China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force recently organized a cross-day-and-night, cross-regional maneuver exercise that saw multiple types of fighter jets flying across more than 5,000 kilometers in less than 20 hours, covering different terrains including plateaus and the sea, demonstrating not only the outstanding capabilities of the pilots and warplanes, but also the strong logistics support capabilities of all air bases involved. The exercise has demonstrated the outstanding skills of the pilots, who can operate from air bases in different terrains, altitudes, temperatures and weather conditions
Starting the drills, warplanes including the J-11B and the J-11BS attached to a brigade affiliated with the PLA Air Force took off from an air base in Central China and headed toward an unfamiliar region thousands of kilometers away. During the maneuver, the aircraft formation penetrated mock hostile aerial defenses, flew from the plains to the sea, and arrived at the designated air base overcoming fatigue from the extended flight. As night fell, the warplanes took off again and started another long-endurance flight and maneuver to another air base, the report said, noting that the whole cross-regional maneuver exercise lasted nearly 20 hours.
A distance of 5,000 kilometers means that, if flying in a straight line, a plane can travel across the entire country. The flight paths used in the drills were designed to be close to real combat, as different terrains were taken into consideration in defense penetration and air assault sessions, Gao Ruipeng, a staff officer at the brigade. The mock combat sessions were organized without the red and blue teams knowing each other’s plans, and this exercised the pilots’ air-to-ground combat and attack capabilities. China is a large country with all kinds of terrains, and fast-flying warplanes may travel across all those places in a short time.
The Shenyang J-11 (NATO reporting name Flanker-L) is a twin-engine jet fighter of the People’s Republic of China whose airframe is based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27. It is manufactured by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC). The aircraft is operated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF).The J-11B is a multirole variant of the J-11 incorporating Chinese subsystems. It was conceived as a way to remove the J-11’s dependency on Russia. The two-seater J-11BS followed two years after the J-11B. The J-11B was based on subsystems and parts designed in China.