Satellite Images Suggest China Is Arming Strategic South China Sea Base With Missiles

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy recruits chant slogan during a parade to mark the end of a semester at a military base of the North Sea Fleet, in Qingdao, Shandong province December 5, 2013. (REUTERS/China Daily)

 

Satellite imagery of the People’s Liberation Army’s Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island in the South China Sea shows the deployment of multiple missile launchers, which observers believe are for launching anti-ship ballistic missiles, reports Defense News.

“The direction in which the launchers are facing leads us to believe these are shore-to-ship missiles,” ImageSat International imagery analyst Amit Gur told reporters.

Yulin Naval Base is an essential submarine base for the South Fleet and houses China’s nuclear submarines. It is also home to a decent collection of surface ships. Over the years, China has been increasingly fortifying this particular military base, the tip of the spear for Chinese power projection into the contested South China Sea.

Systems similar to those seen in the recent satellite images were spotted two years ago. They disappeared a few months ago and just recently reappeared. Satellite images from March 15 show empty platforms, but images from May 8 depict what are believed to be shore-to-ship missile launchers.

ISI is unclear whether these suspected missile launchers, located on the western side, are the original systems or new weapons systems.

On the eastern side of the base, ISI detected “infrastructure that wasn’t there before and what looks like preparations for shore-to-ship missiles, just like on the western side,” ISI spokesman Gil Or told Defense News. The addition of new anti-ship missile systems may boost Chinese anti-access, area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities.

Full article: Satellite Images Suggest China Is Arming Strategic South China Sea Base With Missiles (The Daily Caller)

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