China claims it has a radical new ‘quantum’ radar capable of detecting stealth fighters at great distances. Does this mean our ultra-expensive new F-35 is obsolete, even before we get it?
The RAAF’s first F-35’s will be making their debut Australian appearance at the Avalon air show this week. It’s not a combat-capable aircraft, yet, though the first partially operational US squadron of the type was deployed to Japan earlier this year.
But Beijing state media has boasted its scientists have successfully tested a new type of radar capable of defeating stealth technology at ranges out to 100km.
With a single stroke, such a capability would render the $US1 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program obsolete. This includes Australia’s $17 billion investment in some 72 examples of the controversial aircraft.
Existing radars cast beams of radio waves into the sky, with sensors detecting reflections from aircraft or ships. The whole point of stealth technology is to minimise such reflections.
But what if the beam was something other than a radio wave? What if Albert Einstein’s mysterious “spooky action at a distance” could be harnessed?
Billions of dollars and decades of research invested in developing radio-absorbing materials and airframes optimised towards reflecting such waves away from a receiver would be made meaningless overnight.
For the first time, early warning could be given of an approaching stealth aircraft. This would give defenders time to prepare and counter-attack. So, is it even possible?
The new sensor technology uses concepts on the edge of our scientific understanding.
And a Chinese state-owned technology group late last year declared it had mastered it.
The new technology had “important military application values” because it could identify aircraft and ships “invisible” to conventional radar systems, a press statement read.
Understanding that technology exposes its full potential. (end of excerpt)
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