China has built a new long-range, early warning radar that can be used to detect ballistic missiles from thousands of kilometers away, likely providing that coverage of the whole of Japan.
The commercial satellite images from Maxar Technologies, published on Google Earth shows a new Large Phased Array Radar (LAPR) has been built on a mountaintop in Yiyuan County, Shangdong Province, about 70 miles southeast of the provincial capital Jinan.
The new array radar faces northeast and was built sometime after November 2019. It could potentially give China an early warning of ballistic missile launches from North and South Korea, most of Japan, where the United States maintains its military bases and even parts of Russia’s Far East.
The first LPAR built on this site, about 2,300 feet above sea level, was completed sometime in 2013-2014 according to the historical images of Google Earth, and it is located at 36 ° 01′30 ″ N, 118 ° 05′31 ″ E The radar is oriented to the south-southeast, almost certainly to provide radar coverage of Taiwan.
China is also known for operating additional LPAR sites in Lin’an in Zhejiang Province and Heilongjiang Province. These sites enable early warning coverage of Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and Taiwan from multiple angles.
LPAR by Lin’an is an X-band actively phased array and have a range of about 4,000 kilometers for a measure of 10 square meters. The radar forwards information to the Hongqi-19 interception system through the control system so that the missile can fire and destroy the incoming target.
There is another LPAR site at Korla in Xinjiang province which provides early warning coverage of India. Korla radar base is located 980 km from Karakoram Pass and is 3,800 km from the southern tip of India.
While India’s ‘No First Use’ policy prohibits an aggressive nuclear stance, reports from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) suggest that India is developing nuclear capabilities to bring the entire Chinese mainland within reach.
The stated coverage of this Korla LPAR is also 4,000 km within range and ± 60 ° from the fire direction. Therefore, it can cover more areas than the whole of India.
In addition to providing a warning against ballistic missile launches, LPARs can also be used for satellite tracking and general space surveillance. Reports suggest that the Korla LPAR has been used extensively during China’s trials of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons and hypersonic sliding weapons.
Chinese LPARs are said to be comparable in terms of capabilities with the US AN / FPS-115 radar found in the US Pave Paws network, which reportedly can detect targets with a radar cross section of 10 square meters in a range of 3,000 nautical miles ( 5,600 km) and can be deflected up to 60 degrees from the array’s central boresight axis, so that each array can cover an azimuth angle of 120 degrees.
Previously released images of China’s LPARs show that the array is also sloping, similar to the AN / FPS-115, which is tilted at an angle of 20 degrees, making it possible to direct the beam at any elevation angle between 3 degrees and 85 degrees .
LPARs are an integral part of China’s missile warning and space tracking network, which also includes a growing number of space-based sensors and a network of radars over the horizon. China’s Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology is one of the leading organizations for LPAR development.
Chinese efforts at early warning capabilities began in the early 1960s and can be traced back to Project 640, which was launched in 1964 to develop anti-missile systems under the command of Mao Zedong, which declared at the time in response to concerns about nuclear threats: “If there is a spear, there must be a shield”
China’s first LPAR was the Type 7010, which went into operation in 1974. It was a passive electronically scanned array radar, located at Mount Huangyang in Hebei Province to provide the Ballistic Missile Early Warning or BMEW of the Russian strategic forces to the Chinese air force.
Some unconfirmed claims suggests that the 7010 radar was able to accurately predict the fall of the US space station Skylab, the firing point of a ballistic missile launched by the Soviet Union in the direction of the Pacific Ocean and the fall point of the Soviet nuclear-powered satellite Kosmos 954 wreck. .
The Type 7010 radar laid the foundation for Chinese LPAR development, and ever since, China has invested massively in advancing its strategic situational awareness capabilities to improve its ability to carry out nuclear counterattacks and conventional operations.