Accession Number : AD1015147

Title :   Overview of People's Liberation Army Air Force Elite Pilots

Descriptive Note : Technical Report


Personal Author(s) : Chase,Michael S ; Allen,Kenneth W ; Purser,Benjamin III S

Full Text :

Report Date : 01 Jan 2016

Pagination or Media Count : 37

Abstract : This report draws on a wide variety of Chinese primary sources to provide an overview of how the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) selects and trains what it calls its elite fighter pilots. To date, the PLAAF has identified three groups of pilots as elite pilots. The first group comprises 33 pilots who have won the annual Golden Helmet competition at the Dingxin Test and Training Base in Gansu province since 2011; Chinese military media reports describe the Golden Helmet as the supreme contest among Chinese fighter pilots. The second group comprises pilots who belong to the PLAAFs Bayi (also called August 1st) Aerobatics), which was created in 1962 and has used the J-10 multirole aircraft since 2009. The third group comprises six Su-30 attack pilots, including one Golden Helmet winner, who competed in Russias Avodart's 2014 competition for the first time. While each of the three groups compete using existing flight procedures, the lessons learned are reviewed extensively for ways to change existing tactics and combat methods. For example, one of the most important lessons learned has been the PLAAFs desire to move toward less scripted training, which Chinese sources typically refer to as ziyou kongzhan and translates as unrestricted air combat or free air combat training. Additionally, official Chinese media reports on the PLAAFs Golden Helmet competition, its participation in the Russian Avodart's competition, and the Bayi Aerobatics Teams participation in air shows in Russia in 2013 and Malaysia in 2015 appear to reflect a desire on the part of the PLAAF to project a more open and confident image at home and abroad. Finally, in 2014, the PLAAF implemented a Golden Dart competition to identify elite ground attack and bomber crews.

Descriptors :   Military aircraft operations , fighter aircraft , flight crews , air forces (foreign) , pilots , military training , aerial warfare , military aviation , lessons learned

Subject Categories : Military Aircraft Operations
      Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE