China says it can track F-35s operating in stealth mode with new anti-stealth RADAR

China says it can track F-35s operating in stealth mode with new anti-stealth RADAR

According to China’s Global Times newspaper, a senior Chinese radar designer said in a recent interview that China has developed a meter wave anti-stealth radar that can be used to spot enemy stealth aircraft and even guide Chinese missiles toward them.

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.”

Meter wave radar can be deployed on vehicles, on land and warships, creating a dense web that gives hostile stealth aircraft nowhere to hide.

China says it can track F-35s operating in stealth mode with new anti-stealth RADAR
A JY-27A long-range air surveillance & guidance radar is seen during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2018, in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, on 7 November, 2018. Photo: IC

“As long as they are designed to serve this purpose, meter wave anti-stealth radars can fulfill the requirement,” Wu Jianqi, a senior scientist at the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) who conducts researches and designs anti-stealth radar, said when asked in an interview with the Naval & Merchant Ships magazine whether a meter wave radar can guide missiles to shoot down stealth aircraft.

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Meter wave radars can detect stealth aircraft because modern stealth aircraft are mainly designed to avoid detection by microwave radar, and are less stealthy to meter wave radar, military experts noted.

However, analysts previously said that because of their low resolution and accuracy, meter wave radars can only send warnings about incoming threats. And even if microwave radars compensate for the shortcomings of the meter wave radars, they are unable to entirely overcome these shortcomings.

Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times that older meter wave radars could only see roughly an object’s general direction, not its exact location.

Wu solved the issue by designing the world’s first practical meter wave sparse array synthetic impulse and aperture radar.

Wu said that his radar has multiple transmitting and receiving antennas tens of meters high, scattered in a range of tens to hundreds of meters. They can continuously cover the sky as the radar receives echoes from all directions.

Wei said that this significantly enhances the radar’s ability to track an aerial target, pinpointing the stealth aircraft’s exact coordinates by synthesizing parameters and data gathered by the radar under the support of advanced algorithms.

Since the radar can now see stealth aircraft clearly and track them continuously and accurately, it could become capable of guiding long-range anti-aircraft missiles and landing precision strikes on them, Wei said.

Although other countries like Russia are also developing meter wave radars, Wu seems confident that China’s are the best.

“As for now, I do not see a meter wave air defense radar from abroad that can match the criteria of the advanced meter wave radar [like the one China has],” Wu said.

Commenting on the report, National Interest, a prominent US publication specializing 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.

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.

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