PLA Army's air defense force integrates into Air Force's chain of command
Source: China Military Online
Editor: Xu Yi
By Yang Jin and Yang Songsong
BEIJING, Apr. 27 -- Recently, according to Liang Chengming, an officer assigned to the air force under the PLA Western Theater Command (WTC), more than ten air defense units from the PLA Army have been integrated into the chain of command of the air force under the PLA WTC.
The Army's air defense troops are flexible in deployment and outstanding in terminal resistance, while the Air Force's ground-based air defense troops feature extensive firepower coverage and strong mid-to-high altitude defense capabilities. In the past, it's hard for the two different services of the PLA to form a united air defense network.
For some time, in order to improve the integrated joint operations capabilities, the air force under the PLA Western Theater Command organized its professionals from the air defense, radar and communications troops to work with the counterparts from the PLA Army to unify the information interfaces and formulate relevant standards, so as to get the two different services' chains of command connected. The joint training breeds a win-win situation. Li Bolin, commander of an Army artillery company, said, "Integrating into the Air Force's early warning network makes us see further and is of strong supportive value to early detection and early strikes." And Zhang Zu, commander of an Air Force's ground-to-air missile battalion, felt that the Army's radar serves helped to cover the blind areas of the Air Force's early warning network in air defense operations.
Besides, the preliminary formation of a joint air defense combat system has brought about a series of new changes. Li Ze, an Army radar technician, was thrilled to fight against more opponents compared with the past. He and his troops have carried out multiple air-to-ground force-on-force confrontations with fighter jets of different models within six months after getting integrated into the Air Force's training system. As a result, they have explored multiple sets of tactics in joint air defense operations, optimized the combat organization and tapped the potentials of equipment.
"From no integration to active integration and to inseparable integration, everyone has increasingly felt the power of joint operations and systematic training," said a chief of the air force base under the PLA WTC.
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