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  • 70 Years of the People's Liberation Army Air Force

    For those of you who have the privilege of knowing the great Ken Allen, this book will come as no surprise. For those of you who don’t know Ken personally, trust me when I say he has dedicated his life to the study of the People’s Liberation Army’s Air Force (PLAAF). In many cases, such a statement

  • Political Commissars of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force

    Knowing one’s counterparts, who they are, how they got there, and who their replacements might be, is important to both leadership and organizations alike. This report provides an overview of the political commissars of the PLA Air Force and is a companion to CASI’s report on the commanders of the

  • Initial Fighter Pilot Training in the PLA Air Force

    At the beginning of the 2010s, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s (PLAAF’s) program for the initial training of fighter pilots had three problems. First, the program was inordinately long and gradual. Second, the PLAAF lacked an advanced trainer aircraft that was suitable for

  • Commanders of the PLA Air Force

    In the era of great power competition, it is important to understand all of the actors. Not just organizations and structure, but people as well. On 27 August 2017, Lieutenant General Ding Laihang became the 12th Commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force (PLAAF) since 1949. He

  • Chinese Airborne C4ISR

         As we move further into the era of 21st century great power competition, it is important to understand the many facets of that competition. This report is the next in a series of studies by the China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI) that seeks to lay the foundation for better understanding

  • The Improvement of the PLA’s Close Air Support Capability

    In August 2020 the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) indicated that some of its units had made technological and procedural advancements in its capability to provide close air support (CAS). The PLA has been working to develop the systems and procedures to conduct CAS safely and effectively for

  • Air-to-Air Missiles: Capabilities and Developments In China

    “Good enough”, this is how I often describe China’s short-term ambitions. They don’t need to have a world-class / global-leader military, not yet; what they need is something that is ‘good enough’. This has implications for how China pursues its program of military modernization and its goal to

  • Command of the Air - the view of the PLAAF

         Although the 2004 white paper is the first of the PRC’s defense white papers to note what it calls “command of the air,” identified in the Chinese version as  zhikongquan (制空权), the concept for the PLAAF dates back to the 1960s.  Although the 2015 Defense White Paper, which focused on PLA

  • China’s Air Force Preparing for Contingencies in the Skies Over Ladakh

         Although current clashes along the Line of Actual Control between India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are contained to hand-to-hand fighting as of mid-June 2020, the death of several dozen soldiers on 15 June reveals the potential for the skirmish to escalate in scale. As Indian and

  • Understanding Shuangxue: The PLAAF's Learning Organization Initiative

    This study focuses on how the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is attempting to better educate their people, promote learning, and thereby improve their combat effectiveness, the ultimate goal of any military. While many western nations’ militaries have a long

  • Brigadization of the PLA Air Force

    In 2016, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) began to implement its 11th large-scale reorganization, including a 300,000-man force reduction. One key component of the reorganization was the PLA Air Force's (PLAAF) shift away from its traditional Division-Regiment system to a

  • PLA Air Force's Four "Key Training Brands"

    The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force's (PLAAF) desire to advance its strategic transformation through qualitative changes is evidenced by its development of what it calls the "four key training brands". These include:  the Golden Helmet military competition; the Golden