They never saw it coming

stealthThe word “stealth” is often associated with high-tech bombers built to be invisible to enemy radar. This technology works through the aircraft’s surface being specially designed and having a covering of radar-absorbent skin that ensures minimal radio waves are reflected back to the enemy radar transmitter.

There is another kind of stealth, however, that does not rely on hiding the presence of an object, but on masking the fact that it is moving. If the pursuer approaches along a particular trajectory it appears to remain perfectly stationary from the point of view of the target. The pursuer can use this “motion camouflage” to rush right up to the target before it is perceived as a threat. This technique could be used by missiles to remain undetected for as long as possible, and even appears to have been discovered by nature. There is good evidence that hoverflies and dragonflies have evolved this strategy to fly without being detected.

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