Some 100 warplanes, flying in 12 echelons, roared over the world-renowned Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing on Monday morning, in a rehearsal for the forthcoming parade to celebrate the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
It was the only rehearsal for the military aircraft to fly across the sky above Tian'anmen Square ahead of the parade on Oct. 1, according to Air Force sources.
The parading military aircraft comprise almost all the major types of warplanes in the country. They mostly come from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, according to the sources.
During the National Day parade, the performing echelons are required to fly over Tian'anmen Square strictly according to the timetable and the route set by the headquarters, the sources said.
On the National Day, these warplanes will take off from seven military airports around the capital, and the aircraft formations will be led by an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft.
Among these formations the Air Force contributes an AWACS echelon, an aerial tanker echelon, a bomber echelon, three echelons of fighters, while a fighter-bomber echelon comes from the Navy and two helicopter echelons. The Field Army sends a reconnaissance aircraft echelon and a gunship echelon to the parade. A search and transport helicopter echelon is jointly formed by the Field Army and the Air Force.
This rehearsal was carried out exactly according to the procedure of the National Day parade, according to the sources.
It will be larger than the aerial parade conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 1999, when China's held a National Day gathering to mark the 50th founding anniversary of New China.
(Xinhua News Agency September 22, 2009)