UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



There have been several changes in the Military Region Air Force (MRAF) Headquarters since 1949. Originally, there were six MRAF Headquarters (junqu kongjun) between October 1950 and May 1955. In May 1955, each Military Region was reapportioned and renamed, so the MRAFs followed suit by changing their names. For example, the Zhongnan MRAF in Wuhan moved to Guangzhou as the Guangzhou MRAF, while the Xinan MRAF in Chengdu moved to Wuhan to become the Wuhan. MRAF.


1950 MRAFs       1950 LOCATION  1955 MRAFs
Dongbei (Northeast) Beijing   Shenyang MRAF
Huabei (North China Beijing   Beijing MRAF
Huadong (East China Nanjing   Nanjing MRAF
Zhongnan (South Central)
Guangzhou MRAF
Xibei (Northwest) Lanzhou  Lanzhou MRAF
Xinan (Southwest)  Chengdu   Wuhan MRAF

In August 1958, the Fuzhou MRAF (junqu kongjun) was organized to command PLAAF units in Fujian and Jiangxi. The Kunming MRAF Command Post (Kunming junqu kongjun zhihuisuo/Kunzhi) and the Chengdu MRAF Command Post (Chengdu junqu kongjun zhihuisuo/Chengzhi) were created on 1 August 1960 and 20 October 1965, respectively. In December '1964, the 9th Air Corps (kong 9 jun) was established in Wulumuqi, but changed to the Xinjiang MRAF Command Post (junqu kongjun zhihuisuo) in November 1978. On 16 April 1979, it again changed its name to the Wulumuqi MRAF Command Post (junqu kongjun zhihuisuo). These three Command Posts all had Air Corps status, and were directly subordinate to HqAF. 

Prior to August 1985, there were 11 Military Regions (See Map). When the PLA reduced the number to seven in August 1985, the Chengdu MRAF Headquarters (junqu kongjun) was established, replacing the Chengdu MRAF Command Post. The Kunming MRAF Command Post never had the status of a full MRAF Headquarters. In addition, the Fuzhou MRAF and Wuhan MRAF were abolished. Today, the 8th Air Corps (kong 8 jun) is in Fuzhou and Wuhan is a Command Post (Wuhan zhihuisuolWuzhi).



Today, the seven MRAF Headquarters, in protocol older, are Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Jinan, and Chengdu (See Map). Each MRAF is usually referred to by a two character designator. For example, the Shenyang MRAF is referred to as Shenkong. A brief history of the seven MRAFs is shown below: 

- The Shenyang MRAF (Shenyang junqu kongjun/Shenkong) originated in 1950 as the Dongbei (Northeast) MRAF and became the Shenyang MRAF in May 1955. 

- The Beijing MRAF (Beijing junqu kongjun/Beikong) originated in 1950 as the Huabei (North China) MRAF and became the Beijing MRAF in May 1955. 

- The Lanzhou MRAF (Lanzhou junqu kongjun/Lankong) originated in 1950 as the Xibei (Northwest) MRAF and became the Lanzhou MRAF in May 1955. 

- The Nanjing MRAF (Nanjing junqu kongjun/Nankong) originated in 1950 as the Huadong (East China) MRAF and became the Nanjing MRAF in May 1955. 

- The Guangzhou MRAF (Guangzhou junqu kongjun/Guangkong) originated in 1950 as the Zhongnan (South Central) MRAF in Wuhan and moved to Guangzhou in May 1955 as the Guangzhou MRAF. 

- The Jinan MRAF (Jinan junqu kongjun/Jikong) originated in June 1967 by replacing the 6th Air Corps (Kong 6 Jun), which moved to Tangshan. The Jinan MRAF's mission was to provide unified command for PLAAF units in Shandong Province. 

- In 1950 the Xinan (Southwest) MRAF was established in Chengdu, but when the Military Region headquarters moved to Wuhan in May 1955 it became the Wuhan MRAF (Wuhan junqu kongjun/Wukong).The Chengdu MRAF Command Post (Chengdu junqu kongjun zhihuisuo/Chengzhi) was established on 20 October 1965 and became the Chengdu MRAF (Chengdu junqu kongjun/ Chengkong) on 15 August 1985. 


The command staff for an MRAF headquarters consisfs of the personnel shown below. Between 1987-1988, all of the MRAF commanders also became Military Region (MR) deputy commanders. In some cases, the deputy political commissar is also the director of the Political Department.

 - Commander - Political commissar = Deputy commander(s) - Deputy political commissar(s) - Chief of staff (Director, Headquarters Department) - Director, Political Department - Director, Logistics Department - Director, Aeronautical Engineering Department

 The MRAF's Party Standing Committee consists of the command staff, and the Party Committee consists of the Standing Committee plus the commander and political director of each subordinate unit. Except for the Nanjing, Jinan, and Chengdu MRAF Headquarters in 1990, the political commissar was the secretary of the Party Committee and Party Standing Committee. In these three exceptions, however, the commander was the secretary due to their experience. 

Following the re-institution of ranks in 1988, the rank structure for the MRAF Headquarters is as follows: 


Commander Lt Gen
Political commissar Lt Gen
Deputy commanders (2) Maj Gen
Deputy political commissar (1) Maj Gen
Chief of staff  Maj Gen
Deputy chiefs of staff (2) Maj Gen
Political Department director Maj Gen
Deputy director(s) Sr Col/Col
Logistics Department director Maj Gen
Deputy director(s) Sr Col/Col
Aero-Engineering Department director Maj Gen
Deputy director(s) Sr Col/Col

The command staff and senior personnel in each of the MRAF Headquarters administrative elements are equivalent to positions in the Army at the Military Region (da junqu), army (jun), division (shi), and regiment (tuan), and company (lian) level. The MRAF-Army position equivalents are shown below. Prior to the August 1985 Military Region reorganization, MRAF Headquarters were at the same level as a bingtuan. However, the 1985 reorganization abolished the bingtuan level. 

MRAF Hp Position                                                          Army-Equivalent Position

Commander                                                                   MR Deputy Commander

Political Commissar                                                        MR Deputy Commander

Deputy Commander                                                        Army Commander

Deputy Political Commissar                                             Army Commander

Chief of Staff                                                                Army Commander

Director, Political Dept                                                   Army Commander 


Each MRAF Headquarters is organized almost identically to HqAF, except that the second level departments and bureaus at HqAF are divisions (chu) at the MRAF, and the divisions become offices (ke) (Figure 1). Each of these organizations performs the same functions as its counterpart at HqAF. The following paragraphs provide the known administrative elements at the MRAF Headquarters, but almost all of the HqAF second level elements are probably represented. In addition, every MRAF Headquarters has various directly subordinate Leizal Advisory Divisions (falu guwen chu). These are fairly new elements  and are staffed primarily by personnel with training in the political system. For example, the Lanzhou MRAF Headquarters has a Legal Advisory Division in Xian that was established in 1989. Finally, each MRAF Headquarters has a Discipline Inspection Commission (jilu weiyuanhui/jiwei) that works closely with HqAF's Discipline Inspection Commission.







Within the MRAF Headquarters, the chief of staff is. the director and the deputy chiefs of staff are the deputy directors of the Headguarters Department (siling bu).

The Headquarters Department has various directly subordinate units (zhishu budui) such as a Combat Support Company (zhanqin lian), a vehicle company (qiche lian), and a weather support station (qixiang qinwu zhan). Figure 2 shows the second level divisions that have been noted at the MRAF Headquarters level, of which the four most important divisions are Operations, Military Affairs, Training, and Scientific Research.  

The General Office (bangongshi) has at least five subordinate offices as follows:

 - Documents Office (dangan ke)                                                                                                                                                          

 - Secretariat Office (mishu ke)

 - The Translation Office (fanyi shi) performs the same functions as the Foreign Affairs Division at HqAF.

 - The First Office (yi ke) is responsible for assisting the past and present military commanders and deputy commanders.

 - The Second Office (er ke) is responsible for assisting the past and present political commissars and deputy political commissars.

 Political Division (zhengzhi chu)

 The Operations Division (zuozhan chu) has about 40 personnel assigned. .

 Intelligence Division (aingbao chu)

 Scientific Research Division (keyan chu)

 Communications Division (tongxin chu)

 The Training Division (junxun chu) incorporates the responsibility for schools, so there is no Schools Division.

 Military Affairs Division (junwu chu)

 Equipment Division (zhuangbei chu)

 Radar Division (leida chu/leida bins chu)

 - Training Office (xunlian ke)

 The AAA/SAM Division (gaopao daodan chu) is also called the AAA Division (gaopao chu) in some MRAF Headquarters. It incorporates SAM operations and technical matters. It has at least two offices.

 - Plans Office (jihua ke)

 - Air Materiel Office (qicai ke)

 Administrative Division (guanli chu)

 The Air Traffic Control Division (hangxing chu) also has an Air Traffic Control Command Center (hangxing zhihui zhongxin) and an Air Traffic Control Dispatch Office (hangxing diaodu shi).

 Navigation Division (linghang chu)

 Weather Office (qixiang shi)

 Confidential Division (jiyao chu)

 There is a Command Post (zhihuisuo) which is best translated as an operations centers, at HqAF, each MRAF Hq, each Air Corps, each Command Post (zhihuisuo, such as the Dalian Command Post), and each operational SAM, AAA, aviation, and radar unit down to the regiment level. The operations center is separate from the administrative Operations Department. The people who man the command post include at least one representative from each of the second-level administrative departments within the four first-level departments.



 The subordinate elements that have been noted within the Political Department (zhengzhi bu) at the various MRAF Headquarters are listed below and in Figure 3.


The Secretariat Division (mishu chu) is the same as the General Office at HqAF. 

Organization Division(zuzhi chu) 

 Cadre/Personnel Division (ganbu chu). While there are separate sanitoriums (ganxiusuo) for each of the first level departments at HqAF, the Political Department's ganbu chu at the MRAF Headquarters is responsible for all sanitoriums at the MRAF level.            

 The Propaganda Division

(xuanchuan chu) is also responsible for cultural affairs. There is no Cultural Division. Some regiments have a Propaganda Branch (xuanchuan gu). 

Security Division (baowei chu)

 The Mass Works and Liaison Division (dunlian chu) combines the responsibilities of the HqAF's Mass Works Department and Liaison Department.

 Court (fayuan)






Similar to HqAF's Logistics Department, the MRAF's Logistics Department (houqin bud is organized more like a command than a department. For example, the Logistics Department has a chief of staff, and probably has a political commissar and deputy chiefs of staff as well. Each MRAF Logistics Department also has a Party Committee and Standing Committee. Because the various PLAAF Logistics Departments employ the largest number of personnel, they are sometimes not co-located with the other three first level departments. For example, the HqAF and Beijing MRAF Logistics Departments are not co-located in the HqAF and Beijing MRAF Headquarters compounds, but the Shenyang MRAF Logistics Department is located in the Shenyang MRAF Headquarters compound.


The MRAF Logistics Departments also have directly subordinate training regiments (zhishu xunlian tuan), fuel depot

regiments (youliao tuan), farms (nongchang), vehicle repair shops (cliche xiuli chang), and hospitals. The Nanjing MRAF has a Boat Group (chuanting dadui), which in turn has a Logistics Department (houqin bu). Figure 4 shows the divisions (chu) within the various MRAF Headquarters Logistics Departments that have been noted:                                                                                                                                                      


General Office (bangongshi)


Political Department (zhengzhi bu)


Security Office (baowei ke)


Finance Division (caiwu chu)


Quartermaster Division (iunxu chu)


Health Division (weisheng chu)


Armament Division (junxie chu)

                 - Plans and Finance Office (~iihua caiwu ke)

                 - Aviation Munitions Office (hangkong danyao ke)

                 - Avionics/Electronics Office (dianzi ke)

                 - Radar Office (leida ke)

                 - Surface-to-Air Missile Office (dikong daodan ke)

Transportation Division (yunshu chu)

Fuels Division (youliao chu)

Airfield and Barracks Management Division (jiying chu)

Air Materiel Division (hangcai chu) 


Figure 5 shows the divisions within the MRAF's Aeronautical Engineering Department (hangkong gongcheng bu) that have been noted:


The Repair Division (xiuli chu) is subordinate to the Field Maintenance Department at HqAF, and is responsible for intermediate level aviation repair/overhaul facilities (hangxiu chang/xiupei chang). There is at least one of these facilities per Military Region.

Factory Management Division(gongguan chu)                                                                                                                                                      

Procurement Division (dinghuo chu)                                                             











Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list