The following is based on a translation of a report in Chinese from pro-China Hong Kong media:
Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily said in its report early today that the Chinese military have published a set of photos showing that it has deployed J-11BH heavy fighters at an airport on Yongxing Island in the South China Sea, in response to a U.S. warship’s patrol of the waters within 12 nautical miles of China’s artificial islands.
Previously China deployed J-8IIs at Lingshui Airfield to patrol the South China Sea.
As the J-8II only has a range of 2,500 km, it is only able to stay for a few minutes in remote areas of the the South China Sea.
Now, China is deploying J-11BHs with a range of 5,200 km from Yongxing Island, 350 km further into the South China Sea, to effectively patrol the South China Sea in response to the U.S. warship’s patrol.
The J-11BHs belong to the Wang Wei Regiment of the PLA air force.
Wang Wei was the fighter who intercepted a U.S. renaissance aircraft in April 2001 when the U.S. aircraft allegedly came too close to China, and died due to the clash between the two aircraft.
He was later honoured as a “Sea-air Hero” and the regiment he was in was renamed the Wang Wei regiment in his memory.
For the deployment of the longer-range and more powerful and advanced fighter/bombers, the runway on Yongxing Island was lengthened to 3,000 metres last year.
That shows that China has been preparing for the U.S. planned move of patrolling the waters.
Singtao says China has plans to build more runways on the artificial islands in the South China Sea.
When those runways are put into operation, China will have much greater capabilities to control the South China Sea and expel America.
Source: Singtao Daily – “Fighter jets deployed on Yongxing Island: Air force extends its strength into the South China Sea” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
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Categories: Defence & Aerospace