Harpia Publishing's Modern Chinese Warplanes (PLAN)

Author/Artists: Andreas Rupprecht


Harpia  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, softcover, full color images,
ISBN 978-0-9973092-5-6

For those who have not been paying much attention to the PRC, they have been undertaking an unprecedented military build up in the last decade or so. They have become a lot more militarily aggressive and their actions in the disputed areas of the South China Sea are a prime example of that.

In order to be able to maintain the sort of sea power projection that they wish, it was necessary to start putting a lot of their money into modernizing the Navy. This is particularly visible in the changes that have been undertaken with the PLAN (People's Liberation Army Navy). They have one functioning aircraft carrier which is being used to train naval aviators with another nearing completion. No longer are Naval airmen saddled with near obsolescent hand-me-downs from the Air Force, but are getting dedicated and modern types in all aspects of aviation. This includes fighters, recce planes, helicopters and other types. Units are being built up and the administration areas of the Navy are also being rapidly changed around to meet the perceived needs.

This book is another addition to the fine series of titles from Harpia on areas of aviation that are infrequently covered by most others. It concentrates on the PLAN so is one of the smaller volumes from this company. Simply combing ALL Chinese military aviation into one book would have been far too much so this route was taken.

Covered are a history and future of PLAN aviation, Aircraft markings, which includes their convoluted numbering system, the actual aircraft operated by the Navy, and a look at the various stores carried. It also looks at carrier aviation, training, and provides an order of battle. The Chinese Marines have a section as do various paramilitary assets (like the Coast Guard).

The book is superbly illustrated with excellent maps, charts, and full color photos as well as some well done color profiles. Needless to say, many of the photos are 'official Chinese defense department' items as one is not as free to photograph military planes as in other parts of the world. Still, the author has done a sterling job of letting us look at this branch of service, making it a book that I can quite easily recommend to those interested in modern military aviation. 

October 2018

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