Dec 4, 2013
24 JH-7A bombers stationed at PLA air base closest to Japan
The fighter-bombers carries YJ-83 anti-ship missiles would pose a threat to Japanese naval vessels should the conflict between Beijing and Tokyo over disputed islands covered by the newly established Chinese air defense identification zone escalate. The range of the C802AKD, the export and upgraded version of the YJ-83, is estimated to be more than 250 kilometers.
The PLA Air Force has 96 JH-7A fighter-bombers while the PLA Navy Air Force operates a further 96. When planes used as training aircraft are included, China has at least have 200 JH-7As in service.
JH-7A planes are also likely to be deployed to the 37th Air Division in Northwestern China aimed at deterring a potential attack by NATO forces from Afghanistan. Together with the HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles located at major cities such as Xi'an and Lanzhou, the JH-7A is crucial for the PLA Air Force to defend its northwestern border against US attempts at containment as well as in the Pacific.