Researchers in Canada are developing a quantum radar system that can detect stealth aircraft and missiles in skies cluttered with background noise.
The $2.7 million project funded by the Department of National Defence aims to harness a technique called quantum illumination to spot objects that are invisible to traditional radio wave-based systems.
By using entangled photons to reveal the location of a stealth craft, the researchers say the system could expose a plane without its pilots ever realizing.
Stealth craft are equipped with systems to ‘jam’ detectors with artificial noise, in addition to using special paint and designs to thwart detection by radio waves.
There are also a number of environmental factors that can present challenges to radar systems, the researchers from the University of Waterloo explain.
‘In the Arctic, space weather such as geomagnetic storms and solar flares interfere with radar operation and make the effective identification of objects more challenging,’ said Jonathan Baugh, a faculty member at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC).
‘By moving from traditional radar to quantum radar, we hope to not only cut through this noise, but also to identify objects that have been specifically designed to avoid detection.’