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China's New Surveillance Blimp In The South China Sea Is Likely Just The Beginning

Tuesday, December 3, 2019   (0 Comments)

By Joseph Trevithick  |  December 2, 2019  |  The Warzone Wire


Tethered sensor-laden aerostats are a low-cost way for China to expand its situational awareness in the region and to help defend its island outposts.

Satellite imagery from last month shows that a tethered aerostat, a type of unmanned airship, floating in the air above one of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea. This lighter-than-air craft is almost certainly carrying a sensor system of some kind, such as a radar. A network of these platforms could help provide additional, but relatively low-cost early warning capabilities, especially against low-flying cruise missiles, and improved general situational awareness throughout the disputed region.

Private satellite imagery from intelligence firm ImageSat International first released the image of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands showing the aerostat on Nov. 24, 2019. One of the company's satellites had grabbed this image of the island six days earlier. The reef is one of the largest of China's controversial man-made outcroppings in the South China Sea, which the country has been expanding since 2014.  READ MORE...

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