The PLA Air Force has started retiring its fleet of old J-7 fighter jets and replacing them with
more advanced, next-generation aircraft, according to Global Defense Analysis.
The J-7 fighter jet from an aviation brigade affiliated with the PLA Western Theater Command
Air Force. The jets recently used in the series of combat-oriented exercises, and these
exercises were the curtain call performance of the J-7s in this brigade, as the unit will receive
new aircraft soon. China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
PLA Air Force is now inducting third-generation fighter jets in large numbers to replace its old
J-7s. The new aircraft include the J-10, J-11, and J-16, with fourth-generation fighter jets the
J-20 also entering service. According to Global Times, it was only a matter of time before the
outdated J-7 retired.
The exercise conducted by the PLA Air Force includes the JJ-7 trainer version of J-7 aircraft
that played the role of enemy jet and two J-7s are dispatched to intercept it. The report said.
J-7 fighter jet:
The J-7 aircraft is the second generation jet acting as the main force in the PLA and is the most
experienced fighter jet in the Air Force fleet that is currently in service.
The Chengdu J-7 aircraft (NATO reporting name Fish can) is based on Soviet-era MiG-21
aircraft. The aircraft can carry short-range, infrared homing air-to-air missiles that are effective in
short-range air-to-air combat.
The J-7 aircraft has a service ceiling of more than 20,000 meters. It can move with the top
speed of around Mach-2 making it the fastest and high-reaching fighter jet in the PLA Air Force
from the 1960s to 1990s. CCTV said in a report.
The J-7 aircraft can integrate with the next-generation fighter jets and early warning aircraft to
play distinctive roles in combat. Still, the pilots trained on J-7 fighter jets can fly more advanced
According to Wei Dongxu, a Chinese military expert, the J-7 is a classic second-generation
fighter aircraft that remarkably contributed to safeguarding China’s airspace.
Wei said the PLA ran many modifications and upgrades on the fighter aircraft, gaining a lot of
experience and utilizing that experience to develop variations like the JL-9 trainer jet.
Now the J-7 fighters are getting old and more advanced jets like third-generation J-10 perform
better in both land attack and aerial combat, as their radar capability and maneuverability is
superior to J-7 on all fronts. We added.
According to military analysts, the People Liberation Army has accelerated the modernization
plan of upgrading and inducting new weapons and equipment into its inventory. China has also
announced an increase in the defense budget by 6.8 percent in 2021. Replacing the old J-7
fighter jets with the new-generation aircraft is the perfect example of the PLA’s modernization
Modernization in the Chinese military:
China with its economy flourishing is now focusing on modernizing its military to match its
adversaries’ technological advancements in future combats.
In the modernization plans, the Chinese Navy is commissioning new corvettes. Recently PLA
The Navy has commissioned Type 056A corvettes for coastal defense. According to reports, the
The Navy could focus on producing more larger ships as a part of the country’s aim to build a
Due to the South China Sea dispute, the Chinese Navy is especially focusing on making its
Navy stronger by inducting new warships and aircraft carriers. To operate in deep waters in the
South China Sea, China will likely build larger ships which include Type 054A frigates, Type
052D destroyer, Type 055D large destroyer as well as Type 075 amphibious assault ships.
With the modernization aim, the PLA Air Force is also actively developing the most modern
fighter jets of fifth-generation. PLA Air Force is currently operating the J-20 Mighty Dragon
fifth-generation, stealth aircraft, the most advanced aircraft in its fleet. The Air Force is also
working on the new Shenyang FC-31 aircraft. It is also a fifth-generation jet developed by
another Chinese aircraft manufacturer the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation.
China also partnered with Pakistan to develop the new aircraft platform. They co-developed the
JF-17 Thunder aircraft. The aircraft is currently in service with the Pakistan Air Force and is the
main fighter jet of PAF. With the increase in demand from PAF, China has increased the JF-17
production in 2020. Pakistan is also manufacturing the complete aircraft under transfer of
technology from China.
China is also Strengthening its strategic arsenal defense. In recent times, the Chinese military
has announced the completion of an underground great steel wall. The term underground great
steel wall refers to the network of underground tunnel systems built by PLA to secure its nuclear
weapons and to gain the secure 2nd strike capability. Actually, it is a network of underground
tunnels of more than 3000 miles.