China has developed a prototype of a multiple terahertz radiation system that is capable of detecting stealth aircraft, Chinese experts have said.
The prototype of the air-to-ground reconnaissance tool was developed by a China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) team led by scientist Li Yuanji, and a second-generation prototype is already in development, China Central Television (CCTV) reported Sunday, citing a statement released by CETC.
Terahertz radiation has wavelengths between those of infrared rays and microwaves, a wide spectrum that would render current stealth technologies obsolete, making the radar able to detect stealth aircraft.
Terahertz radiation can penetrate composite materials and radar wave-absorbing coatings used on the stealth aircraft which are used to make them undetectable. Penetration will expose metallic parts within the aircraft lifting its cover, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Monday.
The radar could also clearly trace the outline of an object, making it possible to even tell what type of object it is, he added.
According to some experts however, effective range of the radar is likely low since terahertz radiation decays soon in the air. Thus, it is insufficient to detect advanced stealth fighters before it launches attacks from beyond visual range.
While the anti-stealth aspect of the technology still needs time to be ironed out, the technology can be used for air-to-ground reconnaissance at great efficiency, Wei noted.
When placed on an aircraft or a drone, the radar will allow operators to see battlefield situations and deliver precision strikes on targets that would be otherwise difficult to detect, according to Wei.