PLA Air Force's JL-10 trainer jet drops 500kg bombs in training exercise for the first time
Published: Apr 05, 2022 11:24 PM
A L-15, a Chinese supersonic training aircraft, rehearses on November 13, 2021 a demonstration flight ahead of the 2021 Dubai Airshow, which is scheduled to be held from November 14-18, 2021. The Dubai Airshow is a biennial international event aimed at business professionals and the wider industry. Photo: VCG

A L-15, a Chinese supersonic training aircraft, rehearses on November 13, 2021 a demonstration flight ahead of the 2021 Dubai Airshow. File Photo: VCG

The JL-10 advanced trainer jet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, known as the L-15 on its export version, for the first time dropped 500-kilogram aviation bombs at a PLA Air Force academy in a training exercise, displaying the PLA Air Force's training plan for cadets to master ground attack and bombing early in their training program and the aircraft's outstanding capabilities, analysts said on Tuesday.

In early spring, a brigade at the Shijiazhuang Flight Academy with the PLA Air Force selected a group of most skilled flight instructors and conducted a live-fire training exercise with two 500-kilogram aviation bombs on the JL-10 trainer jet, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Monday.

This was the first time the JL-10 aircraft has carried out such type of training mission since its commissioning into the PLA Air Force, the report said.

"We have never dropped a 500-kilogram bomb in previous training, so this is a first. I am very excited to complete this mission and we will practice whatever it is required on the battlefield," Li Liang, a flight instructor of the PLA Air Force brigade told CCTV.

The training will start with the flight instructors and the program aims to train cadets in combat skills as early as possible, CCTV quoted Li Huiling, deputy commander of the brigade.

The drills show that the PLA Air Force not only wants its cadets to learn how to fly an aircraft, but also master key tactical moves, including ground attack and bombing, and possibly air-to-air combat, a Chinese military expert who requested to remain anonymous told the Global Times on Tuesday.

When the cadets graduate and join formal missions with real fighter jets they will not need to learn from scratch, the expert said, noting that the exercise was made possible thanks to the JL-10's outstanding capabilities, as the supersonic jet can simulate a multirole fighter jet, including air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities.

The JL-10 is also available for export under the designation L-15 with world-class technical performance, Wang Ya'nan, Chief Editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times.

In addition to its training purposes, the L-15 can also carry weapons and serve as a light, multi-role combat aircraft, as it is equipped with a full set of advanced electronic systems and comes with a wide range of ammunitions, Wang said.