China is “quietly” testing its recently-deployed electronic warfare assets in its fortified bases in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, American television network CNBC reported.
These electronic warfare assets are designed to “confuse or disable communications and radar systems.”
“This is very bad news, especially because most Southeast Asian militaries already don’t possess very comprehensive IEW [Intelligence/electronic warfare] capabilities to begin with, and China’s widening this asymmetry further,” Singapore-based security analyst Collin Koh said on Twitter.
The testing of these electronic warfare assets comes after China’s reported deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles in the three of its biggest outposts in the Spratly Islands. These deployments would allow them to continue asserting their territorial claims in the disputed waterway.
While China claims their bases in the South China Sea are for non-military use, it has equipped them with runways, hangars, radars, sensor arrays, missile shelters and underground storage areas.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, believed to be rich in fish and oil and gas reserves.