By Qian Xiaohu
Highlighting combat-led training: using battlefield demand to direct actual combat training
"When we talked about actual combat training in the past, we referred to picking up the gun and then aiming at the target. What we cared about then was the gun. Now, we should first ask if the target and the environment are scientifically set ?" said deputy Wu Yingxia, a senior engineer at a base of the PLA Army.
Deputy Xi Chaofeng from the PLA 82nd Group Army felt a real change in using "battlefield demand" to pull actual combat training. The air defense brigade which he is assigned to is stationed in the same place with an air force department, but there has been little exchange between the two units over the years. Today, joint training and confrontation drills have become the training norm of the two. "Going to somewhere unfamiliar thousands of miles away for cross-regional drills and accepting multiple tests of complex electromagnetic environments, special geographic environments, and extreme weather conditions are becoming more and more common for service members of our air defense brigades," said Xi Chaofeng.
Deputy Xu Liqiang, from a base of the PLA Air Force, introduced: "Now, the target obstacle setting, the knowledge structure of the trainers, and the use of the Blue Army's tactics have all changed with the shift in simulated combat opponents." The actual combat exercises, including "Red Sword", "Golden Helmet", "Golden Dart" and "Blue Shield" organized by his troops have become effective ways to enhance the combat effectiveness of the troops.
Emphasizing systematic training: "You are not fighting alone."
The PLA has showcased various new-type combined arms forces on our military training range and carried out intensive actual combat training. Behind these drills is the common focus on systematic support.
"In modern warfare, the battlefield space is spreading across all ranges, including the land, sea, air, sky, electricity, and the Internet. One of my deepest feelings is that you are not fighting alone!" said deputy Kong Jun from the PLA Marine Corps.
"Real combat readiness, as well as systematic integration, is inevitable," said deputy Yang Cheng, political commissioner of the PLA 73rd Group Army. Take the combined arms battalion of the PLA Army as an example. The battalion not only has an infantry company, but also involves tanks, howitzers, engineers, chemical defense, electronics, and reconnaissance. It also establishes directly supportive relationships with the air force and artillery groups. It is difficult to win on the battlefield without real integration.
Deputy Yu Hailong from the PLA Air Force Airborne Corps believes that the focus of joint training should be set on the primary level, starting from joint training of basic combat units such as individual soldiers and single equipment; from the integration of basic units such as squad, company, platoon, and battalion; from the examination of a unit to that of the whole; and, from the test of a single soldier to that of the team, so as to achieve the integration from each level to the overall armed forces.
Prioritizing the confrontation test: make progress from each fight
Over the past few years, deputy Ding Guolin from a department of the PLA Rocket Force led a team to review and summarize dozens of missile models, nearly a hundred pieces of standards regarding training guidance and adjustment, as well as thousands kinds of special circumstances. They successfully constructed realistic battlefield environment and formed the "Red and Blue" confrontation training mode with the characteristics of the PLA Rocket Force.
Before going to Beijing to attend the session, deputy Mahe Pali（transliterated from Kazakh into English）, commander of the fifth tank company under the Chinese PLA’s Xinjiang Military Command, was still training half-slope tank-starting operation in a training range in the deep Tianshan Mountains. One mistake may cause the engine to detonate or even roll over. Mahe Pali pulled the joystick tightly with both hands and restarted decisively. Finally, with a huge roar, the tank whistled towards the destination.
“If we sweat more in daily training, we will have more chances to win in wartime”, the military deputies said. In recent years, Chinese military has conducted most of the exercises at the largest scale with the most comprehensive elements that are all unseen before. Actual combat training is pushing PLA's combat effectiveness to a new level.