The South China Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has recently completed a far-reaching patrol-training mission in the South China Sea and the western Pacific Ocean. During the 16-day drill from March 19 to April 3, 2013, the fleet traversed approximately 5,000 nautical miles and conducted a variety of exercises to complete the navy´s second high seas training mission of the year.
The mission was primarily carried out through a “joint maneuvering formation” consisting of four battleships: amphibious landing craft Jinggangshan, missile destroyer Lanzhou, and missile frigates Yulin and Hengshui, along with four ship-borne helicopters, a hovercraft, a marine company and other troops. The training exercises simulating actual combat have helped the navy effectively improve its defense capabilities based on the information system and capacity to safeguard maritime sovereignty.
“The mission has helped us accumulate valuable experience in regular high-sea training,” Lieutenant Admiral Jiang Weilie, commander of the South China Sea Fleet, commented on the accomplishments of the training.
Contrasting previous exercises, the latest mission featured cutting-edge battleships equipped with the newest information systems, which guided all the drills. Through processing information gathered from the sensory system, the command system can suggest several battle plans to assist the commander’s decisions. It was dubbed the “multiplier of fighting capacity” by Lin Hai, commanding group chief of the formation. The comprehensive implementation of the information system tremendously improved command efficiency. Actual combat drills and exercises designed around the system comprised a crucial piece of training.
“This was a routine training exercise,” deputy commander of the formation and deputy chief of staff of the South China Sea Fleet Zhang Wendan remarked, adding that the endeavor was meant to display the determination of the Chinese navy to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, protect fishery production and traffic security on the sea, and improve the comprehensive combat capacities of the navy.