Chinese Scientists Say Quantum Radar Could End Stealth Advantage

stealth fighter
Chinese scientists say they are close to creating a quantum radar that could detect stealth aircraft, according to the South China Morning Post.

A new quantum radar technology developed by a team of Chinese researchers would be able to detect stealth planes, the South China Morning Post is reporting.

The news service reports that the radar technology generates a mini electromagnetic storm to detect objects. Professor Zhang Chao and his team at Tsinghua University’s aerospace engineering school, reported their findings in a paper in Journal of Radars.

A quantum radar is different from traditional radars in several ways, according to the paper. While traditional radars have on a fixed or rotating dish, the quantum design features a gun-shaped instrument that accelerates electrons. The electrons pass through a winding tube of a strong magnetic fields, producing what is described as a tornado-shaped microwave vortex.

The researchers said they tested a smaller scaled version of the radar.

Taking the step from theoretical stealth-detecting quantum radar and small-scale prototypes to an actual device will not be an easy task, the researchers suggest. According to the newspaper, they are looking for industrial partners to build a full-sized version.

This isn’t the first time Chinese scientists have said they have developed a quantum radar, or created a device that can undermine stealth technology. In 2016, scientists reported they could detect stealth aircraft.

Other scientists aren’t sure that the approach will ever pan out.

“There’s just a lot of problems that make it hard for me to believe that this system is going to be of any use,” said Jeffrey Shapiro, an MIT professor and one of the first physicists who came up with the idea of quantum radar, in an interview with Science magazine last year.

Matt Swayne
Matt Swayne
Matt Swayne is a contributor at The Quantum Daily. He focuses on breaking news about quantum discoveries and quantum computing. Matt enjoys working on -- and with -- startups and is currently working on a media studies master's degree, specializing in science communication.

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