Skip to main content

China’s underwater surveillance network puts enemies in focus along maritime Silk Road

Hi-tech system will help Beijing protect its growing network of interests and investments from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, experts say

Stephen ChenUPDATED : Sunday, 31 Dec 2017, 4:01PM

A new underwater surveillance network is expected to help China’s submarines get a stronger lock on targets while protecting the nation’s interests along the maritime Silk Road, from the Korean peninsula to the east coast of Africa.

The system, which has already been launched, works by gathering information about the underwater environment, particularly water temperature and salinity, which the navy can then use to more accurately track enemy vessels as well as improve navigation and positioning.

The project, led by the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), is part of an unprecedented military expansion fuelled by Beijing’s desire to challenge the United States in the world’s oceans.

Does China’s deep-sea tech upgrade point to submarine signals network under Pacific?

But China still has some way to go before it can compete with the world’s only true superpower.

Yu Yongqiang, a researcher with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics – also under CAS – and a member of the expert panel overseeing China’s underwater surveillance network around the globe, said that while it undoubtedly represented progress in China’s submarine warfare capabilities, it was dwarfed by the systems operated by the US around the world.

“We have made just a small step in a long march,” he said.

Even in the South China Sea, Beijing’s home patch, US submarine commanders probably had a better take on temperature and salinity conditions than their Chinese counterparts because of their decades of research in the area, Yu said.

According to technical briefings posted on oceanology institute’s website, the Chinese system is based on a network of platforms – buoys, surface vessels, satellites and underwater gliders – that gather data from the South China Sea, and the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.

That information is then streamed to three intelligence centres – in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, the southern province of Guangdong, and a joint facility in South Asia – where it is processed and analysed.

For submarines patrolling the sea route, or “road”, element of China’s global trade and infrastructure development plan known as the “Belt and Road Initiative”, the system’s ability to not only measure, but also predict temperature and salinity at any location, any depth and at any time will be invaluable.

Submarines use sonar (sound navigation and ranging) to locate, identify and attack other vessels.

Scientists used abacuses to develop China’s first nuclear submarine

However, the speed and direction sound waves take is greatly affected by the temperature and salinity of the water through which they are travelling. If a commander failed to take these factors into consideration when calculating the position of an enemy vessel, he could be a long way off target, Yu said.

“You definitely don’t want to fire a torpedo at point A when the enemy is coming to you from point B,” he said.

Yu said that as well as improving their targeting ability, the new surveillance system should enable submarines to steer a much safer course through difficult waters.

Salinity and temperature greatly affect water density, and abrupt changes in either can cause submarines to effectively lose control. By pre-empting such changes, the system will help commanders to avoid sailing into trouble.

After years of construction and testing, the new surveillance system was not in the hands of the navy, which reported “good results”, the oceanology institute said in its latest briefing in November.

China’s belt and road plan is designed to boost economic growth in more than 60 countries. Since its launch, huge sums of money, most of it from China, have been spent on dozens of infrastructure projects, from ports to power stations, motorways to mines.

But as the plan has grown, so too has Beijing’s problem of how to protect its investments and interests, especially as until recently China’s military had almost no experience of operating outside its own borders.

For the naval forces charged with guarding the maritime Silk Road, there are many adversaries lurking in often hostile waters, according to a researcher involved in the development of the new surveillance system.

Since the cold war, the US had closely guarded the Western Pacific via “island chains”, the researcher said.

Why Chinese submarines could soon be quieter than US ones

Similarly, the South China Sea was circled by many small, “unfriendly” countries involved in territorial disputes with China; while India was wary of Beijing’s growing influence in the region and was consequently trying to tighten its grip on the Indian Ocean.

“Our system can help tip the balance of power in these regions in China’s favour,” the researcher said.

As well as the surveillance network, Chinese researchers have also developed a powerful on-board forecasting system for use by submarines.

This uses algorithms to predict water conditions even if the vessel’s sensors can gather only tiny amounts of data. This might be the case if the submarine is required to remain “hidden” for weeks or even months at a time, and cannot surface to collect data from satellites or ground-based stations.

According to a study by the Centre for a New American Security and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, by 2030 China will have 260 warships and submarines compared to the US’ 199.

As the battle for the oceans hots up, tools such as the underwater surveillance network could be the difference between winning and losing


Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…