Bomber Strike Packages with Chinese Characteristics

Published in: The PLA Beyond Borders: Chinese Military Operations in Regional and Global Context, Chapter 8, pages 199–234 (2021)

Posted on on June 10, 2021

by Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This book chapter traces the development of China's bomber strike packages and assesses how these flights support operational training for Chinese air force wartime missions. The first section provides an overview of the role of bombers in broader PLA campaign planning. The second section argues that domestic flights, mainly overland, between 2009 and 2013 laid the foundation for later flights past the First Island Chain. The third section describes overwater flights since 2015 and frames them as an important step in realizing the PLAAF's dream of becoming a "Strategic Air Force." The fourth section examines the training value of these missions, focusing on their real-world targets.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.