Chinese Army Reportedly Improving Its Electronic Warfare Capabilities Near South China Sea

© AP Photo / Zha ChunmingIn this Friday, July 8, 2016, file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile during a military exercise in the waters near south China's Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. China is holding another round of military drills in the South China Sea amid an uptick in such activity in the area highlighting growing tensions
In this Friday, July 8, 2016, file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile during a military exercise in the waters near south China's Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. China is holding another round of military drills in the South China Sea amid an uptick in such activity in the area highlighting growing tensions - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
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Beijing remains embroiled in a protracted dispute with Washington and a number of Asia-Pacific countries on the territorial status of islands in the South China Sea, where the US often conducts "freedom of navigation" missions.
The Chinese military is taking "major steps" to improve its electronic warfare (EW) and intelligence-gathering capabilities near the South China Sea, a report by a US think tank has claimed.
The Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has shared a number of satellite images captured by the US company Maxar Technologies, which allegedly show the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) rapidly expanding EW facilities near Mumian, on Hainan Island.
© Photo : CSIS/Maxar TechnologiesPhotos of an island in the South China Sea show what "the war of the future" will be and the sophisticated way in which China could enter combat.
Photos of an island in the South China Sea show what the war of the future will be and the sophisticated way in which China could enter combat. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
Photos of an island in the South China Sea show what "the war of the future" will be and the sophisticated way in which China could enter combat.
The think tank described the Mumian hub as home to China's satellite tracking and communication (SATCOM) platforms, which play a significant role in collecting signals intelligence (SIGINT) and gathering communications intelligence (COMINT).
© Photo : CSIS/Maxar TechnologiesSatellite images of China's island fortresses in the Spratly and Paracel Islands have revealed the presence of large antennas and satellite dishes. China's been seen rapidly expanding facilities near a town called Mumian on Hainan Island.
Satellite images of China's island fortresses in the Spratly and Paracel Islands have revealed the presence of large antennas and satellite dishes. China's been seen rapidly expanding facilities near a town called Mumian on Hainan Island. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
Satellite images of China's island fortresses in the Spratly and Paracel Islands have revealed the presence of large antennas and satellite dishes. China's been seen rapidly expanding facilities near a town called Mumian on Hainan Island.

According to CSIS, the satellite imagery, which includes new antennas and satellite dishes, reveals that China "has rapidly expanded" the Mumian facility, something that provides the PLA with a "greater ability to track and counter foreign military forces operating in the region and in outer space".

© Photo : CSIS/Maxar TechnologiesSatellite photos show the developments happening on Hainan Island.
Satellite photos show the developments happening on Hainan Island. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
Satellite photos show the developments happening on Hainan Island.
Aside from antennas and satellite dishes, newly constructed roads, recently laid building foundations, and a large number of vehicles are seen in the photos, which the think tank claims indicates that "the [Mumian] site is likely used as training grounds for PLA forces engaged in SIGINT collection and EW".
© Photo : CSIS/Maxar TechnologiesForests of antennas are popping up across the South China Sea as further evidence of Beijing's determination to dominate the strategic international waterway.
Forests of antennas are popping up across the South China Sea as further evidence of Beijing's determination to dominate the strategic international waterway. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
Forests of antennas are popping up across the South China Sea as further evidence of Beijing's determination to dominate the strategic international waterway.

CSIS dubbed the Mumian facility part of "a growing network of military installations enabling the PLA's Southern Theatre Command to project power into the South China Sea".

The facility has been in operation since 2018, when a US Navy EA-18G Growler reportedly encountered Chinese jamming technology while flying over the South China Sea in April of that year.
The CSIS report comes amid ongoing tensions over South China Sea territories, which aside from Beijing are claimed by a number of countries, including Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Beijing considers the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as its territory, despite an international tribunal ruling that these claims have no legal basis.
The US has no territorial claims to the area, but often conducts so-called freedom of navigation missions in the area, which have been slammed by Beijing as provocations.
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