China’s PLA is believed to have installed two Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Ranging (ISTAR) sensor systems close to India’s border in Arunachal Pradesh.
This development comes almost a month after withdrawing its troops from a key friction point in eastern Ladakh. The systems, called ‘hot eyes’ and golden eyes’, are aimed at ensuring round-the-clock vigil over the strategic region, according to reports.
A video released by the Chinese state-owned China Central Television 7 (CCTV7) shows PLA Ground Force (PLAGF) using new sensor systems in the Tibetan plateau, which comes under the PLA Western Theater Command. The sensors were shown at the Xiao border post, near the Line of Actual of Control (LAC), the de facto border that divides India and China.
The area comes under Shannan Military Sub-District, located 4,400m above sea level.
According to Janes, the analysis of satellite data imagery shows that the border facility has rapidly expanded in recent years. It is located in Tibet’s Cona County, Shannan Province, adjacent to the Indian border by the strategic Bum La Pass, a major flashpoint during the 1962 India-China war.
The video, titled — ‘The Tibetan frontier guards have installed ‘hot eyes’ and ‘golden eyes” — was carefully recorded not to show details of the border post, but just reveals a complex housing barracks, watchtowers, and sensors.
The first system, probably referred to as ‘hot eye’ and capable of 360° rotations, is a static electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) solution mounted onto a rack.
The second system, ‘golden eye’ comprises a man-portable EO/IR camera that can be mounted onto a tripod. It is equipped with an optical viewfinder and a laser rangefinder, and has an effective range of 5–8 km, according to the CCTV report.
The system also includes a ruggedized C2 interface, enabling the sensor to also be operated by soldiers on the ground rather than just from the control tower.
The media outlet noted that both systems are capable of round-the-clock remote operations, adding that they can be networked across the area of operations, Janes said.
India and China had last month disengaged their troops from the Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh following a nine-month-long border standoff.