BEIJING, September 18 (ChinaMil) -- The "Joint Sea-2016" military drill between China and Russia is reaching a climax as the red and blue teams conducted their first "back to back" combat operations including joint air defense and joint anti-submarine drills on September 17.
According to Chinese Navy Spokesman Liang Yang, the "Joint Sea-2016" naval drill between China and Russia will be held from September 12 to 19 at sea and air space east off Zhanjiang of south China’s Guangdong Province.
For the first time, troops from two countries participating in the drill split into blue and red teams and adopted the "back to back" method for combat exercises.
The 1st naval fleet of the red team consists of the Chinese guided-missile destroyer Guangzhou, guided-missile frigate Huangshan, comprehensive supply ship Junshanhu and Russian destroyer Admiral Tributs. The members of the commanding group in the fleet are also from both navies.
The blue team consists of Chinese troops including the guided-missile destroyer Zhengzhou, two submarines, several JH-7A aircraft and one ship-borne helicopter, and the Zhengzhou destroyer is the commanding ship.
Chen Xi, captain of the guided-missile destroyer Zhengzhou, said in a previous interview that although there are fewer troops in the blue team, the team has a high degree of integration as they have early warning helicopter, bomber, surface ship and submarine.
And therefore, the blue team can employ more methods, display comprehensive combat abilities and achieve an asymmetrical combat advantage, said Chen.
"As the commanding post of the blue team, we can use early warning helicopters to search and engage JH-7A aircraft and submarines in the combat. The blue team enjoys the priority of initiating the combat, which means we have the priority over when to engage, giving the other team a secret and sudden attack," said Chen. In the previous series of China-Russia joint maritime military drills, the two sides have repeatedly carried out subjects such as air defense and anti-submarine, which are basic naval combat training courses for every country.
A high level of strategic mutual trust is the premise of carrying out drills on these two subjects as the radar and sonar of both sides should be open over the course of such drills. Besides, in order to share important information and data, there is also no obvious distinction in the way they use electronic devices.
The highlight of this drill is the "back to back" combat between red and blue teams adopted in China-Russia joint maritime drills for the first time. It's also the first time for China to use such method in joint drills with foreign navies.
According to the plan of the drill, the 1st naval fleet of the red team would escort a merchant ship (simulated by Junshanhu ship) while moving to the exercise area before dawn on September 17.
In the meantime, the Guangzhou frigate, Huangshan frigate and Admiral Tributs destroyer formed a herringbone air defense formation, offering effective protection to the merchant ship in the middle.
Xiao Shuangsheng, the commanding group member of the 1st fleet of the red team, introduced that the commanding group ordered three ships to form a defense system for air defense and anti-submarine purposes.
He was quoted as saying, "In the joint air defense exercise, the three ships searched the air respectively and observed through the ship-borne radar. Then they shared information on threats from the air on the joint commanding information platform."
Air defense and anti-submarine subjects are defensive in nature, which means the premise as well as the difficulty of both subjects lies on "discovery."
Xiao Shuangsheng believes that in air defense, apart from the quality of equipment, the challenge also comes from the pilot's skills, courage and tactical moves in particular situations, such as a delayed opening of radar of the incoming aircraft and low altitude penetration.
As for winning or losing, if the red side fails to find the blue team until it reaches a predetermined minimum distance and the weapon system of the red team is still cold, then the red team wastes the best time for effective attack.
"Discovery" is even more important and difficult for anti-submarine.
Sergey, chief of staff of the first fleet of the red team, said that anti-submarine is the most complicated and difficult subject. Due to the concealment and mobility of targets, anti-submarine warfare is listed as the top of three difficulties faced by world navies.
In an anti-submarine warfare, the performance of sonar plays an important role. Besides, the complexity of the maritime environment, temperature and direction of flows all has influences on the detection of submarines.
This joint drill is conducted in coastal areas of the South China Sea, which brings a number of negative factors for detecting submarines such as harsh aquatic environment, complex background noise and distorted currents.
During the drill, Huangshan frigate and Admiral Tributs destroyer of the 1st fleet of the red team sent anti-submarine helicopters respectively for search tasks. Helicopters placed sonar underwater while hovering at a low altitude.
It is analyzed that Admiral Tributs destroyer has a strong anti-submarine capability and thus Chinese ships can learn a lot in joint drills with Admiral Tributs.
Sergey said that the anti-submarine subject is a basic requirement for world navies and it is not easy as both sides use different weapons in their own ways.