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PLA flotilla wraps up month-long expedition to Sulawesi Sea, West Pacific after joint training with Indonesia

时间:2021-06-07 ReadingNumber:我爱军事网 鼎盛军事论坛 Source:http://www.52sdg.com
An expeditionary training flotilla of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently conducted a month-long exercise in the Sulawesi Sea and the West Pacific after crossing the equator from the South China Sea, holding joint drills with Indonesian Navy in the process.
The guided-missile frigate Chaozhou (Hull 595) attached to a naval frigate flotilla under the Eastern Theater Command releases the target aircraft during a combat training on April 29, 2021.(Photo: eng.chinamil.com.cn)

An expeditionary training flotilla of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently conducted a month-long exercise in the Sulawesi Sea and the West Pacific after crossing the equator from the South China Sea, holding joint drills with Indonesian Navy in the process.

Unlike previous PLA Navy expeditionary training groups that often featured larger warships, this flotilla included corvettes, showing that this type of smaller coastal defense vessel is also capable of carrying out far sea tasks, Chinese experts said on Sunday.

In early summer, the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy organized an expeditionary training flotilla consisting the Type 054A guided missile frigate Liuzhou, Type 056A corvettes Suqian and Jingmen, and the Type 903 comprehensive replenishment ship Weishanhu in a series of far sea exercises which saw the warships sail more than 6,700 nautical miles in nearly a month, the PLA Navy said in a statement on Saturday.

In the exercises, the flotilla crossed the equator from the South China Sea and held more than 20 combat-oriented drills including live-fire shooting with main guns and close-in weapon systems, coordinated anti-submarine drills between ships and helicopters, air defense against incoming missiles and replenishment-at-sea.

As a part of the expeditionary training, the Liuzhou and the Suqian held a joint maritime exercise with the Indonesian Navy near Jakarta. The PLA Navy announced on May 9 that the joint drill was successfully held a day earlier, boosting cooperation and mutual trust between the two countries' navies and their capability of dealing with maritime emergencies in a coordinated manner.

The expeditionary training and the joint exercise are regular arrangements in accordance with the annual training schedule, and are concrete measures taken to innovate new exercise models, push forward military transformation and focus on the building of combat preparedness, the flotilla commander was quoted as saying.

This is not the first expeditionary training group the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy has organized in 2021. A group featuring the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Yinchuan, Type 071 amphibious landing ship Wuzhishan, Type 901 comprehensive replenishment ship Chaganhu, Type 054A guided missile frigate Hengyang and electronic surveillance ship Tianshuxing also embarked on a far sea exercise across the equator in February.

Military observers said that compared to previous PLA Navy expeditionary training groups, which often featured larger warships like destroyers and amphibious landing ships, the latest group featured the smaller corvettes, a type of ship originally believed to be designed for coastal defense missions.

Since the vessels have smaller displacement, the exercise was a test of combat readiness, safety risk and sailors' will while operating in strange sea regions under complicated situations, the PLA Navy statement said.

Under the support of the comprehensive replenishment ship, the corvettes displayed strong combat and escort capabilities also in far sea, despite having a seemingly small displacement of less than 2,000 tons, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.

As China aims to build a blue-water navy, even smaller warships were designed to serve this goal, Song said, noting that Type 056 corvettes are expected to join more far sea operations in the future.

The PLA Navy operates a total of 72 Type 056 series corvettes, including the Type 056 and the Type 056A, with a total of six slightly different configurations, media reported in February, when the final ship of this class entered naval service.

 

(Responsible editor:鼎盛军事论坛)

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