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Global Times

Warplanes of PLA Air Force, Navy share airfield in joint exercise

Global Times

By Liu Xuanzun Published: Dec 12, 2022 10:00 PM Updated: Dec 12, 2022 09:55 PM

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) recently organized a joint exercise in which warplanes of the Air Force and the Navy used the same airfield and received ground maintenance, a method analysts said on Monday reflects the PLA's high level of cross-service support in joint operations and will provide tactical advantages in combat.

Carried out in an undisclosed airfield in the eastern part of East China's Zhejiang Province, the drills practiced the support exchange between the aviation forces of the Air Force and the Navy of the PLA Eastern Theater Command, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Monday.

In the morning, several Su-30 fighter jets attached to a brigade of the aviation force of the Navy took off and headed toward a training area, shortly before several warplanes of the same type from the Air Force that had just finished training landed one by one, CCTV reported.

The Air Force's Su-30s then entered hangars as ground maintenance staff members wearing Navy badges carried out checks and maintenance for them, according to the report.

"In routine support exchange of the same type of aircraft, our maintenance staff must work fast with excellence and precision," Captain Ma Xiyue, a deputy commander of the naval aviation force brigade, told CCTV.

"Only then can we shorten the preparation time for the next round of aircraft sorties, improve efficiency for readying warplanes and win advantages on the battlefield," Ma said.

Around noon, the warplanes of the Air Force were ready for sorties as they, together with some J-10A fighter jets of the Navy, lifted off for and continued training in a designated mission area, the report showed.

The cross-service, cross-organization support exchange is an important part of joint operations logistics support, CCTV said.

It means that warplanes of the Air Force can use airfields of the Navy, and vice versa, a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Monday.

With more airfields available to choose from for both services, this will increase tactical and operative flexibility, bringing about advantages in combat, the expert said.

In addition to the Su-30 fighter jets, the PLA Air Force and Navy operate several types of warplanes in common, including the J-10 and the J-11 fighter jets, the JH-7 fighter bomber, the H-6 bomber and the KJ-500 early warning aircraft, observers said.

While the versions of the aircraft used by the Air Force and the Navy are slightly different, the ground staff should have no major problems in completing basic checks, maintenance and munitions reloading, the expert said.

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