President Xi Jinping has urged the air force to speed up co-operation with the space industry to bolster China’s military capabilities.
During an inspection tour of the air force’s command college in Beijing on Monday, Xi, who leads the armed forces as chairman of the Central Military Commission, told hundreds of senior officials the joint effort was crucial to the nation’s future military prowess, the PLA Daily reported.
Xi expressed his concerns about the search for missing Flight 370, the daily reported. The incident was saddening, but the air force deserved praise for its role in the recovery operation, he said.
China has asked that its own aviation experts, including pilots from its air and naval aviation forces, join the Malaysian operation.
The Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared last month after leaving Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board, most of whom were Chinese. The army has several pilots taking part in the search.
The command college trains all deputy commanders in the air force.
China has several state-owned space and aeronautics giants developing technologies for military and civilian use, such as the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
CASC supplies most of the hardware for the manned space programmes and is responsible for other technologies such as the Long March rockets, while AVIC produces fighter jets for the People's Liberation Army air force.