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Chinese Air Force conducts comprehensive support drill

By Huang Shubo and Yu Lei (China Military Online)

08:39, December 10, 2012

The Air Force of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) recently conducted a comprehensive support drill for multi-types of aircraft on double-runway under information conditions at an airport in southwest China. Nearly 100 fighters of over 10 different types open the curtain of the base-oriented transformation of the combat support mode of the PLA Air Force.

According to Zhan Houshun, chief commanding officer of the drill and deputy commander of the air force under the Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) of the PLA, there was only one runway for taking-off and landing at the airports of the PLA Air Force in the past, which could only support relatively a few types of aircraft to simultaneously implement the combat and training missions. But the airports with two runways for aircraft to take off and land at the same time can not only simultaneously support the flight of various types of active fighters, but also be used for the taking-off and landing of all types of domestic civil airplanes, Zhan Houshun added.

The reporters saw on the drill site that the aircraft took off and landed on the double-runway for 12 sorties within 10 minutes. At the same time, more than 200 support vehicles of various types and hundreds of officers and men were making preparation before aircraft's taking-off and carrying out maintenance after aircraft's landing for various types of aircraft on the parking aprons on the east and west sides of the airport.

After the drill, Zhang Jian, commanding officers of the main control tower of the east runway of the airport, said that "The aircraft throughput per hour for the first drill was one third more than that at the airport in the past, and the peak throughput was even doubled, exceeding the aircraft throughput per hour at the civil airport with the same size, which was beyond the imagination of an old pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience like me."

Zhang Feiran, director of the Military Material and Fuel Supply Section of the Logistics Department of the air force under the Chengdu MAC, said the fuel consumption in the 5-odd-hour-long drill was four times the daily consumption of the airport in the past. To meet fuel demands, a fuel supply center and a set of straight-line pressure-refueling system were installed on each runway.

According to Zhang Hong, chief of an air station who participated in the drill, support for double-runway doubled their workload while the number of supporting personnel and equipment did not change, which obliged them to improve the supporting process, optimize the supporting methods and enhance the supporting personnel's capability of "one-post with multi skills".

According to Fang Dianrong, commander of the air force under the Chengdu MAC, the goal of the drill is to explore the new mode for base construction, operation and management of multi-type-aircraft comprehensive support.

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