Military news

PLA conducts reconnaissance training at sea

2017-12-05 08:47:00 (Beijing Time)         Global Times


Training shows PLA can 'monitor E. China Sea without dead zones'

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force says it conducted simultaneous training exercises involving its reconnaissance aircraft, fighter jets, early warning aircraft and surface-to-air missile forces, in a Weibo posting on Monday.

Reconnaissance aircraft of the PLA Air Force recently trained in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea to improve combat readiness and protect national strategic interests, according to the air force's Weibo account on Monday.

Experts said the training proved the Chinese air force can conduct all-weather and real-time reconnaissance in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea, delivering a deterrence signal to potential rivals in the region.

Shen Jinke, PLA Air Force spokesperson, said at an airport in North China on Monday "this far-sea training means we have established air lanes and areas as we have never done before," according to the Weibo account.

The Weibo posting didn't mention exactly when or where the training exercises took place, nor provide details of the type of aircraft or personnel involved.

"The air force is giving hints to its rivals that it has the capability to reach and monitor the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea without dead zones," Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Monday.

"The PLA Air Force is declaring its improvement in combat capability. The shortage of advanced aircraft is a main reason the Chinese air force has left dead zones in some areas of the sea. This problem has been solved and China now has the most powerful air force in this region," said Song Zhongping, a TV commentator and military expert.

Since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the PLA Air Force has for the first time conducted several military exercises along sea routes and in international waters, and its at-sea combat capability and operations command have been improving, the air force spokesperson said.

Geopolitics is also a reason why dead zones were not closed in some sensitive regions, such as Diaoyu Island and some areas close to Taiwan Island in the East China Sea, Song said, "In the past we didn't want to provoke others but after receiving provocations in which others changed the status quo, the PLA doesn't need to be restrained any longer. So it sent aircraft to those areas which it had never done before."

Preparing for tension

The PLA Air Force simultaneously conducted training simulations between fighter jets, early warning aircraft and surface-to-air missile forces, Shen said in the release.

The multiple training exercises where not only designed for intelligence gathering. They also show the PLA Air Force has the capability to react to emergency situations, including the use of force to eliminate threats, said Xu.

"The PLA Air Force is also emphasizing its effective control and monitor of its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), but we only have an ADIZ in the East China Sea," he said.

In order to protect its territories and national interests in the East China Sea, China established its East China Sea ADIZ in 2013, and they overlap with existing ADIZs announced by Japan and South Korea.

Now the PLA Air Force is showing the same capability in the Yellow Sea, Xu said. "In the East China Sea, our potential rival is Japan's Air Self-Defense Force, and the reason why we did not declare an ADIZ in the Yellow Sea is that South Korea is not our major rival, but now with the worsening situation in the Korean Peninsula, the PLA Air Force has to be prepared for any possible incident."