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PLA's combat command achieves historic leap

By Yan Guoyou and Zhang Li (China Military Online)

08:46, November 21, 2012

A mechanized infantry division under the Army of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) maneuvered long distance to participate in a drill commanded by an early-warning plane of an aviation division under the PLA Air Force in mid-November of 2012. In ordinary people's eyes, it is no more than a common scene of joint training of PLA troop units. In fact, however, it marks that China's independently-developed early-warning aircraft has formed early-warning and command capabilities, becoming an airborne command center for the three services of the PLA. The PLA's combat command has achieved a historic leap from two to three dimensions.

China began to develop her own early-warning airplane in as early as 1960s. China's independently-developed early-warning airplanes KJ-2000 and KJ-200 debuted at the 2009 National Day parade in Beijing to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"The significance of home-made early-warning aircraft lies in its role in systematic military operations," said a leader of the PLA Air Force.

Nowadays, China's early-warning aircraft is no longer a mere "flying radar station" carrying antennas but it can directly command and control air operation groups consisting of fighters, bombers and tank planes, and command and guide long-range ground forces of the army, becoming a real airborne command post that guides the three services of the PLA across the new threshold of systematic military operations.

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