Military modernization program sees mergers and restructuring
By Zhao Lei
The past 12 months have seen China make large strides toward reshaping the People's Liberation Army, strengthening its combat capability and modernizing its arsenal.
The PLA reorganized its group army-level units and cut the number of combined corps for the Ground Force from 18 to 13. It also shook up the military research system by merging some units and restructuring the three top institutes: the PLA Academy of Military Science; the PLA National Defense University; and the National University of Defense Technology.
In July, 12,000 troops and hundreds of large weapons and equipment, many of which had never been displayed in public before, participated in a grand parade, the first held at an exercise field in nearly four decades, to mark the 90th anniversary of the PLA's founding.
A number of advanced weapons were commissioned last year. The PLA Air Force began taking delivery of the J-20 stealth fighter jet, which military experts unanimously regard as one of the best combat aircraft in the world. The PLA Navy received dozens of new ships, including a Type-052D guided-missile destroyer and a Type-901 replenishment ship, the largest supply vessel in Asia.
It also launched China's first domestically designed aircraft carrier and one of the world's mightiest destroyers, both of which are expected to be commissioned in the coming years.