J-20 fighter pilot calls for improved military communications network development

Global Times
Li Jiayao
2023-03-10 08:43:00

Four J-20 fighter jets fly in formation at Airshow China 2022 on Friday to celebrate the 73rd birthday of the PLA Air Force. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

By Liu Xuanzun

Deputies to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) said at the ongoing two sessions that China should continue its military's digitalization, informatization and intelligentization, with one J-20 stealth fighter jet pilot suggesting the military communications network development be improved, and a JH-7 fighter bomber pilot calling for implementation of artificial intelligence technologies in missions.

NPC deputy Gao Zhongqiang, who has experience flying four types of warplanes including the J-20, put forward his motion to develop an improved military communications network that aims to win informationized wars, 81.cn, the news website of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), reported on Wednesday.

Over the past decade, he has flown increasingly advanced aircraft, and his colleagues have also become increasingly capable, and as a result, their systematic joint operational capabilities have increased, which have brought higher demands on the communications network that links all weaponry, said Gao, a winner of the Golden Helmet, the top award a PLA Air Force pilot could get.

Different armed services and branches should be integrated together into a system via a constantly improved communications network, Gao said.

As a pilot of the highly informationized J-20, Gao said he has become used to receiving a cloud map of vast data. "A pilot should jump out of his own perspective in aerial combat [...] and put himself in a system of joint operation, contributing more to winning as a whole," he said.

Zhang Xiao, another NPC deputy who is also a fighter jet pilot, proposed that artificial intelligence be integrated into command chains, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

The computer can sum up all situational information and assist military personnel in making more efficient and accurate decisions, said Zhang, who is among China's first group of female fighter jet pilots. She pilots the JH-7 fighter bomber and has carried out alert patrol missions over the East China Sea, according to CCTV.

Both Gao and Zhang are the PLA Air Force's top pilots, conducting missions on the frontiers of China's air defense with the country's main combat weaponry, and their motions to the NPC show that digitalization, informatization and intelligentization are major focuses in the modernization of the Chinese armed forces, a Beijing-based military expert told the Global Times on Thursday, requesting anonymity.

In future warfare, all weaponry will likely become interconnected through a fast, stable and efficient communications network, and all the vast data will likely be preprocessed, selected and highlighted by artificial intelligence before being presented to human operators, so the latter can make the best decisions for victory, the expert said.

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