Military Capabilities

China’s Xiapu airbase adds 24 new hardened shelters

17 May 2018

Key Points

  • China is doubling the number of hardened aircraft shelters at its Xiapu airbase from 24 to 48 units.
  • The new hangars, combined with other infrastructure additions, suggest that Xiapu, previously thought to host forward-deployed aircraft, may now be intended to permanently host a fighter regiment.

Analysis of commercial satellite imagery shows that China is expanding the infrastructure at its Xiapu airbase to double the number of hardened aircraft shelters to 48 units.

Located on the country’s southeastern coast near the island of Taiwan, Xiapu airbase was originally completed with 24 hardened aircraft shelters providing basing for enough aircraft to constitute a single fighter regiment.

However, since late 2015 or early 2016 China has been working on 24 new hardened shelters, with satellite imagery captured on 17 April showing that construction work is nearing completion. The new reinforced concrete shelters have been built in six units of four and are located among the existing hardened shelters at the west end of the airbase.

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