Air Force to Put Whole Country Under its Wing
(Source: China Daily; issued Nov 12, 2017)
By Zhang Zhihao
The Chinese Air Force aims to expand its effective combat zone to cover the entire country, signaling that it has become an all-around, modern, combat-ready force, a spokesman said on Friday.

China's most advanced stealth fighter jet, the J-20, and the newest military transport aircraft, the Y-20, have recently entered formation training, Senior Colonel Shen Jinke said at a ceremony ahead of Saturday's 68th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Air Force.

The new planes are important parts of the Air Force and are fully capable of combat, he said, adding that many pilots are capable of flying the new J-20, as well as previous models such as the J-16 and J-10C fighter jets.

"The J-20 fighter jet has further improved the Air Force's combat capabilities. ... The Y-20 heavy transport aircraft is a crucial element for improving China's aerial logistics and delivery abilities," he said.

"The Air Force will become a modern fighting force integrated with air and space technologies and capable of both offense and defense."

The PLA Air Force aims to be able to provide protection and fight battles across the entire nation's territory and airspace, he said. It will become an important factor in managing critical situations, as well as preventing and winning wars.

China currently operates an active combat aircraft fleet around 1,530 planes, exceeded only by the 2,785 aircraft of the US military, according to a 2016 report by Flight International, a prestigious aviation journal.

In the past five years, the Chinese Air Force has made "historical achievements in improving combat preparedness and capability," Shen said.

The Air Force's reach has expanded from land to distant oceans, passing various island chains, straits and aiming toward the western Pacific, Shen said. This allows the force to be more effective in protecting China's sovereignty and security, he added.

To address new aerial threats, the Air Force will accelerate and strengthen its anti-missile and air defense capabilities to create a defense system capable of intercepting all types of aerial assaults from any height, Shen said.

It will also strengthen cooperation and exchanges with foreign air forces, he said.

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China's J-20, Y-20 Aircraft Carry Out Formation Flight Training
(Source: Xinhuanet; issued Nov 10, 2017)
BEIJING --- Pilots from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force have carried out formation flight training with the country's latest J-20 stealth fighter and the Y-20 military transport aircraft, the air force announced.

Some pilots are able to fly several new models of fighter jets, including the J-20, J-16, and J-10C, Shen Jinke, spokesperson for the air force, said Friday at a ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the PLA Air Force, which falls on Saturday.

The J-20, China's fourth-generation medium and long-range fighter jet, made its maiden flight in 2011 and was officially commissioned into military service in September this year.

To train pilots to fly the new jets, the air force has established aviation schools across the country and forged cooperation with prestigious universities like Tsinghua University, said Shen.

It has also sped up capacity building in anti-missile air defense, setting the precedent of shooting down an enemy plane with ground-to-air missiles and equipping the army with Chinese-developed HQ-9 anti-aircraft missiles, Shen said.

The air force has also expanded the reach of its activities from land to sea, moving towards development of a modern strategic force with whole-territory combat capabilities, he added.

In the past five years, China has advanced reform in national defense and the armed forces under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee, making historic steps in building a system of military strength.

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