Experts: PLA Navy' drills in South China Sea a deterrent to relevant countries

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2015-11-25 17:05

BEIJING, Nov. 25 (ChinaMil) -- The Chinese PLA Navy recently held a series of realistic confrontation training exercises in three sea waters of the South China Sea. The participating troops included multi-type of destroyers/frigates, anti-submarine helicopters and new type submarines.

Military expert Li Li with China's National Defense University (NDU) said in an interview that the training exercises aimed at demonstrating China's military presence in the South China Sea, tempering its military capability and reminding certain countries to act cautiously.

When it comes to the purpose and significance of the exercises, Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of China Institute of International Studies, said that the PLA Navy has been organizing necessary exercises and enhancing its combat capability according to China's Central Military Committee's requirement for the "capabilities of fighting and winning".

This time, the training exercises in the South China Sea jointly undertaken by the three major Fleets will enhance the PLA Navy's deterrence and anti-submarine capabilities, Ruan added.

The South China Sea hasn't been very uneventful recently, Ruan continued, the U.S. has taken continuous moves there, and even sent a warship to enter waters near China's islands and reefs without permission, posing a serious threat to China's sovereignty.

Ruan stressed that under such circumstances, China has to reinforce vigilance and strengthen capacity building, and these large-scale training exercises this time have highly specific purposes both in terms of the subjects and timing.

It is reported that the exercises are focused on anti-submarine subjects. According to Li Li, a new type submarine taskforce, assigned to the South China Sea Fleet and acted as the simulated enemy, engaged in the confrontation exercises with the new type frigates including frigate Hengyang and Yulin which have strong anti-submarine capability, so as to test the latter's underwater survival, attack and defense capabilities.

Apart from the training exercise on anti-submarine subjects of the three Fleets, the South China Sea Fleet also carried out an exercise on long-distance raid and 3D landing operations. But, why were the two exercises both carried out in the South China Sea?

According to Ruan Zongze, the two almost simultaneous exercises sent a strong signal. China Military Power Report states that the PLA Navy’s strategic layout is offshore waters defense and open seas protection, so the two exercises this time included both offshore and open-sea operations and posed a high demand on the PLA Navy - its construction must be aligned with the nation's security and economic interests.

Besides, as China is faced with a grave task of safeguarding its sovereignty in the South China Sea, such exercises can "kill several birds with one stone".

Li Li noted that the exercises on long-distance raid and 3D landing operations carried out by the South China Sea Fleet were aimed to enhance the PLA Navy’s capability of dealing with emergencies.

As the South China Sea issue is becoming a more heated topic, countries both in and out of the region are coveting this sea area. The exercises can not only demonstrate China's military presence and temper its military capability, but also remind certain countries to act cautiously, Li added.

Li Li also pointed out that it's more than 1,000km from the Yongxing Island to the hinterland of the South China Sea, so quick response in that area involves the long-distance delivery of military forces.

In recent years, China's new-type amphibious landing ships and other new equipment such as the large Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft have been successively commissioned to the PL A Navy, and the PLA Navy’s landing capability has been continuously improved through intense training exercises.

Li Li said that the PLA Navy wasn't familiar with 3D landing in the past and its combat capability has to be fostered through training exercises.

Acting as the commanding ship in the exercises, the amphibious dock landing ship Jinggangshan has served as an information releaser and the commander during the long-distance landing and military forces delivery to ensure the integrated operations of the whole taskforce.

Specific tactical subjects all need to be exercised over and over, including how to counter the surprise attack launched by enemy aviation soldiers during passage voyage and how to guarantee the troops' assault landing and beachhead establishing operations.

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