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Global Times

Aircraft carrier Liaoning wraps up open sea exercises and deals with foreign close-in reconnaissance

Global Times

By Liu Xuanzun Published: Dec 31, 2021 01:02 AM

The Liaoning aircraft carrier group of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Thursday wrapped up real combat scenario open seas exercises with the flotilla conducting comprehensive confrontational drills in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the West Pacific for 21 days, enhancing the combat capability of the carrier group as a system.

The Chinese carrier group also dealt with some close-in reconnaissance and monitoring attempts by foreign aircrafts and vessels, demonstrating confidence, analysts said.

After successfully finishing the exercises, the Liaoning aircraft carrier group safely returned to its homeport in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province on Thursday morning, the PLA Navy said in a press release.

During the exercises, the carrier group sailed through the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, crossed the Miyako Strait, sailed to multiple regions in the West Pacific and conducted several comprehensive and confrontational drills, according to the press release.

The drills focused on training using real combat scenarios and joint training as a system, the PLA Navy said, noting that the drills matched the requirement of open sea deployments, as they deeply explored, practiced and tested the group's deployment in realistic combat scenarios and effectively enhanced the group's combat capability as a system.

The group embarked for the exercise on December 9, practicing search and rescue, tactical sorties of carrier-based aircrafts and handling conditions in the air in the Yellow Sea. J-15 fighter jets engaged in many several rounds of all-weather, round-the-clock, highly intensive takeoffs and landings.

The Liaoning carrier group trained when sailing to the West Pacific, stayed on high alert, adjusted combat deployment levels, changed combat formations and effectively dealt with complicated, dynamic maritime and aerial situations.

In the West Pacific, the group held drills in multiple sea regions, tested combat capabilities under real combat scenarios despite the challenging sea conditions, and organized multiple training courses, including air and anti-submarine defense. J-15 fighter jets conducted cross-day-and-night exercises outside the first island chain focusing on several capabilities including combat planning, command and control, system structuring, forces coordination and comprehensive support.

During the exercises, foreign warships and warplanes repeatedly attempted to conduct close-in reconnaissance, monitoring and tracking on the Chinese aircraft carrier group but it dealt with them steadily and carefully with multiple waves of carrier-based fighter jets that effectively confronting them, the PLA Navy said in the press release, noting that this fully displayed the group's capabilities.

An image part of the press release shows a J-15 fighter jet taking off from the Liaoning aircraft carrier, while the Izumo, a Japanese de facto aircraft carrier, was sailing not far away, shadowed by a Type 054A frigate of the Chinese carrier group.

A video clip aired on China Central Television on Thursday shows images from the cockpit of a J-15 fighter jet tracing a foreign F-15 combat plane.

The exercises honed the combat and support capabilities in open sea of the Liaoning aircraft carrier group and demonstrated the Chinese aircraft carrier's capabilities to operate far from the homeland, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

By adequately dealing with foreign close-in reconnaissance and monitoring attempts, the PLA Navy showed its confidence amid its rising capabilities, experts said.

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