Chinese PLA holds intensive drills in northwest plateau, tests new weapons, tactics

BEIJING:The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Army and Air Force recently held intensive exercises in plateau regions in Northwest China and put many newly commissioned weapons and equipment as well as advanced deployment tactics to the test, with analysts saying on Sunday the drills displayed that the new gears are combat-ready and reinforcements can reach the frontline quickly in rapid-reaction missions.

Deep in the Karakorum Mountains at an elevation of more than 4,500 meters, an artillery unit under a brigade attached to the PLA Xinjiang Military Command recently held a live-fire shooting examination with newly commissioned PHL-11 self-propelled multiple rocket launcher systems, as the rockets accurately rained down on their targets, Global times quoting China Central Television (CCTV) reported .

A combined arms brigade attached to the Xinjiang Military Command recently tested out the PCL-161 self-propelled howitzers that just entered service in a live-fire drill also in the Karakorum Mountains, at higher than 5,000 meters in altitude.

Another Xinjiang Military Command brigade fired PHL-03 long-range multiple rocket launcher systems in a recent exercise in a snowy plateau region and simulated eliminating hostile armored groups and artillery positions.

The weapons and equipment featured in these exercises are some of the newly commissioned ones that were covered in official media reports in May, and their involvement in live-fire drills indicates that they have generated combat capabilities quickly in the past two months, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times, requesting anonymity.

The 81st Group Army from the Central Theater Command and the 72nd Group Army from the Eastern Theater Command also dispatched troops to plateau and desert regions for exercises, bringing howitzers, air defense missiles, drones and reconnaissance vehicles with them.

An airborne troop brigade of the PLA Air Force recently conducted parachute training in the northwest plateau region with Y-8 tactical transport aircraft, using newly developed, plateau-focused parachute kits and oxygen masks, according to another CCTV report .

Warplanes of the PLA Western Theater Command Air Force also practiced emergency deployment in a strange airfield, as ground units rapidly maneuvered and stationed into the airfield through road, railway and airlift by Y-20 strategic transport aircraft, providing support to J-16 multirole fighter jets, media reported this weekend.

These drills display that the PLA can deploy troops and warplanes from other locations to the frontline very quickly in rapid-reaction missions when a situation arises, the expert said.