The south china sea’s gathering storm – page 14 – pprune forums gaz 67 for sale

Satellite photos taken in April show that the construction of new 24 aircraft shelters, taxiways and additional buildings are on the verge of being completed at the airbase near the town of Xiapu, in China’s coastal Fujian Province. The new aircraft shelters are built in a semi-dispersed state in six clusters of four, with two clusters built near the end of the single 1.7-mile-long runway and the rest located in one of two aircraft dispersal area which already has 15 of the 20 hardened and camouflaged aircraft shelters at the base. Each of the new shelters measures approximately 100 feet long and 60 feet wide, which is more than enough to accommodate China’s Sukhoi Su-30/35 and Shenyang J-11/15/16 Flanker family of fighter jets.

Several military buildings have also been built as part of the upgrading project, which also includes five new barracks blocks along with what retired Col. Vinayak Bhat, who previously served as a satellite imagery analyst with the Indian Army, told Defense News appear to be parking garages and testing and inspection facilities for vehicles. Land clearing is also taking place at the north eastern corner of the base complex, suggesting more facilities could yet be added.

The semi-dispersed nature of the new aircraft shelters is a departure from the normal practice at Chinese bases, whose shelters are normally built in straight lines with the housed aircraft parked side by side, and is likely to reflect the frontline nature of the airbase.

The base is located just 160 miles from Taiwan’s capital Taipei and 225 miles from the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, making it closer to the islands than the nearest Japanese combat aircraft which are based 260 miles away at Naha in Okinawa. China is also claiming ownership of the islands, which it calls the Diaoyu Islands.

The construction of the new aircraft shelters at the airbase could point to China upgrading it to a fully-fledged operational airbase with its own permanently assigned combat aircraft regiment or brigade. It had previously been used only as a deployment base since completion in 2012, hosting ongoing rotating detachments of approximately 12 People’s Liberation Army Air Force or PLAAF fighter jets……..

China’s air force has landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region, it said in a statement. Several bombers of various types – including the long-range, nuclear strike capable H-6K – carried out landing and take off drills at an unidentified island airfield after carrying out simulated strike training on targets at sea, the Chinese airforce said.

“A division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organised multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to ‘reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions’,” it said. The statement said the pilot of the H-6K bomber conducted assault training on a designated sea target and then carried out take-offs and landings at an airport in the area, describing the exercise as preparation for “the west Pacific and the battle for the South China Sea”.

The notice, published on the PLAAF’s Weibo microblogging account, did not provide the precise location of the exercise…….. In an analysis published on its website, CSIS said the location of the runway was believed to be Woody Island, China’s largest base in the Paracel Islands, which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan……..