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Chinese Kunming Military Region
Ground Forces in the eighties

Chinese Kunming Military Region 5th Air Corps in the eighties map

These clashes lasted from the end of the occupation of border until the normalization of ties in 1991. During the eighties, the Chinese Kunming Military Region and neighboring Guangzhou MR's armies put pressure on Vietnam.

After the United States has withdrawn from Vietnam, the Soviet Union took its place. The Soviet Union supported Vietnam after the Second Indochina War too. The Sino-Vietnamese relations have deteriorated, moreover, the Chinese People's Liberation Army attacked Vietnam in 1979!

The Sino-Vietnamese conflicts of 1979–1991 were a series of border and naval clashes between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam following the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979.

Chinese Kunming Military Region

Chinese Kunming Military Region
5th Air Corps in the eighties

The air force unit of the Kunming Military Region defended the Sino-Vietnamese border during the Second Indochina War from the bomber and reconnaissance aircraft of the US Air Force and the US NAVY. The local 44th Air Division established in 1969 at the Kunming and Mengzi airport.

Two Chinese Shenyang JJ-6 advanced trainer and three J-6A MiG-19P Farmer-B all-weather interceptors of 44th Air Division

Two Chinese Shenyang JJ-6 advanced trainer and three J-6A (MiG-19P) 'Farmer-B' all-weather interceptors of 44th Air Division

Chinese 44th Air Division’s two seater training aircraft Shenyang JJ-6 Farmer in 1979 at the Kunming airport. Photo: Robert Setterfield.

Chinese 44th Air Division’s two seater training aircraft Shenyang JJ-6 ‘Farmer’ in 1979 at the Kunming airport. Photo: Robert Setterfield

Later in 1978 the Vietnamese military invaded Cambodia. This invasion worsened relations of Sino-Vietnamese. In 1979 China attacked Vietnam! The Chinese 44th Air Division participated in the Sino-Vietnamese War. At this time the division flew with Shenyang J-6 (MiG-19S) fighter, J-6A (MiG-19P) interceptor, and JJ-6 'Farmer' two seater trainer aircraft.

The 27th Air Division (Wuhan Military Region) and the 33rd Air Division's (Chengdu Military Region) air regiments relocated to the Kunming MR's territory during the war.

The units of the Chinese Air Force had only a few tasks during the war.

More Chinese 44th Air Division's Shenyang J-6 fighters (MiG-19) 'Farmer' wearing camouflage after the Sino-Vietnamese War in the early eighties.

Chinese 44th Air Division’s two seater training aircraft Shenyang J-6 MiG-19 Farmer camouflage Chinese 44th Air Division’s two seater training aircraft Shenyang J-6 MiG-19 Farmer
Chinese 44th Air Division’s two seater training aircraft Shenyang JJ-6 Farmer Chinese 44th Air Division’s two seater training aircraft Shenyang J-6 MiG-19 Farmer camouflage

After the Sino-Vietnamese War, the Soviet Union delivered near two-hundred MiG-21bis ‘Fishbed-L’ tactical fighter and 32 Su-22M ‘Fitter-J’ fighter-bomber aircraft (plus MiG-21UM ‘Mongol-B’ and Su-22UM ‘Fitter-G’ trainer aircraft) for the Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian Air Force. These were very modern aircraft in the Indochina region first half of the eighties! The MiG-21bis ‘Fishbed-L’ tactical fighter used modern R-13 ‘AA-2C Atoll’ short-range, infrared homing air-to-air missile with more sensitive nitrogen-cooled seeker head and R-3R ‘AA-2D Atoll’ semi-active radar homing (SARH) version air to air missile.

Chinese 44th Air Division’s early J-7II MiG-21 Fishbed and in front of Shenyang J-6 MiG-19 Farmer landing

Chinese 44th Air Division’s early J-7II (MiG-21) ‘Fishbed’ and in front of Shenyang J-6 (MiG-19) ‘Farmer’ landing.

The Soviet made Vietnamese Su-22M ‘Fitter-J’ fighter-bomber type could carry it four tons of bombs or Kh-58 'AS-11 Kilter' Soviet anti-radiation missile. It was a unique ability in the Indochina region in the eighties!

The Chinese Shenyang J-6 (MiG-19) ‘Farmer’ type of the 44th Air Division couldn't carry missile weapons. Therefore the division received new J-7II (MiG-21) ‘Fishbed’ Mach 2 capacity tactical fighter too in the first half of the eighties. The Chinese Chengdu J-7II fighter type already used PL-2 short-range, infrared homing air to air missile (copy of early Soviet R-3S ‘Atoll’). But, the old J-6s is retained too, the 44th Air Division used mixed J-6 (MiG-19) and J-7 (MiG-21) fleet in the eighties near the Vietnamese border.

In August 1985, Kunming Military Region was disbanded and its troops reassigned to Chengdu Military Region. In September 1985, the Kunming Military Region’s Air Force and the Chengdu Military Region’s Air Force were merged and reorganized as the Chengdu Military Region’s Air Force.

Chinese Kunming Military Region 5th Air Corps in the eighties map
Chinese Kunming Military Region 5th Air Corps in the eighties 44th Air Division Mengzi


* Probably: In November 1978, the 5th Air Corps was renamed the Kunming Military Region Air Force Command Post