China has doubled its fighter jets on India’s disputed northern border, according to American analysts.
As of July 28, China has 36 aircraft and helicopters at the Hotan air base in China’s Xinjiang region, near the disputed northeastern Indian territory of Ladakh, according to an estimate by the U.S. Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI). This includes 24 Russian-designed J-11 or J-16 Flanker fighters. In addition, there are now six older J-8 fighters, two Y-8G transports, two KJ-500 airborne early warning aircraft, two Mi-17 helicopters, plus a number of CH-4 strike/reconnaissance drones.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had just 12 Flankers and no support aircraft at Hotan before the June border clashes between Chinese and Indian troops that left scores of soldiers dead on both sides. CASI’s estimate is based on open-source imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 Earth observation satellite.