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HMS Victory - Stealth Technology?

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HMS Victory - Stealth Technology?

Old 6th Jul 2015, 17:52
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HMS Victory - Stealth Technology?

Evening all.

Interesting t-bar debate going on today which I though I'd share with the learned folk on here to see what your thoughts are! There's QWI's and Naval types I'm sure, so here we go!

There was an article on the radio about the ongoing restoration of HMS Victory, which led to the question, would something like an Exocet missile (older generation, radar guided) get a good enough radar return from Victory to be able to lock on to her?

Surely wood won't reflect RF as well as a metal ship would you'd think? So her cross sectional area would be small? If so then we obviously need to clad our entire navel fleet in railway sleepers!

Was stealth tech invented unknowingly all those years ago??

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!
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Old 6th Jul 2015, 18:27
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One way of possibly answering your question may be a smaller scale experiment.

Strap some sleepers to your car and drive past a speed camera at speed, then wait to see if you get a ticket. (I've been watching too much top gear)

Just make sure it's a radar camera rather than [email protected] !

Oh and you must have a control vehicle which will drive at a similar speed without the sleepers to prove the camera is operational.
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Old 6th Jul 2015, 18:59
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Not sure about the wood but all those iron cannon should generate a fair return.
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Old 6th Jul 2015, 19:11
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FYI, many modern sailing yachts are predominantly made of fiber glass, which is also not nearly as radar reflective as metal. But "not as radar reflective as metal" and "not radar reflective" are two very different things. So the hull and primary structure most certainly reflected radar.

Now consider that there's still a LOT of metal bits and pieces on both wooden and fiberglass hulled vessels. If memory serves, HMS Victory was equipped with 104 iron guns at Trafalgar, and tons and tons of iron cannon balls. Plus there are all sorts of metal fittings, cleats, bollards, rings, eyebolts, barrel bands, mast bands, chains, brass/copper lanterns, copper cooking tools, etc etc all over the ship, each a separate radar reflector. In other words, LOTS of metal to reflect radar.
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 05:44
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I recently read The First and the Last (Adolf Gallands autobiography) and in it he mentions that Mosquitos were very difficult to pick up on Radar. Granted that Radar was still in it's infancy then but maybe HMS Victory was a bit stealthy.
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 06:09
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Well, she was rigged for silent running, so you'd never hear the engine...
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 07:04
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I read somewhere that a broadside from HMS Victory would deliver a greater weight of shot than all Wellingtons artillery at Waterloo!
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 11:37
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Well I wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of it .
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 11:47
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And bouncing bombs/cannonballs too! At least according to Michael Redgrave/Barnes Wallis!
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 13:05
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 13:10
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You can pick up yachts (wooden and plastic) on modern nav radars.
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 14:29
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Originally Posted by AGS Man
I recently read The First and the Last (Adolf Gallands autobiography) and in it he mentions that Mosquitos were very difficult to pick up on Radar. Granted that Radar was still in it's infancy then
I seem to recall someone on here mentioning a while back about BAe's Mossie RR299, in days gone by enroute to displays, often making sneaky fast n low overflights of various RAF bases, due to it's low radar sig.......?
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 17:11
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First generation (i.e. 1940s vintage) radar used HF and VHF frequencies because high power amplifiers at frequencies above that simply did not exist. Such long wavelength radars simply cannot detect small objects no matter how much power was radiated. This is an over simplification, but think of the object being searched for as an antenna that re-radiates a portion of the RF energy that falls on it. For the antenna to work (and thus the object to be detected) at HF frequencies the object must be multiple meters in size. Not even the cannons on HMS Victory would show up on an HF radar. For VHF it needs to be around a meter or so. The cannons might show up, but essentially nothing else on the ship.

When magnetrons were invented (by the Brits!) kilowatt amplifiers in the microwave frequencies became available for the first time. The antenna/object can be as small as a millimeter or so at microwave frequencies. So radars operating in the microwave spectrum are able to detect much smaller objects, like all the metal bits and pieces on the HMS Victory.
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Old 9th Jul 2015, 11:10
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Ken, I think there is an exception to what you say. Certainly true of centimetric radars and probably metric too.

A single reflector might return 15db above background. An adjacent reflector returning 10db might not be seen if outside the same beam. If closer however its effect would be added to the stronger reflector. Adding more reflectors would increase the db gain.

Add in structure height and you start to get a larger response.

I suggest that the metallic array on Victory would be satisfactory reflector.

Remember the Soviet' s Tall King radar is down in the metric band; it must have worked.
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Old 9th Jul 2015, 18:00
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Long ago, I recall a fellow spouting off that he was going to get a Chevy Corvette since the fiberglass body would make it invisible to police radar.
It was then pointed out that, underneath that fiberglass body was a rather large metal lump of engine and such that would show up on radar rather well.
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Old 9th Jul 2015, 18:33
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Victory was nailed together with a heck of a lot of copper rods come bolts, they were the origins of the theft terms half inch or pinch.

Because the Admiralty was suffering from a lot of metal thefts the broad arrow was stamped on it every half inch or so, this was an instant death sentence if caught with it, so they used to chop off or pinch off sections of copper half an inch long leaving behind the tell tale crows feet.

Here ends the history lesson

More here btw


Last edited by NutLoose; 9th Jul 2015 at 18:44.
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Old 9th Jul 2015, 19:01
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An adjacent reflector returning 10db might not be seen if outside the same beam.
True enough. But for significant parts of HMS Victory to fall outside the beam, the beam would need to be impossibly tight, or very very near the target. Even a radar with a 1 degree angular beam spread (impossibly tight) would have a beamwidth more than 170 meters at only 10 kilometers distance. HMS Victory is only 69 meters long. So at any useful range, the entire ship would fall inside the beam and every metal bit and piece on the ship would provide a useful return.
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