Chinese Power Projection Capabilities in South China Sea

June 28, 2019  |  AMTI Interactive

Chinese Power Projection Capabilities in the South China Sea

(This is the latest in a series of major updates to AMTI’s interactive maps of the Asia Pacific.)

Since 2014, China has substantially expanded its ability to monitor and project power throughout the South China Sea via the construction of dual civilian-military bases at its outposts in the disputed Spratly and Paracel Islands. These include new radar and communications arrays, airstrips and hangars to accommodate combat aircraft, and deployments of mobile surface-to-air and anti-ship cruise missile systems.

This map highlights how these capabilities overlap. For illustrative purposes, the ranges of known high frequency radar installations are depicted as being 300 kilometers, while those of smaller arrays are shown as 50 kilometers. Combat radii for fighter aircraft are shown based on China’s J-11 fighters while bomber ranges are based on China’s H-6 bombers, both of which have been deployed to Woody Island. SAM and cruise missile ranges are based on the HQ-9, YJ-62, and YJ-12B systems that have been deployed across Woody Island, Fiery Cross Reef, Mischief Reef, and Subi Reef. Fighter and bomber ranges at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs represent expected future deployments based on the hangars built to accommodate those assets.

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The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1962 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and policy solutions to decisionmakers.

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