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. Radar ranges are based on estimated sensing capabilities of China’s KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft against airborne targets at 25,000 feet and targets at sea level. 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.
To toggle each layer on and off, check and uncheck the corresponding box on the key in the upper-right of the graphic. To learn more about each outpost and identify each range ring, hover the cursor over them on the map.