|pic via AUSAirpower.net|
The Chinese military has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of its contested islands in the South China Sea according to civilian satellite imagery exclusively obtained by Fox News, more evidence that China is increasingly "militarizing" its islands in the South China Sea and ramping up tensions in the region.Predicted and confirming. The idea of these disputed and manmade islands being used to push China's anti-access/area denial network further out was a no brainer.
The imagery from ImageSat International (ISI) shows two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers as well as a radar system on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea.
It is the same island chain where a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed close to another contested island a few weeks ago. China at the time vowed “consequences” for the action.
Woody Island is also claimed by the Republic of China (Taiwan) and by Vietnam.
The missiles arrived over the past week. According to the images, a beach on the island was empty on Feb. 3, but the missiles were visible by Feb. 14.
A U.S. official confirmed the accuracy of the photos. The official said the imagery viewed appears to show the HQ-9 air defense system, which closely resembles Russia’s S-300 missile system.
Where you can place anti-air systems you can also put anti-ship. China has achieved total dominance in the first island chain. Without the use of exotic weapon systems that are unknown to the public (I can't imagine a scenario where nukes would be used) it is clear that they have achieved regional superiority.
Worse is the fact that they're pushing out to the second chain. With US forces hopelessly overstretched and deployed all over the world, it is obvious that China has free reign to rampage in the Pacific.
Sidenote: For all those that doubt me on this, consider that with the US biased toward the Middle East and Europe (look at troop numbers) even with a "surge" of forces into the region, the Chinese could quickly overwhelm Japan in a lightning war of attrition. China would be bloodied in the conflict but Japan would be destroyed.