The Human and Organizational Dimensions of the PLA’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems

Publication: China Brief Volume: 16 Issue: 8

China's military drone programs have seen fast advancements, but human capital may be a bottleneck to UAVs becoming a truly powerful part of the PLA.
PLA theorists see unmanned operations (无人作战) as integral elements of future warfare. For instance, in a January 2016 article, Xiao Tianliang, editor of the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University’ 2015 edition of The Science of Military Strategy, alluded to “unmanned systems autonomous operations” (无人系统独立作战) and “unmanned systems and manned systems joint operations” (无人系统与有人系统联合作战) as likely to have a “huge impact” on traditional operational models (PLA Daily, January 5). As such, China’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and in particular, the organizations, as well as educational and training programs, established to support these systems are worthy of attention.

The PLA’s “Golden Launcher” of Military UAVs

When Xi Jinping met the PLA’s delegation to the National People’s Congress in March 2016, one of the military personnel who received particular notice was Master Sergeant Class One (一级军士长) Ju Xiaocheng (巨孝成), the director of a UAV launch site subordinate to the Army Artillery Academy (炮兵学院无人机发射站站长), which was renamed the Army Officer Academy (陆军军官学院) in 2011, in Hefei, Anhui Province (Baike, [Accessed May 7]). Based on his record of a 100 percent success rate in UAV launches, Ju has been praised as the PLA’s “golden launcher” of military-use UAVs (军用无人机“金牌发射手”) (China Military Online, March 14; China Military Online, March 15).

At the time, Xi declared to Ju, “UAVs are important operational forces for the modern battlefield. You must carry out your duties well and cultivate qualified personnel” (China Military Online, March 14). The career trajectory of this UAV team’s technician (无人机队技师), who has personally trained the majority (as of 2009, approximately 80 percent) of the entire PLA’s UAV specialty cadre (无人机专业干部), offers an interesting illustration of the process through which the PLA has developed these personnel thus far (Xinhua, May 26, 2009; PLA Daily, April 4).

Understanding the Human and Organizational Component

Although the media and analysts have focused primarily on the technical aspects of the PLA’s various UAVs, there has been less extensive analysis of the human and organizational dimensions thus far. [1] Therefore, this initial attempt to assess the education and training for the PLA’s UAV operators and maintainers, as well as how UAVs are organized within the order of battle, seeks to contribute to analysis of the PLA’s actual operational capability with these systems. While the information available is limited, it is notable that the PLA appears to have progressed substantively in its institutionalization of education and training programs, as well as a career track for UAV officer and enlisted operators. Thus far, UAVs seem to have been deployed across all four services of the PLA at multiple levels and are also likely assigned to units under the Joint Staff Department (former General Staff Department) and, perhaps (though not confirmed), the newly-created Strategic Support Force. Despite continued challenges, the PLA remains focused on enhancing its UAV forces’ operational capabilities, while engaging in more sophisticated training exercises with unmanned systems.

The PLA’s History with UAVs

A review of the PLA’s history with UAVs is helpful to contextualize its recent advances. After the PLA acquired its first unmanned systems from the USSR (Lavochkin 拉-17, La-17) UAV, the PLA Air Force decided to develop its own indigenous unmanned systems after the withdrawal of Soviet aid (China Youth Daily, January 23, 2015). This resulted in the development of the PLA’s first supposedly indigenous UAV, the ChangKong-1 (“Vast Sky,”长空一号, CK-1) UAV, a radio-controlled target drone, based on a reverse-engineering of the La-17, which was first successfully tested in December 1966 (China Youth Daily, January 23, 2015). In the 1960s, the PLA also recovered a U.S. AQM-34 Firebee UAV in North Vietnam and reverse engineered it to create the Wu Zhen-5 (无侦-5, WZ-5), also known as the Chang Hong-1 (“Long Rainbow,” 长虹). [2] By the 1980s, China had introduced the Cai Hong-1 (“Rainbow,” 彩虹一号, CH-1), a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV. In 1994, China imported a number of Israel’s Harpy UAVs, but its attempt to have them upgraded by Israel in 2004 was blocked due to U.S. pressure (Haaretz, December 22, 2004). While China’s capability to develop UAVs has progressed beyond an initial legacy of reverse engineering, the PLA has engaged in persistent efforts to acquire advanced drone technology through cyber espionage.

Although a comprehensive cataloguing of Chinese UAVs is beyond the scope of this paper, China has developed a variety of increasingly advanced military-use UAVs in recent years. A range of UAVs, from the hand-launched to taxiing models with extended loiter times, are capable of multiple missions, including conducting reconnaissance and communications, engaging in electronic interference, serving as launch platforms for various weapons, and also acting as targets (China Youth Daily, January 1, 2015). [3] Some of these systems have been sold to militaries worldwide, including to Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt (Global Times, April 28).

Among the most advanced of these unmanned systems are the Caihong (Rainbow, 彩虹), an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) similar to the U.S.’s MQ-9 Reaper, which recently released an advanced CH-5 model; the BZK-005 / HY-01 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, used by the PLA Navy for reconnaissance; the Wing Loong (or Yilong, Pterodactyl, 翼龙), a MALE UAV similar to the Predator; and the Xianglong (Soaring Dragon, 翔龙), a HALE UAV similar to Global Hawk (DoD, 2015). There are at least three Chinese UAVs designed to carry precision strike weapons: the Wing Loong/Yilong, Sky Saber, and also the Lijian (Sharp Sword, 利剑), the PLA’s first stealth drone (, August 3, 2015; DoD, 2015). In addition, the Shen Diao (Divine Eagle, 神雕), reportedly was first tested in 2015, is a twin-fuselage HALE UAV with long-range surveillance and strike capabilities that could advance China’s A2/AD capabilities (Jane’s, May 28, 2015). China has also tested an amphibious UAV, the U-560 (PLA Daily, December 11, 2015).

The PLA’s Education and Training of UAV Personnel

Given the uncertainties associated with the PLA’s deployment and future employment of UAVs, an examination of its evolving approach to educating and training UAV operators (无人机操作手) and UAV team technicians (无人机队技师) could inform assessments of the PLA’s actual operational capability with UAVs. Notably, the available information on the PLA’s development of relevant education and training reveal that these programs have advanced in their development, yet certain gaps and shortcomings in training apparently persist across the PLA.

The PLA’s education and training of UAV personnel dates back to 1994, when the former Army Artillery Academy created the first course for cadets (Xinhua, May 26, 2009). Its educational and training programs appear to have spread to other services in the years since. At least the following PLA academic institutions were found to have UAV-related programs that train future UAV officers and enlisted specialists:[4]

· Air Force Early Warning College (空军预警学院) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, has undergraduate and graduate courses for officers, as well as an associates degree program for enlisted personnel;

· Air Force Engineering University (空军工程大学) in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province;

· Armored Force Engineering College (装甲兵工程学院) in Beijing;

· Army Officer Academy (陆军军官学院) in Hefei, Anhui Province;

· Naval Aviation Engineering Academy (海军航空工程学院) in Yantai, Shandong Province has a UAV Teaching and Research Office (教研室) that is responsible for teaching technical officers for offensive UAVs (攻击无人机技术干部);

· PLA Institute of International Relations (解放军国际关系学院) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province has specialties in UAV reconnaissance intelligence processing technology


· PLA Ordnance Engineering College (军械工程学院), located in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province has a specialty training program in UAVs and an undergraduate program in UAV-use engineering (无人机运用工程);

· and PLA Special Operations Academy (解放军特种作战学院) created in 2011 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.

It is unclear how often students in these institutions operate UAVs, and it is difficult to determine the level of sophistication of their training and instruction. However, there are references to students at the Ordnance Engineering College engaging in training with UAVs that included launch, remote control, and real-time image acquisition (China Military Online, May 5, 2015). Beyond these institutions, there are also specialized training courses available to officers and enlisted personnel, and certain units have organized training exercises focused on advancing combat capabilities (PLA Daily, April 13, 2015).

Officer and Noncommissioned Officer UAV Specialist Track

Ju Xiaocheng provides a good example of the program at the Army Officer Academy, which enrolled the military’s first class of UAV-use undergraduate engineering officer cadets (无人机应用工程本科学员) in 1994. Ju, who was initially conscripted as an enlisted member in 1991 with only a junior middle school education, was assigned to the Artillery Academy’s UAV team (无人机队) at that time. Despite initially struggling with the technical aspects of his work, he ultimately became the PLA’s first “UAV specialty non-commissioned officer” (无人机专业士官) with the ability to both operate and maintain UAVs (Xinhua, May 26, 2009; China Military Online, March 15). In 1997, Ju was assigned to act as an instructor in a course on launch operations (发射操作课), seemingly reflecting a lack of more experienced instructors for UAV operations at that point (Xinhua, May 26, 2009). Since the Artillery Academy was training prospective officers to operate UAVs as of 1994, it appears that there was a shift to develop a more educated UAV cadre. In addition, at some point, the Artillery Academy also incorporated a UAV training course for enlisted personnel. [5]

In 2001, the PLA drafted its first “UAV Outline of Military Training and Evaluation” (UAV OMTE, 无人机训练与考核大纲), with Ju contributing to the process as a “soldier expert” (兵专家) (China Military Online, March 15). The development of a formal curriculum for operational units at that surprisingly early stage suggests that the PLA was already starting to focus on advancing its UAV capabilities and training the appropriate personnel at that time. However, even though the PLA implemented a completely updated series of OMTE in 2009, there have been no reports thus far about an updating or systematic revision to this UAV OMTE. Given that Xi has mentioned training personnel for unmanned operations as a key area of focus, the future issuance of a revised OMTE would not be surprising (PLA Daily, May 16, 2014).

Challenges and Advances in the PLA’s Training of UAV Personnel

Despite continued challenges for the PLA’s UAV specialization (无人机事业), there do seem to have been appreciable advances in the sophistication of the PLA’s education and training programs. At this point, it is unclear how extensively best practices have been adopted across the PLA, but there is apparently recognition of those shortcomings and ongoing efforts to enhance and perhaps also expand existing programs. The review of two case studies within the PLA illustrates these challenges and progression.

According to a 2007 account, an unidentified Nanjing Military Region (MR) ground force brigade’s UAV team (某旅无人机队) had been notified two years previously that it would receive UAVs. Despite lacking prior experience with the system, it engaged in extensive advance training (PLA Daily, March 14, 2007). As such, the UAV team’s personnel all completed theoretical and operational training on UAVs, as well as “all-military UAV specialty officer training classes” (全军无人机专业军官集训班), which implies this was not just limited to ground force officers, as well as later engaging in online simulation training (网上模拟训练). To “fill the gaps in specialized theories and teaching for this type of UAV,” the members of that UAV team reportedly decided to write an “Introduction to Certain New-Type Unmanned Weapon Systems” (某新型无人机武器系统概述) (PLA Daily, March 14, 2007). Although this UAV team appeared to have the opportunity to undertake relatively comprehensive training, this perceived need to take the initiative to develop its own training materials suggests that the training and resources available were apparently lagging behind the needs of UAV operators expected to pilot and maintain increasingly advanced systems.

Despite subsequent progression in the PLA’s educational and training programming, the experience of a UAV battalion (无人机营) within a brigade of the former Guangzhou MR’s (now Southern Theater Command’s) 42nd Group Army (第42集团军) offers another illustration of how such “gaps” have apparently often been filled only through personal initiative. By the characterization of Major Li Changyong (李长勇), who was the UAV battalion commander (无人机营营长), “that the UAV specialization (无人机事业) has gaps isn’t frightful, perhaps it is that everyone is waiting for someone else to come fill in the gaps” (China Military Online, August 15, 2014). Li himself, a member of the PLA’s first class of UAV specialist undergraduates and master’s students, had graduated from the Ordnance Engineering College (军械工程学院) in 2008 (China Military Online, August 15, 2014). At the time, due to the lack of standardized operations regulations (规范的操作规程), instruction regarding UAVs was often “reliant on a single person’s experience.” However, when he took on the post of UAV battalion commander in 2012, Li compiled the 200,000-word “Regulations for the Operation of a Certain Model UAV” (某型无人机操作规程), based on extensive engagement with local UAV manufacturers and technicians (PLA Daily, August 10, 2014). As of 2016, Li’s UAV battalion had also introduced its own simulation training room for UAV operators (PLA Daily, March 2). However, it is unclear how extensively such new regulations and best practices for training have been implemented across the PLA.

Notably, this particular UAV battalion appears to be engaging in increasingly sophisticated, combat-oriented training. Through “confrontation training events that closely adhere to actual combat” (紧贴实战的对抗演练) between “Red Force” (PLA) and “Blue Force” UAVs (PLA Daily, March 2), Li has sought to enhance these forces’ operational capability, including in reconnaissance and jamming (PLA Daily, August 15, 2014). Under Li’s leadership, this UAV battalion has experimented with new tactical approaches, ten of which have reportedly been promoted by the former General Staff Department and perhaps disseminated across multiple former MRs (PLA Daily, August 10, 2014). In April 2015, a new UAV specialty training program (无人机专业集训) was established in the Guangzhou MR, likely co-located with this battalion, as part of a move toward a “base-ized training model” (基地化训练模式) (PLA Daily, April 13, 2015). This shift in the PLA’s approach to training reflected the recognition of existing challenges, including the shortage of talent and lack of standards and regulations, and an effort to consolidate resources in order to engage in more advanced operational training (PLA Daily, April 13, 2015). Although it is too early to tell whether this recent shift in the PLA’s approach to training with UAVs will prove successful, the PLA clearly realizes the importance of improving upon its existing training system and is actively seeking to do so.

Unknowns About PLA UAV Personnel

Within the PLA’s UAV specialty cadre (无人机专业干部), there are seemingly both officer and enlisted UAV operators (无人机操作手) and also UAV technicians (无人机技师), depending on the type of system. While officers serve as both operators and technicians, it is not clear if enlisted personnel serve as operators for any systems other than small target UAVs. However, although the terms could imply a division of labor between operators and technicians, as well as between officers and enlisted personnel, the boundaries between these roles might be somewhat blurred. Ju Xiaocheng, for instance, was known for his skill in both operating and repairing UAVs, but, as one of the PLA’s earliest UAV specialists, he could have predated a more formal differentiation of roles.

The PLA’s Organizational Structure for UAVs

Although there is only limited information available about the PLA’s organizational structure for UAVs, UAVs appear to have been deployed across all of the PLA’s services, as well as within the newly formed Joint Staff Department and possibly the Strategic Support Force. Depending on the type of UAV and unit, they are organized into teams (队), companies (连), battalions (营), flight groups (大队), regiments (团), and brigades (旅). Although there are no authoritative estimates of the total number of UAVs that are currently deployed, the PLA could field at least 1,000 medium- and large-sized UAVs, according to a retired Deputy Chief of the PLA’s General Staff Department. In addition, the PLAAF was said to have been using over 280 UAVs as of the beginning of 2011. [6] The table below provides available information concerning the types of UAV units identified under the former General Staff Department, as well as the newly formed PLA Army (PLAA), PLA Navy (PLAN), PLAAF, and PLA Rocket Force (PLARF).

Joint Staff


Intelligence Bureau, Information and Communications Bureau (信息通信局)

(former 2nd (Intelligence) Department and Informatization Department)

Various long-range reconnaissance and communications UAVs were apparently assigned to these departments (Yuntongmeng, March 18). [8]

PLA Army

Eastern Theater Command

The 1st Group Army (陆军第1集团军) has one or more UAV battalions (无人机营), as well as several UAV companies (无人机连) (PLA Daily, May 5, 2015).

The 12th Group Army (陆军第12集团军) has a battalion-level UAV flight group [dadui] (无人机大队) (PLA Daily, April 12)

Southern Theater Command

The 42nd Group Army (陆军第42集团军) has a UAV battalion (China Military Online, August 15, 2014).

The 41st Group Army (第41集团) has at least one UAV team. (China Military Online, June 15, 2013)

There were also one or more UAV teams in the former Guangzhou MR (PLA Daily, March 14, 2007; PLA Daily, November 2, 2007; PLA Daily, January 13, 2014).

Western Theater Command

The 47th Group Army (陆军第47集团) has at least one UAV team (PLA Daily, March 31).

Northern Theater Command

The 39th Group Army (陆军第39集团) has at least one UAV team. (PLA Daily, May 31, 2015)

PLA Navy

Eastern Theater Command

The Eastern Theater Command’s East Sea Fleet’s Naval Aviation has one UAV regiment (无人机团) and also a UAV reconnaissance flight group (People’s Daily, December 27, 2015). [9] This regiment has deployed the HY-01/BZK-005 MALE UAV, which has been sent on reconnaissance missions in the East China Sea, near the Senkaku Islands, since approximately September 2013. As of 2015, there were at least three BZK-005 UAVs stationed off the coast of the East China Sea according to an analysis of the satellite imagery. [11]

PLA Air Force

The PLAAF reportedly has multiple UAV regiments and other units at various levels, which have reportedly been equipped with the GJ-1 and/or BZK-005 UAVs (中国青年网, September 2, 2015). It is likely that the PLAAF is equipped with advanced UAVs across all five theater commands.

In the near future, the PLAAF could have at least five “UAV flying regiments” (无人机飞行团), each armed with at least a hundred attack UAVs, likely the “Attack-1” type UCAV (攻击-1型无人攻击), according to less authoritative reporting (科罗廖夫, April 7)

Eastern Theater Command

There is potentially a combat UAV brigade (作战无人机旅) in this theater command, based on reports from Russian experts repeated in Chinese media. (Sina, February 28, 2014; 米尔网, April 28, 2015)

Southern Theater Command

There is potentially a combat UAV brigade (作战无人机旅) in this theater command, based on reports from Russian experts repeated in Chinese media. (Sina, February 28, 2014; 米尔网, April 28, 2015)

Northern Theater Command

There are at least several UAV units [budui] and subunits [fendui] (无人机部队/分队) in this theater command (China Military Online, April 7; China Military Online, April 21; PLA Daily, May 4)

Central Theater Command

Since the PLAAF units who operated the GJ-1 UAV in Peace Mission 2014 were from the former Beijing Military Region, it is likely that there are UAV units at multiple levels within this theater command as well (China Military Online, November 4, 2014; Xinhua, November 13, 2014)

PLA Rocket Force

Although there are fewer references to dedicated UAV units within the PLARF, a number of UAVs have been deployed within this service (e.g., Sina, February 2, 2015):

Indications exist that a missile brigade formerly subordinate to the former Nanjing MR and possibly equipped with UAVs has been incorporated into the PLARF’s Base 52 in Anhui Province, where they can cover the East China Sea and Taiwan.

There are also indications that a missile brigade that was formerly subordinate to the former Guangzhou MR and possibly equipped with UAVs has also been incorporated into the PLARF’s Base 53 in Yunnan Province, which could cover a variety of potential targets, including locations in India and Southeast Asia. [12]


The PLA’s expanding deployment of unmanned systems for multiple missions will probably result in the establishment of new UAV units, while further increasing the demand for qualified UAV operators and technicians. Since the PLA has developed its cadre of UAV personnel in peacetime, without the pressures associated with combat operations, it has apparently avoided certain challenges that the U.S. military has faced in terms of recruitment and retention. However, the PLA’s existing programs for the education and training of UAV operators and technicians will certainly face increasing demands and could be expanded. Between 2014 and 2023, China could reportedly produce an estimated 41,800 or more land- and sea-based unmanned systems, and thousands of these systems will probably be deployed by the PLA (DoD, 2015). Although the remaining “gaps” in the PLA’s UAV career track might be progressively filled in, the development of appropriately educated and qualified personnel to operate and maintain these advanced UAVs will remain a critical determinant of the PLA’s actual operational capabilities with these systems.

Looking forward, the men and women behind the PLA’s unmanned systems could play a critical role in future crisis and conflict scenarios, and evidently their training preparing them to do so. As the U.S. military’s experience has demonstrated, the capacity to recruit, educate, train, and retain an adequate number of UAV operators and maintenance personnel can be a critical element of a military’s capability to engage in high-tempo operations with unmanned systems in a conflict scenario. The deployment of UAVs for surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the East China Sea, as well as perhaps eventually in the South China Sea, could reinforce China’s ability to maintain a persistent presence in these disputed waters. UAVs could be utilized extensively for counterterrorism operations, potentially in Xinjiang, and for also border defense. In a conflict scenario, there are concerns that the PLA would use multiple refurbished J-6 fighters as UAVs to overwhelm Taiwan’s air defenses or against a U.S. aircraft carrier. [12] Ultimately, the PLA’s realization of such ambitions for unmanned systems will remain inextricable from the underlying human and organizational dimensions.

Elsa Kania will be a 2016 graduate of Harvard College, where she has majored in Government and wrote her thesis on the PLA’s strategic thinking on information warfare. Elsa was a 2014–2015 Boren Scholar in Beijing, China and is a 2015–2016 undergraduate associate of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She has worked at the Belfer Center, the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center, the Department of Defense, and FireEye, Inc.

Kenneth W. Allen is a Senior China Analyst at Defense Group Inc. (DGI) and a concurrent Senior China Analyst with the USAF’s China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI). He is a retired U.S. Air Force officer, whose extensive service abroad includes a tour in China as the Assistant Air Attaché. He has written numerous articles on Chinese military affairs. A Chinese linguist, he holds an M.A. in international relations from Boston University.


1. For prior analyses of the PLA’s UAVs, see: Michael S. Chase, Kristen A. Gunness, Lyle J. Morris, Samuel K. Berkowitz, and Benjamin S. Purser III, “Emerging Trends in China’s Development of Unmanned Systems,” RAND, December 2015. Ian Easton and Russell Hsiao, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Project: Organizational Capacities and Operational Capabilities,” Project 2049, March 11, 2013. Ian Easton, “China’s Evolving Reconnaissance Strike Capabilities: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” Project 2049, February 2014. Richard Fisher, “Maritime Employment of PLA Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” in Andrew Erickson and Lyle Goldstein, eds., Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2011.

2. Kimberly Hsu, Craig Murray, Jeremy Cook, and Amalia Feld, “China’s Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry,” US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2013.

3. Dennis J. Blasko, “The PLA Army/Ground Forces” in Kevin Pollpeter and Kenneth W. Allen, eds., The PLA as Organization v2.0.

4. See: 中国人民解放军空军预警学院; 中国人民解放军海军航空工程学院本科专业; 中国人民解放军军械工程学院; China Science and Technology Network, September 15, 2009; and PLA Encyclopedia, Military History volume, 2007; People’s Daily, December 10, 2013; 考研, April 22, 2015; War on the Rocks, January 1, 2015; Baike, 空军工程大学; Baike, 中国人民解放军特种作战学院; 中国素质体育网, April 24, 2016.

5. PLA Encyclopedia, Military History Volume, 2007, p. 687-688.

6. Ian Easton, “China’s Evolving Reconnaissance Strike Capabilities: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” Project 2049, February 2014.

7. Mark A. Stokes and Ian Easton, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department: Evolving Organization and Missions,” in Kevin Pollpeter and Kenneth W. Allen, eds., The PLA as Organization v2.0.

8. Dennis J. Blasko, “The PLA Army/Ground Forces” in Kevin Pollpeter and Kenneth W. Allen, eds., The PLA as Organization v2.0.

9. Kenneth Allen, Lyle Morris, “PLA Naval Aviation: Missions, Organizational Structure, Trends in Training and Operations (2013–2015) and Implications for the United States Air Force and Navy,” 2016. See: Jin Diwei, Li Dongdong, and Wang Chaowu, “An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Suddenly Experienced a Malfunction on Its Way Home; 10 Landing Attempts in a Row Failed; If the Plane Crashed Into Residential Quarters the Consequences Would Be Disastrous. Hence … An Emergency Forced Landing,” Renmin Haijun, June 13, 2013.

10. Chris Biggers, “Satellite Imagery Reveals China’s New Drone Base,” June 29, 2015, < percent20Report&utm_campaign=SitRep0630>

11. The 808 Brigade had been based in the area of Chuxiong, and has relocated to Yuxi within the last two years. The brigade, previously equipped with the DF-21A, is most likely transitioning to a new missile variant, such as the DF-21C. Relocation of brigade often is linked with integration of new missile variant. New underground facilities appear to be constructed north of Yuxi.

12. Ian Easton, “China’s Evolving Reconnaissance Strike Capabilities: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” Project 2049, February 2014.