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People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)


The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the People's Liberation Army, the armed forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLAAF was officially established on 11 November 1949. As of 2014, the PLAAF has a strength of around 398,000 personnel and is the largest air force in Asia.

The PLA's first organized air unit, was formed in July 1949 at Beijing Nanyuan Airport. It consisted of six P-51s, two Mosquitoes, and two PT-19s. On 25 October 1949, Liu Yalou was appointed as the chief of air force in the People's Liberation Army. By 11 November, the air force command was officially formed from the headquarters of Liu Yalou's 14th bingtuan (which Witson translates as "Army"). Much Soviet assistance was received to help the process along.

The PLAAF fought the Korean War in Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15s, known as the J-2 in Chinese service, with training from Soviet instructors. The war also brought Soviet assistance for the indigenous aircraft industry. The Shenyang Aircraft Corporation built the two-seat MiG-15UTI trainer as the JJ-2, and during the war manufactured various components to maintain the Soviet-built fighters. By 1956 the People's Republic was assembling copies of MiG-15s and eight years later was producing both the Shenyang J-5 (MiG-17) and the Shenyang J-6 (MiG-19) under license.




Founded November 11, 1949; 69 years ago

Country  People's Republic of China

Allegiance Communist Party of China


Type Air force

Role Aerial warfare

Size 398,000 active personnel

Approx. 2,755 to 3,010+ aircraft
Shenyang FC-31 Gyrfalcon 5th Stealth


Attack Xian JH-7

Bomber JH-7, H-6

Electronic warfare KJ-200, KJ-500, KJ-2000, TU-154

Fighter Chengdu J-7, Shenyang J-8, Chengdu J-10, Shenyang J-11, Shenyang J-16, Chengdu J-20, Su-27, Su-30MKK, Su-35S

Helicopter Harbin Z-8, Harbin Z-9

Interceptor Shenyang J-8

Trainer Hongdu L-15, Hongdu JL-8, JL-9

Transport Xian Y-20, Shaanxi Y-9,

Shaanxi Y-8, MA-60, Il-76

Tanker H-6U, Il-78


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