China Installs High-Tech Over-the-Horizon Radar System
China has reportedly set up a high-tech radar system in Inner Mongolia with a detection range of up to 3,000 kilometers, a move to spy on South Korean and Japanese military maneuvers, Chinese media reported on Monday.
The installation comes amid a spat with South Korea on the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery from the US. THAAD is a missile defense system Beijing and Russia fear could be a tool to be used to spy its military activities.
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Local reports claimed that China installed an Over-the-Horizon (OTH) radar in January. While conventional radars pass through the atmosphere, OTH radar bounces off the earth's ionosphere, which is between 100 and 450 kilometers above the surface to detect targets as far as 3,000 kilometers away.
The Chosunilbo reported that the current THAAD configuration is only set at a range of 800 kilometers, but this can be adapted through a software switch. With its direction range far longer than the X-band radar in the US THAAD antimissile battery, the OTH radar could cover the entire South Korea and Japan.
OTH radars could also detect stealth aircraft and locate inter-continental ballistic missiles and other types of missiles fired by other countries. The radar could allegedly confirm the target of an enemy within a minute after launching and could issue an early warning three minutes later.
This is the second OTH radar installed by China. Its first OTH is set up in the Hubei-Henan-Anhui triangle. All two radars are used to monitor the entire western Pacific if used together with spy satellites.