Arms firm makes artificial diamonds that could be used in laser weapons

Global Times
Huang Panyue
2019-12-05 09:15:35

The LW-30 laser defense weapon system can intercept unmanned aerial vehicles, guided bombs and mortars. Photo: Courtesy of CASIC

After a top Chinese arms firm showcased multiple types of artificial diamonds at a recent jewelry exhibition, military experts on Wednesday said the gemstones could also be used in military equipment, including laser weapons and other precision machines.

The colorful synthetic diamonds on display at the recent 2019 China International Jewellery Fair in Beijing included large, high clarity samples, according to a statement by China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) on its WeChat account on Tuesday.

Synthetic diamonds are made in laboratories using special materials which are put under high pressure and temperatures or treated with chemical vapors.

NORINCO is the developer of many of China's main battle equipment, including tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, guns, rockets and munitions.

Military analysts said artificial diamonds have many practical military uses.

High-energy laser weapons may need industrial-level diamonds to ensure that their energy output is high enough to damage their targets, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Artificially produced diamonds can be used in core components of laser weapons and cost far less than natural diamonds, Wei said.

Diamonds are also widely used in radar equipment, high-precision machine manufacturing and aerospace optical devices, analysts said, noting that their hard, corrosion-resistant traits make them useful in a range of products from drills to microelectronics.

Due to the wide potential of diamonds, foreign countries often list artificial diamond-making technologies as confidential and won't share information with China, leading the country to independently develop its own processes to make artificial diamonds for its arms industry and high-tech development, analysts said.

If the Chinese arms giant is able to sell a significant number of artificial diamonds to jewelers, the money could also be reinvested in its arms research projects, military observers said.


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