PLA Chinese Army boosts air assault force

The air assault force is a new type of combat troop of the Chinese Army, Qian Xiaohu and Yang Yuanqing report. It emerged in the reform of China's national defense and armed forces several years ago, aiming to accelerate the PLA Army’s pace into an era of multi-dimensional warfare.

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Two soldiers post a security perimeter as their fellows board a Mi-17 helicopter during an air assault training exercise. A brigade with the PLA 13th Group Army conducted air assault training alongside an army aviation unit on March 18, 2016, to integrate operational coordination between the ground combat element and the army aviation element (Picture source:

During the past years, the aviation force of the PLA Army has paced up its integration with over ten branches of ground forces, including the infantry and the artillery forces, with the mode of "combined arms and multi-dimensional assault" being normalized in routine training. It was a rough road of exploration from organizational integration to operational integration. Pilots of the army aviation force came to the infantry’s training field to get familiar with the command and combat methods and tactics in ground attacks; while the detachments of ground forces conducted special training with emphases air assault. This has helped shorten the running-in period for integrated operations among the PLA Army’s air and ground troops.

A pilot of the army aviation force said: "The aircraft carrying infantrymen used to complete force projection by low-altitude hovering and fast-roping. This required long-range into the designated area and high accuracy control in flight. However, for now, the flight range and accuracy can be adjusted according to real-time battlefield needs, since the light and high maneuvering infantrymen onboard can overcome terrain obstacles on their own and win the battle by virtue of rapid maneuver."

At present, the Chinese PLA Army's air assault forces are giving full play to the combat potential of combat aircraft and personnel, stepping up the construction of an air-ground integration combat system, and promoting the development of a new-type of PLA Army featuring combat capabilities of full-spectrum maneuver, as well as multi-dimensional offense and defense.