China’s PLA using new equipment for all-weather border monitoring

China's PLA is bolstering the management of its border defence by developing new types of equipment including a satellite early warning system, say reports

K.J.M. Varma
First Published9 Apr 2018
China has ramped up security along the Xinjiang border to prevent the crossings of militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement active in the province. Photo: Reuters
China has ramped up security along the Xinjiang border to prevent the crossings of militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement active in the province. Photo: Reuters

Beijing: China’s military is bolstering the management of its border defence by developing new types of equipment including a satellite early warning system that can be used to monitor the border areas in all environments, according to official media reports.

A satellite early-warning monitoring system is planned in some border areas that are in dispute or are difficult to enter and patrol, state-run Beijing Evening News reported on Sunday. A surveillance camera network has also been built in border zones and the density of coverage is set to increase to cover blind spots, the report said but did not mention which, or if all, of China’s border regions are covered.

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China covered 3,488 km which included Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by China as part of southern Tibet. The informatization and mechanisation of equipment, vehicles and monitoring methods of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) border defence will give an early-warning of any risks to security as well as overcoming previous blind spots, Song Zhongping, a military expert was quoted as saying by the Global Times.

The PLA has to increase the level of automation of its equipment, Song noted. This will include using drones and tracking vehicles to conduct patrols and setting up unmanned monitoring systems, which means border regions will come under continuous monitoring and control. To cater to various geographic environments along China’s long borders, the PLA has developed equipment that can be used in water, in the air or on land, Song said.

While reporting about the new border monitoring system, the Global Times mentioned Pangong Lake in Ladakh, where skirmishes took place between Indian and Chinese troops after border guards foiled an attempt by Chinese soldiers to enter Indian territory in August last year. The PLA has deployed a new patrol boat there which is made of non-metallic materials, the report said.

The craft has a top speed of 40 km per hour and can resist ice collisions. A type of heavy scout vehicle, called the “wild ox,” capable of accommodating 17 full-armed soldiers, has been deployed to a border defence regiment in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, which shares a border with three countries.

Besides a BeiDou satellite navigation system, akin to that of US Global Position System (GPS), the vehicle also has a real-time communication system installed. The scout vehicle also has water filters, a kitchen and a toilet so it can conduct patrols in tropical environments. The report also implied that in the jungles of Yunnan, the sparsely populated deserts of Xinjiang and the high plateaus in Tibet, PLA troops began using drones to patrol more areas than 10 years ago, which has resulted in a 25-fold increase in efficiency.

Border defence troops in Koktokay, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have recently tested more than 20 types of new equipment. Koktokay in northern Xinjiang and bordering Mongolia has an average temperature of -20 degree celsius in winter. A new type of hot water bottle that can keep water hot for 24 hours has been issued to soldiers in Koktokay.

The troops garrisoned at Koktokay have also tested other new equipment such as cold-proof blankets, tents and snow camouflage suits. “Logistics support is the main guarantee to generate combat capability,” Song said. “These changes all benefit from China’s increasing military technology ability and innovation,” Song noted. Previous reports said guard rails have been set up along the border to prevent terrorists sneaking into China through Xinjiang’s Kashgar, a prefecture that shares a border with Afghanistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Kyrgyzstan.

China has ramped up security along the Xinjiang border to prevent the crossings of militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement active in the province.

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