PLAN SCS Bases/Islands/Vessels (Not a Strategy Page)

Discussion in 'Navy' started by lilzz, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. ahojunk
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    ahojunk Senior Member

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    http://www.janes.com/article/46083/china-building-airstrip-capable-island-on-fiery-cross-reef

    China building airstrip-capable island on Fiery Cross Reef
    James Hardy, London and Sean O'Connor, Indiana - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
    20 November 2014


    Key Points

    • China is reclaiming land at Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands, according to satellite imagery
    • The reclamation, which started in August, is creating a land mass large enough for a 3,000 m-long airstrip

    China is building an island at least 3,000 m long on Fiery Cross Reef that could be the site for its first airstrip in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

    Satellite imagery of the island taken on 8 August and 14 November shows that in the past three months Chinese dredgers have created a land mass that is almost the entire length of the reef.

    Fiery Cross Reef lies to the west of the main Spratly island archipelago and was previously under water; the only habitable area was a concrete platform built and maintained by China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

    The new island is more than 3,000 m long and between 200 and 300 m wide: large enough to construct a runway and apron. The dredgers are also creating a harbour to the east of the reef that would appear to be large enough to receive tankers and major surface combatants.

    The existing structure on the reef's southwestern edge was home to a PLAN garrison and had a pier, air-defence guns, anti-frogmen defences, communications equipment, and a greenhouse. The concrete structure is currently not attached to the new island, but if previous Chinese land reclamation projects in the Spratlys are any guide, it is only a matter of time before it is joined up.

    The Spratly Islands are claimed by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. All but Brunei occupy islands or have built structures on reefs and shoals to assert their claims.

    The land reclamation at Fiery Cross is the fourth such project undertaken by China in the Spratly Islands in the last 12-18 months and by far the largest in scope. China has built new islands at Johnson South Reef, Cuateron Reef, and Gaven Reefs, but none are large enough to house an airstrip in their current form.

    Ship tracking data from IHS Maritime shows substantial activity at the reef since May 2014. Analysts drew attention to two ships in particular: Jin Hang Jun 406 , a grab dredger that is fixed on a pontoon, and 3,086-tonne cutter suction dredger Xin Hai Tun . Both have been instrumental in dredging and cutting channels into the new harbour basin.

    ANALYSIS

    IHS Jane's previously reported on China's reclamation project in the Spratlys and noted that until recently Fiery Cross appeared to be acting as a staging post for other island building projects. Given its status as the largest PLAN facility in the Spratlys, this seemed to be an anomaly, something that the 14 November imagery has now corrected.

    China has been at a distinct disadvantage compared with other claimants in the Spratly Islands as it is the only claimant not to occupy an island with an airfield. Taiwan has Itu Aba (Taiping) island, the Philippines has Pagasa island, Malaysia has Swallow Reef (a reef on which it reclaimed land and built an airstrip), and Vietnam has Southwest Cay.

    The work at Fiery Cross thus brings parity but is likely to cause alarm among the other claimants. China has previously shown it is willing to spend blood and treasure to assert its territorial claims in this region. Given its massive military advantage over the other claimants in terms of quantity and quality of materiel, this facility appears purpose-built to coerce other claimants into relinquishing their claims and possessions, or at least provide China with a much stronger negotiating position if talks over the dispute were ever held.

    .
     
    #631 ahojunk, Nov 22, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
  2. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    Ahojunk, welcome to SD.

    Please read the rules of behavior for the forum.

    Please link to articles you post here so others can read them as well. it is fine to post the text of the article if the publisher does not mind, or translate a non-English article. But you still should link to the source.

    Thanks.

    Jef Head
    SD SUPER MODERATOR
     
  3. A.Man
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    A.Man Major

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    Fiery Cross Reef Update: Nov. 23, 2014 Image

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #633 A.Man, Nov 23, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  4. Geographer
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    Geographer Junior Member

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    Thanks for the photos, A.Man and ahojunk. Do you have photo updates on the other land reclamation projects at Johnson South Reef, Gavin Reef, and Cuarteron Reef?
     
  5. A.Man
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    A.Man Major

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    Fiery Cross Reef or Yong Shu Jiao, People have this in mind:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ahojunk
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    ahojunk Senior Member

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    @A.Man

    Thanks for these great pics.

    --------------

    Wow! This is gigantic/enormous.

    If China can join the three Fiery Cross reefs, she can build anything she wants.

    No need to stop at just the airstrip, China should also use the reclaimed area/lake in the north for fisheries or aquaculture to get some return on investment.

    Referring to the pics that shows the southern part:-

    There is a harbor being built in the east.

    The airstrip looks to be on the western side, estimated to be 3 km in length.

    The reclaimed area is being extended and will soon join the existing concrete platform structure (which has a PLAN garrison) at the southern tip of the reef.
    .
     
    #636 ahojunk, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  7. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    The PRC is using its significant reclamation capabilities to create a complete base, which I believe will include the airfield, a harbor and docking facilities, and probably all of the infrastructure necessary to have a strong base with radar and defenses in the South China Sea where none existed before.

    They are going about this very methodically and in a way that simply has them enhancing their own possessions there.

    As I have said before, unless someone embarks on an equally agressive reclamation effort, the PRC will ultimately be in an almost unassailable position in the South China Sea in terms of its ability to control its economic interests there.
     
  8. antiterror13
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    antiterror13 Major

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    I don't see anybody capable doing that ... only Vietnam in a much smaller scale
     
  9. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    It would take a large American AEC firm who does work internationally to help, which would also require US State Department approval in this case I am sure.

    Something like Bechtel, Morrison-Knudsen (who worked on the original improvements of Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam), Simplot, Brown and Root, or some company like that.

    I do not think the kind of effort China is now making is going to be equaled.
     
    #639 Jeff Head, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  10. joshuatree
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    joshuatree Captain

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    While I was aware the reef is strategically near shipping lanes, I didn't paid as much attention before but now realize the reef is definitively outside of all other claimants' 200nm EEZs from respective mainlands. That puts a spin on any charges levied by countries such as Vietnam or the Philippines because either respective country would have to be laying claim to the reef beyond UNCLOS and would be hypocritical themselves. And if any other claimant tries to claim the reef based on some EEZ from another Spratly island, then they are no different than what China can claim. Pretty clever in choosing that location to be the main base of operations in the Spratlys.
     
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