The aerial arsenal of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army shrank by nearly a quarter over the past year, from around 3,400 combat aircraft to just under 2,600. The best assessment of the secretive PLA, a database managed by Flight International magazine and updated annually, showed 800 fewer jet fighters in the PLA inventory compared to a year ago.

The reduction reflects "improved data," according to Flight's annual report, released late last month. The data allowed the report's authors to remove from the PLA's active rolls a "combined 850 obsolete Harbin H-5 and Nanchang Q-5 combat aircraft." The H-5 and Q-5 date from the mid-1960s. It's unclear exactly when the PLA retired the two models.