Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Australia will be spying on Russia-China drills to learn of what Russians & Chinese want Australia to know


Australia's Department of Defence has also indicated that the highly stealthy Collins class submarines
and P3-Orions (these days kept at home in Darwin) will be used in the exercise.This sounds more like an act of desperation by a department trying to show that it is doing something.

Australia set to gather intelligence on
military drills between
China and Russia

Australia is likely to have military assets in the South China Sea to gather vital intelligence on a joint drill between Chinese and Russian forces next month, Fairfax Media understands.
The exercise between Chinese and Russian ships and planes is intended to send a signal of defiance to the West but defence sources and experts say it will also provide a gold mine of intelligence on how the major powers' militaries work together.

A Defence source told Fairfax Media that assets were expected to be used to collect information, though the source declined to say what kind.
"It would be foolish for Defence to miss an opportunity like this," the source said.

Surface warships could also observe from over the horizon though this is less likely because they are committed elsewhere. This overt observation is more likely to be undertaken by the US Navy, Fairfax Media has been told.
The deployment of a Collins Class submarine would be one option. The simplest way to observe the drills would be with the RAAF's P-3 Orion surveillance planes, which routinely fly over the South China Sea as part of Operation Gateway.
The Australian Defence Force has in the past adjusted the timing of Operation Gateway patrols to match events of particular interest.
Defence has previously said it varies the path of such patrols depending on what is worth observing, including whether to devote more effort for example to the South China Sea rather than the Indian Ocean.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in June.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in June. Photo: AP

Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said it would be "routine business for Australia to want to observe such an exercise with its P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft".
The RAAF's P-3 Orion surveillance planes routinely fly over the South China Sea."I imagine there would be a great deal of interest from us and the Americans in how effectively the Chinese and Russians are able to operate together," he said.

The RAAF's P-3 Orion surveillance planes routinely fly over the South China Sea. 

Mr Jennings, a former senior Defence Department official, said the joint exercise was "more about political show than genuine military co-operation".
"Increasingly [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] identify each other as like-minded countries that are prepared to push against the established international system," he said. "It's a marriage of strategic convenience which is designed to create maximum discomfort for the US and its allies."
Retired Royal Australian Navy rear admiral James Goldrick said it would "certainly be worthwhile" to observe the drills. Planes or ships would not need to get too close, but rather could observe from over the horizon and pick up signals and radar signatures.
"It wouldn't be a matter of having to fly 500 metres overhead," he said.
Mr Goldrick said even if they weren't natural allies in the long term, China's and Russia's interests currently were aligned around opposing "the world order that they see effectively as having been set up by the US".
Mr Putin had calculated that China rather than the US was a preferable relationship to "restore Russia to where it thinks it ought to be", he said.

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