New China ocean network will target and track enemy submarines

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]

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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