(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
China appears to be building a new high-frequency radar on an artificial feature in the Spratly Islands that could allow Beijing to track even the stealthiest American warplanes, including the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and even the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. The Center for Strategic and International Studies has acquired satellite evidence of the construction.
“Placement of a high frequency radar on Cuarteron Reef would significantly bolster China’s ability to monitor surface and air traffic coming north from the Malacca Straits and other strategically important channels,” reads a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Improved radar coverage is an important piece of the puzzle—along with improved air defenses and greater reach for Chinese aircraft—toward China’s goals of establishing effective control over the sea and airspace throughout the nine-dash line.”
Moreover, the Washington-based think tank has a specific reason to believe that the new radar is a high-frequency set. “Two probable radar towers have been built on the northern portion of the feature, and a number of 65-foot (20-meter) poles have been erected across a large section of the southern portion,” reads the report. “These poles could be a high-frequency radar installation, which would significantly bolster China’s ability to monitor surface and air traffic across the southern portion of the South China Sea.” Read more