Anti-stealth radars are being used by China to detect F-35C aircraft currently stationed on the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in the West Philippine Sea.
On Wednesday, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military specialist, told the Global Times that “China has already developed a number of anti-stealth radar systems, so the F-35C can be detected. China also has countermeasures against the vertical take-off and landing-capable CMV-22Bs, which could land on islands and reefs in the region.”
First deployment of F-35C stealth jets
On Monday, the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier crossed the Bashi Channel into the West Philippine Sea. The deployment of the carrier was verified by the US Pacific Fleet in a tweet later on Tuesday. The USS Carl Vinson is carrying a complement of F-35C aircraft on their maiden overseas deployment. The F-35Cs will eventually replace the F/A-18 jets that currently serve as the backbone of the US Navy’s carrier fleet.
According to the Beijing-controlled South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, it was the sixth time a US aircraft carrier has entered the region this year.
Chinese Stealth Radars
At the 9th World Radar Expo in Nanjing in April, China displayed the SLC-7 L-band 3D surveillance radar system and the YLC-8E UHF-band 3D surveillance radar system. These could be the ones used to track down American stealth aircraft.
The SLC-7 L-band 3D surveillance radar system, according to a statement made by China Electronics Technology Group Co (CETC) during the expo, can track stealth aircraft, helicopters, drones, cruise missiles, near-space targets, artillery shells, and rockets.
The SLC-7 can concurrently detect and track several targets, survive saturation attacks, adapt to jamming, and identify targets quickly. The statement says the radar has ‘long range,’ but does not explain how far it can travel.
Freedom of navigation operations
Meanwhile, the US Navy said the PRC’s (Chinese government) statement regarding this mission is untrue, denying a Chinese Navy claim that it ‘expelled’ USS Benfold from near the Spartly Islands.
“USS Benfold conducted this freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) in accordance with international law and then continued on to conduct normal operations in international waters. The operation reflects our commitment to uphold freedom of navigation and lawful uses of the sea as a principle. The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as USS Benfold did here. Nothing PRC says otherwise will deter us,” the service said in a statement.