mandag 4. oktober 2021

Right Thinking and Self-Criticisms: Military Modernization With Chinese Communist Characteristics

In mid-August the Chinese air force, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), conducted the 10th iteration of Golden Helmet, its annual air combat competition for the PLAAF’s best fighter pilots. This year the PLAAF instituted more changes to make the competition more realistic. However, the PLAAF seems to have also used Golden Helmet 2021 to test various methods of instilling greater élan or “fighting spirit” into its fighter pilots. Such efforts are of dubious value, but they underline the fact that no matter how technically proficient the PLAAF and the Chinese military as a whole become, these forces will remain encumbered by the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to mold the thoughts and feelings of their warriors.

Golden Helmet has evolved throughout the last decade, expanding and becoming more realistic. It began as a simple one-on-one air combat competition, but in 2014 a two-on-two dog-fighting event was added, and by this year even four-on-two dogfights were being held.