I think you are right 45-50 kms. I read somewhere before, perhaps HQ-16B has the same range as BUK-M3 which is claimed 70kmsI think this could be an exaggeration. From what I heard, the HQ-16 range is no more than 45km. Would you mind sending me the link in which says that the range of HQ-16 is 70km? Thx a lot, bro!
Developments at Cuarteron Reef, the southernmost of China’s occupied features in the South China Sea, are particularly important. Construction of facilities at Cuarteron seems nearly complete and the artificial island now covers about 52 acres (211,500 square meters). Two probable radar towers have been built on the northern portion of the feature, and a number of 65-foot (20-meter) poles have been erected across a large section of the southern portion. These poles could be a high-frequency radar installation, which would significantly bolster China’s ability to monitor surface and air traffic across the southern portion of the South China Sea. In addition to these radar facilities, China has constructed a buried bunker and lighthouse on the northern portion of the feature, a number of buildings and a helipad in its center, communications equipment to the south, and a quay with a loading crane on the western end of the outpost.
China’s artificial island on Cuarteron Reef, as of January 24, 2016.
The southern section of China’s outpost on Cuarteron Reef, as of January 24, 2016.
The northern section of China’s outpost on Cuarteron Reef, as of January 24, 2016.
China already has significant radar coverage of the northern half of the South China Sea given its facilities on the mainland and in the Paracel Islands. And while it might have some coverage of areas further south courtesy of over-the-horizon radar on the mainland, placement of a high frequency radar on Cuarteron Reef would significantly bolster China’s ability to monitor surface and air traffic coming north from the Malacca Straits and other strategically important channels (how much would depend on the specifics of the radar positioned there). Improved radar coverage is an important piece of the puzzle—along with improved air defenses and greater reach for Chinese aircraft—toward China’s goals of establishing effective control over the sea and airspace throughout the nine-dash line.
I met a PLA Army vet in a pub the other day, and I asked him why China is building up all the artificial islands. He said that the ones in the Spratleys are for surveillance/tracking/early-warning purposes only. In the future, the airfields could serve as refueling and maintenance stations for operations over the Indian Ocean. However, the one in Paracel could be something else, especially given its proximity to the Yulin Naval Base.I think China is building a whole surveillance network in SCS.