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Type 815A Dongdiao-class Electronic Reconnaissance Ship (AGI)

The Chinese naval electronic reconnaissance ship is often named after a planet or large star. The electronic reconnaissance ship is a naval service ship used for electronic technology reconnaissance. Radio receivers, radar receivers, terminal demodulation and recording equipment equipped with various frequency bands. Type 815 was initially named as Dong-Diao (meaning East Investigate) 232, but subsequently, the name was changed to Beijixing [North Star] after a new naming convention adopted by PLAN.

The main task of this type of ship is to monitor and analyze the electronic signal intelligence, and may also include missile trajectory measurement and tracking in the tactical ballistic missile test.

The 815 reconnaissance ship and the improved 815G have been manufactured since the late 1990s. The 815/815G reconnaissance ship has a displacement of 6,000 tons, a hull length of 130 meters, a width of 16.4 meters, and a draught of 6.5 meters. It is equipped with a diesel engine and a double-shaft twin-rudder propulsion device with a maximum speed of 20 knots. In addition, it has generators that power shipboard radio electronics. The defensive weapons of the 815/815G reconnaissance ship are relatively weak, and the basic configuration is a double-mounted 25mm and 37mm gun. Since the Uranus, the reconnaissance ship has begun to have a more advanced 30mm gun that can cope with several air threats as well as attacks from enemy light surface ships. In order to carry out the tasks of transportation and reconnaissance, the 815/815G reconnaissance ship can carry a helicopter, and the hangar and take-off and landing positions are all at the stern.

The Gulf War shocked the Chinese military. The US militarys methods of warfare subverted the traditional military thinking of the Chinese military. At that time, the Central Military Commission set up a special working group to conduct research and argumentation and discuss China's military development path. The investigation team of the Military Commission went to many units to investigate. A lot of projects have been born, especially military projects in electronics. But the investment at that time was still too little. Some of the research results were not completely translated into military achievements at the time. The 815 electronic reconnaissance ship is produced in this context. The plan at the time was to build six 815 reconnaissance ships. After the completion of the first construction, the subsequent construction was stopped because there was no funding support.

The "North Star" electronic reconnaissance ship, number 851, was China's second latest generation of dedicated intelligence gathering ships. The ship has added helicopter decks and hangars, making China's intelligence gathering ships the first to have helicopter capabilities. It is supposed to be commissioned in the second half of 1999 and was built by Hudong Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd. It used the name "East Tune 232" and is now the 851 "North Star" ship.

The ship has a long first-floor ship type, and the first floor extends to the helicopter deck, which increases the height of the freeboard and increases the space inside the ship. The first part has a slight sheer and the front section also has a fender wall. These measures are designed to reduce the waves on the deck and make the ship suitable for ocean navigation. The superstructure is long and concentrated in the middle of the hull. It is based on a deckhouse with bridges, chimneys and hangars arranged from front to back. The bridge is taller, with three floors on the deckhouse, and a tall four-legged plaque on it. The ship's distinctive features - a striking main mast and 3 satellite communications antennas. A parabolic antenna and pedestal are located on the top of the bridge, at the top of the chimney and at the top of the superstructure at the back of the chimney. There is also a dome-shaped device similar to the observatory in front of the bridge, which is estimated to be equipped with photoelectric tracking and observation equipment. The upper deck of the stern is a helicopter flight deck.

Judging from the arrangement and equipment of the ship, the ship can be used for missile tracking in addition to traditional intelligence gathering, that is, it has certain functions of an aerospace survey ship. The large masts on the ship can be installed with many radar antennas and reconnaissance equipment. The three parabolic antennas for tracking are small in diameter, and only the tactical missile tracking is the main task. Some self-defense weapons were installed, a double-mounted 37mm gun was placed on the upper deck in front of the superstructure, and two double-mounted 25mm guns were located on the left and right sides of the hangar. From the model exhibited at the Maritime Exhibition, it is also visible that the front end of the helicopter flight deck is also provided with a 324 mm torpedo tube.

The Chinese military fully recognized the importance of military technical intelligence as one of the important factors determining the victory or defeat of war. The 815A electronic reconnaissance ship continued to be built. The design of the platform has not changed much, but the technical detection system has changed a lot. In turn, the technology developed later is also used. A large-scale upgrade of the technical inspection system of the first 851 reconnaissance ship was carried out. Today, the development of the Chinese navy's electronic technology is claimed by Chinese sources as one of the forefront of the world, and in some respects very advanced compared with the United States. Judging from the current use situation, the 815 series of electronic reconnaissance ships have played a huge role in the naval reconnaissance front. In addition to monitoring the US aircraft carrier formation, the 854 ship also completed the round-the-island navigation to Japan with the North Sea Fleet.

A new missile tracking ship, similar to the training ship Zhenghe, was reported building at the Qiuxin SY in Shanghai as of 1999. The 6,096-tonne ship has an overall length of 130 meters, an overall beam of 16.4 meters, and a hull draft of 6.5 meters. The ship has a top speed of 20 knots and can carry a crew of 250 and one medium helicopter. The Dongdiao-class is armed with one 37 millimeter and two 14.5 millimeter guns. After entering service in the latter half of 1999, the ship went through major upgrade several years later, with parabolic antennas replaced by three large radomes. In addition to collecting electronic intelligence, this class is also tasked to perform ballistic missile tracking.

Using a long main deck of the ship, the main deck is extended to the helicopter deck, both to increase the freeboard height, but also increased the space within the ship. The fore of the ship has a little sheer, the front section also has a fender wall, these measures are to reduce the exposure of the deck to the waves, so that the ship is suitable for ocean sailing.

The reconnaissance ship "EAST-232" was China's newest dedicated intelligence-gathering ship, supposedly commissioned in the second half of 1999, with an obvious exterior feature - an eye-catching mainmast and three satellite communication antennas. From the ball antenna and a variety of electronic equipment to see the characteristics of the ship's main task may be to carry out electronic signal intelligence monitoring and analysis. It may also include missile trajectory measurement and tracking during tactical ballistic missile testing. "East 232" ship increased helicopter deck and hangar, making China's intelligence gathering ship for the first time with the ability of helicopter use.

"East 232" electronic reconnaissance ship full load displacement of 6,000 tons, 130 meters long, 16.4 meters wide, 6.5 meters draft, fitted with two diesel engines, biaxial propulsion, the maximum speed of about 20, the ship also fitted with a 37 mm Cannon and two 25mm guns.

Type 815A reconnaissance ship

After year 2000, an improved version appeared, designated as Type 815A, and the most obvious external visual difference between Type 815A and earlier Type 815 is that the former has a different mast somewhat similar to a pagoda shape, and the sheer line is curved at a greater angle.

In early 2000 the new Electronic Reconnaissance Ship Dongdiao [hull number 232] turned up near the Japanese Coast. On 02 March 2000 a fleet of Chinese naval vessels was activating its training exercises in a central area of the East China Sea within Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Senkaku islets (or Diaoyu in Chinese) that belong to Ishigaki City in Japan's southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa.

In 1999, a Chinese naval fleet lined up with newly introduced large-size vessels showed up in Japan's EEZ waters for the first time, and carried out training twice. On 05 February 2000, a patrol plane of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Fleet Air Wing 5 (headquartered at Naha) confirmed the Dongdiao 232, a Chinese missile tracking support ship, in the waters northwest of Amami Oshima Island. It was the first time the Self-Defense Forces had confirmed that ship.

The 815A electronic reconnaissance ship is the successor model of the 815 reconnaissance ship. It is about 130 meters long, 16 meters wide, weighs about 6,000 tons, and carries a small amount of self-defense weapons.

"Although the appearance of the 815A and 815 electronic reconnaissance ships is not much different, some breakthroughs have been made in the superstructure, such as the reduction of the spherical radome and the modification of the truss mast, plus the embedded new electronic information technology, such as extremely high sensitivity. The monitoring equipment makes the overall performance of the 815A reconnaissance ship even higher. "Said Li Jie, a researcher at the Naval Academy of Military Academy.

There were dense antennas on previous electronic reconnaissance ships. The previous fifth 815A reconnaissance ship changed the style of painting. The original dish antenna was replaced by three large radomes. According to the British "Jane's Defense Weekly", the launch of the East tune-up reconnaissance ship in 2017 has not been installed with antennas or radomes. Li Jie said that the spherical cover is to protect the detection equipment, but after the technology upgrade, there is a tendency to remove the spherical cover, so the number of spherical covers of the new reconnaissance ship has been significantly reduced.

"In addition, the upper body structure of the detection ship has also changed. The antenna mast of the original truss structure has been assembled into a prismatic, tilted, fully enclosed stealth mast that looks like a pillar. This reduces the radar reflection area and the ship's body is more simple It is not esy to expose whereabouts when sailing. "Li Jie said.

In addition to the latest 815A reconnaissance ships equipped with radar, electromagnetic, optical, sonar and other reconnaissance methods, satellite reconnaissance methods have been added, which can detect the actions of aircraft, ships and submarines, as well as dozens, hundreds, etc. Satellites from kilometers away from space can gather information in a comprehensive and systematic way and launch interference information.

Type 815G reconnaissance ship

The third generation 853 Uranus belongs to the 815G reconnaissance ship. Compared to the 815 type mast, it is replaced by a tower, and the bulwark wall has a fold line. The ship was only tested in the second half of 2010. It was built by Hudong Shipyard and served in the South China Sea Fleet in the same year. Compared with the 815 type mast, the ship is replaced by a tower, and the bulwark wall has a fold line. The ship was piloted in the second half of 2010 and was manufactured by Hudong Shipyard. In the same year, it served in the South China Sea Fleet. The ship is slightly longer and slightly wider than the 851 electronic reconnaissance ship in service at the end of the 20th century. The comparative analysis speculates that the total length of the 853 ship should be about 40 meters, about 7 meters wide, draught less than 7.5 meters, and tonnage 6000~7000 tons. The main tower is a two-story structure, located about 2/5 of the deck of the whole ship. This layout is conducive to stabilizing the center of gravity of the ship and improving stability.

Above the main tower is a navigation, observation, and radar control tower. The front end is a cylindrical spherical radar position, and the rear part is changed to the traditional square lattice main mast style of the 851 ship. The trapezoidal quadrangular column type closed type is used instead. Main mast. Both sides are equipped with a number of portholes, non-closed boat type. Two diesel engines, two-axis double rudder propulsion device, two sets of fin stabilizers are installed on both sides of the lower part of the hull to reduce the sway and improve the stability of the ship sailing under high sea conditions. The ship's maximum speed is about 21 knots, which is basically the same as the domestic large-scale landing ship, and its self-sustaining power is about 50 days. At the rear of the ship, there is a Z-19 or a Ka-28 carrier helicopter landing position.

The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned three vessels, including a Dongdiao-class general intelligence ship, into its South Sea Fleet in late December 2015. The vessels were commissioned 26 December 2015 in a ceremony held at an unspecified naval port, said to be in the South China Sea. Two of the ships inducted that day include a supply ship and a survey vessel.

A Dongdiao-class vessel named Neptune was launched at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group yard in Shanghai in March 2014. The Neptune is the third known Dongdiao-class vessel in service with the PLAN. The first, Beijixing, was based in the service's East Sea Fleet, while the second ship, Tianwangxing, is based in the South Sea Fleet.

The commissioning of the Neptune will further bolster the PLAN's sea-going intelligence collection and missile range instrumentation capabilities. Recent developments suggest that Beijing is stepping up its naval intelligence gathering operations amid a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

The North Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned another intelligence-gathering ship on 10 January 2017 at a ceremony in Qingdao. The 6,000-ton vessel, named Kaiyangxing, is the fourth of the Dongdiao class to be commissioned in the past two years, and was built at Shanghais Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard. The CNS Kaiyangxing, or Mizar, with hull code 856, was delivered to a combat support flotilla of the North Sea Fleet on Tuesday morning in Qingdao, Shandong province.

On 03 February 2018, the latest electronic reconnaissance ship #859 was launched in Hudong. The Peoples Navys eighth electronic reconnaissance ship (Model 815G) was launched at the shipyard.

The Kaiyangxing is capable of conducting all-weather, round-the-clock reconnaissance on multiple and different targets, the report said, adding that the ship is so sophisticated that only a few countries, such as the United States and Russia, are capable of developing it.

The Kaiyangxing is a Type 815A electronic reconnaissance ship, which has a full displacement of 6,000 metric tons and a maximum speed of 20 knots, or 37 kilometers per hour, according to the Modern Navy report, which added that it is equipped with three small-caliber naval guns.

An expert from China's shipbuilding industry who wished not to be named told China Daily that the US Navy deploys at least 15 intelligence collection ships, while China still lags behind in this regard. "The fact that we are facing an increasing number of difficulties when we safeguard our maritime interests means that we require more reconnaissance ships to support the PLA Navy's operations on the open sea," he said. "In addition, our future carrier battle groups also need such vessels that can provide various kinds of theater intelligence."

Six Dongdiao ships were then in service with PLAN, the first commissioned in 1999. They are classified as Type 815A, though each subsequent vessel had adjustments made for mass and structure. The ships are evenly distributed among the North, East and South Sea PLAN fleets. The ships' spherical domes, which shield dish antennas that collect and intercept radio signals, give the vessels a distinct profile. The Kaiyangxing differs in that it has a cylindrical radome with a flat top above the bridge.

Chinese Type 815G Dongdiao-class Auxiliary General Intelligence (AGI) ships have been sent out to monitor military exercises in the Pacific, such as the big Rim of the Pacific drills and previous iterations of the Talisman Saber exercises. Such activities are permitted in international waters by international law, although China routinely objects to such activities by other countries, the US in particular.

The Australian military's accusation that China sent a "spy ship" to gather intelligence on US-Australian naval exercises is nothing but an exaggeration and aims to hype the "China threat" theory, Chinese experts said on 07 July 2019. Instead of worrying about China's normal maritime activities, Australia and the international community should be more concerned with Japan, which sent its amphibious landing forces to participate in the exercises, a tendency of its aggressive military development which is against the country's "pure defense" policy, given its World War II history, experts said.

The experts' remarks came after Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on 07 July 2019 that a Chinese electronic surveillance ship is sailing toward Queensland to closely monitor the biennial joint US-Australian exercises known at Talisman Saber from just outside Australian territorial waters. Australian Chief of Defense Joint Operations Greg Bilton said at the launch of the exercises that the Chinese ship's destination is unknown, but is assumed to be heading south near the east coast of Queensland, ABC reported. "It is international waters, they have the right to sail there," he said.

Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times that the report and Australian military's remarks are more China threat theory rhetoric, exaggerating China's normal naval activities. "Since the Australian military acknowledges the Chinese ship has the right to sail in international waters, why would they hype the so-called 'spying' concerns?" Zhang said.

The exercises also marked the first time Japanese warships and the Japanese Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, which was formed just last year, has taken part in the Talisman Saber exercises, ABC report said. China is interested in Japan's capability and interoperability with Australia and the US, ABC quoted an anonymous military official as saying.

Zhang pointed out that Japan's military development should be the real concern of the international community. Developing an aggressive military force such as amphibious landing forces and helicopter carriers are not allowed under Japan's pacifist Constitution and "defense-only" policy, and such development has already caused concern in countries that were invaded by Japan during World War II, Zhang said. "Countries including Australia should be concerned about Japan's rapid development of its aggressive military power rather than making irresponsible comments about China's normal naval activities," Zhang said.



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