Secret army messages will likely be masked within the songs of sperm whales

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Chinese scientists are reportedly developing a way of sending covert audio signals underwater without detection.  

They claim the signals will be disguised as whale song and edited with a coding system to produce the altered whale sounds.

The messages are designed to be indistinguishable from the regular background noise of the ocean.

Whale song is automatically filtered out by ships and submarines and secret messages will therefore be camouflaged and go undetected, the Chinese scientists claim.

  

Jiang Jiajia, a Tianjin University precision-measurement professor who led the research, said the method camouflages undersea signals, making them harder to detect.

The process was inspired by sperm whales and long-finned pilot whales who use audio waves as a form of echolocation. 

Their sound waves are excluded from all data and disregarded as noise. 

Scientists saw this as a perfect avenue to explore for military purposes. 

Currently there are two ways in which acoustic signals carrying secret messages can avoid detection. 

They are either modified signals that are designed to be harder to crack if detected or a weaker signal that is harder to detect. 

The compromise between the two has meant military applications are yet to be established.   

‘If they can get the technology to work then it may be possible in theory.

‘Whether it would be practically applied and ultimately worth the cost is another question,’ Dr Timothy Peacock, a lecturer in history at the University of Glasgow, told MailOnline.   

‘The US Navy experimented with a similar project between the 1950s and the 1970s to look for communications by emulating whale sounds.

‘In some cases this attracted whales to the source of the sound which was testament to the feature.

‘They abandoned the project because they found it was too difficult to ensure the messages got through and the whale species were on decline. 

‘This approach encoded data within the soundbites using whale song and piggybacked the messages. 

‘I don’t know whether this is possible and I suspect that they will encounter some of the challenges of development which will inevitably come. 

‘If people become aware of this communication network they will be more likely to develop counter systems.’

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