(CNN)A series of Chinese missile systems have reappeared on a disputed island in the South China Sea, days after satellite imagery appeared to show they had been removed.
The initial discovery of their disappearance was made by ImageSat International (ISI) in early June, who provided images showing bare sand where previously there had been a large number of missile launchers.
But in new intelligence analysis released Monday, the organization said the weapons had reappeared on Woody Island on the Paracel island chain.
on June 11 show before and after images of Woody Island.
In their initial analysis of the surface-to-air missile systems’ removal, ISI said it was possible they had simply been redeployed to another island, or moved as part of a drill.
When the original images were released, experts were extremely skeptical that the launchers had been permanently removed, suggesting instead they may have been sent for maintenance.
“Due to the corrosive effects of salt and humidity in the islands, HQ-9 missile systems must be removed and sent back to the mainland for maintenance periodically,” said Timothy Heath, a senior defense analyst at the Rand Corporation.