China's Air Force: The Long March to Modernization
Jan 1, 1995
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The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) does not constitute a credible offensive threat against the United States or its Asian allies today, and this situation will not change dramatically over the coming decade. If anything, its overall capabilities relative to most of its potential rivals will diminish over the next ten years. These circumstances are a product of constrained strategic thinking in China about the role of airpower, the lack of funds needed for a comprehensive modernization program, logistics and maintenance problems, the limited training available to its pilots, and the absence of a capability to develop and manufacture advanced airpower weapon systems. Although some modern aircraft will be introduced into the PLAAF inventory during the next ten years, the rate and scale of these acquisitions will remain incremental and demonstrably insufficient to redefine the regional airpower balance.
The People's Liberation Army: Institutional Development and Defense Strategy
The PLAAF's Formative Years: 1924-1960
"Living in Interesting Times": The PLAAF in the 1960s
The Reform Process Begins
The PLAAF's Search for Airpower Strategy: Toward the 21st Century
PLAAF Education and Training
PLAAF Force Structure Trends
Conclusions and Implications
The Structure of the PLA, PLAAF, and Naval Aviation
The PLAAF Budget
The Political Commissar System
The PLAAF Rank System
Aircraft Procurement Programs
Fighter Aircraft Projection
Indigenous SAM Systems
"This book provides excellent chapters on the history of the PLAAF and evaluations of individual aircraft… This volume is the best military and industrial investigation of Chinese airpower since Richard Bueschel's Communist Chinese Air Power in 1968."
- Foreign Service Journal
"This informative volume sheds light not only on the People's Liberation Army Air Force, but also on the Chinese military more broadly."
- Foreign Affairs
The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.
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