Logistics: China Learns To Generate Lots Of Sorties


January 29, 2010: As the Chinese Air Force puts an increasing number of modern combat aircraft into service, it has realized that it's logistical support services have to modernize as well. Logistics is essential if these modern aircraft (like the Su-30) can be kept in battle. To do that, these aircraft need large quantities of fuel, weapons, spare parts, and people who know how to get that stuff to where it is needed, and on time. The emphasis is on "generating sorties" (rearming and refueling modern fighters quickly so they can fly many more sorties per day).

Before modern aircraft, like the Su-27/30 began to arrive, China relied on a much larger number of older aircraft, that were not expected to fly as many sorties in a wartime situation. These aircraft, like the F-7 (a copy of the Russian MiG-21) was regarded more as a round of ammunition, to be "fired" (used) once in combat, and then written off as lost. But more modern aircraft are expected to survive more than a few sorties, and you can only fly those sorties if your logistical organization can keep the consumable items coming.

So the Chinese air force is sending more officers and troops to training courses on these matters, and holding more training exercises to see how well everyone has absorbed their lessons. While the troops seem to have learned well, they still don't have all the equipment they need to move and store all these additional supplies. Recent exercises have also shown deficiencies in equipment needed to repair bombed airfields, and get them back into action.


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