MODERN CHINESE WARPLANES

Reviewed by: James Bosbotinis

This is a timely book, providing an up-to-date overview of the aircraft and units of China’s Naval Aviation. Modern Chinese Warplanes: Chinese Naval Aviation – Aircraft and Units is a thoroughly revised and updated follow-up to the 2012 Modern Chinese Warplanes: Combat Aircraft and Units of the Chinese Air Force and Naval Aviation (also by Andreas Rupprecht with Tom Cooper) and focused solely on naval aviation (a new edition dedicated to the Chinese Air Force is due out in the autumn of 2018). The author, Andreas Rupprecht, is a well-known and respected writer on Chinese military aviation developments having, in addition to the above-mentioned Modern Chinese Warplanes, also written Flashpoint China: Chinese Air Power and Regional Security and the chapter on Chinese carrier airpower for Harpia’s Carrier Aviation in the 21st Century.
The book is divided into nine chapters, covering ‘History and Future of the Chinese Naval Aviation’, ‘Naval Aviation Aircraft Markings – Serial Number System’, ‘Naval Aviation Aircraft, Helicopters and UAVs’, ‘Naval Aviation Ordnance and Stores’, ‘Naval Aviation Training Syllabus’, ‘Carrier Developments’, ‘Naval Aviation Order of Battle 2018’, ‘Marine Corps’, and ‘Paramilitary Assets’. An introduction, abbreviations and bibliography are also included. Although short – only 94 pages, the book provides a comprehensive and detailed coverage of the subject. The sub-section on ‘Special Mission Aircraft’ within the chapter on ‘Naval Aviation Aircraft, Helicopters and UAVs’ warrants particular mention, as does the sub-section within that chapter on unmanned air vehicles. The chapter on carrier developments likewise provides a concise summary of the current status of China’s carrier programme, whilst a brief review of the evolution of the Chinese Marines Corps provides valuable insight. Also notable is the final chapter on the paramilitary agencies, including the China Coast Guard and State Oceanic Administration. The chapter ‘Naval Aviation Order of Battle 2018’ is excellent, providing a detailed treatment of the history, operational structure, strategy, organisation and order of battle of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s Naval Aviation. Similarly, the chapter examining the training syllabus for naval aviators also deserves highlighting.
Modern Chinese Warplanes: Chinese Naval Aviation – Aircraft and Units is an excellent book. It is well-written (although there are a few minor errors, principally due to the author writing in a second language), features excellent photographs, maps, and tables, and is the product of extensive research. Moreover, the book provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis yet remains highly readable and accessible. The book will be of interest to those concerned with Chinese military developments, either professionally or academically, but will also appeal to the enthusiast. Modern Chinese Warplanes: Chinese Naval Aviation – Aircraft and Units would be a valuable addition to any bookshelf: it is highly recommended.