May 29, 2016

Part 1 - Undersea Webs - US-Japan SOSUS Mainly Against Chinese Navy


A steady development of Internet writing on the all platform Western sea surveillance system SeaWeb (often referred to on Sub Matters) is becoming more specific.

Two Australian Professors, Desmond Ball at the Australian National University and Richard Tanter at Melbourne University, produced a major book on how China’s naval forces are surrounded by undersea sensors. The book is The Tools of Owatatsumi (free Download from ANU Press) of January 2015. Using data from the book Hamish McDonald on April 18, 2015 published an excellent essay "Japan and US enclose Chinese coast within sensor net"

Readers may recall Submarine Matters’ How to Trap the Chinese Dragon – SeaWeb’s Fixed Undersea Array, September 4, 2015


In 2016 an increasing level of detail is surfacing on the (possible) undersea sensor array's extension (or pre-existence) northwest of Indonesia in India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands region. 

Where all this is going is that Prasun K. Sengupta on his TRISHUL website has reported on discussions at Day 2 of DEFEXPO INDIA 2016 (March 28 -31, 2016) of April 15, 2016 titled. Prasun K. Sengupta's report is excellent (and 7 pages long). So I will brea it into 4 parts over 4 days.

A longer title could also be A SeaWeb (US, Japan, Australia, India) Quadrilateral Developing.

Part 1 - Undersea Webs
[I have highlighted parts and added links where useful]

"A web of strategic projects is now taking firm shape as India enters into closer multilateral military cooperation relationships with Japan, Australia and the United States, as well as regional powers like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Matters began taking on urgency in late September 2014, after US President Barack Obama and PM Modi have pledged to intensify cooperation in maritime security. Following this, on March 16, 2015 the defence ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the end of the two-day 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Langkawi, Malaysia, collectively stated that they wanted India to play a far bigger role in both the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the South China Sea.

In the near future, therefore, under the auspices of the US–India Defence Framework Agreement, foundational pacts like the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA), and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) [see explanation of BECA and other acronyms], are likely to be inked by the two countries later this year.

Concurrently, Japan can be expected to extend funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the upgradation of naval air bases and construction of new ELINT/SIGINT stations along the Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands, which is made up of 572 islands (of which only 34 are presently inhabited), stretching around 470 miles north to south.

But most importantly, preliminary planning has commenced on a Japan-financed project that calls for

1) laying of an undersea optical fibre cable from Chennai to Port Blair; and

2) the construction of an undersea network of seabed-based surveillance sensors stretching from the tip of Sumatra right up to Indira Point. Once completed, this network will be an integral part of the existing US-Japan ‘Fish Hook’ sound surveillance (SOSUS) network [See The Tools of Owatatsumi (ANU Press, January 2015) Map 4, Page 54] that will play a pivotal role in constantly monitoring all submarine patrols mounted by China’s PLA Navy (PLAN) in both the South China Sea and the IOR. 

(Courtesy India Defense News)

This network will in turn be networked with the Indian Navy’s (IN) high-bandwidth National Command Control and Communications Intelligence network (NC3I) [above], which has been set up under the IN’s National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) project at a cost of Rs.1,003 crores [US$150 million]. At the heart of the NC3I is the Gurgaon-based, Rs.453 crore Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC), whose systems integration software packages were supplied by Raytheon and CISCO.

Oblique references to all these developments were made in the joint statement that was issued last month after the visiting US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter held delegation-level talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar. The joint statement spoke about: A) new opportunities to deepen cooperation in maritime security and maritime domain awareness; B) commencement of navy-to-navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare; and

3) enhancing on-going navy-to-navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues.

The US-Japan "Fish Hook" SOSUS network. Map featured in the Ball and Tanter book The Tools of Owatatsumi (ANU Press, January 2015) Map 4, Page 54.

 US-Japan Fish Hook SOSUS network [Map above]

The US was always interested in Japanese and Indian locations for its SOSUS stations. Initially called Project Caesar, this involved running cables out on continental shelves and connecting them to hydrophones suspended above the sea bottom at optimum signal depths.

An ‘experimental station’ was established at the north-western tip of Hokkaido in 1957, with the cable extending into the Soya (La Perouse) Strait. It monitored all Soviet submarine traffic going in and out of Vladivostok and Nakhodka in the Sea of Japan.Undersea surveillance systems and associated shore-based data collection stations code-named Barrier and Bronco were installed in Japan in the 1960s. Acoustic data collected at these sites was transmitted by US defence communications satellites to US Navy (USN) processing and analysis centres in the US.In the 1970s, a network between between Japan and the Korean Peninsula was commissioned.

By 1980, three stations at Wakkanai (designated JAP-4), Tsushima (JAP-108) and the Ryukyu Islands (RYU-80) were operational in Japan, along with earlier stations built in the Tsushima Straits and the Okinawa area. The existence of old cables at Horonai Point in north-west Honshu, which during the Cold War led out to SOSUS arrays in the Sea of Japan, has been widely described by scuba divers. By the mid-1980s the SOSUS hydrophone arrays stretched from southern Japan to The Philippines, covering the approaches to China.

After the collapse of the USSR and the decline of the submarine threat to the US in the early 1990s, the USN allowed its SOSUS systems in the north-west Pacific to atrophy, although some arrays were retained in working order so as to support civilian scientific research (such as tracking whales and monitoring undersea volcanic activity). According to a USN directive issued in August 1994, all seabed-based fixed-arrays in the Pacific were placed on ‘hot standby’; personnel would ‘not be routinely assigned to monitor fixed-array data’ unless that data was required for operational purposes, but in practice the probability of being able to reconstitute them to full operational status was ‘extremely low’."

Part 2 is tomorrow


1 comment:

Unknown said...

An interesting development indicating that multiple nations are going to install a SOSUS type array around the area in which Chinese Subs could pose a threat. I haven't seen that in any of the dDefense Blogs, or just missed it.