By Wei Qi, Liu Yupeng and Liu Yang
ORENBURG，Russia, Sept. 17 (ChinaMil) -- The Center-2019 (Tsentr-2019) strategic drills of Russia officially kicked off at Donguz training range in Orenburg, Russia on Monday, with a total of 128,000 officers and soldiers to participate and is expected to be completed on September 21.
According to Russian media reports, in addition to the Russian armed forces, there are 2,250 military personnel from seven countries participating in the exercise. Among which, the Chinese officers and soldiers account for the largest proportion.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, the Chinese joint drill command and participating troops were dispatched by the PLA Western Theater Command and its units, consisting of about 1,600 participating troops, more than 300 pieces of weapons and equipment, and nearly 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Based on recent public pictures, the Type-96 main battle tanks, Type-04A infantry fighting vehicles, Type-07 122mm self-propelled howitzers and other equipment were sent by the PLA, all of which are advanced models attached to the PLA Ground Force.
Russian media reported that two weeks ago, Chinese military personnel had brought their military technical equipment including heavy tanks to the training range in Orenburg, Russia.
The Chinese participating troops include a ground force operations combat group, an air combat group, a special operations commandos and a command support team, focusing on reconnaissance, strike, assault and other drill subjects, and mainly carrying out intensive firepower strike, three-dimensional breakthrough, split breakthrough, situation control and other operational actions.
According to expert, this is the second consecutive year that the Chinese military has participated in Russian strategic drills. Last year, the Chinese military sent 3,200 people, more than 900 various types of weapons and equipment and 30 fixed-wing aircraft as well as helicopters to participate in the Russian Vostok-2018 strategic military exercise.
An anonymous military expert said that there are many things worth learning for Chinese military in the Russian strategic exercise, for example, the full preparation for the exercise, the clear description of the scenario opponents, the thoughtful combat method, the transparent drill process, and the concentration on actual combat.