China Stations Combat Aircraft on South China Sea Island


The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has dispatched an unknown number of fourth-generation J-11BH/BHS fighter aircraft to Woody Island (known as Yongxing Island in Chinese), the largest of the Paracel Islands administered by the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea, according to Chinese media reports.

Woody Island, located around 200 miles (321 kilometers) south of Hainan Island, boasts the only operational airstrip in the South China Sea, although China is in the process of construction of at least two more airstrips in the Spratly Islands.

The J-11BH/BHS fighter aircraft are most likely part of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 8th Aviation Division stationed in Hainan Province. As my colleague, Ankit Panda, reported at the beginning of the month (See: “Chinese J-11 Fighters Exercise in the South China Sea After US Navy Patrols”), J-11BH/BHS fighter jets armed with missiles have recently carried out exercises in the South China Sea rehearsing “real air battle tactics,” according to the PLA Daily.

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