By Sean O’Connor, Indianapolis
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 21 July 2016
Satellite imagery captured on 10 July shows an HQ-9 strategic surface-to-air missile (SAM) battery on Woody Island in the process of being taken off the island on board a Chinese naval vessel.
The Airbus Defence and Space image revealed that the battery had been removed from its deployment site along the northern coast of Woody Island in the Paracels, a move that coincided with the conclusion of military exercises in the area that took place prior to the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA’s) 12 July ruling on the South China Sea dispute.
Imagery taken on 8 July shows most of the dispersed HQ-9 battery components concealed under camouflage netting. Three transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles and the battery’s Type 305A target acquisition radar (TAR) remained uncovered.
Imagery captured a day later shows HQ-9 battery components uncovered and garrisoned together near the radar position. On 10 July, subsequent imagery showed a column of vehicles, including probably HQ-9 TELs, parked on a road adjacent to the island’s southern harbour.
A Type 072A landing ship berthed in the harbour represented a possible transhipment option for the equipment. The HQ-9 battery, present on the island since at least February 2016, is likely to be sent back to China for maintenance.
At present, Woody Island lacks garrison facilities sufficient to house the HQ-9 battery. Continued construction on the island may result in a garrison and a prepared SAM site appearing in the near future.
Read more and see the imagery with higher resolution at http://www.janes.com/article/62442/imagery-shows-chinese-hq-9-battery-being-removed-from-woody-island
Militarization and Construction in the South China Sea: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/events-and-analyses/militarization-and-construction-in-the-south-china-sea/
Facts on the Ground and on the Waters: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/south-china-sea-facts-on-the-ground-and-on-the-waters/