China discloses how PLA troops are formed

Updated: 2013-04-16 10:52


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BEIJING - A white paper issued Tuesday discloses, for the first time, how the army, navy, air force and the second artillery corps of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) are formed.

According to the white paper on "the diversified employment of China's armed forces," the PLA Army mobile operational units include 18 combined corps, plus additional independent combined operational divisions (brigades), and have a total strength of 850,000.

The combined corps, composed of divisions and brigades, are respectively under the seven military area commands: Shenyang (16th, 39th and 40th Combined Corps), Beijing (27th, 38th and 65th Combined Corps), Lanzhou (21st and 47th Combined Corps), Jinan (20th, 26th and 54th Combined Corps), Nanjing (1st, 12th and 31st Combined Corps), Guangzhou (41st and 42nd Combined Corps) and Chengdu (13th and 14th Combined Corps).

The PLA Navy has a total strength of 235,000 officers and men, and commands three fleets, namely, the Beihai Fleet, the Donghai Fleet and the Nanhai Fleet, the white paper says.

Each Fleet has fleet aviation headquarters, support bases, flotillas and maritime garrison commands, as well as aviation divisions and marine brigades, it said.

In September 2012, China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning was commissioned into the Navy. China's development of an aircraft carrier has a profound impact on building a strong Navy and safeguarding maritime security, the white paper says.

The PLA Air Force now has a total strength of 398,000 officers and men, and an air command in each of the seven Military Area Commands of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, it says.

In addition, it commands one airborne corps. Under each air command are bases, aviation divisions (brigades), ground-to-air missile divisions (brigades), radar brigades and other units, it says.

The PLA Second Artillery Force has under its command missile bases, training bases, specialized support units, academies and research institutions, the white paper says.

It has a series of "Dong Feng" ballistic missiles and "Chang Jian" cruise missiles, it says.