China Upping its Game

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force and naval aviation is upping its game in most areas: improving training, developing world-class gear, and fielding a lot of it, according to the Air Force’s top China airpower watcher. Lee Fuell, with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, told the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission Thursday that China’s airpower is progressing “at a steady pace,” although it doesn’t seek to match the US “system for system.” Instead, it’s taking an asymmetric approach, looking to exploit “what they perceive to be adversary weaknesses or…vulnerabilities.” Fuell said China is still lagging in aerial refueling, and so can only intermittently patrol its new Air Defense Identification Zone. However, it has “generally excellent and dense ground-based radar coverage” to monitor the ADIZ and is “quite capable of scrambling fighter aircraft quickly.” (Fuell testimony)