This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
US submarines are known for their stealth but may soon lose this advantage. Researchers at the Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter in China have found that an ultra-sensitive magnetic detector could be enough to track down the most advanced US submarines even from long distances, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
The US and China have famously raced each other in various technological areas, from hypersonic weapons to spacecraft. And although it seems the US is being left behind in some of these technological fields, when it comes to military technology, the US retained its lead in advanced aircraft and difficult-to-detect submarines.
Nevertheless, according to Interesting Engineering, the latter may soon collapse after Chinese researchers have found a new way to detect the most advanced of US submarines, and ultimately take away their advantage of stealth altogether.
Researcher Zou Shengnan and her team investigated the possibility of detecting the almost imperceptible bubbles that are created by a submarine as it moves through water, and have reportedly successfully generated a computer model to demonstrate they could potentially do it.
The model developed by the researchers shows that the electric field signals created by the submarine can be detected in extremely low-frequency range, and although faint, these signals can travel over very large distances.
Many submarines already use these signals for communication and have sensors for their detection, so it is only a matter of time before such sensors are developed for geolocating the submarines of opposing countries.
Nevertheless, this process is fraught with hurdles, like the danger of the electromagnetic signals emitted from the subs interfacing with human-made or naturally occurring electromagnetic noise. The flow of water around the submarine can also be turbulent and impact the signals generated. Moreover, if the submarine slows down or stops, it will not generate any detectable signal.
Despite all these hurdles, China has taken a definite first step in detecting these faint signals of the super-stealthy US submarines.