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Modern Chinese Warplanes

Modern Chinese Warplanes Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review November 2012 Title Modern Chinese Warplanes
Author Andreas Rupprecht and Tom Cooper Publisher Harpia Publishing, LLC
Published 2012 ISBN 978-0-9854554-0-8
Format 256 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 35.95€


World headlines remain replete with references to China's energetic economy and political ascendancy.  And its mysterious, muscular military clearly enjoys the benefits of lavish research, development, technology and production spending.

Now Harpia Publishing strips the shroud of secrecy with an indispensable handbook on emergent Chinese air power.

Modern Chinese Warplanes sports 256 pages, hundreds of color photos and twelve maps.  After brief historical notes, contents course from indigenous aircraft designs and weapons through markings and serials to orders of battle.

Subtitled "Combat Aircraft and Units of the Chinese Air Force and Naval Aviation", coverage includes both the People's Liberation Army Air Force and the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force – the so-called "second Chinese Air Force".

Modelers and markings enthusiasts note!  This vital volume sports dozens of superb color profiles by coauthor Cooper.  Every major Chinese aircraft type – fighters, transports, trainers and helicopters – populate pages.  And order-of-battle summaries even include rare unit badges.

Rupprecht and Cooper unearth some real nuggets.  Notes on so-called "direct-reporting units", for instance, include images of the Soaring Dragon UAV – as well as modified Tupolev Tu-154M and Boeing 737-3Q8 jet transports for ELINT/SIGINT missions.  And those Shenyang J-6 UCAVs nearly gave me whiplash!

I frankly wished the authors broadened coverage to Chinese warplanes for export – like Chengdu's FC-1/JF-17 fighter and Nanchang's venerable A-5.  But readers can reference Harpia's excellent IRIAF 2010: The Modern Iranian Air Forceand African MiGs (vols 1 & 2) for select details of China's international aviation efforts.  Coverage of recent, multi-role designs like Guizhou's JL-9 and Hongdu's L-15 would have also enriched the account.

But I quibble.  Harpia has forged a radiant reputation with gems like this richly illustrated guide.  Modern Chinese Warplanes deserves a place on the shelves of Far East military scholars and enthusiasts.

Get this terrific tome.

With thanks to Harpia Publishing for the review copy.