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Pacific Fleet releases photos of drone returned by China

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  • U.S. NAVY

    On Dec. 20, sailors from the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin recover a U.S. Navy Ocean Glider Unmanned Underwater Vehicle near the location where it had been “unlawfully seized” by People’s Liberation Army-Navy vessel 510 on Dec. 15. Mustin received the vehicle for the U.S. in international waters approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, Philippines.

U.S. Pacific Fleet released photos today of a Navy “ocean glider” unmanned underwater vehicle taken Dec. 15 by China — leading to U.S. accusations that the sovereign vessel had been unlawfully seized.

The UUV was returned Monday to the U.S. Navy by the same People’s Liberation Army-Navy Vessel 510 that grabbed it.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin recovered the UUV near the location where it had been “unlawfully seized” by China in international waters approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, Philippines, the Pentagon and Navy said.

Mustin is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the Navy said.

“The seized UUV is a sovereign immune vessel of the U.S. Navy which was conducting routine operations in the international waters of the South China Sea in full compliance with international law,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said on Monday. “It had just completed a pre-programmed military oceanographic survey route and was returning to the nearby USNS Bowditch.”

A Chinese Dalang-III class submarine rescue vessel launched a small boat and retrieved the UUV as the oceanographic survey ship Bowditch was attempting to retrieve it along with a second UUV in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said.

The Defense Department called upon China to immediately return the ocean glider, an unclassified vehicle used to gather military oceanographic data including salinity, water temperature, and sound speed — data useful in anti-submarine warfare.

“This incident was inconsistent with both international law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea,” Cook said Monday. “The U.S. has addressed those facts with the Chinese through the appropriate diplomatic and military channels, and have called on Chinese authorities to comply with their obligations under international law and to refrain from further efforts to impede lawful U.S. activities.”

China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Tuesday noted the “stable military-to-military relations” between the two countries in dealing with the seizure.

“(C)onsidering how this incident was handled, we can tell that China and the U.S. enjoy a smooth channel of communication and consultation between the military, which acts positively in handling unexpected incidents and preventing miscalculations,” she said.

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  • You can bet the Chicoms took it apart to study the technology, especially the electronics. Don’t believe every cover story you hear from the US Navy. Just doing oceanographic research? So why was the Chinese Navy shadowing and so interested? Could it be that the device was more sophisticated than admitted and had a military purpose such as tracking submarines, etc.

    I remember reading the newspaper cover story about the Glomar Explorer visiting Hawaii to mine of the sub they actually recovered, but the inner cover story that is now out was that it broke up on retrieval and re-sank, so the technology recovered was diminished (to appease the Russians?).

    • You fail to understand the entire Chinese military from most senior officer to lowest recruit is a complete rookie. Their military lacks real world, current, combat experience. So how did those senior officers earn their chest full of medals? Can you say “”

      They lack innovation, technical design and creation skills, were backwards for so many thousands of years they are still trying to catch up. In just a few hundred years since the first explorers landed on the USA area we landed men on the moon. And where was China? Still stuck in the past.

      Exactly whey they have to steal and copy so much from other countries. Jurassic at best.

  • WTH, how did my previous comment get butchered? Here is the addendum. The Glomar Explorer was allegedly mining manganese nodules on the sea floor, but was actually used to retrieve a sunken Russian missile sub with warheads on board.

    • Not exactly. The entire submarine was not raised. A portion was but due to a design/mechanical problem with the grapple, it broke, causing about two thirds of the submarine to break off and sink back to the ocean floor.


      • The book Project Azorian discusses the possibility on the claim that most of the submarine was re-lost when it broke free of the the grapple, is actually an inner cover story for the purposes of dissuading the Russians from going ballistic (no pun intended) knowing their state secrets were stolen mostly intact (including nuclear torpedoes and missiles), which could have led to international tensions akin to war.

        • Additionally, the book discusses the theory that the Russian sub was sunk by a trailing American sub as it was detected preparing missiles for launch (by a rogue captain) and that is why the US knew where to look years later (after things cooled off) and the Russians did not. The Russian missiles in those days had limited range and accuracy (but bigger warheads, possibly one megaton at least, equivalent to a million tons of TNT), so the target would have likely been Honolulu and/or its military bases. It gives me chills that in my “hanabata” days the end of all of us could have “come out of the blue” with no warning.

  • I bet the Chinese thought they stole some kind of advanced anti ship torpedo. I wouldn’t be surprised if they already reverse engineered the thing already and are making their own version of it now to sell back to the US Navy.

  • Still no explanation as to why the ChiComs hijacked the UUV which they clearly knew what it was. The US Navy needs to step up their security measures for any of their ships
    research or otherwise when in that part of the world. The ChiComs are going to continue to provoke and repeat such incidents as it makes the US look weak and they look strong
    to the other nations in the region. I am tired of the lack of forceful response to this kind of provocation by the ChiComs and their cousins, the North Koreans.
    It sure makes the US look like the paper tiger that the ChiComs have always claimed. Continued show of weakness on our part only encourages this kind of behavior and
    only ensures that it will happen again.

  • “The UUV was returned Monday to the U.S. Navy by the same People’s Liberation Army-Navy Vessel 510 that grabbed it.”

    So it the situation was reversed, I supposed we wouldn’t have retrieved it ???

    Give me a BREAK !!!

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