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Chinese Air Power: Current Organisation and Aircraft of all Chinese Air Forces

Chinese Air Power: Current Organisation and Aircraft of all Chinese Air Forces Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review January 2013 Title Chinese Air Power
Author Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Midland Publishing
Published 2012 ISBN 9781857803211
Format 400 pages, hardbound MSRP (GBP) £50.00 (US$79.95)


Our cups really runneth over.  English-language historians and enthusiasts have recently enjoyed a surfeit of superb studies on the Chinese military.

And Chinese Air Power: Current Organisation and Aircraft of all Chinese Air Forces from MIDLAND – an imprint of Ian Allan Publishing – ranks among the finest available.

Authors Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov require no introduction.  Few have so illumined the backwaters of aviation history for English-speaking enthusiasts.  And their absorbing account doesn't disappoint.

After introductory chapters on air orders of battle and aircraft types, coverage pinpoints aircraft in current PLAAF service – fighters, bombers, transports, helicopters and UAVs.  Included, too, are all Chinese airborne weapons – missiles and bombs.  Accompanying charts detail tactical codes, versions, construction numbers, units, and detail notes and comments.

Type-by-type, region-by-region and unit-by-unit, the authors shoehorn amazing amounts of detail into their narrative.  Each base or airport, for instance, includes exact geographic coordinates, runway notes and facilities descriptions.

A complete summary of Chinese naval aviation – including PLANAF units, bases, aircraft types, roles, serials and aircraft-capable warships – follows.  Text next turns to Army Aviation Corps assets.  Subsequent sections detail PLAAF training efforts and test centers.  And further notes cover Chinese Police wings.  Final parts preview "prospects" – intriguing projects in development, including stealth aircraft, hypersonic vehicles and planned acquisitions.

An astonishing number of color photos and illustrations spice this sumptuous study.  The lavishly adorned volume includes dozens of superb aircraft profiles by Andrey Yurgenson.  And heraldry enthusiasts will certainly luxuriate in dozens more examples of badges, uniforms and unit insignia.

Minor gremlins occasionally haunt this excellent effort.  Typos mar captions on page 31 and 313.  And I really wish this brilliant book included indices!

But I nitpick.  Chinese Air Power is simply superb.  And it deserves a spot in the libraries of Far East military scholars and enthusiasts.

Get this brilliant book.

With thanks to Ian Allan for the review copy:

Ian Allan Publishing Ltd
Terminal House
TW17 8AS