BEIJING - The China North Industries Group Corporation has tested a radar in recent weeks that generates terahertz radiation in order to better track the presence of stealth aircraft, the South China Morning Post reports.
The device has the potential to be a “game changer” for the People’s Liberation Army, scientists told the Hong-Kong based news outlet, since the radar might be able to spot the US’ F-22 Raptors and beleaguered F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
Terahertz radiation can theoretically see through the “composite materials” that help hide stealthy jets, SCMP reports. The F-22 fleet’s new $40 million paint job might be for naught after all.
“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 instrument was designed at the China Academy of Engineering Physics.
A terahertz ray device is still far from actual military use. Researcher Qi Jiaran of the Harbin Institute of Technology said “there is still a long way to go” before a T-ray radar could be equipped onto a surveillance plane or satellite.
The Japanese Defense Ministry is also actively developing new radar systems to pinpoint the locations of stealth Russian Su-57s and Chinese J-20 fighters, Sputnik reported August 17.