Claimed Chinese Quantum Radar breakthrough would render US stealth obselete Claimed Chinese Quantum Radar breakthrough would render US stealth obselete
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2 WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Chinas bold claim of creating the worlds first Quantum Radar system, if true, will render US, and all... Claimed Chinese Quantum Radar breakthrough would render US stealth obselete

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

  • Chinas bold claim of creating the worlds first Quantum Radar system, if true, will render US, and all stealth systems, obsolete


 

This week Beijing’s state media arm, the Global Times, made the bold claim that a Chinese defense contractor successfully developed the world’s first Quantum Radar System and that the radar can allegedly detect objects at range of up to 62 miles (100km).

If the claim is true, and we have no corroborating evidence to suggest that it is, then this would render almost all of the US’s stealth fleet, and stealth capabilities, obsolete.

Quantum radar is based on the theory of quantum entanglement and the idea that two different particles can share a relationship with one another to the point that, by studying one particle, you can learn things about the other particle, which could be miles away. These two particles are said to be entangled.

 

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In quantum radars, a photon is split by a crystal into two entangled photons, a process known as “Parametric down-conversion.” The radar splits multiple photons into entangled pairs – an A and a B, so to speak. The radar systems sends one half of the pairs – the A’s – via microwave beam into the air. The other half, the B’s, remain back at the radar base.

By studying the photons that stay at the radar base radar operators can tell what is happening to the A’s – wherever they happen to be and if the A’s come into contact with an object then the way they interact with it can tell the operator how large it is, what its configuration is, how fast it’s travelling, where it’s headed and a lot more besides. And as you can see from the trace below, from a US miniaturized experiment back in 2012 despite all its stealth technology the B-2 looks like a B-2 – on a traditional radar scope it would be invisible.

 

A Quantum Radar trace of a B-2

 

Quantum radars defeat stealth by using subatomic particles, not radio waves and that is the main – and most significant difference between them and the traditional radar systems we rely on today. Subatomic particles don’t care if an object’s shape was designed to reduce a traditional, radio wave-based radar signature and furthermore quantum radar would also be immune to traditional radar jamming and spoofing methods such as radiowave radar jammers and chaff.

According to Global Times, the 14th Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) developed the radar system last month. China isn’t alone in its ambitions to build a quantum radar – in 2008 Lockheed Martin was granted a patent on a theoretical design but Lockheed’s plans were grander – including the ability to “visualize useful target details through background and, or camouflaging clutter, through plasma shrouds around hypersonic air vehicles, through the layers of concealment hiding underground facilities, IEDs, mines, and other threats.”

 

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Since the 2008 patent, Lockheed’s been silent on the subject of quantum radars. Given what a technological leap such a system would be, it’s quite possible the research has gone “black” and been absorbed into their secretive Skunk Works division.

As for whether or not the Chinese have managed to pull of the titanic feat of creating a quantum radar system well, until there’s additional proof it’s hard not to be cynical but when it comes to Quantum technology China has already posted a couple of firsts and, of course, if it true then the Pentagon is going to have to re-think its stealth strategy.

Matthew Griffin Global Futurist 未来学家, Tech Evangelist, XPrize Mentor ● Int'l Keynote Speaker ● Disruption, Futures and Innovation expert

Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Among other things Matthew keeps busy helping the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers ideate the next five generations of smartphones, and what comes beyond, the world’s largest chip makers envision the next twenty years of intelligent machines, and is helping Europe’s largest energy companies re-invent energy generation, transmission and retail. Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who has been featured on the BBC, Discovery and other outlets. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew helps them envision the future and helps them transform their industries, products and go to market strategies, and shows them how the combination of new, democratised, powerful emerging technologies are helping accelerate cultural, industrial and societal change. Matthew’s clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Blackrock, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Du Pont, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, HPE, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group, McKinsey & Co, PWC, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, SAP, Samsung, Schroeder’s, Sequoia Capital, Sopra Steria, UBS, the UK’s HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.

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