US Carriers in the South China Sea Met by Deployment of Fighters to Island Strip

Chinese flankers to Paracels in the South China Sea

As the USS Ronald Reagan carrier battle group sails into the South China Sea, evidence has emerged that China has deployed fighter jets to an airstrip on a disputed island there. Satellite imagery from July 15 shows at least four aircraft present. This move comes two days after U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo declared that “Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful.” It is also set against a large U.S.-led naval exercise and rising tensions across the region generally.

The planes are believed to be the Chinese-made J-11B variant of the famous Flanker aircraft. These are broadly equivalent to the F-15 Eagle used by the U.S. Air Force. China builds a range of versions of the Russian family of fighter aircraft, originally known as the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. While the exact variant is hard to discern from the satellite imagery, there is no doubt that these are Flankers.

The Flankers are on the airstrip at Woody Island in the Paracel Islands. Although de-facto occupied by China, it is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam, and is one of many islands in the area that are disputed. China beefed up the facilities in recent years and has deployed fighters and bombers there previously.

The aircraft were initially spotted by open-source intelligence analysts using low-resolution commercial satellite imagery. Twitter user Duan Deng posted an image Thursday. Now high-resolution satellite imagery from Airbus confirms the situation.

The timing of the deployment could relate to a number of external factors. It may related directly to Pompeo’s statement. It is also a day after a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Ralph Johnson, performed a freedom of navigation operation in the area and a week after a major international naval exercise involving two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Either way it may be intended to send a message, or even as a hedge against military action. Of course it could be coincidental.

The U.S. Navy exercise involves both the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The carriers were joined by a full complement of escort ships and Japanese Navy vessels. The two carriers are larger and more operationally ready than China’s own aircraft carriers. But the Chinese Navy is gaining ships and experience at an incredible rate. The USS Ronald Reagan carrier battle group returned to the South China Sea on Friday.

The combat capability of four Flankers, in isolation, is modest when compared to a U.S. Navy carrier strike group. But their deployment does send a message, regardless of the motive.

Source: Forbes



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Archie1954
Archie1954
13 days ago

China, up to about 10 years ago was very quiescent about the South China Sea. The US was always trying to get a rise out of it by sailing close to China’s coastline. However what truly riled the Dragon was the foolish Japanese government that bought the surface rights from an individual owner of the Sendaku Islands. That roused the beast and it started to take physical control of other islands dotted around the Sea. What a mistake that was for the Japanese to make, now the whole area is in turmoil.

john Garcha
john Garcha
13 days ago

USA should send more Mexicans roofers to the aircraft-carriers they are the only omes in America who know how to work hard, and have balls (I am talking about the ones BORN in mexico), instead the aircraft-carrier is populated by black gay transgender drag-queens Fighters.

L Garou
L Garou
13 days ago

When F-22 or F-35 enter the combat arena, the J-11, J-20, Su-27, Su-35, etc., etc., etc., all have a life expectancy of around 10 to 15 minutes, tops.

trumpetman70
trumpetman70
13 days ago

Ugh. More racists and bigots supporting China. China hasn’t fought a war since Vietnam in 1979–they had their asses handed to them. We have more experience, more allies, more weapons and more know how–weapons that have never been seen–it would be a turkey shoot. Can’t wait here with my popcorn

BigC954
BigC954
13 days ago

Cool. More sanctions. Let the communists starve.

Séamus Ó Néill
Séamus Ó Néill
13 days ago

What a conceited and arrohant piece of bullying trash. America is going down the toilet and is fast approaching third world status. Bereft of intelligence and anything positive it’s only contribution to mankind is war and destruction. Born out of genocide and slavery, it’ll spend its final days loathed and detested until its inglorious and despicable reign ends in utter shame and humiliation…..and its passing will certainly not be mourned !

John Joseph Sinclair
John Joseph Sinclair
13 days ago

The Jews who control the JEWSA will simply move on just as all parasites do.

Jon
Jon
13 days ago

back to stormfront little girl

fluttershield mlp
fluttershield mlp
13 days ago

When Israeli duel citizens run your government, like the USA, everything and everyone is corrupt.

Jon
Jon
13 days ago

go dig some peat

Séamus Ó Néill
Séamus Ó Néill
13 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Jon, do you honestly think that I’d pay the slightest attention to someone who retorts with a very childish, attempted, insult….you’ve just demonstrated the limits of your own intelligence and that bar appears fairly low. When someone regresses to basic insults, you know they’ve no counter arguement…..Good luck anyhow.

cechas vodobenikov
cechas vodobenikov
13 days ago

more amerikan insecurity and fear of death—unlawful? LOL—has the USA signed on to the Un convention that regards transit in international waters? NO…the USA is paper tiger that has few allies…unable to compete they employ sanctions, tariffs, hybrid war, imperialism in an attempt to extend the life of their cultural desert empire

Jon
Jon
13 days ago

hidden profile troll……. buh bye coward

Archie1954
Archie1954
13 days ago
Reply to  Jon

He may be rude but he has valid points.

Jon
Jon
13 days ago
Reply to  Archie1954

nothing valid….. buh bye coward

Archie1954
Archie1954
13 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Now you are not even attempting to be sensible. Shame on you.

chris chuba
chris chuba
13 days ago

“it is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam” – Taiwan claims 100% of China, so that is just piling on accusations against China. If we don’t actually go to war, this is how this ‘dispute’ ends. The U.S. will go broke sending task forces to far off places and they will be shadowed and then harassed by ever larger more impressive Chinese forces until it becomes obvious that we are outgunned.

BigC954
BigC954
13 days ago
Reply to  chris chuba

Have you ever shot a Chinese weapon?

Bob avlon
Bob avlon
13 days ago

Isn’t it Chinese anti ship missiles they should be worried about? I mean if you can do Arithmetic 2 missiles equals 2 aircraft carriers gone. Is the US fighting for someone there or are just on an anti China horn. No one seems to know for sure.

BigC954
BigC954
13 days ago
Reply to  Bob avlon

Yeah. But that equals over 10,000 American sailors dead and a full nuclear response and the end of China and probably N. Korea,Iran…

john Garcha
john Garcha
13 days ago

For what I have heard It only takes 6 airplanes taking off from mainland with 2 anti-ship missiles each for the People in the American Aircraft-carriers to start defecating in their pants and China has I am not sure, Hundreds ? HAHAHA !! “And yet there they are”.

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