Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Chinese PLA Airborne Force Developed Into ‘Flight Group Army’

Through the transformative construction for over a decade, the airborne force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has developed from the singular arm of "parachute-packed infantry" into a "flight group army" composed of 20-plus professional arms such as artillery, aviation force, guided missile force, reconnaissance force, anti-chemical force, engineering force, electronic countermeasure (ECM) force, communication force and so on. It's a quiet rise of an air strategic strike force of multi- arms combination and capable of rapid response, long-range direct projection and heavy equipment assault.

“The so-called ‘flight group army’ is tantamount to a group army moved up in the air,” said Li Fengbiao, commander of an airborne troop unit.

The transformation is highly significant: In the past, the PLA's airborne troops were always lingered around the light equipment standard of “one person one rifle”. Except for the capability of parachuting, the paratroopers were skilled exactly like traditional infantry soldiers. One time when the leaders of airborne troop units visited Russia, they witnessed several female soldiers of a Russian airborne division defeating their opponents with airborne heavy tanks in an exercise, while the PLA's airborne troops at that time were only able to air-drop small and light equipment.

The year 2005 marked the opening of a new page in the history of the PLA airborne force, as the PLA airborne force was successively equipped with the automated command system, the paratrooper assault vehicle and the paratrooper combat vehicle in this year. After that, the PLA airborne force realized a series of leaps in its development based on “allowing combat vehicles to fly and be airdropped to the ground again” as follows:

• The PLA airborne force successfully conducted a test by one-time consecutively airdropping 30 small items of equipment based on the platform of domestically-made transport aircraft, exceeding the record of one-time consecutively airdropping maximum 22 small items of equipment set by a foreign airborne force.

• Successfully conducted a test by consecutively airdropping 3 items of heavy equipment based on the imported large transport aircraft, and implemented the airborne landing of the “personnel together with the heavy equipment” for the first time, making China become one of the few countries which have grasped this key technology after the U.S. and Russia.

• The commander of the PLA airborne force can send his command directly to an infantry company, motorized infantry battalion, special operation detachment and even individual soldier airdropped to the ground by using the airborne command aircraft and the systems of satellite positioning, navigation and communication.

Over the past 10 years, the scope of the land areas in China’s vast territory for the PLA airborne force’s drills has been wider and wider from the northeast China’s snowy field to the islands in the South China Sea, from the hundreds of thousands of mountains to the roof of the world and from the lakes and plains to the forests in the mountains. The PLA airborne force has maintained such a high parachuting safety rate that it has reached the world advanced level, after it was equipped with 10-odd new types of parachutes including a type of paratrooper parachute, armed wing parachute and powered wing parachute.

In the past 10 years, the PLA airborne force also debuted on the world arena, as evidenced by the “Peace Mission - 2005” joint military exercise, during which the Chinese PLA airborne force competed with the Russian counterparts and the airdropped officers and men drove new-type combat vehicles to quickly and accurately destroy 120-odd targets, and the “Peace Mission - 2007” joint military exercise, during which the Chinese PLA airborne force flied out of China for the first time and realized the accurate parachuting-and-landing and the continuous airdropping of heavy equipment under the complex weather conditions in the foreign country.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...