Monday, November 26, 2012

China launches Yaogan 16 ELINT / SIGINT satellites

On the 25th of November 2012, the Yaogan-16 satellites were launched into orbit by a Long March (Chang Zheng) 4C rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province.

Developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the Yaogan 16 consists of a three satellite cluster orbiting in formation in low-earth orbit. They are the second in the series following the launch of Yaogan 9 on March 5, 2010.

Although officially classified as remote-sensing satellites, the Yaogan 16 are Electronic / Signals Intelligence (ELINT / SIGINT) satellites, similar to the Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) satellite formations used by the United States Navy.

The satellite triplets work together to locate and track objects by their electronic emissions and analyzing them using the Time-Difference-Of-Arrival (TDOA) technique. Intended targets can include warships or Surface-to-Air (SAM) installations among others.

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