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People's Daily Online

PLA's Air Force drill over the high seas to be a standard practice

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 11:11, April 02, 2015

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force successfully completed its first ever military drill in the airspace above the west Pacific Ocean on Monday, and returned to base later the same day.

According to Shen Jinke, spokesperson with the air force, PLA aircraft flew over the west Pacific via the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan on Monday. The drill aims to 'level up the PLA Air Force's mobility and combat capability' over the high seas.

Military expert Yin Zhuo told People's Daily Online that the drill is in line with international laws and practices, and no country has any right to interfere. He also said such drills will become a standard practice and the PLA air force and navy will join together to conduct such exercises.

The PLA's Air Force deployed its H-6k bomber during the drill. Its combat range can reach 2,000 kilometers and the missile it carries extends the bomber's strike range to 4,000 kilometers, which is suitable for operation over the high seas, said Yin Zhuo.

In future training exercises, long-range maritime patrol aircraft, fighters and early-warning aircraft may escort the H-6k bomber and provide targets and electromagnetic environment confrontation for it, according to Yin Zhuo.

The PLA's Air Force has the right to travel to the open seas via the northern part of international public airspace, including the airspace of the Miyako Waterway or Osumi Strait, in line with international law, said Yin Zhuo. But he did not rule out the possibility that other countries or regions will monitor the training.

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