According to USNI News, new satellite images reveal that China is preparing for future missile assaults on U.S. targets.
The photographs, released by the satellite imaging firm Maxar, depict imitation targets in the Taklamakan Desert, such as model ships and piers, for large-scale target ranges.
According to USNI, two other locations, one around 190 miles southwest of the desert and another eight miles southwest, indicate that the targets are intended for testing supersonic anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs) that pose major risks to naval vessels.
Damien Symon, an independent military analyst who located the naval station target around 310 kilometers south-southwest of the desert, said, “The layout of the targets is very calculated.”
“The orientations, shapes, and sizes are consistent across multiple targets. There is nothing haphazard about these sites. ”
He continued, “This is a different material to the piers and buildings. It may reflect heat or radar differently; this also might give us an indication of the complex systems and effort behind these experiments.”
USNI reports that China has produced at least two kinds of ASBMs: the DF-21D and the DF-26.
The “carrier-killer” DF-26 has a range of up to 3,000 miles, sufficient to reach the U.S. overseas territory of Guam.
Lu Li-shih, a former teacher at Taiwan’s Naval Academy in Kaohsiung, said that the mock-up and drill designs indicate that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) vessels “”
According to the South China Morning Post, the Suao port is meant to maintain Taiwan’s access to marine supply routes accessible during times of conflict.
Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, told the Post: “The PLA would also prime its wartime missile strike targeting key Taiwanese installations — including not just the airbases, [command and control] centers, storage bunkers but also naval bases.”
Suao’s location on Taiwan’s eastern shore gives it a degree of strategic depth and makes it less susceptible to PLA attacks than, for example, Keelung, which is situated on the western seaboard facing the Taiwan Strait and is thus more exposed to PLA attacks.