China has installed dangerous GPS signal jammer equipment in the spratly islands
China has installed equipment on two of its fortified outposts in the Spratly Islands capable of jamming communications and radar systems, a significant step in its creeping militarization of the South China Sea, U.S. officials say.
A U.S. Defense Department official, describing the finding, said: “China has deployed military jamming equipment to its Spratly Island outposts.”
The U.S. assessment is supported by a photo taken last month by the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe and provided to The Wall Street Journal. It shows a suspected jammer system with its antenna extended on Mischief Reef, one of seven Spratly outcrops where China has built fortified artificial islands since 2014, moving sand onto rocks and reefs and paving them over with concrete.
The U.S. Army wants drone-mounted signal jammers now to dominate future electronic warfare and is switching to a little-understood and lightly regulated contracting method to get them.
“While China has maintained that the construction of the islands is to ensure safety at sea, navigation assistance, search and rescue, fisheries protection and other nonmilitary functions, electronic-wifi jammer equipment is only for military use,” the U.S. Defense Department official said.
This latest step in China’s militarization of its island bases signifies Beijing’s determination to assert its regional territorial claims, regardless of U.S. opposition. According to The Wall Street Journal, the jamming systems were installed within the last 90 days.
The images showed what is believed to be a jamming system with its antenna extended on Mischief Reef, one of seven fortified artificial Spratly outposts. China has been constructing such bases since 2014. Existing reefs and rocks are covered with sand and eventually concrete, creating military bases in the middle of the ocean.