Chinese scientists have reportedly tested a new military radar device that can generate powerful terahertz radiation capable of tracking concealed weapons in a crowd from hundreds of metres away.
According to a report by South China Morning Post, China North Industries Group Corporation tested a device that produces terahertz radiation last week at a military research facility in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
Terahertz radiation, or T-rays, can theoretically see through the composite materials that help hide stealthy jets and is widely used in industrial plants to spot product defects. The report says China’s biggest arms manufacturer is currently developing more powerful version of T-rays producing device to put on an early warning aircraft or satellite to identify and track military aircraft, including the US’ F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters.
Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday that this new device could generate stable, continuous radiation at an average level up to 18 watts, and terahertz pulses with peak power close to one megawatt, on par with some military radars.
“The radar-absorbent coatings on the F-35 will look as thin and transparent as stockings if [the Chinese radar] is as powerful as they claim,” a technical executive told the Post. The reported power of the radars is “more than a million times higher” than other terahertz machines — dubbed T-rays — that have tried to measure the physical specifications of stealth coatings on F-35s, the executive added.
The new instrument was developed by the China Academy of Engineering Physics in Mianyang, the nation’s largest research institute for the development and production of nuclear weapons.
According to the academy’s website, efforts were under way to increase the device’s power output and shrink its size for military applications.