"If the Chinese get a chip like this it would give them an order of magnitude increase in the capability of their radar systems," says Bernard "Bud" Cole, a retired US Navy captain and China military expert at the National War College. "It would increase Chinese ability to detect incoming aircraft and missiles and enhance their capabilities at sea with shipborne radar."
While the Chinese military has in recent years ramped up its ambitions, it still is playing catch-up, and the GaN chips would represent a significant prize.
"It's obvious that the Chinese are trying to acquire and/or upgrade such high-tech items as radar systems, flight control systems, air traffic control systems," and drones, says Richard Bitzinger, an expert on the Chinese military at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, in an e-mail. "The Chinese have a very obvious interest in trying to upgrade their military (which is still pretty backwards, overall) with systems like modern fighters, surface ships, and submarines. This means getting things like better radars, fire control and communications systems."
Huawei spokeswoman Ms. Luong said the company "does not do military equipment or technology nor do we discuss it with partners."