- The PLA air force is to alter its defensive posture
to one focusing mainly on attack readiness.
- In an unusually frank report, the Guangming Daily said
the shift was one of three changes made to implement the policy of "building
the armed forces through science and technology".
- The other two were a switch from being ready to fight
regional battles under general conditions to a preparedness for modern,
hi-tech warfare and a concentration on quality rather than quantity. Military
analysts said the implications of the changes, particularly in relation
to sensitive regions such as Taiwan and the Spratly Islands, could be
- While celebrating the 50th anniversary of its formation
last November, the air force increased its combat capabilities for super-long-distance,
high-speed and all-weather operations, the paper said. It had also applied
anti-electronic-jamming and air-refuelling technologies.
- Its latest airborne weaponry systems include air-to-air
and air-to-ground missiles, high-precision guided bombs and improved firing
- All were said to have greatly enhanced performance in
dogfights and ground and sea assaults.
- Ground air defence systems were also upgraded.
- The paper said all leading personnel in the aviation
corps at regimental level and above had mastered flying skills and meteorological
knowledge, while military officers of the airborne corps were all parachuting
- The report characterised modern air warfare as a contest
of high technology and high intelligence, "a combined warfare involving
intensive applications of electronics, information, joint operations,
firing control and high manoeuvrability".
- The air force was expected to take a more active role
in supporting ground and naval operations in future while defending China's
- Meanwhile, in an exercise late last year, an air force
unit in the northeast successfully flew all its fighters through unfamiliar
routes over seven unidentified provinces and regions. The paper said the
day-long exercise ended with safe landings on two unfamiliar airfields.