Chinese Air Force Shifts
To Attack Stance
By Oliver Chou
South China Morning Post

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 momentous.
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 control equipment.
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 experts.
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 air space.
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.