New Satellite Images Show China Building Aircraft Hangars for Fighter Jets on Contested South China Sea Islands

Images of the Subi and Mischief Reefs in China
Images of the Subi and Mischief Reefs in China

CHINA has vastly extended its military scope by constructing military jet hangars on a set of contested islands, damning new images reveal.

Their confirmed presence in the South China Sea quashes China’s repeated claims it was never planning to militarise the region.

A satellite image of Fiery Cross reef shows the landing strip sprinkled with hangars

CSIS / AMTI
A satellite image of Fiery Cross reef shows the landing strip sprinkled with hangars and a control tower
A closer image shows the size of the hangars, with jets added to illustrate it

CSIS / AMTI
A closer image shows the hangars as they would look when filled with China’s fighter jets
Nearby Mischief Reef also has a runway lined with military-grade aircraft hangars

CSIS / AMTI
Nearby Mischief Reef also has a runway lined with military-grade aircraft hangars
The hangars - seen here with illustrated jets - are designed to withstand an air strike

CSIS / AMTI
The hangars are reinforced and designed to withstand an air strike, experts say
Each island has enough hangars to hold 24 fighter jets and several larger bombers or transport carriers

CSIS / AMTI
Each island has enough hangars to hold 24 fighter jets and several larger bombers or transport carriers

The photographs show development undertaken on the Spratly Islands, a strategically vital area where China has built its own artificial islands on reefs.

Most believe it is a move designed to project military power across the region and undermine U.S. dominance.

According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, reinforced aircraft hangars are now visible on three of these reefs.

Each of these hangars will have enough room to accommodate 24 fighter jets as well as larger planes, such as bomb carriers, transports and refuelers.

The construction has occurred on Subi Reef, Mischief Reef and Fiery Cross Reef – all part of the disputed territories.

The transparency initiative’s director, George B. Poling, told The New York Times the structures were large enough to accommodate China’s fleet.

To use them to house civilian planes would be akin to building a mansion and only living in the first floor, he said.

“They are far thicker than you would build for any civilian purpose. They’re reinforced to take a strike.”

The images are also released just days after China sent bombers and fighter jets on combat patrols in the area.

Raising tensions with its neighbours and the U.S. even higher, China claimed the exercise was designed to normalise such drills.

The Hague ruled last month that China did not have historic rights to the region. Its leaders, however, simply ignored the directive.

SOURCE: COREY CHARLTON 
The Sun