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J-20, Y-20 aircraft shown in pilot recruitment ads

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has released a short film for its annual pilot recruitment campaign featuring the PLA's new J-20 fighter jet and Y-20 military transport aircraft.

The Chinese-made J-20 stealth fighter made its first flight in January 2011 when then-US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited China. Gates said the J-20 still lagged behind U.S fighters, despite some analysts who said the J-20 could challenge America's air domination.

"The J-20 can be used to seek air domination. That means we can use the jet to defend our airspace if it is invaded," said Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo in 2011, adding that the stealth fighter will only be deployed within China's territory.

The Y-20 military transport aircraft was first shown in public at a biennial air show in November in the city of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province.

The pilot recruitment short film, titled "Heroes' Sky," has a length of more than six minutes, showcasing the lives and training of Air Force pilots, including female pilots, with dramatic depictions of their flying stunts.

The film has three parts: "The sky needs you," "The future belongs to you," and "The nation calls on you."

" The new fighter jets call for new-generation blue-sky flying stars," Colonel Shen Jinke, the Air Force's spokesperson, said on Thursday, adding the force requires a large number of high-quality pilots.

Shen said the film shows the Air Force's role in safeguarding state security and maintaining military strategies, and as a responsible great power, China needs to build an air force to maintain regional stability and world peace.

In recent years, the PLA Air Force has emphasized applicants' educational background during annual pilot recruitment tests and jointly trained its pilots with Peking University, Tsinghua University and Beihang University, among other top schools in China, to ensure pilots get a broader education, he said.

The Air Force is setting up training bases in civilian high schools to provide flight training for around 1,000 students aged 14 to 16 each year. It is common in other countries for pilots to accumulate flight experience before joining the air force.

Under the measures, the selected students will undergo training in addition to their regular high school studies, said Peng Junxia, head of the Air Force pilot recruitment bureau, on Wednesday.

The PLA Air Force, which marked its 65th anniversary in November, recruited just over 1,000 high school students last year.


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