China launches a new high-tech spy ship

(From the Daily Beast)

Neptune, the newly unveiled Type 815 surveillance vessel, is the latest addition to Beijing’s growing fleet—which has been deployed far and wide in recent years

By David Axe

The Chinese navy has just commissioned a new high-tech spy ship—at least its fourth since 1999.

The Type 815 surveillance vessel Neptune, featuring sensitive electronic listening devices, could help Beijing further improve its already impressive ability to gather intelligence on its rivals, in particular the U.S. Navy.

ype 815 surveillance vessel Neptune

Type 815 surveillance vessel Neptune

China’s state media announced the Neptune’s Dec. 26 commissioning two days after the ceremony, which reportedly took place at an undisclosed naval base on the South China Sea. Neptune “is able to conduct continuous all-weather reconnaissance of various targets within a certain range,” explained PLA Daily, the official publication of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Like her sister vessels—one older ship dating to 1999, two newer ones that entered service in 2009 and mid-2015, plus at least one more Type 815 still under construction—Neptune is roughly 400 feet long. The ship boasts several large domes arranged along the superstructure that apparently house antennae for intercepting radar and radio signals broadcast by the military forces of potential enemies. China’s intelligence analysts at sea and on land can then interpret the signals in order to determine the capabilities of other countries’ ships, planes, and military hardware. Read more


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