The first quality video of Chinese Navy fighters over the Yongshu (Burning Cross) artificial reef in the disputed Spratly Archipelago in the South China Sea has surfaced online. J-11 and Su-30MK fighters are on duty there in pairs on a rotating basis.
The infrastructures built by China on these bulk reefs are impressive, underlines Russian military blogger Dambiev. On each of the three main reefs there are landing strips and hangars of three types: small ones for fighters, medium ones for bombers and Xian H-6 air tankers. The largest hangars can house Y-20 and IL-76 military aircraft, IL-78 refueling planes, and KJ2000 flying radars.
The territorial ownership of the Spratly archipelago is disputed by six Southeast Asian states. In addition to its important strategic location, the archipelago is supposedly rich in hydrocarbons. All the contenders, from Brunei to the Philippines, have a small military contingent in the Spratlys, but only China is expanding its presence in the area by building artificial islands.