A new Chinese ocean network is gathering data from the Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean in Beijing’s ongoing efforts to improve the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s undersea warfare capabilities.
The technology is aimed at helping the PLAN close the technological gap the U.S. Navy’s submarines provide American forces.
Earlier reports on the East and South China Seas portion of the network emphasized a scientific mission, but it did also acknowledge that the networks aimed to bolster China’s national security.
The network merges data that is collected by buoys, ships, satellites, and unmanned underwater gliders for analysis and use by the Chinese navy.
The U.S. also uses underwater gliders, one of which was seized by a Chinese warship near the Philippines in December 2016 as it was being retrieved by an American warship.
The U.S. Navy has operated its fleet of Ocean Surveillance ships in the Western Pacific for years, much to the chagrin of the Chinese.
Navy commanders have testified to Congress that the U.S. undersea technological advantage is giving way to China and, to a lesser extent, Russia. [source]
Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2: What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints? To subscribe to one of our threat intelligence newsletters: Click here.