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Underwater gliders found in Indonesian Waters | Janes analysis

Kelvin Wong, principal unmanned systems analyst identifies an unidentified underwater vehicle (AUV) in Indonesian Waters...

Key points

  • An unidentified autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), believed to be of Chinese origin, was discovered off Selayar Island in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province in late December 2020, following the recovery of comparable systems in the Riau Islands in March 2019 and Masalembu Islands in January 2020.
  • The location of the latest discovery is also close to strategic waterways used by international traffic – such as the Lombok Strait that connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Indonesian media reported in late December 2020 that a Iocal fisherman had discovered an unidentified “missile-like” object in waters off Selayar Island in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province around 20 December and handed it over to the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL) on 26 December 2020.

According to the TNI-AL, the object – which is clearly a glider-type autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)– features an approximate length and weight of 2.25 m and 175 kg, respectively, and was subsequently transferred to the Main Naval Base VI (Lantamal VI) in Makassar on 28 December 2020. The latest glider discovery marks the third time in two years that three physically identical AUVs have been recovered in Indonesian waters.

Janes analysis

Based on high-quality imagery published by the TNI-AL, Janes can identify the object by its distinct physical design characteristics as the Haiyi, or ’Sea Wing’ autonomous underwater glider developed by the state-owned Chinese Academy of Sciences Shenyang Institute of Automation (CAS SIA) and manufactured and marketed by the Tianjin-based Deepfar Ocean Technologies.

China's military capabilities

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