Chinese military
Chinese researchers have developed a new tech that can help the country's military detect and track enemy signals with unparalleled speed. Wikimedia Commons

Chinese scientists have developed a potentially powerful military surveillance technology, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), which they claim will significantly enhance their detection capabilities on the battlefield.

According to the SCMP report, the Beijing-based researchers say this ''technological breakthrough'' in the field of electronic warfare has for the first time enabled them to achieve "seamless, wide bandwidth, real-time monitoring and analysis across the electromagnetic spectrum".

According to researchers, this new military surveillance technology could enable the Chinese military to not only quickly detect and lock onto enemy signals, but also decode their characteristics at unprecedented speeds and effectively neutralise them while maintaining uninterrupted communication for their own forces.

Project lead scientist Yang Kai, a professor from the School of Information and Electronics at the Beijing Institute of Technology and his team, divulged key details about game-changing technology in a peer-reviewed paper in the Chinese academic journal Radio Communications Technology last month.

In the paper, Yang pointed out that the latest electromagnetic spectrum monitoring gear is "small in size, high in performance and low in power consumption". Although the tech was awesome, handling the massive data amounts needed for this tech in fast-moving battles back then was just unimaginable. The scientists suggest it will cause a "profound shift in the art of war".

The implications of China's signal detection technology

China and the United States are currently engaged in a significant competition to be at the forefront of the electromagnetic spectrum. A slew of unexplained events affecting civilian weather radars in the South China Sea have led some military analysts to believe there's some sort of activity between Chinese and American naval forces in the electromagnetic spectrum.

While no physical conflict has occurred, the reported activity has raised concerns about the increasing use of the electronic spectrum in the region. Additionally, statements like President Biden's characterisation of President Xi Jinping as a "dictator" last year contributed to the complex geopolitical landscape.

China, which was initially weaker in military technology, is finally getting stronger with some reports claiming they are pushing other countries around more. For instance, China claims that its advanced Type 055 destroyer scared off a whole group of US planes and ships.

While it is unclear whether these claims are true, soldiers say they used special jamming equipment to target those planes and ships. This a major sign that China is getting better at "electronic warfare," which involves fighting with signals and waves instead of bombs and bullets.

According to Yang's team, the new Chinese equipment can "spy" on radio signals used by civilians and even Elon Musk's Starlink satellites. This means the US military can't easily hide communications by switching to civilian frequencies or short bursts.

Understandably, Republican 2024 presidential hopeful Nikki Haley called China the biggest threat to the US since World War II in an interview with Fox News last year.