mandag 23. mars 2020

China Deployed 12 Underwater Drones In Indian Ocean

China has deployed a fleet of underwater drones in the Indian Ocean. According to Chinese government sources, the drones were launched in mid-December 2019 and recovered in February after making more than 3,400 observations. These Sea Wing gliders are a type of Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle (UUV) which can operate for months on end. The gliders are similar to ones deployed by the U.S. Navy. When China seized a U.S. Navy ocean glider in 2016 the stated reason was to ensure “safe navigation of passing ships.” Taken at face value, it may be surprising that China is now deploying these types of UUV en masse in the Indian Ocean. China has also deployed the Sea Wing from an ice breaker in the Arctic.

Reports from December 2019 suggested that 14 would be employed in the Indian Ocean mission. But newer reports suggest that only 12 were used. Possibly there were technical issues with the other two. They were launched by the specialist survey ship Xiangyanghong 06 which has since returned to Rizhou in China. The mission was the winter survey for the Joint Ocean and Ecology Research Project run by the Ministry of Natural Resources.