You don't hear much about it except periodic references in military and aviation journals. One (hyphenated) word: "multi-band." It's the key to effective stealth cloaking. It's the successor to the single-band stealth cloaking of the no longer particularly effective F-35 light strike bomber.
The magic of the F-35 - encapsulated in its shaping and coatings - is aimed at defeating X-band radars. That was a fine idea 20 years ago when the military world was X-band centric. The problem is that radar comes in a number of flavours - different bands - and that is the F-35's radar Achilles' Heel.
So now, years before the F-35 testing is complete and the finished model actually enters service, the market wants multi-band radar absorption technology. What do these things look like? Well, most of them have one feature in common, this:
See what's missing? Tail surfaces. Here's Britain's prototype, the Taranis:
Here's the French prototype, the nEUROn:
These are obviously unmanned, drones or UCAVs (unmanned air combat fighters). The jury is out on whether there's still a role for a piloted aircraft but they can work in a manned configuration also. There's even talk of a dual-mode, manned or unmanned, option.
But what about the old stuff? Oh yeah, it looks like this:
Whatever were they thinking way back then? Crazy, man. Sort of like sending cavalry into a tank battle.