China's Air Force Steps Up Modernization Drive

Chinese air force has stepped up its modernization efforts in order to "satisfy the strategic requirements of conducting both offensive and defensive operations," says a white paper on the country's national defense on Thursday.

The modernization and transformation of the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army follows a "carefully-structured plan," says the white paper, issued by the Information Office of the State Council, or Cabinet.

The air force strengthens and improves its development and personnel development strategies, and enhances its research into the operation and transformation of air forces in conditions of informationization, it says.

The air force conducts training on "confrontation between systems in complex electromagnetic environments, and carries out maneuvers, drills and operational assembly training in different tactical contexts," it says.

The air force also strengthens routine combat readiness of air defenses, "taking the defense of the capital as the center" and "the defense of coastal and border areas as the key," it says.

It has carried out military operations other than war (MOOTWs), such as air security for major national events, emergency rescue and disaster relief, international rescue, and emergency airlift.

It has gradually deployed airborne early warning and control aircraft, third-generation combat aircraft, and other advanced weaponry and equipment, the white paper says.

The air force has under it an air command in each of the seven military area commands of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. It also has under its command an airborne corps, according to the paper.

Under each air command at military area level are aviation divisions, ground-to-air missile divisions (brigades and regiments), anti-aircraft artillery brigades (regiments), radar brigades (regiments), electronic countermeasures (ECM) regiments (battalions), and other units.

An aviation division has under its command aviation regiments and related stations, the white paper says.

China on Thursday issued a white paper on national defense, aiming to enhance its military transparency and boost the world's trust in its commitment to peaceful development.

The document, the seventh of its kind the Chinese government has issued since 1998, says China will never seek hegemony, nor will it adopt the approach of military expansion now or in the future, no matter how its economy develops.
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