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Satellite image & Aerial photo of Mischief Reef and Other Reefs in Spratlys Area

More informations at http://www.gwu.edu/~spi/images/imagelst.htm

Introduction Claims and
Conflicts
Image Analysis Conclusions
Sandia
National Laboratories
 

Thumbnailed Images With Descriptions (Click Thumbnail to see Full size Image)

Plate 1: Philippine aerial photo acquired on 1 February 1995 showing a ship that was reportedly located at Mischief Reef. The photograph has a spatial resolution of .2 meters. Our analysis revealed that this is a Chinese Yannan-class ship, an armed survey and research vessel. The inset is a reference image of a Chinese Yannan-class ship from Jane’s Fighting Ships, 1995-1996. The connected circles show the features in the overhead image that match the reference image. Because of the overhead view, neither the flag nor the identification marks along the bow could be seen. (Overhead aerial image courtesy: Agence France-Presse, Reference image courtesy: Jane’s Information Group)
Plate 2: Philippine aerial photos acquired in the spring of 1997. These two armed ships were reportedly photographed in the South China Sea and identified as Chinese. In the large photo, the flag is not identifiable, but the ship’s pennant number (‘420’) is legible. The class of the ship is not known for certain although it may be a variant of Yenlai-class. The inset shows a Chinese Yannan-class ship with a pennant number of ‘24’ or ‘124’ (see Yannan-class reference image in Plate 1 inset). (Aerial images courtesy: Agence France-Presse)
Plate 3: Aerial photo showing one of four building clusters that China constructed and occupied. The photo was taken a few months after China took control of the reef. Many features in the image were identified. The inset shows an individual standing on a platform scrutinizing the observation aircraft and a second possibly armed individual positioned behind one of the armor shields along the periphery of the building cluster. (Courtesy: Agence France-Presse)
Plate 4: Aerial photo showing another Chinese building cluster on Mischief Reef. As in Plate 1, many features in the image were identified. In both clusters, the huts were deliberately built away from the octagonal buildings which suggests the storage of items that need to be kept away from the living quarters for safety or hygienic reasons. The inset shows an individual with binoculars watching the observation aircraft as it flies by. (Courtesy: Agence France-Presse)
Plate 5: 4 September 1997 IRS-1C satellite image of Mischief Reef. The IRS-1C panchromatic sensor acquired the image at a six meter ground sample distance. The image was then resampled so that each pixel covers a 5 m x 5 m ground area. The four reported building clusters could not be identified, but four distinct blips along the north, south, east, and west perimeter were detected. In addition, a 685 meter long feature inside the lagoon was found that could be a naval vessel. The feature could not be conclusively identified because its shape was blurred and its shadow was not visible in the lagoon (see inset).
Plate 6: 10 November 1997 IRS-1C satellite image of Mischief Reef. The IRS-1C panchromatic sensor acquired the image at a six meter ground sample distance. The image was then resampled so that each pixel covers a 5 m x 5 m ground area. Two blips were detected along the north and east periphery and one naval vessel was identified. The vessel is 715 meters long and it has a distinct, blurred appearance (see inset). Its class could not be determined, but several ship classes were eliminated from consideration based on the length measurement.
Plate 7: This aerial photo was released by the Philippine Department of National Defense on 10 November 1998. The photo shows significant construction activity at one of the four Chinese-occupied areas on Mischief Reef. Working adjacent to octagonal structures that were built in early 1995, the construction workers can be seen placing metal rods into position for the foundation of a large, reinforced concrete structure.

The inset shows the concrete structure near completion just two months later. The inset picture of the five story building was acquired on 15 January 1999 from an aircraft flying at an altitude of 300 feet. It was imaged from a camera bearing offset by 90o from the camera bearing of the main photo. The different perspective views of the small hut visually shows this difference in bearing. (Aerial images courtesy: Agence France-Presse)

Plate 8: This aerial photo shows new construction activity at a second Chinese occupied area on Mischief Reef. It was also released by the Philippine Department of National Defense on 10 November 1998. In the foreground, the octagonal structures built in early 1995 can be seen with portions of the platform covered by shrouds. In the background, the construction workers can be seen erecting a large, truss structure. On the central platform, personnel can be seen around a large, black object surrounded by sandbags. The object appears to be an anti-aircraft or anti-ship weapon system. However, the type and operational status of the probable weapon system is not evident. (Aerial image courtesy: Agence France-Presse)
Plate 9: Philippine aerial photo acquired on 7 November 1998 showing two ships reportedly anchored at Mischief Reef. Our analysis of this photo revealed that these are Chinese Yuting-class ships. These ships are armed and designed for amphibious warfare. With a full load displacement of 4,800 tons and a length of 130 meters, each ship can carry 250 troops along with 10 tanks. The inset is a reference image of a Chinese Yuting-class ship from Jane’s Fighting Ships, 1995-1996. Interestingly, the ship in the foreground appears to be the exact same ship as the one shown in the reference image — both are marked with pennant number ‘991’. The ship in the background is marked with pennant number ‘934’. Ships ‘991’ and ‘934’ were the first and second Yuting-class ships to be commissioned into the Chinese PLA navy. (Aerial image courtesy: Agence France-Presse, Reference image courtesy: Jane’s Information Group)
Plate 10: Philippine aerial photo acquired on 10 December 1998 showing three ships reportedly anchored at Mischief Reef. Our analysis of this photo revealed that the middle ship is a Chinese Dayun-class support ship, and the ships on either side of it are Chinese Yuting-class ships. The Yuting-class ship in the foreground is marked with pennant number ‘935’; it was the third such ship to be commissioned into the Chinese PLA navy. The inset is a reference image of a Chinese Dayun-class ship from Jane’s Fighting Ships, 1995-1996. The connected circles show the features of the middle ship that match the reference image. (Aerial image courtesy: Agence France-Presse, Reference image courtesy: Jane’s Information Group)
Plate 11: 4 September 1997 Radarsat-1 image of Thitu Island. This synthetic aperture radar image was acquired in the C-Band (5.6 cm wavelength) at approximately eight meter ground sample distance. Although the radar image has the characteristic speckle appearance, the runway is clearly visible and measurable: 12945 meters long and 965 meters wide. The wave barrier at the end of the runway and portions of the reef can also be seen.
Plate 12: Aerial photo of Thitu Island. This image was acquired in February 1998 from a C-130 transport plane. In addition to the runway, the image shows buildings amongst the lush vegetation and the aircraft parking area. An observation tower next to the taxiway can also be seen.

The inset is a close-up view of the runway which appears to consist of grass, coral, and concrete. The photo was taken from the C-130 cockpit while on landing approach from the west. Notice the wave barrier at the end of the runway. This same barrier can be clearly seen in the Radarsat-1 image in Plate 11.

Plate 13: 4 September 1997 Radarsat-1 image of Chinese-occupied Subi Reef. This image is from the same full Radarsat-1 scene that shows Thitu Island (see Plate 11). It shows the faint outline of the submerged reef with several bright blips located inside the reef perimeter (see inset). The blips are not identifiable, but it is reasonable to infer that the features are ships and/or fixed structures. The circled set of three blips (see inset) correlate with the orientation of the structures shown in the aerial photo of Subi Reef (see Plate 14). Thus, it is reasonable to deduce that this blip cluster represents the fort, platform, and connecting bridge shown in the aerial photo (see Plate 14).
Plate 14: Aerial photos of the fortified Chinese structures on Subi Reef. Both photos were acquired by the Philippine Air Force and released in May 1997. The annotation in the overhead photo was done by Filipino image interpreters (and it appears to be accurate).

The inset is a perspective view of the same structures shown in the overhead aerial image. The perspective view was acquired using an aerial camera that was pointing south. (Aerial images courtesy: Philippine Armed Forces)

Plate 15: 4 September 1997 IRS-1C satellite image of Commodore Reef. The IRS-1C panchromatic sensor acquired the image at a six meter ground sample distance. The insets are enlargements that show a total of five distinct blips with connecting linear features. These features may be evidence of human occupation. However, because of the coarse resolution of the image, it is not possible to establish with a high degree of confidence that the reef is occupied.
Plate 16: 15 March 1998 IRS-1C satellite image of Alicoa Annie. The IRS-1C panchromatic sensor acquired the image at a six meter ground sample distance. The reef is comparable in size with Mischief Reef.
Plate 17: 10 March 1998 IRS-1C satellite image of Yuan Anha. The IRS-1C panchromatic sensor acquired the image at a six meter ground sample distance. This was the largest of the six islands and reefs that were selected for detailed study.