China deploys J-10 fighters to Woody Island

Commercial satellite imagery captured on 19 June shows that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed at least four Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Group J-10 multirole fighter aircraft to Woody Island in the South China Sea (SCS), according to a 21 June report by CNN.

The move, which comes amid tensions between Washington and Beijing, marks China’s first known deployment of J-10s to the disputed island in the Paracels.

This is, however, not the first deployment of combat aircraft to the Paracel Islands, with Shenyang Aircraft Corporation J-11 multirole fighters being spotted on Woody Island, which is known as Yongxing in China, as recently as 4 June 2019 and 12 May 2018, suggesting a semi-permanent presence of J-11s there, possibly as part of a regular rotation.