The ranks in the People's Liberation Army Navy are similar to those of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force. The current system of officer ranks and insignia dates from 1988 and is a revision of the ranks and insignia used from 1955 to 1965. The rank of Hai Jun Yi Ji Shang Jiang (First Class Admiral) was never held and was abolished in 1994.
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The People's Liberation Army Air Force operates a large and varied fleet of some 3,010+ aircraft, of which around 2,100 are combat aircraft (fighter, attack and bombers). According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies , PLAAF combat pilots acquire an average of 100-150 flying hours per year. 
The PLA encompasses five main service branches: the Ground Force, the Navy, the Air Force, the Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force. Following the 200,000 troop reduction announced in 2003, the total strength of the PLA has been reduced from 2.5 million to just under 2.3 million.
The following list of active People's Liberation Army aircraft is a list of military aircraft currently in service with three branches of the People's Liberation Army.For retired aircraft, see list of historic aircraft of the People's Liberation Army Air Force
The PLA consists of five main branches: the PLA Ground Force, PLA Navy (PLAN), PLA Air Force (PLAAF), Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force), and the PLA Reserve Force. Military service is compulsory (required) of for all men and women who reach the age of 18.
The People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force is a branch of the People's Liberation Army Navy in China. It consists of all surface warships in operational service with the PLAN. It operates 661 ships. The ships are organized into three fleets: the North Sea Fleet, the East Sea Fleet, and the South Sea Fleet.
Current status The PLANAF has 25,000 personnel and roughly 800 aircraft under the navy's command. This is a considerably large naval aviation force considering the lack of aircraft carriers.
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Peacetime: 1. Sea patrols of territorial waters 2. Establish presence in disputed territorial waters and protect current interests 3. Anti-piracy, anti-smuggling, search and rescue 4. Maintain security of territorial waters 5. Active logistical support role of combatants and island garrisons 6. Maintain security of Sea Lines of Communications Wartime: 1. Littoral defense of local seas 2. Blockade or protection of vital ship routes and choke points (e.g. Taiwan strait) 3. Tactical transport, support, and amphibious operations of ground forces 4. Air defense 5. Anti-submarine operations 6. Engagement of enemy shipping 7. Active logistical support role of combatants and island garrisons
The PLAN traces its lineage to units of the Republic of China Navy who defected to the People's Liberation Army towards the end of the Chinese Civil War. In 1949, Mao Zedong asserted that "to oppose imperialist aggression, we must build a powerful navy." During the Landing Operation on Hainan Island, the communists used wooden junks fitted with mountain guns as both transport and warships against the Republic of China Navy. The Naval Academy was set up at Dalian on November 22, 1949, mostly with Soviet instructors. The navy was established in September 1950 by consolidating regional naval forces under General Staff Department command in Jiangyan, now in Taizhou, Jiangsu province. It then consisted of a motley collection of ships and boats acquired from the Kuomintang forces. The Naval Air Force was added two years later. By 1954 an estimated 2,500 Soviet naval advisers were in China—possibly one adviser to every thirty Chinese naval personnel—and the Soviet Union began providing mod...
Strategy, plans, priorities
The People's Liberation Army Navy has become more prominent in recent years owing to a change in Chinese strategic priorities. The new strategic threats include possible conflict with the United States and/or a resurgent Japan in areas such as the Taiwan Strait or the South China Sea. As part of its overall program of naval modernization, the PLAN has a long-term plan of developing a blue water navy.Current modernizations, however, represent a naval force that is best suited to cooperation ra...
2008 Anti-piracy operations
On 18 December 2008, Chinese authorities deployed People's Liberation Army Navy vessels to escort Chinese shipping in the Gulf of Aden. This deployment came after a series of attacks and attempted hijackings on Chinese vessels by Somali pirates. Reports suggest two destroyers (Luyang II-Class 171 Haikou and Luyang-Class 169 Wuhan) and a supply ship are the ones being used. This move was welcomed by the international community as the warships complement a multinational fleet already operating...
The PLAN initially utilized Soviet-based hardware as the backbone of their forces, with increasing domestic production over time. In the last several years, the PRC has made progress in modernizing its fleet with the purchase of Sovremenny class destroyers and Kilo class submarines, as well as producing sophisticated domestic designs such as the Lanzhou class destroyers and the Yuan class submarines. China's submarine fleet has also made advances. The Song and Yuan-class subs are quieter than their predecessors and the Kilo-class subs are equipped with two next-generation weapons: the Klub anti-ship cruise missile and the VA-111 Shkval torpedo. Some Chinese submarines, including the Kilo and Yuan, are also thought to have air-independent propulsion, which would allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than they could previously maintain. Chinese naval technology has improved, in part due to Russian assistance. Its latest destroyers use more local hardware of an impr...
The PLAN's ambitions include operating out to the first and second island chains, as far as the South Pacific near Australia, and spanning to the Aleutian islands, and operations extending to the Straits of Malacca near the Indian Ocean. Modernizing the fleet into a blue water navy will also provide better power projection in not only the region but globally in the 21st century. Chinese naval analysts also feel the need to develop a navy capable of countering force projection by the United States Navyor capable of handling a potential conflict with Taiwan. The future PLAN fleet will be composed of a balance of assets aimed at maximising the PLAN's fighting effectiveness. On the high end, there would be modern destroyers equipped with long range air defense missiles (Type 052B, Type 052C, Type 051C); destroyers armed with supersonic anti-ship missiles (Sovremenny class); advanced nuclear powered attack and ballistic missile submarines (Type 093, Type 094); advanced conventional attac...
This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.
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