In a clear warning to the Pentagon, China has unveiled a range of previously-secret military hardware designed to deter American operations in the South China Sea region.
Among the exhibits on show at the three-day Ninth World Radar Expo in Nanjing is a device that’s already dubbed by defence experts the “terminator of drones”.
The YLC-48 radar is a portable radar tracker that its developer – the No 14 Research Institute of China’s state-owned Electronics Technology Group Corporation [CETC] – says is sensitive enough to spot even the most advanced stealth aircraft as well as small ground-hugging drones.
According to CETC, their new tech makes state-of-the-art stealth aircraft such as the USA’s Lockheed Martin F-22 stealth fighter virtually obsolete.
At the Nanjing Expo, which is a regular showcase for China’s latests military technology, CETC also showed off their latest kit’s ability to track cruise missiles, tactical ballistic missiles, and even near-space weaponry.
The radar’s light weight and simple one-button operation means it can be deployed virtually anywhere at a moment’s notice.
Another anti-drone radar system, the S-band 3D TWA low-altitude surveillance radar, also made its debut at the expo.
According to the manufacturers, the new radar system “can simultaneously detect and track targets including low-flying cruise missiles, warplanes and small drones”.
“It will be deployed in key locations like cities, nuclear plants and military facilities,” the developers stated.
With tensions mounting over China’s increasing ambitions in the South China Sea, and in particular its desire to recapture Taiwan, the balance of power is particularly delicate.
On Monday – April 26 – a Chinese spy plane attempted to penetrate Taiwan’s radar defences as it gathered intelligence and tested the American-backed nation’s response time.
The Y-8 tactical reconnaissance aircraft belonging to the People’s Liberation Army flew less than 100 feet above sea level close to the Taiwanese coast in a mission designed to both train pilots and keep Taiwanese defence's on the back foot.
Lin Yin-yu, a professor of Strategic and International Affairs at Taiwan’s National Chung Cheng University, told the South China Morning Post that the low-altitude flight served to test the Taiwanese military’s radar detection capability.
“By flying at an altitude of 30 metres, the PLA plane was testing if it could fly beneath the radio wave coverage area,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry's issued a warning to Australia not to get involved in the coming struggle over Taiwan.
Spokesman Wang Wenbin said that it was important that Australia was “prudent in its words and deeds” and acted to enhance “peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.
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