China's 2nd aircraft carrier Shandong carries out realistic combat-oriented training in South China Sea
Published: Jan 05, 2023 02:08 AM
Photo: Screenshot of CCTV report

Photo: Screenshot of CCTV report

China's second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, recently conducted realistic combat-oriented training in the South China Sea, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday. The announcement came amid the reported fighter jet drills of China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning in the West Pacific. Two aircraft carriers hosting drills in two different directions demonstrated China's aircraft carriers' enhanced capacity and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's strong capability, analysts said.

The drill of the Shandong aircraft carrier started with several J-15 fighter jets soaring into the sky, according to a video revealed by CCTV.

Song Zhihao, an aircraft takeoff assistant on the Shandong, told CCTV that training difficulty has been increased this time.

During the exercise, the Shandong carried out targeted training, gradually improved its core combat capabilities such as landing and take-off, emergency response, and damage control under complex environmental conditions. It also verified a large number of emergency response plans, training methods, and support models, CCTV said in the report.

Since the Shandong was commissioned, it has focused on the needs of the future naval battlefield and successfully carried out various tasks such as dispatching the maximum number of J-15 carrier-based fighter jets in a single batch, dispatching the maximum number of aircraft in multiple batches and landing and take-off in the night, according to CCTV.

The announcement of the training for the Shandong in the South China Sea came shortly after China's Liaoning aircraft carrier group - with two Type 055 10,000 ton-class large destroyers among others in the flotilla - held drills in the West Pacific waters east of the island of Taiwan and south of Japan as well as west of Guam in December 2022, hosting intensive fighter jet and helicopter takeoff and landing drills under the close watch of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force.

After the training for the Shandong in the South China Sea was announced, analysts noted that holding both aircraft carrier drills in different sea regions demonstrated the enhancement of China's aircraft carriers' capacity and the PLA Navy's strong capability. The drills would also help to stabilize the situation in the West Pacific and the South China Sea given the US' provocation against China in these areas in recent times, experts pointed out.

With more exercises, the Shandong, which entered PLA Navy service in December 2019, is expected to gradually achieve higher operational capability and eventually surpass the level of the Liaoning, and will sail further in addition to the South China Sea, experts said.

Global Times