Earlier this month media reports said the US nuclear submarine USS Connecticut was damaged after it hit an object underwater in the South China Sea.

Published: October 30, 2021 1:31 PM |

Last updated: October 30, 2021 1:31 p.m.

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BEIJING: The Chinese military is still in the dark about what damaged the U.S. nuclear submarine while it was navigating the controversial South China Sea earlier this month, while satellite photos of the moored ship showed that the submarine may have a head-on collision, making it “deaf and blind,” according to a media report on Saturday.

A recent satellite image suggests that the damage to the American submarine USS Connecticut, according to Chinese Military experts could have been caused by a head-on collision with a tiny underwater object in the South China Sea (SCS).

The incident four weeks ago may have occurred in waters near the controversial Paracel Islands in the China-controlled SCS, which it says suggests that the Chinese Navy may have spotted the American submarine en route to Guam but was unaware of its damaged condition, the Hong Kong reported the South China Morning Post.

Earlier this month media reports said the US nuclear submarine was damaged after it hit an underwater object in the SCS.

Eleven sailors aboard the USS Connecticut were injured in the accident. None of the injuries were life-threatening, it said in a statement from the US Pacific Fleet.

It is unclear what might have hit the Seawolf-class submarine, since the US Navy announced the accident days later no further details such as the extent of the damage, what the submarine had collided with or the specific location.

In response to the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a media briefing on October 8, that “China is seriously concerned about this accident”. and asked the Pentagon for an explanation.

The US, as the party involved in this incident, should provide the relevant details, including the location, purpose of this navigation, details of the accident and what hit the submarine, and whether a nuclear spill has occurred and whether the local maritime environment has been violated, ?? he had asked.

After the incident, the submarine managed to get to the US Navy base in Guam, and the first public image of the ship at anchor showed the sonar dome of the submarine’s nose The Seawolf-class had been removed, suggesting that the bow sonar system was damaged in the Oct. 2 incident, the Post report said.

The satellite photos of the USS Connecticut submarine were taken on Oct. 20 Recorded by the private American company Planet Labs and published by the American technology and military website The Drive.

?? It is almost certain that the USS Connecticut was hit in a head-on collision that broke its sonar dome, the main sensor system , which meant the submarine went virtually blind and deaf underwater and immediately had to flee ?? That said, Macau military observer Antony Wong Tong.

Twelve days earlier, the Beijing-based maritime think tank, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, posted a low-resolution satellite image on Twitter and said it was a suspected submarine Seawolf-class was sighted 43 nautical miles (80 km) southeast of Paracel Island on October 3, the day after the apparent collision.

Beijing is embroiled in heatedly controversial territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. It has built and militarized many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.

Both areas are considered rich in minerals, oil, and other natural resources and are also vital to world trade.

The United States have regularly sent their naval and air patrols through the SCS to challenge China’s claims to sovereignty over the area and also to assert freedom of navigation.

Cao Yanzhong, a researcher at the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Science (PLA ) has claimed that U.S. warships and planes conducted over 2,000 close-range espionage missions against China this year as rivalry between the two countries increased.

The objectives of these missions included Chinese-controlled islands and reefs in the SCS as well as the coastal area of ​​mainland China, Cao said recently at the 10th Xiangshan Forum, an annual Chinese military conference .

Wong said that information indicated that the collusion with the US submarine may have taken place near the exclusive economic zone claimed by China around the disputed islands, even if the US had such a zone at the Not recognizing the conduct of freedoms of navigation according to their statement are international waters.

?? The collision may have occurred less than 43 nautical miles from the Paracels, and a sub-operation is much more sensitive than that of surface vessels, forcing the U.S. Navy to do so to hold back and not alert their Chinese counterparts.

?? The fact that the American submarine was able to stay underwater for so long suggests that the damage was not severe, ?? Wong told the Post.

Beijing is building a huge underwater observation network known as the “Underwater Great Wall” for maritime science and national security applications.

Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said the Chinese Navy may have known of the American submarine’s route through the region, but could not determine where the incident occurred and just let it happen.

The damage could be from something the size of an underwater drone and not from Another submarine had been caused, said the expert.

?? This accident reminded the People’s Liberation Army Navy to further strengthen China’s underwater surveillance and defense capabilities in the region ,? Li added.

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