China purchased the unfinished ex-Soviet Navy aircraft carrier Varyag from Ukraine in 1998 and finally received the vessel in 2002. After some extensive refurbishments at the Dalian Shipyard in northern China, the vessel was commissioned into the PLA Navy in September 2012 as Liaoning, with hull number ‘16’ and the class name Type 001.
Kaiyangxing (pennant number 856), the PLA Navy’s new-generation electronic surveillance ship, was commissioned at Qingdao Naval Base on Tuesday, 10 January 2017. The ship joins the Combat Support Flotilla of the PLA Navy North Sea Fleet.
Currently the PLA operates two dedicated aerial refuelling tanker aircraft: the Xian HY-6 and the Ukrainian IL-78. The HY-6 represents the very first steps taken by China in developing the aerial refuelling capability for long-range power projection beyond its own territories. The acquisition of three ex-Ukrainian Air Force IL-78 tanker aircraft in 2014 represents another significant boost in the PLA’s ability to extend its operations in the East China Sea and South China Sea regions.
The DF-16 (Dong Feng-16; NATO reporting name: CSS-11) is a road-mobile, conventionally-armed, solid-fuelled short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) system developed and built by Sanjiang Space Group (Base 066, or the 9th Academy) of the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC). The missile has been in service with the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) since the early 2010s and was first unveiled to the public during the Victory Day military parade in Beijing on 15 September 2015.
The DF-11 (Dong Feng-11; export name: M-11; NATO reporting name: CSS-7) is a road-mobile, conventionally-armed, single-stage, solid-fuelled short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) system developed and built by Sanjiang Space Group (Base 066, or the 9th Academy) of the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC). The missile has been exported to Pakistan and produced locally as the Shaheen family of ballistic missiles. An improved variant designated DF-11A has been in service with the PLA since 1999.
The DF-15 (Dong Feng-15; export name: M-9; NATO reporting name: CSS-6) is a road-mobile, conventionally-armed, single-stage, solid-fuelled short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) system developed by Academy of Aerospace Solid Propulsion Technology (AASPT, or 4th Academy) of the China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation (CASC) consortium. The missile first entered PLA service in the late 1980s and played a key role during the 1995/96 Taiwan Strait Crisis.
The Shenyang J-8 is a single-seat, twin-engine interceptor fighter that first entered development in 1965, though the aircraft did not enter operational service until the early 1980s. Over the years, the aircraft continued to evolve with new sensors and weapons added to improve its capabilities. This process continued until the late 2000s, when it was finally succeeded by a new generation of fighter aircraft such as the J-10 and J-11.
The Chengdu J-20 is China’s first attempt to produce a 5th-generation stealth fighter that can match the likes of the U.S. Boeing F-22A Raptor and Russian Sukhoi PAK FA/T-50. The aircraft is currently undergoing operational trial and evaluation, and can enter operational service as early as 2017.
Following on from the earlier report that the PLA Second Artillery Corps has been elevated into a full service branch and renamed as the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF), Chinese state media confirmed today that at the same time the PLA also created a brand new branch known as the PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) on the last day of 2015.
On 31 December 2015, the People’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Corps (PLA SAC) was officially elevated in its status from a service arm (兵种) to a full service branch (军种), on par with the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Its name was also changed to the PLA Rocket Force (中国人民解放军火箭军).