CHINA / MILITARY
PLA Navy holds joint landing exercises far away from mainland
Published: Mar 03, 2021 08:55 PM
A Type 726 air-cushioned landing craft, a Type 96 main battle tank and marines from a Type 071 amphibious landing ship in landing exercises far away from mainland by a PLA Navy expeditionary group in 2021. Photo: Screenshot from the Weibo of the PLA Navy

A Type 726 air-cushioned landing craft, a Type 96 main battle tank and marines from a Type 071 amphibious landing ship in landing exercises far away from mainland by a PLA Navy expeditionary group in 2021. Photo: Screenshot from the Weibo of the PLA Navy



A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy joint expeditionary training group recently conducted a series of combat-scenario, cross-service exercises including amphibious landing in waters away from the mainland, and experts said on Wednesday that such far sea training will boost the PLA's capability in defending China's sovereignty and development interests.

The expeditionary group affiliated with the PLA Navy Southern Theater Command featured not only naval forces, but also the command's Army, Air Force, Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force, in a move to explore tactics in highly intensive joint combat in distant waters, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

In an amphibious landing exercise session, the Wuzhishan, a Type 071 amphibious landing ship, released several Type 726 air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC) carrying marines of the Navy, as the LCACs stormed the beach while joining up with other LCACs carrying Type 96 main battle tanks of the Army released by another Type 071 amphibious landing ship, the Changbaishan, CCTV reported, noting that during the process, Su-30 fighter jets and H-6K bombers of the Air Force provided aerial cover for the maritime flotilla and the amphibious landing forces.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Ji Zhaowei, a company commander of the participating Marine brigade, told CCTV that the Army's tanks integrated into the marines' tactical system very fast and provided strong fire support, and the joint operation led to better combat efficiency than when the two services operated separately.

During the exercises that would last dozens of days, the naval flotilla also practiced training objectives including comprehensive maritime supplement, main gun shooting, air defense, anti-missile, helicopter takeoff and landing at nighttime, and aerial and maritime joint assault, according to the CCTV report and statements by the PLA Navy on its Sina Weibo account over the past few days.

The exercises honed the PLA's cross-service joint combat capability in unfamiliar regions, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China needs to prepare for combat and also non-war military operations in regions far away from the mainland in order to defend its sovereignty, security and development interests, Song said, noting that the country also needs to be able to project its military power overseas to safeguard its rightful interests there.

The naval group includes the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Yinchuan, Type 071 amphibious landing ship Wuzhishan, Type 901 comprehensive replenishment ship Chaganhu, Type 054A guided missile frigate Hengyang and electronic surveillance ship Tianshuxing, according the PLA Navy.

The location of the drills remained undisclosed. A PLA Navy announcement last week said the group had sailed past the equator.
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