Chinese spy ship snoops on Talisman Sabre

Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Type 815 Dongdiao-class auxiliary general intelligence vessel Neptune was seen to be operating in the vicinity of Exercise Talisman Sabre recently.

CAPTION: Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Type 815 Dongdiao-class auxiliary general intelligence vessel Neptune operating in the vicinity of Exercise Talisman Sabre. ADF photo.

While there were 33 naval vessels from several countries involved in Exercise Talisman Sabre, this particular ship was an uninvited observer.

However, the spy ship stayed out of the way, remaining in international waters – presumably hoovering in copious quantities of electronic data – or maybe even suffering electronic jamming by the numerous American and Australian EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft operating off the Shoalwater Bay coast.

CONTACT is amused to think of the ‘games’ that were played, and the lessons learnt – on both sides.

Exercise scenarios aside, PLA-N Neptune did remain in international waters.

“It is important to recognise that all states have a right under international law to freedom of navigation – Australia strongly supports these rights,” Australian Defence Minister Marine Payne has said in the past – though she was talking at the time about Australia, the USA’s and everybody else’s right to sail past the disputed Spratly and other islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

‘Fair go’– you can’t defend your own rights to freedom of navigation and restrict anyone else, including China.

And, of course, Australia doesn’t and didn’t object to Neptune’s presence.

While it might have been slightly irritating on one hand, it was totally expected and probably welcomed by those who would want to test new equipment – especially Growlers.

 

Other visitors

VCDF Vice Admiral Ray Griggs and Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy and Intelligence Rebecca Skinner meet with General Wei Liang, Political Commissar, Southern Theatre Command, People's Liberation Army-China at Russell Offices, Canberra. Photo by Jay Cronan.
VCDF Vice Admiral Ray Griggs and Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy and Intelligence Rebecca Skinner meet with General Wei Liang, Political Commissar, Southern Theatre Command, People’s Liberation Army-China at Russell Offices, Canberra. Photo by Jay Cronan.

At the same time the People’s Liberation Army-Navy spy ship was teasing Ex Talisman Sabre, Defence officials in Canberra welcomed the Political Commissar Southern Theatre Command, from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Wei Liang on a good-will visit to Australia.

The visit, which occurred on 15–19 July, included discussions with senior Defence officials, including the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.

The delegation also visited Victoria Barracks and HMAS Watson in Sydney.

Meetings between senior Defence officials and General Wei Liang provided an opportunity to exchange views on regional issues and Australia-China defence engagement – of which there is plenty, with Aussie soldier exercising in China and Chinese soldiers exercising in Australia in recent years.

“It is important for Australia and China to maintain a positive defence relationship,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.

“I had a meaningful discussion with General Wei and welcomed the opportunity to reinforce the relationship between Australia and China.”

“The Goodwill delegation’s visit provides an opportunity to strengthen people-to-people links and foster transparency between the Australian Defence Force and China’s People’s Liberation Army.”

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

7 thoughts on “Chinese spy ship snoops on Talisman Sabre

  • 07/08/2017 at 5:46 pm
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    This is nothing new if you were in RASIGS, as every time we transmitted, we knew we would be involved in Electronic Warfare (EW), there was no difference between peacetime and at war. We were trained, and trained for EW attacks all the time.

    Reply
  • 30/07/2017 at 3:46 pm
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    I s’pose a Collins was also getting targeting practise too?

    Reply
    • 30/07/2017 at 3:48 pm
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      I bet you’re right!

      Reply
  • 30/07/2017 at 3:45 pm
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    I s’pose a Collins was also getting targeting practise too?

    Reply
  • 30/07/2017 at 3:21 pm
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    I don’t know why a Chinese intelligence gathering ship is seen as such a big deal? This isn’t a new or unique activity! Since long before the Cold War and beyond, “opposing forces” have been determining potential threats. This information is collected by vessels of all Navies, along with aircraft of both sides, ground troops on borders plus satellites and radio stations “observing” each other. Its no different to the US and its allies routinely travelling through the international Waters of the South China Sea observing Chinese activities. During the Cold War NATO aircraft “tagged” Russian bombers in missions “testing” reactions. The Russians did the same with USAF, RCAF and RAF aircraft flying off the Russian mainland in the Arctic Sea! This may be surprising to “The Great Unwashed” but it’s business as usual for our Defence Forces. If the Chinese forces weren’t there, that would be much more surprising!
    WJ – via email

    Reply
    • 30/07/2017 at 3:23 pm
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      I absolutely agree WJ. That’s why we didn’t give the story the ‘beat-up’ treatment that the mainstream media did – especially and disappointingly the ABC.
      Brian Hartigan, CONTACT Editor

      Reply
  • 22/07/2017 at 1:01 pm
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    So…. No mention of the submarines??

    Reply

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