BEIJING, Nov. 13 (ChinaMil) -- The Golden Helmet – 2017 assessment, the top air battle tactics competition among fighter jet pilots of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), concluded last Friday in northwest China.
The event lasted ten days with fierce competitions among 16 aviation brigades of the PLAAF. Six pilots from the air force units under the PLA Southern, Northern and Western Theater Commands won the Golden Helmet awards.
The Golden Helmet has the reputation of the highest honor for the PLAAF fighter pilots. The competition for the Golden Helmet tests pilots’ airmanship and tactics, and mirrors an air force’s overall fighting capability.
“Since the first Golden Helmet competition in 2011, there have been a total of 63 winners of Golden Helmet in the free-style competitions of wingmanship and air battle tactics in the past seven years," said Senior Colonel Sun Mingxing, head of the training division under the PLAAF Staff Headquarters, adding that the Golden Helmet has become a brand of combat-oriented military training of the air force, playing a leading role in elevating the troops' capability of winning in air battles.
Transformation from rules deciding tactics to rules respecting real battles
In 2011, PLAAF introduced in the first Golden Helmet competition the “free-style air combat” contest and canceled the horizontal flying maneuver height difference in the contest.
In 2015, confrontation between fighters of assorted models appeared in the group games of the competition, breaking the previous rule under which a group game only took place among homo-type fighters.
In the Golden Helmet competition in 2017, four-fighter short-distance air confrontation was added, and at the same time, plain language commands reduced and the role of the lead aircraft highlighted. For fighters of certain types, the restrictions on aircraft stores and interference were also canceled to minimize the gap between the games and an actual combat.
Transformation from studying competition rules to exploring winning ways
According to Colonel Li Ling, chief of staff of an air force aviation brigade under the PLA Northern Theater Command, topics of discussions among pilots participating in this year's competition have altered from “what tactics should be used ” to “why these tactics should be used” , and such discussions have become a routine in his brigade.
The aviation brigades of the PLAAF have attached more importance to conducting in-depth studies on battle theories and air combat tactics, Li added.
Transformation from valuing win-loss of an air battle to stressing supportive team work behind winners
The winners of this year's Golden Helmet came from two-vs-two engagements between fighters of same type or different types. "It is now impossible to grab the Golden Helmet with a killer skill, but team work is requisite," said Colonel Ji Houli, vice-chief of staff of an air force aviation brigade under the PLA Southern Theatre Command, who participated in this year's Golden Helmet competition.
The combat teams participating in the Golden Helmet competition all obtained strong "rear support" from the increasingly improved operational command information system, air combat post-assessment system and highly-effective equipment support mechanism.