(TibetanReview.net, Jan09’23) – China has said its Ganbala radar station in occupied Tibet, long touted as the world’s highest manually operated radar station, was now controlled remotely rather than by stationing personnel on-site. Besides, new radars have already been installed at several high-altitude radar sites, and they were also switched to the new duty mode, reported eurasiantimes.com Jan 8, citing PLA Daily, the official publication of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Ganbala (Tibetan: Gampa-la) is located close to the border of the Indian state of Sikkim.
With these, the deployment requirements laid down by the 20th CPC National Congress, including “increasing the proportion of combat forces of new quality in new areas and expediting the development of unmanned intelligent combat forces,” have been fully accomplished by the Air Force of the Western Theater, the report was cited as saying.
The Ganbala radar station is stated to be one of several radar stations that cover southern Tibet, situated on a mountain peak in Tibet Autonomous Region. The station, frequently featured in Chinese media, is stated to be notable for its altitude and strategic location.
It was stated to be built in 1967, remaining crucial in observing the airspace over Tibet’s southern region. It has also been labeled as the highest military installation in the world, standing at 5374 meters above sea level.
* * *
The development of remotely controlled radar stations will lessen several logistical and maintenance-related problems and boost Chinese forces’ effectiveness in high-altitude zones. Chen Qiang, a staff officer with an undisclosed air force radar brigade, has said most radar installations are situated on impassable slopes blanketed with snow.
The new “one station, two points” duty mode was stated to imply that the station’s headquarters and the radar position are not in the same location. With this, Chen has said, the days of radar warriors stationed at high altitudes all year round are gone.
He has explained that along with the mountains’ enduring heavy snowfall and closure, the intense cold, oxygen deprivation, and high winds previously threatened the officers’ health, making it difficult to maintain equipment and provide logistical support.
But now, the new equipment and operational mode has freed up more energy for PLA forces to focus on improving battle readiness and combat effectiveness by diverting their attention away from combating the hostile environment.
The PLA Daily report was cited as saying the shift from “guarding the mountain” to “entering the battlefield” had been accomplished and that the radar station’s primary support staff had joined the mobile detachment and taken part in the joint training for systematic combat across areas.