China apparently deployed J-10 jets to disputed Woody Island in South China Sea

CNN recently reported, after discovering satellite images supplied by ImageSat International, that China had deployed at least four J-10 fighter jets to the disputed Woody Island in the South China Sea.

China apparently deployed J 10 jets to disputed Woody Island in South China Sea Satellite image of Woody Island in South China Sea on which four J-10 fighter jets of the PLA Air Force are deployed (Picture Source: released by ImageSat International and hosted by CNN)

Woody Island, also called Yongxing Island in China and Phu Lam Island in Vietnam, is the largest of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, with an area of 2.1 square kilometres (0.81 sq mi). The island has been under the control of China since 1956 but is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

The airport on the island is called Yongxing Island Airport and it has a runway that is 2,700 metres (8,900 ft) long, capable of handling any fourth-generation fighter aircraft of the PLA Naval Air Force such as the Chengdu J-10AH, Shenyang J-11BH, Xian JH-7A, or Sukhoi Su-30MK2. Last year, Chinese H-6K long-range strategic bomber conducted a touch-and-go landing on Woody Island.

The airport has hangars, a radar navigation station and large fuel tanks, enabling it to serve as a forward deployment base for refuelling warplanes on combat missions.

The Chengdu J-10 is a lightweight multirole fighter aircraft capable of all-weather operation, configured with a delta wing and canard design, with fly-by-wire flight controls, and produced by the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).