the liaoning The carrier group recently embarked on a routine and realistic combat training mission in the Western Pacific, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy said on Tuesday, after the mighty flotilla was reportedly sighted entering the Western Pacific via the Miyako Strait on Monday.
Comprised of at least eight warships, the carrier group is the largest to head to the high seas among recent voyages, marking a significant increase in combat capability in preparation for missions that include potential military conflict in across the Taiwan Strait, experts said.
The PLA Navy sent the liaoning carrier group to conduct realistic combat training in the remote waters of the western Pacific, PLA Navy spokesman Senior Captain Gao Xiucheng confirmed in a press release on Tuesday.
The exercise is a routine exercise held according to the annual schedule and aims to enhance the Navy’s ability to carry out its duties, Gao said, noting that the trip is in line with related international law and practice. and does not target any other party.
Gao’s remarks came after Japan reported on the Chinese carrier group’s movements on Monday.
A total of eight PLA Navy ships, namely the aircraft carrier liaoningthe large Type 055 guided missile destroyer nanchangType 052D missile destroyers Xining, Urumqi and Chengduthe Type 052C guided missile destroyer Zhengzhouthe Type 054A missile frigate Xiangtan and the complete Type 901 supply ship Hulunhuwere spotted sailing from the East China Sea through the waters between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island toward the Pacific Ocean on Monday, Japan’s Defense Ministry Joint Chiefs of Staff said. in a statement released later the same day.
A number of J-15 carrier-based fighter jets as well as Z-8 and Z-9 helicopters could be seen standing on the flight deck of the liaoningaccording to a photo attached to the press release.
According to official PLA media, the liaoning had maritime exercises earlier this year, and it is expected to be the first time it crosses the first island chain and sails the western Pacific in 2022, following the aircraft carrier’s last deep-sea voyage in December of last year, observers said.
This also marks the greatest liaoning aircraft carrier group on recent voyages. On the December voyage, the group reportedly showcased at least six ships – the liaoninga Type 055, a Type 052D, two Type 054As and a Type 901. liaoninga Type 055, two Type 052D, a Type 054A and a Type 901. Back in 2016 when the liaoning first had training on the high seas in the Western Pacific, he had three destroyers, three frigates and a supply ship as escorts.
A Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday that exercises on the high seas have already become routine for the liaoningas the PLA Navy makes strides towards becoming a deep blue navy.
Based on previous voyages, after passing through the Miyako Strait, Chinese ships could go further east into the Pacific Ocean, or they could transit through the Bashi Channel south to the island of Taiwan and carry out exercises in the South China Sea, the expert predicted. .
The quality and quantity of warships in the carrier group – including five “Chinese Aegis” destroyers – are very impressive and reflect the rapid growth of the PLA Navy, the expert said.
By showcasing a number of different types of main combat ships, the current liaoning The carrier group is a comprehensive group that has significantly higher combat capability than before, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
It is possible that the carrier group will also be accompanied by submarine forces, Song said.
All exercises on the high seas are part of the preparations for actual combat, and it is certain that the carriers will take part in the preparations for a potential military conflict across the Taiwan Strait, Song said.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force dispatched the Izumoa de facto aircraft carrier, as well as P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and P-3C anti-submarine aircraft to gather intelligence and monitor the activities of Chinese ships, the ministry’s Joint Staff said. Japanese Defense in the press release.
It is almost certain that Japanese and American warships and warplanes will conduct close reconnaissance attempts and make provocative movements on the Chinese flotilla, so the Chinese ships and ship-based aircraft must have been well prepared to handle them with confidence, analysts said. .