Footage of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) jets flying in western China have caused Chinese military analysts to asses that the country is increasing its military presence near the border with India.
The country has overcome some technical hurdles to become a more effective mountain combat force. The jets conducted exercises to not only target dummy rivals, but also focused on acquiring useful and effective combat skills.
The China Morning Post reported that Xian JH-7 fighter-bombers, Chengdu J-10 multi-role fighters and J-11 air superiority fighters flew at high altitudes above snow-capped mountains, signaling that the aircraft were conducting exercises over southwestern China.
The engines in Chinese warplanes have been improved in terms of stability over complex geography, it also signaled that China has set up a highly specialized air wing in the country’s west.
The Hong-Kong based newspaper noted, that the successful flights show that the planes’ new Russian engines have helped overcome previous technical failures at high altitudes.
The third-generation J-10 and J-11 fleets have been modernized with Russia’s AL-31F aircraft engines to allow higher altitude flight.
In 2015, a J-10 aircraft lost engine power after cruising above the 3,000 meter altitude level, forcing the pilot to eject to safety.
According to Leung Kwok-leung, the Chinese jets’ ability to take off, fly and land at high altitudes over the Himalayan Mountains now makes India’s air force “less effective.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.