Chinese fighter jets hold cross-regional drills

Beijing: The Chinese Air Force recently organized a cross-regional manoeuvre exercise that saw several types of fighter jets flying across more than 5,000 kilometres in less than 20 hours, state media said.

This cross-day-and-night drill covered different terrains including plateaus and the sea, demonstrating strong logistics support capabilities of all air bases involved, state media outlet Global Times reported.

The aircraft formation flew from the plains to the sea, and arrived at the designated air base overcoming fatigue from the extended flight, the report added. We carried out this long-range flight not only throughout the day and night, but also took off and landed at many unfamiliar air bases.

We flew across a variety of terrains with a total range of more than 5,000 kilometers, as the pilots had to deal with not only weather changes as they flew across different regions, but also unexpected mock combat challenges along the way,” Guo Enyun, the commander of the brigade, said on CCTV. According to Chinese observers, a distance of 5,000 kilometres means that, if flying in a straight line, a plane can travel across the entire country.

The exercises lasted from the day to early morning as we went through terrains like plains, plateaus and the sea. This honed both our will and skill under realistic combat scenarios, Zhong Haifeng, a pilot at the brigade, was quoted in the report as saying. Gao Ruipeng, a staff officer at the brigade, said the flight paths used in the drills were designed to be close to real combat, as different terrains were taken into consideration in defence penetration and air assault sessions.

Gao added the mock combat sessions were organized without the red and blue teams knowing each other’s plans, and this exercised the pilots’ air-to-ground combat and attack capabilities. Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday, China is a large country with all kinds of terrains, and fast-flying warplanes may travel across all those places in a short time.

The exercise has demonstrated the outstanding skills of the pilots, who can operate from air bases in different terrains, altitudes, temperatures and weather conditions, which have a huge impact on how aircraft perform, Fu was quoted as saying by GT.