China’s Advanced Mast Technology Could Give Fujian Aircraft Carrier The Edge Over USS Gerald R. Ford

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SCMP Reasons to Trust China’s third and newest aircraft carrier.  Fujian, has yet to undergo sea trials, but details of its design, including its advanced “all-in-one” mast, are slowly emerging. The much-discussed Fujian electromagnetic aircraft catapult was shown for the first time on state television. Earlier this month, revealing that it has one less runway than the USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s only aircraft carrier equipped with this technology. It was revealed. The U.S.U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carriers are also larger than  Fujian and have nuclear propulsion, although Fujian relies on conventional propulsion. But there is another difference. It’s a must. 

China transmits footage of Fujian aircraft carrier with an advanced catapult launch system. Ford’s “island,” or command center, features a towering mast with an array of antennas and sensors. However, these antennas are almost invisible in Fujian. The island is surrounded by a gray composite material. A minimalist design found on many of the Chinese Navy’s newest warships, including the Type 055 destroyer. The principle behind this “multifunctional integrated electronic mast” and innovation. According to scientists at the Nanjing  Institute of Electronic Technology who were involved in developing this technology, was recently featured in an article. 

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According to an article last month in the Chinese journal Shipboard Electronic Countermeasure. A research team led by engineering scientist Li Shengyan expects the technology to have a significant impact on future warfare. A comparison of  Chinese and American masts suggests that Fujian’s system may be much more advanced than Ford’s. On the masts of modern warships are installed antennas with three main functions:


Electronic surveillance

Electromagnetic suppression

Which usually require antennas of various shapes. Ford’s antenna uses first-generation electromagnetic sensor integration technology to collect signals that are synthesized. And processed by a computer,  the paper says. Interference and performance degradation of antennas can occur due to exposure to weather and other devices.

The traditional way

This traditional mast configuration also has a negative impact on electromagnetic stealth. As it makes the ship visible to enemy weapons systems from a distance. According to Li’s team, China has advanced to the second generation of electromagnetic integration technology. This means that a single antenna performs multiple tasks. Such as radar scanning, intercepting encrypted communications, and launching electronic warfare attacks, such as jammers and suppressors. The antenna can be easily installed within the island and connected to a computer via high-speed fiber. Allowing operators to adjust equipment or perform tasks with the touch of a screen. Li’s team at the Nanjing Institute, which focuses on military radar research. Said there are many challenges to developing this technology. 

One of his was the enormous amount of data that highly integrated masts generate in combat scenarios much more than traditional antennas that transmit primarily in one direction. To overcome this problem, we need optical fibers that can transmit large data bandwidths while remaining stable under high temperatures and electromagnetic environments. There is also the challenge of processing this data in a timely manner. To address these issues.

Technology Details

Chinese scientists and engineers working on this technology are using general-purpose CPUs and specialized CPUs that can process both electrical and optical signals to speed up data processing. We have developed a new chip. To do this, the system monitors the electromagnetic space around the ship, identifies high-threat targets, and adjusts its antennas to intercept signals with high precision. The computer generates a suppression signal and sends it to the antenna array. The antenna array emits electromagnetic waves to form a highly focused beam that suppresses the target.

“We expect this type of equipment to appear on more ships and aviation platforms in the near future,” Lee’s team wrote in their paper.

Although modern integrated antennas are multifunctional,  they can perform only one role at a time.  The Li team said they wanted to create an antenna array that could perform radar scanning, signal interception, and electromagnetic suppression simultaneously but noted that there were significant challenges to overcome. The U.S. deployed an experimental electromagnetic mast with hidden and integrated antennas twenty years ago.Navy’s San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. The aircraft carrier John F. continues to use the traditional mast design, while the futuristic-looking Zumwalt-class destroyers had initially employed a similar mast design. However, it was deemed too expensive and unnecessary, leading to a switch back to the traditional mast. Navy ships, including the Kennedy. This is under construction.

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