According to new reports, China is developing technology that would allow its military to “see” any U.S. stealth aircraft, which would be a complete game changer, in efforts to counter the communist country’s expanding global influence.
The technology, known as “ghost imaging,” would provide sensitivity currently impossible by detecting extremely tiny amounts of light that stray from a dimmer object, as well as how that light interacts with other light sources in the surrounding environment. This would effectively make all forms of current camouflage technology—ranging from smoke used to hide ground forces to radar-absorption materials used on stealth aircraft and naval vessels—completely ineffective.
The B-2 Spirit bomber is equipped with the latter and typically takes off at night to avoid high-definition optical spy cameras on satellites overhead, essentially making it completely invisible to enemy antiaircraft systems. It’s successor, the B-21 Raider, is still in the final stages of development, and won’t enter service for another eight years.
The U.S. and China are both working to develop space-based quantum imaging technology, having already mastered ground-based versions. China, however, beat the U.S. in announcing its ground-based capabilities by three years, and Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory for Quantum Optics Research Director Gong Wenlin said he is confident China will be the first to deploy the technology in space.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, he added:
"A ghost imaging satellite will reveal more details than the most advanced radar satellite.'
The SCMP reports more than 200 scientists are working on quantum ghost imaging, and that China’s pace of development is only limited by how much money the government invests in the research and development.