Satellite imagery reviewed by RFA showed the Chinese planes on the runway at Woody Island. At least four of them appeared to be J-11Bs, which are fighter jets in service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Naval Aviation Force (PLANAF). The other four appear similar to and fit the dimensions of the JH-7, an anti-ship fighter-bomber in service with the PLAAF and PLANAF as well.
Experts said it was the most fighter aircraft that have been spotted at one time at Woody Island, which is China’s largest military base and settlement in the Paracels, a grouping of features in the north of the South China Sea that is claimed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Military aircraft have shown up at Woody Island before, as have Chinese warships, most notably during China’s military exercises in the area from July 1-5.