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Australia releases image of Chinese intelligence ship amid major exercise

The image of a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft overflying a Chinese Dongdiao-class intelligence ship, released by the Australian Department of Defence amid Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' 2023. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has released images of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessel that is said to be on passage near the country while Canberra hosts a large-scale military exercise.

These images, which were released by the DoD on 24 July, depict a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft overflying the vessel on the latter's starboard side.

The vessel, which features a distinctive array of four radar domes, has been identified as a Dongdiao (Type 815/815A)-class intelligence-gathering ship. The vessel type is often deployed by the PLAN near major military exercises such as ‘RIMPAC' and ‘Talisman Sabre'.

Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' 2023 began on 22 July and will run till 4 August across Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales. For the first time, the drills will also take placearound Norfolk Island.

Given the geographical span and the involvement of more than 30,000 military personnel from 13 countries, this is the largest iteration of the exercise yet.

Among services participating in the exercise is the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), which carried out the first firing of its Type 12 anti-ship missile in Australia during the early stages of ‘Talisman Sabre'.

In a statement prepared for the media on 24 July, the DoD gave the location of the vessel as being off the Central Queensland Coast and east of Rockhampton.

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