China Developing New Laser Satellite For Anti-Submarine Warfare

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China Developing New Laser Satellite For Anti-Submarine Warfare

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam K. Thomas/U.S. Navy

China is developing a satellite with a powerful laser for anti-submarine warfare, according to Song Xiaoquan, a researcher involved in the project, cited by South China Morning Post (SCMP).

According to the outlet, China’s new satellite might become the “Death Star” for submarines. Researchers reportedly hope that the device will be able to pinpoint a target up to 500 meters below the water surface.

Aside from targeting submarines – most operate at a depth of less than 500 meters – it could also be used to collect data on the world’s oceans.

Project Guanlan, meaning “watching the big waves”, was officially launched in May at the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology in Qingdao, Shandong. It aims to strengthen China’s surveillance activities in the world’s oceans, according to the laboratory’s website.

Scientists are working on the design in the laboratory, however its key components are being developed at more than 20 research institutes and universities across China. Song Xiaoquan, a researcher involved in the project, said if the team can develop the satellite as planned, it will make the upper layer of the sea “more or less transparent”.

“It will change almost everything,” Song said.

As reported by SCMP, light dims 1,000 times faster in water than in the air, and the sun can penetrate no more than 200 meters below the ocean surface, a powerful artificial laser beam can be 1 billion times brighter than the sun.

The project is very ambitious, since researchers have tried for more than 50 years to develop a laser spotlight that allows hunting submarines using technology known as light detection and ranging (lidar).

Lidar technology can be affected by the device’s power limitations, as well as cloud, fog, murky water – and even marine life such as fish and whales. Added to that, the laser beam deflects and scatters as it travels from one body of water to another, making it more of a challenge to get a precise calculation.

There are, of course, doubts if such a device is even possible. “Five hundred metres is ‘mission impossible’,” said a lidar scientist with the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who is not involved in the project.

“They [project researchers] won’t be able to break through the darkness guarded by Mother Nature – unless of course they are Tom Cruise, armed with some secret weapons,” according to an unnamed researcher, cited by SCMP.

However, the government has agreed to fund the research, in part because the scientist team has come up with an approach that has not been tried before, according to an unnamed scientist involved in the project, cited by SCMP.

Once it has been developed, the laser device is likely to be made by the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shaanxi province. The institute gained attention recently for the lightweight laser weapons it is developing, particularly a device the size of an assault rifle that it claims can set fire to a target from nearly 1km away.

SCMP also reported that China has been investing heavily into military hardware, including anti-submarine technology, the J-20 fighter jet, which is to enter mass production soon, AI-controlled submarines, as well as its new aircraft carriers, one of which passed its maritime tests recently.

Last year, Chinese scientists claimed to have made a breakthrough in magnetic detection technology with a device that can monitor tiny disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by metallic objects such as submarines.

In January 2018, the SCMP reported that China has planted powerful listening devices in strategic seabeds near the American naval base in Guam and in the South China Sea, some of which can “hear” low-frequency sounds from more than 1,000km away.

At the national marine science lab in Qingdao, researchers are working on an exascale supercomputer called “Deep Blue Brain” that, when completed in 2020, aims to be the most powerful computer on the planet – about 1,000 times faster than the fastest computers today.

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  • SPEAKER OF THE TRUTH

    China has advantages in some basic research because they lack any morality (c.f. human geneeering) but this is pure chinky nonsense.

    • Well, I made a little internet research and at 650 nm wavelength the absorption is around 0.01 /m . Seems not so much, but it is for clean water in laboratory environment and normal pressure.
      For 500 meters it means you’ll lose about 140 W of energy for every 1 W going through.
      Black rubber which is most common coating of submarines will return less then 1% of laser beam. And then you will lose 140W of energy for every 1 W going through again.
      Sum it up, you will need 2millionsW for every 1W returned to satellite in my scenario.
      In real world it will be even worse as laser will be affected by debris and living animals on the way.
      So if you will use the most powerful laser available today with 100kW output, you will get only 0,05W in return. It is nearly nothing. It will be not enough to separate it from the noise of the background and you will get a lot of it because of clouds, dust in the air, floating objects, fish …

      So probability you will be able to spot submarine is nearly zero.

      • JPH

        Good to see you applying logic and some physics.

        Perhaps the problem requires less power than you think. You applied a radar analogue thinking taking into account the attenuation of the water layer up to the depth of the submarine and back to the surface again. However moving through water causes a wake of impressive dimensions. The submarine will leave a three dimensional wake and this disturbance is a lot bigger than the submarine itself. That disturbance will be visible at the surface.This wake will supply probably a Doppler shifted return too. The dimension of this wake will be in the kilometer range thus also result in minute elevation disturbance at the surface. Mapping the progress of such disturbances will supply an excellent estimate of probable positions. In comparison with commercial services supplying sea state date the spatial resolution will have to be much better in order to map the surface disturbance caused by the wake of a submarine.
        So it becomes a matter of wake detection at the surface. That greatly reduces your power requirement and will bring this into the range of quite achievable.

        • interesting. But still, what about whales :) They make underwater disturbances as well (ok, they are fraction of the size and power output).
          Anyway, laser satellites can try to track submarines until :
          a, they go really deep , let say 200m and more
          b, they decide go Arctica and hide under ice

          And I read recently one more interesting feature of laser technology called laser chromatography. It is not real chromatography, but rather analysis of returned laser beam and his polarization. It can tell you from what surface it was reflected, for example metal, plastic, silicon oxide …

          It is very useful for remote analysis of space debris.
          Or for distinguishing whales and nuclear submarines as well.

      • Sinbad2

        You are assuming that the laser beam needs to contact the sub.

        https://youtu.be/YS3i-irQ0L0

      • Timothy Casey

        No offence. But this is why they didn’t grant this research funding to you. Don’t you think?

    • ruca

      I would argue that the US of Arrogance has a documented record of immorality to extensive to write down. How many native Indians were murdered? How many illegal wars?

      • SPEAKER OF THE TRUTH

        Too many wars for Israel. However, that does not alter the fact that the Chinese are incapable of being creative.

        • ruca

          Chinese aren’t creative? Study some Chinese history.

        • You can call me Al

          You have no idea do you ?. What a very small and biased mind you have.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          now you put your foot in your mouth hasbara.

          hasbara = beyond retard.

        • Sinbad2

          I really get amused by people who need to take their shoes off to count past ten, claiming that others are dumb.

          The Chinese invented paper money, as well as the paper, that is very creative, and turning the excretions of a worm into silk is also creative.

          America on the other hand has invented only one thing, the transistor, everything else was either bought or stolen from others.

          • SPEAKER OF THE TRUTH

            lol

          • ruca

            Gunpowder is a big one too.

          • Ewan

            and everything was built on Chinese, Egyptian or Greek discoveries.

        • Ewan

          Yeah sure, the first people to invent and use gunpowder and missiles in warfare when Europeans were running around shitting, pissing and bathing and drinking the same water. Highly uncreative.

          • SPEAKER OF THE TRUTH

            lol

      • Timothy Casey

        Agree. The US imposed “Indian termination policy” (1940s) on native indians to force them to adapt to american expected “way of life”. China is doing similar things with uighurs in Xinjiang. When americans did it, it was ok; but when China does it, China gets trashed!

    • FlorianGeyer

      The Chinese were dressing in Silk whilst your and indeed my ancestors were barely able to walk :)

      • Davki

        So, your ancestors were continually drunk?

        • FlorianGeyer

          I am not old enough to have any reliable evidence of what they were doing a few thousand years ago. Are you ?

  • Well I’m a bit sceptical about satellite with laser going 500m deep into ocean to scan possible submarines. For example. Best lasers for military and cutting technologies has about hundred of kilowatts. Nobody ever constructed such powerful lasers placed on satellites.
    Even on ground applications many information about those lasers are classified, for example their wavelength, but let’s suppose, that they are red lasers on 650 nm which can penetrate water quite well.
    But there is another big problem. To work properly it must have enough energy go down through 500m of water, reflect on submarine surface go through 500m of water up and return to the satellite.
    Submarine is really not very reflective and typically it is round shaped so only tiny fraction of laser energy will be reflected back to satellite. And don’t forgot. This reflected beam has to travel 500m of water again. I think it is not technically impossible but I doubt that anybody has such high power output lasers on satellites at the moment. And you’ll need a lot of energy to scan the whole object because you really want distinguish between a real submarine and some piece of iron junk on the bottom of the sea.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      Are aware of thorium reactors and their principle? I agree with you on your analysis but when Putin revealed their new weapons and how are powered my mind went to thorium technology. It is the only technology that can be miniaturized and produce the power needed, if someone find a way to activate thorium with out the use of 10% uranium.

      • Some kind of nuclear source of energy will be needed. And a lot of money put all those satellites on orbit. But it is theoretically possible. But costs will be incredible.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          I dont think the chinese will sweat at cost they have 1.3 trillion american IOUs.

          • Ivan Freely

            The Chinese are dumping/spending those American IOUs as fast as they can now.

        • Concrete Mike

          Russia has had mini reactors since the 1970, development costs are not relevant, all you have to do is build it.

          I dont think the cost is that much an issue.

          Russians make really good mini reactors.

      • Sinbad2

        The guy who designed what is the most common western reactor, Alvin Weinberg realized shortly after he had built it, that it wasn’t fail safe. So he designed and built a fail safe thorium reactor, and lobbied to have it adopted. It didn’t suit the American uranium industry, so Weinberg was fired, and his working design has been hidden by the US Government since 1973.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          The first one to use thorium as energy was Nikola Tesla. He also activate it with out uranium. My group was working on that principle for a very long time in cooperation with Van De Craaff`s grand son in belgium because we want to use it in a project village we was building as its main energy source.

          The reason is not used widely is because it will not produce military grade uranium as the nuclear reactors do when using as fuel uranium 235 or plutonium 239, as waste, that can be used for military purposes. Thorium waste is only producing harmless waste that radiate X-ray and is not hard to dispose.

    • Sinbad2

      Sonar uses about 150 watts of pulsed power, but probably only draws 2 watts continuous power.
      They are not designed to boil the water and sub, simply detect a difference, like radar or sonar.
      Also I’m not sure they would use a bounced back signal from the sub, they may be able to use the water as the detector, and simply detect the difference at the surface. A bit like lasers being used to eavesdrop by detecting vibrations on a glass window.

      • Concrete Mike

        You must also consider the electromagnetic disturbance a sub moving in water creates, we havent mentionned that at all.

        This is an interesting experiment, imagine later, you can combine lidar surface wake detection and electromagnetic flux detection, you have a pretty comprehensive passive quiet detection.

        Lets see what come out.

  • chris chuba

    Even if it doesn’t pan out for detecting submarines, couldn’t it still be useful for targeting surface ships? That would still come in quite handy. The Chinese have a lot of long range missiles but I have often wondered what kind of targeting systems they would use.

    • well you can see surface ships from satellites directly as they tend to recognize even such details like what newspapers you are reading.
      Government’s spying on citizens is really incredible,

    • occupybacon

      why not aircraft?

      • Sinbad2

        The velocity of the aircraft versus the time taken for the software to locate and then transmit the data would make that very difficult.

        • occupybacon

          they should hire better coders to write their software then.

          • Sinbad2

            Some years back I was attempting to hack an American pay TV box, without success, the software was written in Poland, not America.

          • occupybacon

            What do you want to say is that when you were a kid you thought you’re a hacker?

  • Smaug

    We really shouldn’t believe a word of this because getting a deadly laser into space is a challenge given that one would also have to send up a nuclear reactor to power it. Even if it could do that why is the primary target submarines? If one could take out a submerged sub then that would be the least of its abilities. If they said they were building an anti-satellite laser on the ground, that would be plausible but this is just amateur propaganda.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoIZWG0Aa3I&index=3&t=0s&list=LL6iFR3MlugmdSqBHCtKbSCg

    • Sinbad2

      You have misunderstood the purpose of the laser.
      It’s not like Star Trek blowing things up with a laser, which would as you suggest require a lot of energy.
      The idea of this is more like illuminating a target with a laser, so the bombers know where to drop the bombs.
      The power requirements would be quite modest.

    • Concrete Mike

      Read the article again dutch, the key point was lidar. This is a surface reading tech, no penetration needed. Its not a weapon, its a quiet sonar replacement. I used lidar in that past, at the very start of my career.

      We were doing a feasability study on building another dam upstream of our water reservoir. We used the lidar to map the contours of the proposed reservoir, we then went in the field with a real time kinematic gps to double check accuracy of lidar data.

      We were surprised at how accurate the lidar was, it was magnitudes better than the gps, im talking sub milimeter accuracy, in 2007 that was exceptionnal.

      So knowing that, would you consider it reasonable that what the chinese are trying to do is have a real time lidar on a satelite to detect submarine wakes.

      Its an interesting experiment, its not reinventing the wheel, but it could have some interesting by products as well. Elemimating sonor would be goid for sea life.

      • Smaug

        Quit wasting my time, that was the short version of why nearly every iota in this article is bull and the article speaks of many alleged breakthroughs.

  • Henk Poell

    Compared to lasers in space, microphones at the bottom of the ocean are very cheap. If my memory serves me right, NATO had half the Atlantic covered with them. Add modern AI and computer power and track everything.

    • Sinbad2

      How do you get the signal from the microphone back to the Kremlin?
      I would love to know, and the Kremlin would also probably be interested.
      The US has mics around Pearl, and probably other naval bases, but you would need a long lead to get from Fiji to Washington.

      • Henk Poell

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOSUS explains some of it. My estimate is that if mass produced, a mike plus heavy battery for some years plus a few kilometers of wire (slightly lighter than sea water) may do the job… The reason I think this would work is that there is so much more computer power available to filter/process the signals.

  • RichardD

    This is another area where criminally insane Jew psychopaths and their sycophants are a severe national security threat to the US. The US has wasted $7 trillion on fabricated Jew wars for Israel in pursuit of their Jew world order hegemony project to conquer the planet and enslave humanity. While Russia and China are leap frogging the US in military technology and hardware by behaving in a sane rational manner and spending their money on improving the quality of life for their citizens and advancing their military technology in a fiscally responsible manner. While the US does the exact opposite. These are some of the reasons why the US needs to be dejudified.

    • RichardD

      – Who Controls America? …
      A Critique of Jewish Pre-Eminence in America –

      I’ve fact checked this site, and it’s peddling disinfo by listing some people as Jews who aren’t. Unless you go to extreme interpretations. But most of the people listed as Jews are that. So even discounting the overzealous inclusion of people who aren’t Jews as Jews. That’s only a relatively small percentage of the overall analysis. And the main body of research reveals the very disturbing preponderance of Jews in control positions of the US. That are being used to it’s and humanity’s detriment.

      • RichardD

        “Banking/Finance
        Who Controls the Economy?
        Who Controls Wall Street? (Part 2)
        Who Controls Wall Street? (Part 1)
        Who Controls Goldman Sachs?
        Who Controls American International Group?
        Who Controls the Treasury Department?
        Who Controls the Federal Reserve System? (Part 1)
        Who Controls the Federal Reserve System? (Part 2)
        Mass Media
        Who Controls Big Media?
        Who Controls Hollywood?
        Who Controls Television?
        Who Controls Music?
        Who Controls Radio?
        Who Controls Advertising?
        Who Controls the News? (Part 1)
        Who Controls the News? (Part 2)
        Government/Politics
        Who Controls the White House?
        Who Controls the Senate?
        Who Controls the Congress?
        Who Controls the Supreme Court?
        Who Controls the State Department?
        Who Controls the Justice Department?
        Who Controls the Defense Department?
        Who Controls the Treasury Department?
        Social Engineering
        Who Controls the Ivy League?
        Who Controls the Think Tanks?
        Who Controls Professional Sports?
        Who Controls the Anti-Defamation League?
        Who Controls the Southern Poverty Law Center?
        Who Controls the American Civil Liberties Union?
        Who is Behind Gun Control?
        Who is Behind the Climate Change Hoax?
        “New World Order”
        Who Controls the Group of Thirty?
        Who Controls the Bilderberg Group?
        Who Controls the Trilateral Commission?
        Who Controls the Council on Foreign Relations? (Part 1)
        Who Controls the Council on Foreign Relations? (Part 2)”

        – Who Controls America? …
        A Critique of Jewish Pre-Eminence in America –

        https://thezog.wordpress.com/

  • Sinbad2

    Here is a simpler and more barbaric way of killing an American sub.

    Because US subs constantly communicate with the states, they even have phones for the guys to call mom, and Bruce.
    If you shadow American satellites, you can determine the location of the sub. Even at 20, maybe 50 kliks range, an underwater nuke would kill the sub.

  • Bill Wilson

    Bah. More hi-tech nonsense out of China.