China is developing a dual-purpose laser-equipped low-Earth orbit satellite. The program was launched earlier this year, is aimed at increasing Chinese surveillance of maritime traffic and unparallel anti-submarine warfare detection in the world’s oceans.
Project Guanlan, meaning “watching the big waves,” was launched in May at the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology in Qingdao, a city in eastern Shandong Province on the east coast of China, said South China Morning Post.
It is an ambitious project that the US and Russia have failed to acquire fully. China aims to boost its surveillance activities in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea, Sea of Japan, and the Phillippine Sea, according to the laboratory’s website.
Researchers are currently working on the satellite’s design at the laboratory, but its lasers and internal components are being developed by 20 research institutes and universities across the country.
Song Xiaoquan, a researcher involved in the project, said if the program is successful, it will enable China to surveil the upper layer of the Ocean.
“It will change almost everything,” Song said.
For several decades, countries around the world have been trying to develop a device to detect submarines using LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology. Both the US and Russia have tools that can recognize submarines 300 feet below the surface of the sea. But this is not enough, as most superpowers have subs that operate at depths of 1,600 feet.
Recently, NASA and Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency funded projects that could see submarines up to 600 feet below the surface — but still nowhere close to the 1600 feet target zone.
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h/t Truth 1818