The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in the US has recently obtained satellite images showing aircraft hangars built by China in the disputed South China Sea islands.
The images, dated back to July this year, have come into view about a month after an international court in The Hague rejected China's claims in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.
The international tribunal has strongly condemned China's construction of artificial islands.
The hangars on Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief reefs will have enough space to accommodate any fighter-jet in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), which include the J-11 and Su-30, CSIS said in a statement.
The largest of the hangars could accommodate the largest planes in the PLAAF fleet such as the Y-20 and Il-76 transport planes, Il-78 refuelling tanker, and KJ-2000 surveillance aircraft.
Civilian planes have made their first landing on Subi and Mischief reefs on 12 July.
CSIS said that apart from a brief visit by a military transport plane to Fiery Cross Reef earlier this year, Beijing has not deployed military aircraft to these outposts.
Apart from hangars and other air support infrastructure, unidentified hexagonal structures are also being built on the reefs.
Work on these structures at Fiery Cross commenced in May and in July at Subi and Mischief.