China has developed a meter wave anti-stealth radar it says can be used to spot enemy stealth aircraft and even guide Chinese missiles toward them, China’s Global Times has reported.
Speaking to the newspaper, Wu Jiangqi, a senior defence scientist at China Electronics Technology Group, a state-owned electronics giant which creates of a variety of applications for civilian and military use, including radars, said that meter wave radar “can fulfill the requirement” of detecting enemy stealth systems with high precision “as long as they are designed to serve this purpose.”
The new radar, which can be deployed across a range of platforms, from vehicles to warships, as well as stationary installations, is said to be designed to hone in on stealth aircraft, which are designed to be ‘invisible’ to microwave radar, by using meter wave radar.
Wu’s team is said to have solved the fundamental problem of low resolution and accuracy of meter wave systems by creating a ‘meter wave sparse array synthetic impulse and aperture radar’, which monitors the skies consistently, processing pings from an array of transmitting and receiving antennas reaching dozens of meters into the air.
According to Wu, his team’s anti-stealth radar is unmatched in its capabilities. “As for now, I do not see a meter wave air defence radar from abroad that can match the criteria of the advanced meter wave radar [like the one China has],” he said.
Commenting on the report, National Interest, a prominent US publication specialising in defence issues, said questions remain regarding the effectiveness of the new Chinese anti-stealth radar system, noting that Chinese engineers have not specified how susceptibility to jamming or spoofing, along with its potential vulnerability to enemy missiles is dealt with.
“In the end, the problem with evaluating anti-stealth is the same as evaluating stealth: we really won’t know how well any of this will work until it is used in combat,” contributor Michael Peck wrote.
Russian defence analysts have long said that Russia’s Podsolnukh (‘Sunflower’) radar is already capable of detecting and tracking the F-35 and other stealth aircraft, with the system having a reported ability to detect objects at sea and in the air at a distance of about 500 km, in the line of sight or over the horizon.
As of 2016, three Podsolnukh stations were in operation along Russia’s maritime borders: one in the Sea of Okhotsk, one in the Sea of Japan and one in the Caspian Sea, with the defence ministry reportedly planning to build and deploy more. An export version of the Podsolnukh has also been showcased at several international expos dedicated to maritime defence technology.