Article: China’s Shigatse Gets New Infrastructure

Published on offiziere.ch, November 27, 2017

Satellite imagery has revealed some new developments at the Shigatse civil-military airfield, the closest People’s Liberation Army Air Force deployment near the disputed Doklam plateau.

Sentinel 2 imagery captured on 11 November 2017 shows continued progress on a new runway under construction at Shigatse. Initial clearing and leveling activity began in August 2017 for the now 3,000 meter long runway, (visible to the west in the imagery above). The level of new infrastructure activity suggests that Shigatse will be able to host a larger more capable force near the contentious border with India.

In recent months, China has deployed increasing rotations of CAC J-10, SAC J-11, and XAC JH-7 aircraft as well as MI-17-171 Hip and KJ-500 AWAC to the airport. In support, imagery shows eight new helicopter hardstands constructed on the northeast section of the airfield and nine new parking aprons, measuring approximately 3,000 square meters each, built along the parallel taxiway. Additional construction activity is also noted near the airfield’s surface to air missile site.

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