis and racing yacht hulls. Specifically, the boat's surface is composed of two layers of carbon fiber filled with a Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)-like foam, or what Kockums calls sandwich-construction carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). This composite material has been proven to reduce a ship's "signature," so that not only is it more difficult to pick up on radar, but also less vulnerable to mines and other types of electronic detection, such as infrared. Since the material is not made of steel, it also escapes detection by magnetic waves. And since the Visby, at 600 tons, is about half as light as a conventional corvette, it has quicker escape abilities. That's not even mentioning the lower maintenance costs for a ship composed of plastics as opposed to one built from steel, and the lower fuel consumption costs.