SCMP: China’s underwater drones seized in Indonesia expose tech, routes and potential submarine plans
Tue January, 2021, Age: 2 weeks
Indonesia has found and recovered three Chinese unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) in the Sunda Strait, a critical maritime chokepoint that links the Java Sea (and the South China Sea beyond) to the Indian Ocean. Defense analysts inferred from the location of the UUVs’ discovery that China was scouring potential submarine passages through the vital Sunda Strait, which is one of the few approaches to the Indian Ocean that would allow for a Chinese submarine to pass through while submerged. Being able to successfully traverse the Sunda Strait undetected could theoretically give China the opportunity to carry out military exercises or hostile actions in Australian waters. China has quickly closed the gap in UUV technology with the United States over the past five years and now has UUVs capable of traveling over a thousand miles with a weapons payload.