Accession Number:



China's Air Force Enters the 21st Century.

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



In light of the Gulf War, in which airpower played a more dominant, effective, and visible role than in past military conflicts, many nations in the world seem likely to increase their emphasis on airpower. To better understand the potential implications of such a shift in military strategy, Project AIR FORCE at RAND has launched a multiyear effort that addresses the emergent role of airpower. The analysis is divided into two main efforts. The first portion explores the probable future position of the United States in the global balance of airpower. The second portion of the research analyzes the air forces of various major powers to see how these nations and their air force leaderships think about the past, current, and future role of airpower in support of their national security objectives. This report, written in support of the second element of this research effort, provides an overview and assessment of Chinas large and diverse air arm-the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force PLAAF. Analysis of the PLAAF has traditionally focused on air order of battle enumerations and projections about equipment procurement. Until the past few years there were very few available primary source materials about the PLAAF. Virtually nothing was written in China to give the air force-or other Chinese military institutions-a detailed identity. As a result, only two books have been published in the West devoted to the PLAAF Bueschel, 1968 Allen, 1991. This study, which draws extensively upon newly disseminated Chinese-language sources, should help to fill this gap in our knowledge. KAR P. 4-5

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: