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China Boosts Jet Drills, Ramping Up Combat Readiness

This story originally appeared at the South China Morning Post:

The crash of a fighter jet in eastern China on Wednesday will almost certainly be followed by similar accidents as the ­People’s Liberation Army ramps up training to improve combat readiness, military analysts said.

Liang Yang, a spokesman for the PLA Navy, confirmed late on Wednesday that a fighter jet from the East Sea Fleet crashed into a sewing machine factory during a night training mission at about 7.30pm in Taizhou in ­Zhejiang province.

The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft and nobody was injured in the incident, Liang said. The navy said it was investigating the cause of the crash but did not specify the make of the ­aircraft.

Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie saidnight flights were difficult and bad weather could have been a factor in the crash.

“More aviation drills have taken place in the East China Sea, with trainingfocusing on all-weather flights close to combat conditions,” Li said.

Wednesday’s crash is at least the fourth fighter jet accident in Zhejiang in three years, all of which involved night manoeuvres.

Read the full story at the South China Morning Post.

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