According to a special report --"World Air Force 2014" - China has overtaken Russia in terms of its combat aircraft numbers, and for the first time ranks in second place worldwide.
Flight Global, a British aerospace weekly magazine released the free report on its website in early January this year.
Du Wenlong, a researcher from the Military Academy, said that the report equates number of fighters with air combat strength, which is imprecise and indicates a hidden agenda.
"China’s growing capabilities have also been demonstrated through the flight debut of its Xian Y-20 strategic transport, and by a broadened range of aircraft carrier-based flight trials with its Shenyang J-15 fighter taking off from the Liaoning." finds the report.
The report notes that China is the country with the world’s fastest growing air force, including the country’s third generation combat aircraft fighter and special military aircraft.
Du pointed out that the report lacks reliability due to the complexity of data sources, and that the accuracy of the data provided has not been verified.
According to the report, the Chinese military currently has 1453 aircraft in service. The number is slightly higher than that of Russia. Du Wenlong pointed out that in this year's report only the number of fighter aircraft was used as the criteria to assess a nation's air force.
Du explains that there are several methods or criteria for determining the ranking of combat aircraft, and that the raw number is the easiest way, but is not scientific. As an international scientific journal, Flight International should not rely on such imprecise data. Du suggests that there are ulterior motives behind the ranking, aimed at attracting attention by promoting the theory of the "China threat."