China set to deploy military planes in Spratlys: report


Posted at Aug 10 2016 03:19 AM

Mischief Reef. Image by the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative / DigitalGlobe

MANILA - Chinese military planes will land soon in the disputed Spratlys as China continues with its rapid construction of reinforced hangars on Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs, according to a report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI).

While AMTI clarified that "there is no evidence that Beijing has deployed military aircraft to these outposts,' the pace of construction of hangars on the three reefs “indicates that this is likely to change."

"Each of the three islets will soon have hangar space for 24 fighter-jets plus 3-4 larger planes," it said.

According to the report by AMTI, about four to six hangars per building are being built on the three reefs. These can accommodate any fighter jet in China's Air Force, including the J-11 and Su-30.

Of the three reefs, construction on Fiery Cross Reef appears to be "complete at the southern end of the runway and is well-advanced along the middle of the airstrip," said AMTI. "At the northern end, construction on a final set of hangars is still in the early stages."

Fighter-jet hangars appear to be nearly complete as well on Subi Reef. Meanwhile, construction of hangars on Mischief Reef seems to be at an earlier stage, AMTI said.