Generally speaking, airborne troops are the elite of a country's military. They comprise paratroopers who parachute from fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, placing emphasis on high mobility. Going behind enemy lines using the tactics mentioned above, airborne troops can conduct a converging attack with friendly ground forces.
Different from their counterparts in other militaries, the airborne troops of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) used to be known as the 15th Airborne Corps under the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), and were commanded by a major general at the grade of corps commander. The 15th Airborne Corps was composed of three divisions: the 43rd, 44th and 45th. In the 1990s, it went through several rounds of expansion to move toward the scale of a group army. The 15th Airborne Corps, based in Xiaogan, Hubei province, was made directly subordinate to the Central Military Commission (CMC), serving as rapid a reaction force and part of the strategic reserve. With the modernization of the PLA in recent years, the 15th Airborne Corps also acquired stronger fire power and higher mobility. Following the military reforms initiated in 2016, the term “airborne brigade” started to appear in Chinese media. After the restructuring of the military in 2017, the four-tier commanding system (corps-division-regiment-battalion) has been flattened to three tiers (corps-brigade-battalion). At the same time, the 15th Airborne Corps was renamed simply the Airborne Corps.