Warplanes: China Combat Pilot Training Upgraded

Archives

July 24, 2011: China is revising its combat pilot training program. The existing system takes ten years of academic and flight training. The new program cuts that to 5-7 years, while increasing flight hours by over 40 percent. This is more in line with Western methods, while the existing system owes more to the one the Russians developed during the Cold War. The new system puts more emphasis on trainee pilots demonstrating combat flying skills before they can graduate.

The new training program is actually an evolution of the need for new training methods to prepare pilots to handle the more modern aircraft. Training for pilots of these new fighters has been more intense than for any previous aircraft. In addition, China is also holding training exercises directed at fighting other modern fighters, like those flown by Taiwan, Japan and the United States. China is not keeping much of this secret, and that is apparently sending a message to potential foes.

In the last four years, China has more than doubled the number of modern combat aircraft (J-10, J-11, Su-27, Su-30 and J-8F) from 500 to over 1,200. Four years ago, China relied mainly on some 2,000 locally built copies of Russian MiG-19s (J-6) and MiG-21 (J-7). There are still several hundred bombers, mostly Russian knockoffs. Normally, the actual number of Chinese aircraft are state secrets. However, thanks to the ability of Chinese to move freely throughout the country, and access to the Internet, it's possible to locate and count all the air force units in the country. That shows a current force that is rapidly changing from one that is mostly MiG-21s and MiG-19s, to one composed of much more capable aircraft. China is buying and building a lot of the Russian Su-27s and Su-30s (the latter an upgrade of the former.) But new, home grown designs, like the J-20 are also showing up.

 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close