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China Begins Military Flights From Disputed South China Sea Bases

China’s military recently deployed electronic warning and surveillance aircraft and helicopters on two disputed islands in the South China Sea in what analysts say is a sign that the People’s Liberation Army has begun routine air operations from the bases.

Satellite images obtained by The Washington Times show deployments in May and June of PLA KJ-500 airborne warning and control aircraft to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. Other satellite photos showed the stationing of a Y-9 transport aircraft and Z-8 helicopter to Subi Reef in June and this month.

Last year, KQ-200 anti-submarine warfare aircraft were deployed on a third island base on Fiery Cross Reef.

In the past, military aircraft made occasional stops at bases built since 2013 as part of a major campaign by the Chinese military to expand power and protect its broad claims to sovereignty over the strategic waterway.

Continue Reading Article ( via Washington Times ) …

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