BEIJING, November 2 (ChinaMil) -- The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has organized seven joint actual-troop military exercises codenamed “Joint Operation-2014” in a number of regions and waters since May 2014.
The series of joint actual-troop military exercises feature the largest participating forces, most complete exercise elements, longest duration, hardest organization and most complicated exercise subjects of the Chinese armed forces in the new century.
Duller exercises are closer to actual combat
What the “Joint Operation-2014” exercises strike the observers most is that they are not as exciting as expected.
As the participating troops are scattered over an area of hundreds of square kilometers, hardly can one soldier or vehicle be seen, nor is there any neatly-rowed artillery front or densely-arranged tank groups. All soldiers and equipment are hidden in the forest, trenches and meadows.
“We want to consolidate the process”, said He Qimao, head of the Joint Training Bureau of the Military Training Department under the PLA General Staff Headquarters.
In previous exercises, huge white circles were painted and numbered on the mountains to guide air and ground strike in order to make the exercises more exciting for observers, but all strike-guiding signs are canceled this time.
“The enemies wouldn’t draw a white circle for us to strike,” said Li Xiaocheng, the division commander of the aviation force of the PLA Air Force, but admitted that it’s really hard to strike without the white circle.
Since the duration is longer, area is vaster, forces are scattered and the field is closer to what the real battlefield is, of course, the exercises are duller and less exciting.
“Joint exercises are not revelry or a one-time deal that can be completed in a few days,” said He Qimao, stressing that joint exercises must be implemented in everyday training throughout the year in order to truly enhance the combat capability.
More complete exercises are more like real war
The “Joint Operation-2014” is a series of joint exercises with the most complete exercise elements in recent years, involving all arms of the PLA Army, the PLA Navy, the PLA Air Force, the PLA Second Artillery Force, and the militiamen and reservists.
Li Xiaocheng has participated in a lot of exercises of various types these years. In his opinion, even the deployment of the Air Force and the Navy wasn’t completely free from the mental confinement of “grand army” in the past.
But air-to-ground attack is one of the key subjects in the “Joint Operation-2014” series of exercises, in which both army forces on ground and air forces in sky are taking concrete actions.
All cannons and targets are real. Waste armored tanks fitted with remote control device to move are used as targets. Not only is the target really hit, but the soldiers need to fix it once it’s hit down.
According to Xu Ren, director of the Equipment Department of the PLA 39th Combined Corps, the equipment department was exercising those subjects in the past, but this is the first time to carry them out under the background of joint exercises and according to systematic warfare process.
More complicated exercises are more similar to real battlefield
To put it in simple words, one of the key achievements of the “Joint Operation-2014” series of exercises is turning the combined-corps-level commanding organization from a training organizer to a trainee.
This change makes the PLA’s joint training more systematic, the organization and commanding more difficult, and the training contents more complicated.
He Qimao noted that future warfare will be such complicated. There may be just a company on the frontline, but tens of thousands of supportive forces, including satellite reconnaissance, air delivery and long-distance strike are needed in the back, and the decision and commanding from the headquarters may even be needed.
The PLA established a joint training leading group in March this year, which will plan, organize and implement joint trainings throughout the PLA in a holistic manner, and will be responsible for inspecting and assessing the training effects.
The establishment of the PLA joint training leading group promotes the integration of the PLA’s joint training in terms of strategy, battle and tactics.
According to Ma Kaiping, deputy director of the Military Training Department under the PLA General Staff Headquarters, as the PLA is highly aligned in concept, the next step is to learn how to integrate and how to use all kinds of firepower and supportive forces. If the combat mission needs, even a platoon or squad leader or a single soldier can call for fire attack.
“We will present satisfactory results for the PLA joint trainings next year,” said He Qimao.