Top fighter models drill com­bat tac­tics

(The joint drills will teach us) how to make the best use of each air­craft.”

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Top News - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Air Force has be­gun train­ing its pi­lots a new airstrike tac­tic that in­volves all of its best fighter jets.

An Air Force avi­a­tion unit in north­west­ern China, the first to use the PLA’s most ad­vanced fighter jet, the J-20, has re­cently been per­form­ing joint tac­ti­cal ex­er­cises with J-16 and J-10C air­craft, ac­cord­ing to the Air Force.

In the ex­er­cises, the radare­vad­ing J-20s take ad­van­tage of their sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and stealth abil­i­ties to seize air su­pe­ri­or­ity. Then J-16s and J-10Cs launch long-range pre­ci­sion strikes against land tar­gets.

The J-20 has dis­played not only over­whelm­ing air com­bat su­pe­ri­or­ity in the drills, but also a cru­cial abil­ity to clear the path for and co­or­di­nate com­bat with other types of fighter jets, the Air Force said in a state­ment. It added that many pi­lots in the unit are able to fly all of the three top planes.

He Xing, a pi­lot tak­ing part in the drills, was quoted by the state­ment as say­ing that the unit’s pi­lots are trained to op­er­ate J-20, J-16 and J-10C to fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with the air­craft and get to know their strengths and weak­nesses.

“Then we will be able to know how to use the ad­van­tages of a cer­tain type of plane to com­ple­ment other models and how to make the best use of each air­craft,” he said.

Yang Wei, chief de­signer of the J-20 at Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China, said in a China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion pro­gram about the ex­er­cises that the J-20 was de­signed to carry out strike op­er­a­tions to help ob­tain air com­bat su­pe­ri­or­ity.

The J-20, the first of China’s fifth-gen­er­a­tion com­bat air­craft, made its maiden flight in Jan­uary 2011 and was de­clas­si­fied in Novem­ber 2016. It started to be com­mis­sioned to the Air Force in 2017, be­com­ing the third stealth fighter jet to en­ter ser­vice, af­ter the United States’ F-22 Rap­tor and F-35 Light­ning II.

It has been sent to take part in a se­ries of com­bat ex­er­cises

Re­cent US rhetoric clearly shows an in­ter­est in forg­ing a strate­gic coali­tion with its al­lies and part­ners to pres­sure China on the South China Sea is­sue, Xia said. How­ever, not many na­tions, other than the United King­dom, France and Aus­tralia, have the naval ca­pa­bil­ity and po­lit­i­cal in­cen­tive to an­swer US call.

Li Haidong, a pro­fes­sor of US stud­ies at China For­eign Af­fairs Univer­sity, said in­creas­ing “free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion” pa­trols in the South China Sea will dis­turb re­gional a pi­lot tak­ing part in the and has prac­ticed be­yond-visual-range aerial fight­ing ma­neu­vers dur­ing the drills, ac­cord­ing to the Air Force.

The jet bears the im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­ity of clear­ing a path for other air­craft in an air bat­tle, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Hao, head of an Air Force flight-test­ing cen­ter that has de­ployed the jet.

The J-16 and J-10C are also among China’s lat­est com­bat air­craft and were de­vel­oped by Chi­nese de­sign­ers. They were de­liv­ered to the Air Force around 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Air Force. peace, in­crease the chance of ac­ci­dents and even con­fronta­tions in a re­gion that is other­wise be­com­ing more sta­ble and calm.

“The US is driv­ing a wedge be­tween China and other ASEAN coun­tries so that it can jus­tify its mil­i­tary pres­ence in the re­gion,” Li said. China will con­tinue to build nec­es­sary de­fense fa­cil­i­ties in the re­gion and in­crease di­a­logue to re­solve is­sues peace­fully by im­ple­ment­ing a code of con­duct with rel­e­vant na­tions, he added.

YANG JUN / XINHUA

A J-20 fighter joins a drill in this un­dated photo. The air­craft is work­ing with other jet types on joint at­tacks.

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