The Chinese Air Force just released a video of its newest and deadliest war planes — here’s what they bring to a fight

A People's Liberation Army Air Force officer looks on as Jian-10 fighter jets wait to take off

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A People’s Liberation Army Air Force officer looks on as Jian-10 fighter jets wait to take off
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REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

  • China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has released a new promotional video showing its elite air assets in action, particularly some of the newer units like the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter, the Shenyang J-16 multirole fighter, and the Chengdu J-10C lightweight multirole fighter.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force has released a new video showcasing its deadliest air assets, including some newer aircraft developed as part of China’s extensive military modernization.

The nearly three-minute video is a compilation of footage from Chinese training exercises emphasizing preparation for a new era of warfare. The promotional video, titled “Safeguarding the New Era,” highlights some of the PLAAF’s newest war planes and was aired for the first time Tuesday at the air force’s Aviation Open Day in Jilin province in northeastern China.

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Commenting on the new Chinese promotional video for the PLAAF, the state-run Xinhua News Agency explained that in recent years, the air force “has been patrolling the East China Sea, the South China Sea, the Western Pacific, and islands, faithfully completing missions and tasks, and writing a new answer for a new era” of training. The Chinese media outlet added that China is moving forward in its efforts to modernize its military to safeguard national sovereignty and security.

Some of the newer platforms highlighted in the video include the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter, Shenyang J-16 multirole strike fighter, and Chengdu J-10C lightweight multirole fighter.

These three advanced Chinese fighter jets participated in a joint combat training exercise focusing on penetrating air defense systems in June. “The combination will serve as an important aerial deterrent against external forces,” Chinese military expert Song Zhongping told the state-affiliated Global Times, further commenting that the J-20 can destroy hostile air defense systems while the J-10C dominates the skies and the J-16 engages enemy ground targets.

Both the J-20 and J-10C are armed with a variety of short and long-range air-to-air missiles, while the J-16 is equipped with a collection of air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and guided bombs and rockets.

While China’s growing aerial power rivals those of some its neighbors, the PLAAF still falls short of the US Air Force.

The Department of Defense’s annual report to Congress on Chinese military power notes that “China is having difficulty with the engines and radars for” its J-20 stealth fighters, which are critical to China’s development of a true fifth-generation fighter. The report said that the fourth-generation J-16s and J-10Cs are “advanced” and are “armed with the latest weapons.”

The video also featured footage of Chinese H-6K bombers, tanker aircraft, and airborne early warning and control aircraft.

The Pentagon explained in its latest report that the Chinese air force is the largest air force in its region and the third largest overall, adding that the PLAAF is striving to become a “strategic” force capable of long-range power projection, something evidenced by China’s more frequent bomber operations in flashpoint areas around the region.