New Delhi, Oct 13: Since the time the Indo-China border standoff began, the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) has been keeping the surface of Pangong Tso under surveillance through high-speed patrol crafts such as Type 305 and Type 928D boats copied from Swedish CB-90 boats.
But latest satellite imagery shows China is now tracking the depths of Pangong Tso as well through new techniques used for anti-submarine warfare by navies around the world.
On July 31, India Today OSINT team had reported the presence of at least 13 boats between Finger 4 and Finger 8.The boat squadron was boosted by at least eight new boats from a major base at Rimutang to Kunrak Fort and Finger 5, barely 2.5 km from Finger 4.
And now, latest satellite images from depth areas, especially Chinese military airports, show a trend not noticed before.
The PLA Air Force has started closely monitoring underwater activities in Pangong Tso. It is using special aircraft attached with a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) boom at the tail end for reconnaissance of the lake.
These special aircraft, such as Y-8 GX6 or Shanxi Y-8 transporter’s Gaoxin-6 or High New 6 variant, are used for anti-surface as well as anti-submarine warfare by the PLA Navy.
The instruments onboard can detect minute variations in the Earth’s magnetic field, which is used to detect submarines, but also minerals and rare soil hidden under the surface. These aircraft have been observed on satellite imagery at Hotan, Korla and Wudun.
Latest satellite imagery of Wudun airport indicates that a Y-8 GX6 was parked there on August 24. This aircraft has a smaller MAD boom than previous versions. The aircraft is in yellow primer, indicating that it is still under trial. There are at least four aircraft with such new and shorter MAD booms at the Xian-Yanliang airbase where they are manufactured. (India Today)