Latest Drills: PLA Bomber Formations cross Taiwan Straits

Now Shenzhen   |   August 8, 2022
The army of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts long-range live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait, Aug. 4, 2022. The Eastern Theater Command on Thursday conducted joint combat exercises and training around the Taiwan Island on an unprecedented scale. Photo: Xinhua

The last day of scheduled military exercises around Taiwan island by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday featured island saturation attack drills and bomber deterrence flights in the Straits, a move experts said formed a powerful deterrence to “Taiwan independence” secessionists and external interference forces, greatly promoted the reunification process, and rehearsed a potential real operation.

If “Taiwan independence” secessionists and external interference forces continue to provoke, such exercises could become routine and feature amphibious landing drills in the future, analysts believed. 

The PLA Eastern Theater Command on Sunday proceeded with the plan and continued realistic combat-scenario joint exercises in the sea and air space around the island of Taiwan, focusing on testing the troops’ joint land attack and long-range air strike capabilities, the PLA Eastern Theater Command said in a press release on the day.

During the exercises, several batches of multiple types of warplanes attached to the PLA Eastern Theater Command Air Force conducted systematic island attack drills, with the focus being honing the joint land attack and long-range air strike capabilities, said the PLA Eastern Theater Command.

A video released by the PLA Eastern Theater Command shows that the H-6K bomber, the JH-7A fighter bomber, the J-16 fighter jet and the Su-30 fighter jet are among warplane types involved in the drills.

Fully loaded with live ammunition, several bombers and fighter bombers of the Air Force took off one by one, entered combat formations, and launched standoff, saturation strike exercises with various types of precision munitions, jointly with the Army’s long-range rocket artillery and the Rocket Force’s conventional missiles.

The bombers and fighter bombers were supported by early warning aircraft, electromagnetic warfare aircraft, fighter jets and the Navy’s warships at sea, which provided air defense suppression, early warning and detection as well as electromagnetic jamming.

After completing the mock strike mission, several bomber formations flew across the Taiwan Straits from north to south and from south to north simultaneously, carrying out a deterrence mission around the island jointly with other PLA services and branches.

The drills honed the troops’ capabilities in accurately destroying vital island targets, said Zhang Zhi, department head of a staff under the PLA Eastern Theater Command Air Force.

The exercises from Thursday to Sunday demonstrated that the PLA can not only accurately hit targets from a long distance, but also push close and hard to the targets, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese mainland military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Procedures and tactics practiced in the exercises and experiences gained from the drills are very valuable, analysts said, calling the event a rehearsal for a potential reunification-by-force operation. They said that the drills, a powerful response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan island on Tuesday that violated China’s sovereignty, deterred “Taiwan independence” secessionists and external interference forces, and greatly promoted the progress of national reunification.

While the drills, surrounding the island of Taiwan with six exercise zones and essentially locking the island down with a blockade since Thursday noon, were scheduled to conclude at Sunday noon, experts said that the PLA could make the drills routine if secessionists and external interference forces continue to provoke.

Fu said that the PLA is expected to continue to practice different tactics and combat elements, including amphibious landing.

Neutralizing as many threats as possible with long-range artillery, missiles, combined with naval and air strikes, as well as securing air superiority and control of the sea were practiced in the drills from Thursday to Sunday. These steps will secure paths and minimalize coastal resistance for the following amphibious landing forces, a Chinese mainland military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times.

Amphibious landing ships, amphibious assault ships, air-cushioned landing craft and amphibious armored vehicles could join exercises in the future, the expert said.

ARTICLE FROM: Global Times