By Mei Shixiong, Liu Min and Xu Yizhen
USSURIYSK, Russia, Sept. 6 -- The Vostok (East)-2022 strategic exercise is still in progress in Russia. The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) dispatched more than 2,000 troops, as well as more than 300 vehicles (equipment), 21 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and three warships to the exercise. This is the fourth time that the PLA has sent troops to participate in Russia's annual strategic exercise, and many highlights were noted.
"For the first time, China sent the units of army, navy and air force to join the drills at the same time, and dispatched navy ships to the Sea of Japan for coordinated drills," said Han Lin, a director of the Chinese participating troops.
The forces participating in the exercise showed some differences compared with the previous ones. According to Zhao Jianyou, assistant to the commander of the Chinese joint campaign headquarters, the Chinese side dispatched ground equipment in an organized, large-scale, and systematic manner including main battle equipment such as Type 99 tanks and Type 04A infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). At sea, China has participated in multi-subject training such as firing against air and sea targets, and joint maneuvering in the Sea of Japan. The Chinese Air Force’s J-10B fighter jets flew from domestic airports to overseas mission airspace and carried out precision strikes against the "enemy" air defense missile system in multiple waves.
During the exercise, the uneven terrain of the training ground in the hilly area and the rainy weather made the exercise environment very harsh. The PLA's tracked equipment has demonstrated strong maneuverability and high firepower hit rate. "This exercise is aimed at the future battlefield, and focuses more on actual combat," said Jiang Zhaosheng, deputy commander of the Chinese land force group. "The exercise has fully tested the environmental adaptability of our equipment and the capability to maneuver in unfamiliar areas."
In terms of logistic support, the Chinese speed impressed everyone when a Chinese field camp that integrates various functions such as combat command, daily life, and logistic support was set up in just three days. And in terms of information and communication, all seats at the command post and tents in the accommodation area are equipped with landlines. With the special mobile phones distributed, they can realize real-time communication among the field Camp, the exercise area in Russia and troops in China.
During the exercise, the Chinese side has sent commanding staff to the joint forces command of the exercise to participate in the planning, commanding, controlling and operating of the troops from various countries, enhancing mutual trust through collaboration and cooperation. According to Li Shuyin, a researcher at the Institute of War Studies of the Chinese PLA Academy of Military Sciences, all parties analyzed and judged the mock enemy's situation based on the same battlefield situation, arranged their troops based on the same tactic, and used a coordinated plan to ensure coordinated actions, which also enabled all parties to fully demonstrate their technical and tactical advantages.
Sun Cheng, a staff officer who participated in the whole exercise planning and communicating, introduced that during the exercise, the system combat capability based on the network information system has been further tested and improved. For example, the Chinese ground troops used drones to conduct intelligence reconnaissance and firepower assessment, and transmitted information such as strike accuracy and the damage level in real time. It provided a reference for the subsequent adjustment of tactics and realized the organic integration of integrated command platform and reconnaissance means, achieving the command link of "reconnaissance, control, strike and evaluation", and significantly improving the combined combat capability of various arms.
The Chinese troops, who kept high morale and strict discipline during the exercise, and demonstrated good tactical qualities in bad weather conditions, have won high praise from the participating troops of various countries.