Naval Drills Enhance Ability in Pacific Ocean
(Source: Global Times; issued Feb 18, 2020)
A warship fleet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently conducted an air defense exercise in the far seas of the Pacific Ocean, a move experts said on Monday showed the Navy's high capability in the Pacific waters.

The far sea joint training fleet under the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy, featuring guided missile destroyer Hohhot, guided missile frigate Xianning, electronic surveillance ship Tianshuxing and replenishment ship Chaganhu, held air defense drills at an undisclosed area in the Pacific Ocean, media reported on Sunday.

Beijing-based military expert Wei Dongxu told the Global Times on Monday that the drills demonstrated the Chinese Navy's high capability of joint fleet air defense in the waters of Pacific Ocean, and further improved this capability through training.

China may face aerial threats from the US from the Pacific Ocean, so the Chinese Navy's drills in these waters could lead to a higher capability of defending against potential hostile attacks, pushing the defense line farther away from the mainland, analysts said.

Using a combination of missiles and the close-in weapon system for the first time, the fleet successfully intercepted multiple waves of incoming target drones, reports said.

This is a test of the Chinese warships' capability to detect targets and apply a multidimensional air defense system, which is practical in real combat, according to Wei.

Missiles can intercept targets from a longer distance, but missiles might not be able to shoot down a large number of targets, that is when the close-in weapon system will release a barrage of bullets to clean up the remaining targets, Wei said.

The drills achieved the goal of testing the weapon systems' performance, the procedures of air defense combat and the results of the fleet's previous basic trainings, said Lu Tao, head of the exercise's directing team, CCTV reported.

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