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China’s CETC Claims Breakthrough In Quantum Radar Development

Photograph of CETC’s experimental Quantum radar capability. Photograph courtesy of Aviation Week & Space Technology.

China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) has unveiled details about its experimental Quantum radar technology during a press conference at the Zhuhai Airshow in China on 5 November 2018, according to a report first published in U.S. trade publication Aviation Week & Space Technology.

The CETC press conference at the Zhuhai Airshow was closed to foreign journalists, and one American journalist who managed to get in by mistake was asked to leave before CETC unveiled details about its breakthrough capability. Still, CETC corporate literature on its experimental Quantum radar efforts was widely available at the airshow and, furthermore, China has made little secret that Quantum radar is one of its research objectives over the coming years.

Quantum radar is a potential breakthrough technology based on the principles of Quantum physics that is resistant to electronic warfare capabilities that can jam traditional radar, and can also detect targets that rely on low-detectability and observability methods such as stealth.

If China were able to achieve breakthroughs that would make Quantum radar operational it will not only claim a strategic first, but would also be able, theoretically at least, offset U.S. military operational advantages in stealth technology and electronic warfare and in turn likely change the strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific region.

According to Steve Trimble of Aviation Week & Space Technology, CETC claim to have made significant Quantum radar progress in 2015 when they made a “detection breakthrough” at 60 kilometres range during a test in Northwest China.

More recently, CETC claim that they have advanced their Quantum radar capability to detect low-observable targets in daylight and against slow-moving targets at sea.

A CETC brochure obtained by Trimble states that Quantum radar, “is expected to solve the traditional bottleneck [of] detection of low observable target detection, survival under electronic warfare conditions, platform load limitations, etc.”

While CETC seems willing to publicly share (at least among Chinese journalists) its achievements in developing Quantum radar, it has apparently stressed that the underlying science and technology are far from ready for operational deployment, and that all efforts so far are experimental in nature.

According to Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Trimble, the CETC brochure states that its Quantum radar experimental efforts so far have, “laid an important theoretical and experimental basis for further research.”

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