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Home World Indonesian fisher finds drone submarine on possible covert mission | Espionage

Indonesian fisher finds drone submarine on possible covert mission | Espionage


#An #Indonesian fisher has found what experts say is likely to be a #Chinese submarine drone in waters on a strategic maritime route from the #South #China #Sea to #Australia.

#According to #Indonesian media the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) was found on 20 #December near #Selayar #Island in #South #Sulawesi. #Six days later it was handed to police and then transferred to the #Indonesian military.

#Military observers have said the drone appears to be a #Chinese #Sea #Wing (or #Haiyi) UUV. The underwater glider was developed by the #Shenyang institute of automation at the #Chinese #Academy of #Sciences, and is publicly described as collecting data including seawater temperature, salinity, turbidity and oxygen levels. #Information on currents and movement direction are transmitted in real time.

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The #Chinese central government has not commented.

#According to the military-focused outlet #Naval #News, UUV data can be extremely valuable to naval planners, in particular for submarine operations: “The better a navy knows the waters, the better it is able to hide its submarines.”

#China has been accused of expansionist activities in the disputed #South #China #Sea and has conducted widespread oceanographic research in regions believed to be militarily significant. #In 2019 #China conducted ocean surveys to the north of #Papua #New #Guinea, where the US and #Australia operate a joint naval base on #Manus #Island, and in #March this year near #Christmas #Island, an #Australian territory north-west of the main continent. #Submarines are known to regularly transit in the area, the ABC reported at the time.

#An #Indonesian security analyst, #Muhammad #Fauzan, told the ABC the drone was most likely mapping future submarine routes, given it was found far from #Chinese waters and in a significant maritime route between #China and #Australia’s northernmost city of #Darwin.

#Fauzan said there were significant questions around whether the drone, if a #Chinese instrument, was being used for intelligence gathering or illegal surveying.

“It is at least the third time that such a drone, which I and many people including experts believe was a #Chinese-made underwater drone, [has been] found in #Indonesian territorial waters,” he said.

“But perhaps this latest discovery is a more significant one because first, it is reported that the drone is still active when the fishermen found it. They said that the drone was still moving and the light was still blinking and the forward sensors were still working. #And this is the first time we have heard that the military publicly say that they have secured the drone and are conducting a full investigation of the drone which, according to the latest report, is currently being carried out in the second fleet headquarters of the #Indonesian navy in #Surabaya.”

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A different variant of the #Sea #Wing UUV was discovered by #Indonesian fishers in #March 2019 in the #Riau #Islands nearer the #South #China #Sea, and another in #January this year in #East #Java. #In #December 2016 a #Chinese navy ship found and seized a US underwater drone in international waters near its coastline that the US navy was in the process of recovering.

“The #Chinese navy ship ASR-510, a #Dalang III-class ship, approached within 500 yards of the [US ship] #Bowditch, launched a small boat, and seized the UUV,” the #Pentagon said in a statement at the time.

The UUV was only returned after the incident escalated.

#Non-electric mechanicals and low energy consumption mean the drones can be used for months or even years, according to #Chinese state media. A report said UUVs had been tested and used in the #East #China #Sea, #South #China #Sea, #Indian #Ocean and #Pacific #Ocean. The #Sea #Wings had spent more than 6,400 days at sea, observed more than 160,000km and reached depths of 7,076 metres in the #Mariana trench.

#In #February 2020 #China’s ministry of natural resources said #China had deployed 12 #Sea #Wing UUVs in the #Indian #Ocean for scientific research.





[ source link ]
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/31/indonesian-fisher-finds-drone-submarine-on-possible-covert-mission

##Indonesian #fisher #finds #drone #submarine #covert #mission ##Espionage

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