China has deployed an HQ-9 surface-to-air missile system to Ngari Gunsa, a civil-military airport in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The battery, which operates in the medium-to-long range role, has been deployed at the location since May 2019, commercial imagery shows. While this is the first year that a SAM system has been observed at the airport, an increased military presence has likely been planned for some time.
The HQ-9 is positioned near support structures and a concrete pad that were established in September 2017 immediately following the Doklam crisis. Imagery at the time also showed an adjacent area featuring a fence-secure and bermed weapons storage area being established 300 meters southeast. Imagery acquired in November 2019 now shows additional support structures being erected around the concrete pad which could indicate that the battery may be deployed on a more long-term basis.