A Canadian research institute is betting that it can.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing a new technology that promises to help radar operators cut through heavy background noise and isolate objects —including stealth aircraft and missiles— with unparalleled accuracy.
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Stealth aircraft rely on special paint and body design to absorb and deflect radio waves—making them invisible to traditional radar. They also use electronic jamming to swamp detectors with artificial noise. With quantum radar, in theory, these planes will not only be exposed, but also unaware they have been detected.
Quantum radar uses a sensing technique called quantum illumination to detect and receive information about an object. At its core, it leverages the quantum principle of entanglement, where two photons form a connected, or entangled, pair.
The method works by sending one of the photons to a distant object, while retaining the other member of the pair. Photons in the return signal are checked for telltale signatures of entanglement, allowing photons from the noisy environmental background to be discarded. This can greatly improve the radar signal-to-noise in certain situations.
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“This project will allow us to develop the technology to help move quantum radar from the lab to the field,” said Baugh. “It could change the way we think about national security.”
There's more at the link.
Quantum computing is another area of great importance, one in which the USA and its allies appear to be falling far behind. China has announced that it will invest $10 billion into research in that field, vastly more than we are currently doing. It wants to "build a quantum computer with a million times the computing power of all others presently in the world". That's quite an ambition: but if they throw enough money and engineers at the project, they may well succeed. That poses a grave threat to the security of all encrypted or encoded signals and information. As The Hill recently pointed out, "It puts in jeopardy our entire military and national ability to keep our secrets, well, secret. Today’s strongest encryption could be broken in a matter of seconds."
China is also putting tremendous effort into developing quantum radar systems, that it claims can detect so-called "stealthy" aircraft. The Canadian research referred to above is a drop in the bucket, funding-wise, compared to what China is spending. I suspect the "stealth advantage" claimed by the USAF may not be an advantage for much longer. If "quantum radar" becomes a reality, the service's current emphasis on stealth fighter and strike aircraft (the F-22 and F-35 respectively) will be severely compromised. In contrast, the US Navy, which has continued to buy conventional, non-stealthy aircraft in large numbers even as it prepares to field the stealthy F-35C, will be not much worse off. It'll still rely on tactics, skill and electronic warfare to get its strikes through (as does the Israeli Air Force). It won't have all its eggs in one (suddenly non-stealthy) basket.