Two images, exclusively sourced from the open source intelligence expert detresfa_ , an analyst with ShadowBreak Intl., show the Ngari Gunsa airport in Tibet. The first image is dated April 6, 2020 while the second one, dated May 21, this year, shows massive construction activity including the addition of what appears to be a second taxi-track or a secondary tarmac to position helicopters or combat aircraft. A third image shows a close-up of the main tarmac at the airport with a line-up of four fighter jets believed to be either J-11 or J-16 fighters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
The J-11/J-16 are advanced, domestically produced variants of the Russian Sukhoi 27 and broadly match the capabilities of the Indian Air Forces Sukhoi 30 MKIs, its most potent fighter until the arrival of the first batch of Dassault Rafales in a few weeks. A caption on close-up image with the fighters indicates that their deployment at this base was first spotted in December 2019. The close up images now released help spotters identify the type of fighters deployed. The location of the Ngari Gunsa air base is particularly significant. A dual-use military and civil airport which serves the town of Shiquanhe in the Ngari prefecture, the airport is located at 14,022 feet, which makes it among the highest in the world.