China is all set to get advanced radars capable of detecting stealth fighter jets such as US F-35 as well as drones and even low-flying cruise missiles, according to reports.
In November last year, The EurAsian Times reported that China has developed an anti-stealth radar that can detect advanced stealth. Moreover, the radar could guide missiles towards stealthy fighter jets.
In the three-day World Radar Expo held in Nanjing, in East China’s Jiangsu province, China showcased its various advanced surveillance systems including “anti-stealth” technology, as a countermeasure to fifth-generation aircraft that have become a challenge to air defense systems worldwide. The event concluded on Saturday.
Developed by the No.14 Research Institute of the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation or CETC, the SLC-7 L-band 3D surveillance radar system can take down targets including stealth aircraft, helicopters, drones, cruise missiles, tactical ballistic missiles, near-space targets, and artillery shells and rockets, making it much more versatile than many competing products, according to a statement by the research institute quoted by Global Times.
With its gigantic antenna, the flagship radar YLC-8E can detect “even the most advanced stealth aircraft”, and that its high-definition feature is superior to foreign competitors.
In contrast to this big antenna, the research institute also showcased an advanced man-portable radar system capable of detecting low-altitude, low observable, low-speed flying targets like drones, aircraft, and subsonic cruise missiles. This is designated as YLC-48, dubbed “terminator of drones”.
This small radar could be effectively used for all kinds of lightweight ground-based weapons platforms for all-weather operations with rapid deployment and withdrawal, according to its developer.
Further developing this “drone terminator”, the institute has also developed the AUDS high-mobile anti-drone system based on the YLC-48 which can greatly enhance China’s public safety and low-altitude security defense capabilities in sensitive areas, Global Times reported.
However, while the advancements in radar technology are important, it is certainly not impossible to counter stealth aircraft using the current technology. In an interesting writeup while explaining problems encountered by Israeli F-35I against Russian radars in Syria, defense analyst David Cenciotti, explains:
“In fact, tactical fighter-sized stealth aircraft are built to defeat radar operating at specific frequencies; usually high-frequency bands as C, X, Ku and S band where the radar accuracy is higher (in fact, the higher the frequency, the better is the accuracy of the radar system).
“However, once the frequency wavelength exceeds a certain threshold and causes a resonant effect, LO aircraft become increasingly detectable… Radars that operate at bands below 300 MHz (lower UHF, VHF and HF radars), such as the so-called Over The Horizon (OTH) radars, are believed to be particularly dangerous for stealth planes: although they are not much accurate (because lower frequency implies very large antenna and lower angle accuracy and angle resolution) they can spot stealth planes and be used to guide fighters equipped with IRST towards the direction the LO planes might be.”