Recently it was noted that a team of researchers from China has successfully tested a new fiber laser system mounted on a plane flying over the South China Sea earlier this year. The laser system allows achieving 160 meters below the sea surface resulting in a significant boost of China’s naval deterrence capabilities.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that the exact location and the environmental conditions can not be established by the fiber laser during tests. The thing is that the required power applied to produce the laser beam must be large for a laser system to penetrate water efficiently.
According to the South China Morning Post, the fiber laser system emits green and blue light laser beams, which are regarded to be better equipped with the required wavelength to penetrate the surface of the water where it is harder for light to achieve. It also should be noted that the laser system power employed on previous tests is shut down by size limitations of laser modules, however, the latest test of the fiber laser may promote a crucial technological breakthrough.
Modern submarines have a diving depth of 180 meters below sea level, although its real diving depth could be deeper. Therefore, the laser systems with high reach are required. The fiber laser technology is considered to fundamentally change submarine warfare resulting in an opportunity to detect another submarine before it enters the territorial waters of a country.
Nowadays Sonar (sound navigation ranging) is the most popular submarine detection technique but Sonar technology becomes inefficient when a water body gets busier. Then the laser system technology comes to help whether there are airborne, or even satellite-mounted fiber lasers.
Herewith, the research team takes part in the “Guanlan” (Sea Watcher) project, whose purpose to develop a laser system satellite that emits a laser beam that can achieve 500 meters below the sea surface. Since most current submarines can be beyond the maximum depth thresholds and even much deeper, the test of the fiber laser system “simply formed another piece added to China’s “anti-access” military strategy, which is designed to deny anyone from entering its territorial waters”.
The detection systems based on fiber laser technology would enable Chinese military planners to be able to “triangulate and identify other vessels underwater”. Additionally, tests applying similar technology demonstrate the opportunity to penetrate 200 meters below the water’s surface, however, the laser systems still offer less efficiency in busy waters because it is possible to confuse them by sea life, clouds or murky water.
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