China’s Shrinking Air Force

David Axe in the Diplomat reported on China’s shrinking air force after examining data put out by Flight International showing 800 fewer jet fighters in the PLA inventory compared to a year ago. China’s air force shows a reduction from around 3,400 combat aircraft to just under 2,600. According to the Flight Global report, the reduction reflects improved data which saw 850 obsolete Harbin H-5 and Nanchang Q-5 combat aircraft taken out of inventory.

The H-5 and Q-5 date from the mid-1960s. It’s unclear exactly when the PLA retired the two models.

A link to Flight Global’s report can be found at:

Flight Global World Air Forces 2011-12

Also see:

World Air Forces Directory Introduction 2011-12

Diplomat 02JAN12


One thought on “China’s Shrinking Air Force

  1. Numbers are always quite deceiving. Definitely so in this case. The nation with the biggest battalions….or in this case, the biggest fighter wings….does not always win the war. The PLAF is trimming the fat and focusing it’s resources on maintaining and upgrading it’s more modern aircraft. Q-5 Fantans would be nothing but AMRAAM fodder in an future war.

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