China presents a futuristic quantum radar for its combat aircraft

China presents a futuristic quantum radar for its combat aircraft

The Chinese corporation CETC has presented a prototype of a quantum radar, with which it will be possible to detect inconspicuous targets even in conditions of electronic countermeasures. According to Aviation Week, the presentation of the radar was carried out at the air show in Zhuhai in early November 2018, but only Chinese correspondents were admitted. The device presented has already passed a series of successful tests at the test site in northwestern China.

Modern radar stations are capable of detecting different types of targets, and the range of detection depends on the reflectivity of the object. The more waves the objective reflects on the radar, the larger it will appear on the screen.

Furtive technologies

To reduce the distance at which the aircraft can be detected, researchers have developed several hidden technologies: a special geometric shape, the use of absorbent coatings and composite materials. All these allow to reduce the number of radar waves reflected from a certain angle.

These technologies are used in some types of modern combat aircraft, including the Su-57, the F-22 Raptor, the F-35 Lightning II, the J-20 and the B-2 Spirit. Thanks to furtive technology, the aircraft is more likely to fly as close to the target as possible before being detected by enemy radar. As stealth technology developed steadily, military researchers became actively interested in developing new methods to detect “invisible” targets. One of these methods is the quantum radar.

According to the CETC description, its quantum radar uses the principle of quantum entanglement. This is the name of the phenomenon in which some characteristics of quantum objects are interconnected.

In the case of the Chinese radar, it uses pairs of entangled photons. Some remain in the system as a control, while others form a beam of scanning radar. The photons in the beam are reflected back into the radar when they hit any object, after which the state of the reflected particles is compared with the control ones.

Previously, Chinese developers had claimed that, depending on the modified characteristics of the photons, it was possible to calculate not only the standard parameters of the target but also the chemical composition of its surface such as that of the paint. According to the developers, even one photon is enough to detect the target.

The development of the radar station has been carried out since 2015 but, for the first time, the Chinese corporation CETC announced its creation in 2016. According to the developers, during the tests of the radar prototype, it detected aerial targets at a distance of up to one hundred kilometers

Then, the experts refined the equipment, making possible its reliable operation during the day. The device presented in the exhibition is capable of detecting and accompanying slow surface targets. Other details about the new quantum radar are not yet known.

China’s development in the defense sector is increasingly impressive. They recently successfully tested an attack helicopter that was piloted alone and leaked an image of a hypersonic drone that they wanted to keep secret.

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