RIP F-22 Raptor? China Claims It Can Detect Stealth Fighters

Michael Peck

Key Point: China claims to have developed a special radar that can detect stealth aircraft.

In addition, it also functions as a fire control radar that can guide missiles toward stealthy jets like the F-35.

“Meter wave radar can be deployed on vehicles, on land and warships, creating a dense web that gives hostile stealth aircraft nowhere to hide,” said China’s Global Times.

Chinese scientists say they have solved a fundamental dilemma inherent to radar. High-frequency radars, such as microwave radars, emit a lot of short pulses that are good for guiding weapons to a target. Low-frequency radars, that emit waves that are meters long, are better for searching an area but aren’t precise enough for fire control (here’s a quick primer). That means high- and low-frequency radars tend to be paired for search and fire control.

Stealth aircraft are shaped to avoid detection by high-frequency beams. “Meter wave radars can detect stealth aircraft because modern stealth aircraft are mainly designed to avoid detection by microwave radar, and are less stealthy to meter wave radar,” said Global Times. “However, analysts previously said that because of their low resolution and accuracy, meter wave radars can only send warnings about incoming threats. And even if microwave radars compensate for the shortcomings of the meter wave radars, they are unable to entirely overcome these shortcomings.”

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