China built floating stations for an “unmanned ocean network” that can aid UAVs

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

CSIS has a new article as part of its Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative that notes “China has deployed a network of sensors and communications capabilities between Hainan Island and the Paracel Islands in the northern South China Sea.”

The network consists of “Ocean E-Stations” or “floating integrated information platforms” (IIFP) which are part of a “Blue Ocean Information Network involve expanding the sensor and communications network to the rest of the South China Sea.”

The article shows images of the stations and their construction. What is important is they can assist UAVs in doing maritime patrols and monitoring.

The research notes “CETC communications describe the floating and fixed integrated information platforms as being part of a Blue Ocean Information Network which may include other components like ocean buoys, fixed and relocatable underwater sensors to include sonar and hydrophones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).”

We know that tensions are growing at sea with drones in this area. Details point to China expanding drone surveillance networks over the South China Sea.

This is an issue that has been developing for years amid tensions with the US going back to the 2001 incident when a US “spy plane” was brought down.

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