Stealth enclosures for covert operations

Jon Lawson

In the world of engineering it’s a truism that every application has its own unique challenges. However, some challenges are more noteworthy than others; such as specifying enclosures for external use on a vessel with stealth capabilities, for example. This is just one of the challenges that Spelsberg has been presented with which can be solved with the use of innovative coating technology.

Stealth technology is designed to prevent sonar and radar detection systems from identifying an object. This is achieved by preventing sound or light reflections from returning to the sensor equipment, either by absorbing the signal or reflecting it in a non-uniform pattern. It’s vital that every exposed component is protected in this fashion, as even a small returning signal could be enough for advanced technology to make an identification. For one recent military application, the task of producing anti-radar enclosures fell to Spelsberg UK.

Chris Lloyd, Spelsberg UK Managing Director, comments: “Many of our customers come to us for advice during specification to make sure that they end up with a product that fits their requirements. I have to say though, that this was one of the more unusual enquiries. We needed to be able to supply pre-assembled enclosures which would conform to the very strict requirements for applications of this nature.

“Obviously the first job of an enclosure is to house components efficiently, so it wouldn’t be practical to manufacture a design with the irregular angles that are classically associated with stealth technology. This left us with the option of producing enclosures which would absorb the radar signal rather than reflect it. We were able to achieve this thanks to our special coating service.”

Spelsberg UK works closely with a UK manufacturer that pioneers research and development in Polymer Chemistry, which means that it can offer solutions which are otherwise unavailable on the market. Specialist chemical coatings can deliver an astonishing number of functions which would normally require expensive and cumbersome engineering. The range and scope of available coatings are constantly evolving with new developments being made almost every day. Each of the coatings can be applied to Spelsberg’s enclosures, no matter what the material.

All of the coatings are UV stable, waterproof and have excellent chemical resistance properties for long lasting, reliable performance in even the harshest of environments. Because the service is supplied as part of the Spelsberg assembly and customisation process, enclosures are delivered to the customer pre-coated and ready for installation. New developments are very much customer driven so new coating technologies are often manufactured to the customer’s specific requirements.

Chris concludes: “The ‘Stealth Enclosures’ is just one great example of how the coating service has allowed us to meet a quirky challenge. In the past we’ve supplied enclosures which are ESD, EMI and RFI shielded, fire resistant, thermally insulated and ice resistant. We’ve even supplied enclosures with CARC coating which prevents the surface from picking up any chemical or biological particles which could be harmful to human contact.”

Spelsberg’s special coating service is just one of the many ways in which the company is able to customise its enclosures to the needs of the customer.

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