CHANGCHUN, April 19 (ChinaMil) -- The PLA Air Force kicked off Wednesday its annual competitive assessment codenamed Golden Dart---2018 in northeast China. Over 200 fighter jet pilots from dozens of air force combat units will compete for the "Golden Dart" award, the top prize for most skillful pilots in the fierce air defense penetration and assault operations.
According to the assessment regulation, the participating pilot will fly his fighter jet to conduct penetration (breaking through enemy air defense systems) first, and then launch assault (attacking enemy land/sea targets), a responsible officer with the training bureau of the PLA Air Force told PLA Daily.
In order to create a real combat environment, the competitions will be staged both at daytime and night and live ammunitions will be used in the assault operations. The assessment aims to test the pilots' defense penetrating and assaulting tactics when flying at low altitudes, and the abilities to quickly locate targets in complex environments and conduct continuous attack with different weapons, he added .
The Golden Dart competitive assessment is one of the four real combat training exercises of the PLA Air Force. The other three are the Red Sword systematic confrontation training exercise, the Golden Helmet air battle competition for fighter pilots and the Blue Shield exercise for land-to-air missile combat units .
In recent years, The venues of the Golden Dart competitive assessment have expanded from the desert and the Gobi areas to canyons, seas, and grasslands amid with increasingly difficult battlefield situations for competitors.