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People's Daily Online

Pilots use mock targets to simulate real combat

People's Daily Online

(Global Times) 11:13, December 07, 2018

Chinese warplanes have replaced crosshair targets painted on the ground with mock weapons and equipment in this year's target practice, a move that better simulates actual combat.

Retired armored vehicles, tanks, artillery, missiles, radars and full-sized model planes were hidden in a field, where the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Northern Theater Command deployed warplanes for live-fire target practice with rockets, missiles and bombs, the PLA Daily reported on Wednesday.

The field features a complex terrain, including wild saline-alkali soil, swamps, grassland, forests and lakes, the report said.

The PLA Air Force's Su-35 fighter jets have even begun to switch from static ground targets to buoy targets at sea, China Youth Daily reported on Thursday.

In the past, targets were usually painted on the ground, like a huge circle with a crosshair or mound in the middle, which were obvious and easy to aim at, the PLA Daily reported.

"I could see targets far away, but this year I could not see any," the PLA Daily quoted Zhong Jiayuan, a PLA pilot who has participated in target practice for more than 10 years, as saying.

The shift aims to train pilots in not only destroying, but also in searching for targets, the report said.

In actual combat, a target is much different than a crosshair target in terms of the reflection of light and radar wave, making it harder to be spotted, the PLA Daily reported, and troops should not deceive themselves with simple practices that will not help much in combat.

Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the PLA in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that the Chinese warplane pilots have already mastered shooting static targets, and that it was time to move on to more challenging ones.



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