Two J-20s, China's most advanced fighter jet, perform at day event in Changchun, NE China’s Jilin

Chinese fans of fighter jets and aircraft carriers have been celebrating recently as some of China’s newest military hardware has been appearing in large numbers on military programs, a change that has been hailed by viewers as they can appreciate more advanced weaponry.

“We do not need to be envious of Russian audiences now. We can see our own advanced weapons in our own programs,” one military fan wrote in a post on an internet forum.

For instance, in a recent episode of China Central Television’s Guofangkegong (roughly: the science of national defence) host Zhuang Xiaoying got to experience field training for an aircraft landing assault for herself. 

During the training operation, four models of attack helicopters made appearances, including the Z-10 medium attack helicopter and the Z-19, light attack helicopter developed by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, which first took flight in 2011.

One scene in the program saw Zhuang standing on an airstrip as several helicopters fly above her head.

Many other Chinese military reporters have been allowed to film from the front lines and even operate weapons themselves while relating background information to audiences.

They can take speed boats to follow ZTD-05 amphibious assault vehicles to see how the vehicles rapidly make beach landings and also are able to stand near the launch site of guided missiles to introduce the launch process to viewers.

One episode of Guofangkegong introduces sniper rifles, from the first model QBU-88 independently developed by Chinese researchers in 1988 to China’s QBU-10 sniper rifle.

Zhuang fired a 1.15-meter-long NSG-1 sniper rifle during the program and many viewers commented they wished they could switch places with host to try the weapon themselves. 

“China’s military programs have selectively displayed some new weapons such as the PCL-181, a vehicle-mounted 155 mm gun-howitzer, and the Type-15 light tank, which are today’s most advanced weaponry,” a military observer who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

“They are characterized by their mature technology, wide use and low level of secrecy. In addition, some weapons that have been in use longer can also be reported on at close range.”

The observer added that some weapons that use cutting-edge technology that involve a high level of secrecy, such as nuclear submarines and the J-20 that is stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft, still cannot be reported on at this time.

“Russia and the US, by contrast, are willing to report on some of their most sophisticated weapons because they need foreign trade and foreign deterrence,” he noted.

Chinese military fans also commented that Russian military programs tend to show many advanced weapon such as the high-speed camera on a Cy-57 stealth multirole fifth-generation jet fighter, which is used to collect video footage.