The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) aviation arm is gravitating towards becoming a ship-based force, according to information posted on an official military news website of the Chinese Armed Forces.
It said that in a recently concluded forum held in Qingdao, Shandong Province, it was learnt that the PLAN’s aviation arm has essentially completed its transformation from a shore-based force to a ship-based force.
It went on to say that Chinese naval aviation now comprises of four types of aircraft cleared for shipborne operations - namely, ship-based fighter jets, helicopters, early warning aircraft and trainer aircraft. At present the PLAN has a parallel dual-track training model for carrier-based fighter pilots, which is underway in full swing, the website claimed.
The PLAN has built a new cadre of carrier-based pilots and commanding officers to meet its naval aviation needs.
It also said that the PLAN had built 14 youth aviation schools in cooperation with some of China’s top high schools, which have emerged as the main source of recruitment of pilots for the PLAN’s aviation arm.
The PLAN's naval aviation arm was formally established in September 1952.