To gather intelligence on the Malabar military exercises involving the United States, India, and Japan, China has stationed hundreds of satellites over Australia. Beijing conducted extensive monitoring during the recently finished “Exercise Talisman Sabre” and the continuing “Malabar Exercise” naval maneuvers off Sydney, according to commercial space data ABC News received.
The 26th Malabar naval exercise is now taking place off the coast of Sydney, Australia. The naval forces of Australia, India, the US, and Japan are all represented in the exercise, which is being hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Malabar began as a bilateral maritime exercise between India and the US in 1992, but it has since changed.
Numerous smaller low-orbit satellites (LEOs) have flown thousands of times above Australia at substantially lower altitudes since Exercise Malabar began on August 10th. The ABC article emphasizes their emphasis on keeping an eye on vessel operations close to Sydney Harbour.
According to James Bennett of the Canberra-based defense business EOS Space Systems, who was reported by the Australian broadcaster, “We’ve collected optical surveillance data on Chinese satellites observing Earth during the Talisman Sabre and Malabar exercises, showing significant ground activity.” Since the commencement of the Malabar exercise, which is centered on Sydney Harbour, “over 300 satellites have surveyed ground-based activities, with over 3,000 flights,” stated Dr. Bennett.
In reaction to China’s satellite presence over the nation, the Australian Defense Department has chosen not to provide specifics about its monitoring and risk mitigation techniques.
The Australian Defense Force (ADF) rigorously executes procedures to safeguard the information security of Australian and participating soldiers, according to a defense official. The spokeswoman added that as part of broader initiatives to increase public knowledge of actions taking place in the space sector, the Defense Department tracks satellite movements.
The Malabar Exercise has historically been watched over by China. According to reports, China sent a spy ship to monitor events in the Indian Ocean in 2007, and the same thing happened in the Bay of Bengal in 2014.
Despite the fact that Beijing hasn’t made a formal statement regarding these reports, observers believe China sees the Malabar Exercise as a threat to its Indo-Pacific interests. The exercise is seen as a way for the participating nations to improve interoperability and coordination, potentially reducing Chinese aggression in the area.