Monday, May 12, 2008

Keeping and Eye on the Long Game: Part XXVI

Bit by bit. Step by step. Here is a word for you old Cold Warriors - SOSUS.
Defense officials said China has deployed a new wide-area ocean surveillance system that includes an underwater sonar network of sensors, and ground- and sea-based long-range radar that will make it more difficult for U.S. submarines to protect the fleet and to track China's growing force of new attack and missile submarines.

A former U.S. government defense specialist on China said on the condition of anonymity that there are indications China is operating a rudimentary underwater Sound Surveillance System, or SOSUS. The sonar network includes fixed sensors that can pinpoint U.S. submarines operating in some areas of the western Pacific.

The U.S. Navy operates a similar system at strategic underwater choke points around the world.

The Chinese SOSUS has been detected underwater in the Bohai Sea, off the northern Chinese coast, north of the Yellow Sea, a major Chinese navy operating area. Additionally, China also has set up at least five long- and medium-range radar sites along its coast that have over-the-horizon capability, the former official said.

The sonar and radar are part of China's key strategic wartime goal of knocking out the five or more aircraft carrier strike groups that would be rushed to the region near Taiwan in any future conflict. Those carrier battle groups are defended by submarines.

"If they are after carriers, we protect carriers with subs and if they know where they are, they can find the carriers," said the former defense official, who confirmed that the Chinese are developing various ground, sea and space sensors designed to "target the American fleet."
But ... the folks at Inside the Ring (Bill Gertz's crew) need to get out their map more.

The center of the Bohai Sea is located 800NM as the crow flies from the northern tip of Taiwan (see right). Knowing, ahem, the oceanography of that part of WESTPAC - you could have a whistling shi'ite can of a
Type 1 Nuke near Taiwan and you are not going to hear it with a starter SOSUS in the Bohai Sea; if that is where their SOSUS is.

What is significant here is that they have put one in. The Chinese are nothing if not methodical. The Russians may not have taken cr@p without a plan - but the Chinese don't buy toilet tissue without a plan; hopefully a via a plan to steal tissue from someone else.

Once they figure it out, then they will deploy the next step. When you see one off Fuzhou or Hainan (next Long Game post), then you have something out there to keep you focused on your transients.

Now, where is my CZ Sliderule....

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