Airshow China 2022: Pilots introduce significance of flight demonstration for real combat

China Military Online
Li Wei
2022-11-11 18:34:45
Four PLAAF J-20 fighter jets conduct flight demonstration at the 14th Airshow China on November 10. (Photo by Zhang Yongjin / Xinhua)

The 14th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2022) was held in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, from November 8 to 13. At the airshow, 50 types of weapons and equipment of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) have been displayed, and the flight demonstrations conducted by the J-20 and J-16 flight jets brought down the house, fully showing the ever-changing equipment development level of the PLAAF and its strategic ability to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests.

The J-20 and J-16 participating in the airshow are attached to a PLAAF flight training base. According to Wang Zhen, a pilot of the PLAAF J-20, most of the aerobatic maneuvers during the airshow demonstration are based on the requirements of real combat, and the routine exercise in daily military training. The pilots must be very familiar with the aircraft's performance, and have a clear sense of the surrounding environment, while fully capable of maneuvering the aircraft with full fighting spirit.

The J-20 aircraft features good stealth performance and high maneuverability. According to Wang Zhen, the four-aircraft diamond-shaped formation is mainly to test the pilots' capability of accurate maneuvering, observation and judgment. Given its new coating of stealth material as required, the J-20 features vague marking lines, which makes it difficult for the pilots to form an accurate judgment while flying in formation. The four aircraft have to be in close and tacit cooperation to achieve coordinated maneuvering in preset formation.

A PLAAF J-16 fighter jet performs flight demonstration at the 14th Airshow China on November 10. (Photo by Yu Hongchun/Xinhua)

The maiden flight demonstration of the J-16 in Zhuhai has won acclaim on the site by virtue of a series of difficult aerobatic maneuvers, such as sharp turn in low altitude at high speed, successive loops under continuous heavy load, and vertical pulling up.

"Today's performance is of great significance for actual combat," Zhang Yang, a J-16 pilot, said. "It is very difficult to make sharp turns during ascent and descent, but they are quite useful in actual-combat conditions. The heavy fighter jets need strong maneuverability to complete sharp turns during ascent and descent, and meanwhile, the pilots have to be capable of accurate visual judgment and excellent driving skills."

The fighter jet pilots should be equipped with not only first-class equipment, but also top-ranking flight skills and combat capability, Wang Zhen said. "The air combat situation is becoming more and more complex with ever-growing intensity and difficulty. We need to have the advanced operation skills and excellent tactical capabilities, besides the determination to fight and win."


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