Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments > Occupied islands and shoals

Panganiban (Mischief) Reef

(1/2) > >>

The Spratly / Kalayaan Island Group issue made its way to Philippine consciousness in 1995 when China built structures on a hitherto unoccupied submerged atoll appropriately called “Mischief Reef”.  The following New York Times story was one of the articles that heralded the event to the world:

--- Quote ---New York Times archive

The reef is part of the Spratly Islands, a chain of more than 100 tiny atolls and other rocky formations that straddle vital shipping lanes and, more importantly, are believed to shelter large oil reserves. The Spratlys are claimed in full or in part by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

< Edited >

The Chinese platform was discovered on Feb. 2, when a Philippine patrol boat and reconnaissance plane followed up on the report of a Filipino fisherman who said he had been taken captive by Chinese soldiers on the reef. It is also known in the Philippines as Panganiban Reef and is about 135 miles west of the Philippine island of Palawan.

Aerial photographs show that the platform is made up four octagonal structures perched on stilts over the reef, with a satellite dish for communications with the Chinese mainland. A Chinese flag flutters high above the platform.

While Philippine military officials reported that Chinese soldiers have been seen on the platform, foreign diplomats and military analysts agreed that it had no value as a military staging area or supply depot. They say the platform was meant instead to serve as a marker of Chinese territorial claims.

< Edited >
--- End quote ---

The octagonal structure described in the article was, or eventually became, one of only three structures that were established around the periphery of the reef.

Before construction

Construction underway in 2015

Mischief Reef incident sometime in May 1995

Spratly Islands - China/Philippines 'Incident'
Video by Associated Press via YouTube - Published on Jul 21, 2015


--- Quote from: dr demented on February 17, 2018, 07:35:14 AM ---Mischief Reef

The aerial photos of Mischief Reef are dated December 30, 2017, and focus on the runway and other facilities along the western side of the outpost. Mischief is the largest of China’s artificial islands and the closest to the Philippines. An arbitral tribunal in 2016 ruled that the reef was entirely underwater prior to China’s reclamation and is therefore a piece of the Philippines’ continental shelf. Facilities visible in the aerial imagery include:

1.    A large sensor/communications facility topped by a radome, completed in 2017.
2.    One of the four point defense facilities built around the base in 2016.
3.    Three towers housing sensor/communications facilities topped by radomes, completed in 2017.
4.    Underground storage tunnels, likely for ammunition and other materiel, built during 2017. In the Inquirer’s photo, the tunnels are already buried, but AMTI’s satellite image shows the tunnels in an earlier, exposed state. Identical buried storage facilities have been constructed at Fiery Cross and Subi Reefs. There is also more underground storage built along the north side of Mischief (and at Fiery Cross and Subi).
5.    The base’s 3,000-meter runway, which has been complete since 2016.
6.    Hangar space for 8 combat aircraft, completed by late 2016.
7.    One of Mischief’s five hangars for larger aircraft, completed by late 2016.
8.    A sensor/communications facility topped by a radome paired with what is believed to be an administrative building for the airfield.
9.    Hangar space for 16 combat aircraft, completed by late 2016.
10.    An omnidirectional radio beacon for guiding inbound aircraft toward the airfield.

--- End quote ---


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version