JED - February 2017 - 24

Unknowable
The Journal of Electronic Defense | February 2017

24

Airborne SIGINT in the
Asia-Pacific Region

F

By Martin Streetly

Following the tumultuous events of 2016, it is probably fair to say (to misquote former U.S. Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld) that 2017 is going to have
its share of "unknowable unknowables." Curiously, the
Pacific may be one place where the unexpected is less
"unknowable" than elsewhere in the world, with the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea continuing to rattle its nuclear saber and China continuing to stir the pot
with its territorial claims in the South China Sea. What
is less clear is what will happen if the Trump Presidency
renews US ties with China's "lost province" of Taiwan
and/or opens a trade war with mainland China. And,
potential changes to Japan's constitution relating to the
use of its armed forces could have a significant impact
on the checks and balances that currently hold true
within the region.
Obviously, "unknowable unknowables" are not a
good thing, and the world of 2017 is likely to see an

increasing emphasis on intelligence gathering of all types as
the global community attempts to second guess the future.
Here, signals intelligence (SIGINT) will play its part, with airborne manned SIGINT collection forming a significantly flexible and accessible component of this process, particularly in
areas, such as the Pacific, where there are key flash points in
a region whose vastness is greater than any other on Earth.

PRC SIGINT
Outside the "overhead assets" deployed by China, Russia and the US (together with the regional SIGINT umbrella
provided by American RC-135V/W Rivet Joint, RC-135S Cobra
Ball, EP-3E and U-2S aircraft), China, Japan, South Korea and
Taiwan are known to include dedicated manned SIGINT platforms within their inventories, with Australia and Singapore
possibly doing so as well.
China's People's Liberation Army Air Force and Navy
(PLAAF/PLAN) operate a triad of SIGINT platforms that



JED - February 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - February 2017

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Asia-Pacific SIGINT Programs
Technology Survey: Analog-to-Digital Converters
Operator 101
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick LookThe
JED - February 2017 - cover1
JED - February 2017 - cover2
JED - February 2017 - 3
JED - February 2017 - 4
JED - February 2017 - 5
JED - February 2017 - The View From Here
JED - February 2017 - 7
JED - February 2017 - Conferences Calendar
JED - February 2017 - 9
JED - February 2017 - Courses Calendar
JED - February 2017 - 11
JED - February 2017 - From the President
JED - February 2017 - 13
JED - February 2017 - 14
JED - February 2017 - The Monitor
JED - February 2017 - insert1
JED - February 2017 - insert2
JED - February 2017 - 16
JED - February 2017 - 17
JED - February 2017 - 18
JED - February 2017 - 19
JED - February 2017 - 20
JED - February 2017 - 21
JED - February 2017 - World Report
JED - February 2017 - 23
JED - February 2017 - Asia-Pacific SIGINT Programs
JED - February 2017 - 25
JED - February 2017 - 26
JED - February 2017 - 27
JED - February 2017 - 28
JED - February 2017 - 29
JED - February 2017 - 30
JED - February 2017 - 31
JED - February 2017 - Technology Survey: Analog-to-Digital Converters
JED - February 2017 - 33
JED - February 2017 - 34
JED - February 2017 - 35
JED - February 2017 - 36
JED - February 2017 - 37
JED - February 2017 - 38
JED - February 2017 - 39
JED - February 2017 - 40
JED - February 2017 - Operator 101
JED - February 2017 - 42
JED - February 2017 - 43
JED - February 2017 - EW 101
JED - February 2017 - 45
JED - February 2017 - AOC News
JED - February 2017 - 47
JED - February 2017 - 48
JED - February 2017 - Index of Advertisers
JED - February 2017 - JED Quick LookThe
JED - February 2017 - cover3
JED - February 2017 - cover4
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