In the seventies the People's Liberation Army Air Force was not a serious rival. The new Chinese offensive machines the Q-5 Fantan and H-5 Beagle caused no problems to the Soviet fighters. Only the Chinese air force size was large. Opposite to the Soviet Transbaikal Military District’s 23rd Tactical Air Force stood the Beijing and Lanzhou Military Region's ten air divisions.
The Soviet 23rd Tactical Air Force's regiments were equipped with weapons developed against NATO in the sixties. The Russians replaced all the old MiG-17 Fresco to MiG-23B Flogger-F, MiG-27 Flogger-D, Su-17 Fitter-C, Su-17M Fitter-C fighter bombers. Two regiments were equipped with the highly advanced Su-24 Fencer tactical bomber.