It promises to add unique dimension to our tactical forces and to be the deterrent strength of our strate- gic forces. At the same time, it will provide us capabilities that are wholly consistent with our pursuit of verifiable arms control agreements, in particular with the provisions of SALT II. For three years we've successfully maintained the security of this program. This is because of the conscientious efforts of the relatively few people in the executive branch and legislative branch who were briefed on the activity and the contractors working on it.
However, in the last few months, the circle of people knowledgeable about the program has widened, partly because of the increased size of the effort, and partly because of the debate underway in the Congress on new bomber proposals. Regrettably, there have been several leaks about the stealth program during the last. In the face of these leaks, I believe that it's not appropriate or credible for us to deny the existence of this program.
And it is now important to correct some of the leaked information that misrepresented the Administration's position on a new bomber program.
'Stealth' material hides hot objects from infrared eyes
The so-called stealth bomber was not a factor in our decision in to cancel the B-l; indeed, the so-called stealth bomber was not then yet in design. There were plenty of other good reasons to cancel the B-l, and I've been through those many times. I am gratified that, as yet, none of the most sensitive and significant classified information about the characteristics of this program has been disclosed. An important objective of the announcement today is to make clear the kinds of information that we intend scrupulously to protect at the highest security level. Perry, a chief architect of this program, will elaborate on this point further.
In sum, we've developed a new technology of extraordinary military significance. We are vigorously applying this technology to develop a number of military aircraft, and these programs are showing very great promise. We can take tremendous pride in this latest achievement of American technology. It can play a major role in the strengthening of our strategic and tactical forces with- out in any way endangering any of our arms-control initiatives.
And it can contribute to the maintenance of peace by posing a new and significant offset to the Soviet Union's attempt to gain military ascendancy by weight of numbers. Brown introduces Dr. Perry: World War II demonstrated the decisive role that air power can play in military operations. It also demonstrated the potential of radar as a primary means of detecting aircraft and directing fire against them. On balance, though, the advantage clearly was with the aircraft. Subsequent to World War II, both ground-launched and air-launched defensive missiles were developed and most significantly, they were married with radar fire-control systems.
This substantially increased the effectiveness of air-defense systems intended to shift the balance against the aircraft.
For the last few decades, we have been working on techniques to defeat radar-controlled air- defense systems. Presently, our military aircraft make substantial use of electronic countermeasures [ECMs], popularly known as jamming, which tends to degrade the effectiveness of these radars. By these means we have maintained the effectiveness of our military aircraft in the face of very formidable and very effective radar-directed defensive missiles.
However, the Soviets continue to place very heavy emphasis on the development and deployment of air-defense missiles in an attempt to offset the advantage which we have in air power. They have built thousands of surface-to-air missile [SAMs] launchers. They employ radars with very high power and with a tracking technique which is known as monopulse, both of which tend to make electronic countermeasures very difficult to employ.
And in just the last few years they have developed air-to-air missiles [AAMs] which are guided by what we call look-down radars, and these are radars that have special tracking circuits which allow them to track an aircraft flying low to the ground—that is, an aircraft which is flying in the so-called ground clutter. The Government Stealth Press Conference O 5 Because of these developments and because of the importance we attach to maintaining our air superiority, we have for years been developing what we call penetration technology: the technology that degrades the effectiveness of radars and other sensors that are used by air-defense systems.
A particular emphasis has been placed on developing that technology which makes an aircraft invisible to radar. In the early sixties, we applied a particular version of this technology to some of our reconnaissance aircraft. And again in the seventies we applied it to cruise missiles then being developed both for the Tomahawk and ALCM air-launched cruise missile.
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By the summer of , it became clear that this technology could be considerably extended in its effectiveness and could be applied to a wide class of aircraft, including manned aircraft. We concluded that it was possible to build aircraft so difficult to detect that they could not be successfully engaged by any existing air-defense systems.
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Recognizing the great significance of such a development, we took three related actions: first of all, we made a tenfold increase in the investment which we are making in this penetration technology, the underlying technology which allows us to defeat the radar systems. Secondly, we initiated a number of very high priority development programs with a purpose of applying this technology. And finally, we gave the entire program extraordinary security protection, even to the point of classifying the very existence of the program.
Initially, we were able to limit knowledge of the program to a very few government officials in both the executive and legislative branches, and indeed succeeded in maintaining complete secrecy about the program. But, as the program increased in size—and its current annual funding is perhaps fold greater that it was at the initiation of the program—it did become necessary to include more people in the knowledge of the program.
But today the existence of a stealth program has become public knowledge. But even as we acknowledge the existence of a stealth program, we will be drawing a new security line to protect that information about the program which could facilitate Soviet countermeasures. We will continue to protect at the highest level information of the following nature: first of all, the specific techniques which we employ to re- duce detectability; secondly, the specific degree of success we have achieved with each of these techniques; thirdly, the characteristics of specific vehicles being devel- oped; fourthly, funds being applied to specific programs; and finally, the schedules or the operational dates which go with these specific programs.
With these ground rules, I think you can see that I am extremely limited in what I can tell you about the program. I will volunteer this much. First of all, stealth technology does not involve a single technical approach—a single gimmick, so to speak—but is rather a complex synthesis of many. Even if I were willing to describe to you how we do this, I could not do so in a sentence or even in a paragraph.
Sec- ondly, while we have made remarkable progress in this technology in the last three years, we have been building on the excellent work done in our defense technology program over the last two decades. Thirdly, this technology—theoretically at least- could be applied to any military vehicle which can be attacked by radar-directed fire.
Let’s talk about 'In the Open or in Stealth'
In our studies, we are considering all such applications and are moving with some speed to develop those particular applications, which on the one hand are the most. Finally, I can tell you that, that has included flight tests of a number of different vehicles. Questions from the assembled media representatives followed: Question: Can these technologies also defeat other means of detection, such as infrared and so on? Brown: The general description of stealth technology includes ideas and designs that are directed also at reducing detectability by other means.
Radar is the means that is best able to detect and intercept aircraft now. It's no accident that the systems that exist are radar systems. But stealth technology extends beyond radar. Bill [Perry], do you want to add anything there? Perry: That is correct. Question: I ask because you mention other vehicles, and I wonder if you're getting ready to have a complete turnover in the whole military inventory—tanks and all the rest.
Brown: It's a little too early to say that.
I think what Bill was trying to say was that stealth technology is applicable against anything that is detected and attacked through detection by radar. But how practical it is for various kinds of vehicles is another matter. Question: Gentlemen, you refer here to its effectiveness against existing air-defense systems.
How about the kind of air-defense systems which the Russians seem to be moving toward in the year ?
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Brown: Those are the ones that we are talking about. The ones that are now in development and could be deployed during the rest of this decade are the kinds of detection systems that we believe that this will be able to render ineffective.
It will always be the case that whenever there is a major new development of military technology—a measure, let's call it—there will be countermeasures and there will be counter-countermeasures. We've been looking at both of those.
Our judgment is that the balance is strongly tilted in the direction of penetration by this technology and that there will be later fluctuations around that new equilibrium point. Question: Is there any sign that the Soviets might be able to catch up and match this technology for penetrating themselves? Brown: It depends on how much they do and how fast they are able to do it. We are not aware of any comparable effort in the Soviet Union. But of course, the Soviets are the ones who have spent tens of billions, probably over billion dollars, on air defense. And this favors penetration over air defense.