Military Wiki
Special Operations Force
Pla ensign sof.jpg
PLA Special Operations Forces ensign
Active 1988 - Present
Country People's Republic of China
Branch People's Liberation Army Ground Force
Type Special forces
Role Counter-terrorism
Military intelligence
Special operations
(Land-, air- and sea-deployable)
Size Classified
Analysts believe current size is 7,000 ~ 14,000 troops
Engagements Counter-piracy operations

The People's Liberation Army Special Operations Forces (simplified Chinese: 中国特种部队; traditional Chinese: 中國特種部隊; pinyin: Zhōngguó tèzhǒng bùduì) is the Special forces branch of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Ground Force. It specialises in rapid reaction combat in a limited regional war under high-tech conditions, commando operations, counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering. Although the size of the Special Operations Forces is classified, it is estimated to number 7,000 ~ 14,000 troops.


The PLA first became interested in modern special warfare in the mid-1980s when it was shifting from the "people's war" to "fighting a local war under hi-tech conditions." The PLA planners believed that the next war would be a short, fast-pace conflict on the periphery rather than a total war on Chinese territories, and conventional infantry-orientated ground forces in their mass numbers could no longer meet the requirements. On 23 December 2008, their first publicly known mission was to accompany three Chinese warships in protecting and escorting commercial ships against the Somali pirates, in cooperation with other nations as part of a UN mandate.[1]

Special Reconnaissance

  • Guangzhou Military Region Special Forces Unit - Established in 1988 as the PLA’s first special reconnaissance group, and was later expanded in 2000 to become the first PLA special operations unit to be capable of air-, sea-, and land-operations.
  • Chengdu Military Region Special Forces Unit – Nickname “Falcon”. Established in 1992, this unit is specialised in target locating and indicating, airborne insertion, sabotage and offensive strike, and emergency evacuation. The unit was also used by Chengdu MR to experiment with various new concept equipments and tactics, including the digitised army soldier system and high-mobility land weapon platforms.
  • Beijing Military Region Special Forces Unit - Established in the early 1990s, this unit is equipped with various “high-tech” equipment including unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicle (UARV), individual explosion devices and handheld laser dazzling weapons.
  • Shenyang Military Region Special Forces Unit
  • Nanjing Military Region Special Forces Unit - Nickname “Flying Dragon”
  • Nanjing Military Region Special Forces Unit - Nickname “Oscar”
  • Lanzhou Military Region Special Forces Unit
  • Hong Kong Special Ops Company - Nickname "5 minute Response Unit"
    • Macau Quick Reaction Platoon


  • 2009 international military competitions in Slovakia - 8 first places, 6 second places in 13 individual competition events at the.[2]
  • Third place in the 2010 Sniper World Cup and first place in the 2011 Sniper World Cup.[3]
  • Best overall performance at the fifth Warrior Competition organised by the Jordan Armed Forces at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre.[4]


External links

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