It seems the Chinese are once again trying to pull on their big boy pants.
In what a U.S. military official calls an “inadvertent encounter,” a Chinese submarine hit an underwater sonar array being towed by the destroyer USS John McCain on Thursday.
The array was damaged, but the sub and the ship did not collide, the official said. A sonar array is a device towed behind a ship that listens and locates underwater sounds.
There are a few things I find interesting about this.
1) Chinese submarine operating near the Phillipines? Expanding your area of operations a bit are we? Good for them, shows their trying to operate in the neighborhood, not just their back yard. I say good because it provides more opportunities for us to learn about them in a neutral environment.
2) I HOPE that the MCCAIN knew they were there. We’ll never know for sure, but please let our STG folks be better than that.
3) I wonder what the Chinese were doing. Some would argue that they were trying to steal the array (given that there was obvious attempts to snag the array of the IMPECCABLE). I’d say not so much because the chances of getting the array caught in your screw and thus rendering propulsion inoperable are just not worth the risk.
So, were they trying to get close to the McCain and just messed up, or are they completely inept and just blindly ran over the array? Who knows? I’ve seen our own submarines cut off arrays in exercises, but it usually comes after several breakdowns in safety precautions. I’d like to think the Chinese are better than this, but maybe they aren’t ready for the big game yet.
Some would take comfort in that, but I don’t. Because the fact that they are out there doing stuff like this means they are trying to learn. And they’ve proven to be very good at that.