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China's economic development has been matched by rising political ambitions and the aim of returning the country to a central role in regional and global affairs. It is therefore considered vital for China to demonstrate military presence in its area of influence. Within the past decade, China's military has undergone some of the most profound reforms and improvements since its establishment. The Chinese navy and its naval air arm are playing an increasingly important role in achieving these goals. A 2016 'white paper' called for a greater focus on the seas and clearly stated the requirement for China to establish itself as a major maritime power. Consequently, the navy is shifting its focus from defense of offshore waters to 'protection of the open seas'. The changes for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) - and its aviation component - will probably be even more dramatic than those for the air force. As the PLAN creates a modern, capable 'blue water' force, its air arm will steadily increase its capabilities by introducing more modern multi-role systems and through the establishment of an indigenous carrier force. From the author of the highly acclaimed Modern Chinese Warplanes and Flashpoint China books, this uniquely compact yet comprehensive directory provides an extensively illustrated, in-depth analysis of modern Chinese naval air power. It is organized in four parts: -The most important military aircraft and their weapons found in People's Liberation Naval Air Force service today. -Aircraft markings and serial number systems. -Recent modernization efforts and structural reforms. -Orders of battle for the PLANAF.
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