CHINA / MILITARY
PLA flattops, advanced warplanes celebrate China's Army Day
Aircraft carrier Liaoning, amphibious assault ship Hainan explore new operational methods
Published: Aug 01, 2021 07:29 PM Updated: Aug 01, 2021 07:48 PM
The picture shows the aircraft carrier <em>Liaoning</em> (Hull 16) and other vessels and fighter jets in the maritime parade conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea on the morning of April 12, 2018. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), reviewed the parade. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Zhang Lei)

The picture shows the aircraft carrier Liaoning (Hull 16) and other vessels and fighter jets in the maritime parade conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea on the morning of April 12, 2018. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), reviewed the parade. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Zhang Lei)



Displaying the Chinese military's tremendous development achievements to celebrate this year's Army Day on Sunday, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army, Navy and Air Force demonstrated their most powerful weapons and equipment including warships and warplanes, with Chinese flattops recently conducting exercises involving the exploration of new operational methods.

Celebrating the 94th founding anniversary of the PLA on Sunday, the PLA Navy released a video on its social media account introducing some of its large warships, including three flattops, namely the aircraft carrier Liaoning, the aircraft carrier Shandong and the amphibious assault ship Hainan.

All three flattops recently went out to sea for exercises, media reports showed

These exercises were held to explore new operational methods, as the combat-ready Liaoning aimed to enhance operational efficiency, and the newly commissioned Shandong and the Hainan made strides to reach operational capabilities, analysts said.

For the first time, an all-female crew independently completed a support mission of dispatching helicopters on the flight deck of the Liaoning during a recent exercise, js7tv.cn, a news website affiliated with the PLA, reported on Friday.

The group of five dispatched Z-8 and Z-9 carrier-borne helicopters, the report footage showed.

This was the first time an official media report revealed that the Liaoning had recently set sail for exercises, observers noted.

Female crew members are careful and patient. These advantages are finding them more positions in not only the Navy but also in other military services, as modern combat systems are becoming technically more sophisticated and require these personality characteristics, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of the Chinese magazine Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times on Sunday.

They can also compete with male crew members and comprehensively boost the troops' combat capabilities, Shi said.

The picture shows aircraft carrier <em>Shandong</em> berths at a naval port in Sanya. China's first domestically-made aircraft carrier <em>Shandong</em> (Hull 17) was officially commissioned to the PLA Navy at a military port in Sanya, South China's <em>Hainan</em> Province, on the afternoon of December 17, 2019, making China one of the few countries in the world that have multiple carriers. Photo:China Military

The picture shows aircraft carrier Shandong berths at a naval port in Sanya. China's first domestically-made aircraft carrier Shandong (Hull 17) was officially commissioned to the PLA Navy at a military port in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, on the afternoon of December 17, 2019, making China one of the few countries in the world that have multiple carriers. Photo:China Military



China's second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, also went out to sea for exercises, as it was spotted by foreign satellites in the South China Sea over the past week, US media outlet thedrive.com reported on Thursday.

While the details of the Shandong's exercises remain unknown, analysts said it might be training to become fully combat-ready. The aircraft carrier was commissioned in late 2019.

Also dubbed as a helicopter carrier, the PLA Navy's first amphibious assault ship Hainan recently conducted exercises in undisclosed waters, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Friday.

In the exercises, the Hainan not only conducted integration training with Type 726 air-cushioned landing craft, Type 05 amphibious armored vehicles and Z-8 helicopters, but also sailed together with a Type 901 comprehensive replenishment ship, the CCTV report showed.

This was the first time the Hainan completed a maritime replenishment drill that was revealed to the general public since its commissioning on April 23, observers said.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy commissions its first Type 075 amphibious assault ship at a naval base in Sanya, South China's <em>Hainan</em> Province on April 23, 2021. The vessel is named the <em>Hainan</em> and has been given the hull number 31. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy commissions its first Type 075 amphibious assault ship at a naval base in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province on April 23, 2021. The vessel is named the Hainan and has been given the hull number 31. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television



Holding a maritime replenishment exercise shows that the Hainan is on its way to achieving operational capability fast, Shi said.

With the support of comprehensive replenishment ships, an amphibious assault ship can sail further and longer, Shi said.

China is reportedly building a third aircraft carrier, and two additional Type 075 amphibious assault ships have already been launched.

Against this background, the exercises by China's current three flattops not only enhanced their combat capabilities, but also explored new operational methods for future ships. This will greatly reduce the time needed for the new ships to become combat-ready, Shi said.

In order to better safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the PLA Navy needs to not only deploy new and more advanced equipment, develop new techniques and tactics, and enhance combat capabilities, but also study potential opponents, which are making changes all the time, Shi said.

The Navy is not the only service that celebrated Army Day with powerful weapons and equipment, as the Army and the Air Force showcased the country's most advanced "20" series aircraft, namely the Z-20 helicopter, the Y-20 large transport aircraft and the J-20 stealth fighter jet, with pilots vowing to safeguard the country, CCTV reported on Saturday.

The J-20 stealth fighter jet, Y-20 large transport plane, Z-20 utility helicopter, FC-31 stealth fighter jet and GJ-11 stealth armed reconnaissance drone feature in the poster for AVIC's 2021 work conference. Photo: Screenshot from AVIC's Sina Weibo account

The J-20 stealth fighter jet, Y-20 large transport plane, Z-20 utility helicopter, FC-31 stealth fighter jet and GJ-11 stealth armed reconnaissance drone feature in the poster for AVIC's 2021 work conference. Photo: Screenshot from AVIC's Sina Weibo account



"The world isn't a peaceful place these days. Western countries are constantly involved in various moves and campaigns to block and contain China, including even a military siege strategy. Therefore, it is necessary for China to strengthen the PLA's capabilities of maintaining national security, sovereignty and the interests of development," Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

Major progress has been made in various aspects, Song said. Military personnel have become more professional, weapons and equipment have been modernized, updated and strengthened, and military system reform has been further deepened.


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