Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taiwan eyes blimps for maritime surveillance

An aerostat is deployed in Afghanistan
The Navy is said to be interested in the Small Aerostat Surveillance System, which comes equipped with an APG-66SR radar 

Poor communication and surveillance capabilities have awakened interest in the military in blimps equipped with powerful sensors to conduct surveillance over disputed territory, possibly including the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島), reports are saying. 

According to a recent report in Defense News, interest in acquiring such devices — known as aerostats — to increase the nation’s intelligence, surveillance and intelligence (ISR) capabilities increased in the wake of a Sept. 25 incident near the Diaoyutais, during which Japanese Coast Guard vessels engaged in primarily symbolic water cannon exchanges with the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) and about 40 Taiwanese fishing vessels. 

Citing an unnamed military officer, the report said that the CGA and the navy had struggled to monitor developments during the clashes due largely to limited surveillance capabilities. 

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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