PLA shows multi-tasking capabilities in war-readiness and flood relief
Published: Jul 22, 2020 05:16 PM

A pilot assigned to an aviation regiment under the PLA Air Force climbs into the cockpit of his fighter jet prior to a night flight training exercise in late June, 2020. ( by Tang Huaihui)

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force recently organized an air fleet consisting of early warning aircraft, fighter jets and bombers in a cross-day-and-night strike operation on mock warship targets, a move that experts said on Wednesday showed the PLA is capable of simultaneously contributing to the ongoing flood control and disaster relief missions and safeguarding the country from military threats, as the US rallied India, Japan and Australia for provocative naval drills near China.

During the exercises in early July, multiple KJ-500 airborne early warning and control systems affiliated to a PLA Air Force division took off and headed toward an undisclosed mission area, in which they commanded fighter jets to cover bombers, and guided them to strike positions and launch precision attacks on mock hostile surface vessels, the PLA Daily reported Tuesday.

Just when the aircraft were on their way back to base after the strike mission and the day was about to come to an end, they received new orders to enter a new exercise sequence, in which they conducted training for emergency night sorties, the report said.

Since July, floods have struck many places along the Yangtze River, and PLA troops have been deployed in flood control and disaster relief operations. Even when some personnel left their normal posts and joined the flood control efforts, the Air Force division still managed to reallocate logistical support and made sure it was ready for battle, the PLA Daily said.

The PLA has deployed more than 56,000 personnel in disaster relief efforts across multiple provinces, China Central Television reported on Tuesday.

As the people's military, the PLA is always ready to protect the people in all fields, whether it is against foreign military attacks, terrorist activities, natural disasters or epidemics, a Beijing-based military expert who asked not to be identified told the Global Times on Wednesday.

This has been particularly well demonstrated in 2020, when the PLA not only played vital roles in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic early in the year and joined flood control efforts in the middle of the year, but also safeguarded sovereignty and territorial integrity in places like the South China Sea, Taiwan Straits and China-India border, the expert said, noting that the PLA has demonstrated its multi-tasking capability.

Following dual aircraft carrier exercises in the South China Sea earlier this month, the US is now holding parallel naval exercises in the Philippine Sea with Japan and Australia, and in the Indian Ocean with India, Nikkei reported on Wednesday. Analysts said the US is rallying countries to surround China militarily to contain it.

The US military knows it cannot defeat China on its doorstep, and taking advantage of countries in the region is a threatening move, the expert said, noting that these countries need to think twice about whether they want to become tied to the US chariot and become its pawns.