Chinese scientists are developing new quantum radar technology. According to the South China Morning Post, it will be able to detect stealth aircraft, creating a small electromagnetic storm. Details of the technology are published by the Chinese peer-reviewed Journal of Radars.
The essence of stealth technology is to reduce visibility in the radar and infrared ranges. The effect is achieved due to a special coating, the specific shape of the aircraft body, as well as the materials from which its structure is made.
Radar waves emitted, for example, by the transmitter of an anti-aircraft missile system, are reflected from the outer surface of the aircraft and are received by the radar station – this is radar signature.
Conventional radars have a fixed or rotating dish, but the design of a quantum radar is more like a cannon and accelerates electrons to near the speed of light. According to the report, after passing through a winding tube that is exposed to strong magnetic fields, electrons can generate a vortex of microwaves. It, in turn, moves forward like a horizontal tornado.
If the project is successfully completed, the new quantum radar system will surpass any previously created. However, there is still a lot of work to be done before a successful prototype is created, said Zhang Chao of Tsinghua University.
The fundamental particles used in this artificial electromagnetic storm will exhibit strange properties, the authors added. In the study, each particle retained a spiraling momentum that did not diminish over time and distance. Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicts that this is physically impossible. However, the researchers emphasized that “quantum mechanics bypasses the theories of the late physicists,” allowing the system to detect targets that a conventional radar would never have seen. The study authors emphasized that problematic weather conditions will not interfere with quantum detection technologies.
If the system actually works and is implemented in the contested airspace, then it will be an advantage for the Chinese Air Force. Even today, most aircraft cannot hide their signature from radars because they reflect electromagnetic waves. Stealth aircraft such as the American F-22 Raptor or F-35, for example, absorb most of the radar waves using a special coating material.
However, Interesting Engineering notes that this is not the first time Chinese researchers have announced the development of a functional quantum radar. At the same time, many experts from other countries dispute the very possibility of creating such detection devices.