Shandong carrier group back at port after Pacific training

2023-05-08 09:58:15China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The CNS Shandong carrier battle group sails in the Western Pacific. It undertook training in different combat scenarios during its recent mission. (Photo by An Ni/For China Daily)

Ship had close encounters with foreign vessels during mission

The People's Liberation Army Navy's CNS Shandongaircraft carrier has completed monthlong training and exercises and has returned to its home port of Sanya, in Hainan province, according to the Navy.

During the operation, the Shandongcarrier battle group sailed into the Western Pacific and took part in combat patrols and "Joint Sword" exercises around Taiwan, which were organized by the PLA Eastern Theater Command in early April.

The carrier battle group trained in different combat scenarios such as search and strike against submarines, anti-ship assault and the elimination of enemy aircraft in a designated airspace.

They also cooperated with other fleets, ballistic missile forces and land-based aircraft units on joint exercises in the Western Pacific, the Navy said in a news release, adding that this is the first time the Shandong carrier battle group has trained in the Western Pacific.

During the voyage, the group had numerous encounters with foreign warships and planes that attempted to make close-up reconnaissance. Commanders handled the encounters in an effective, secure manner and used the encounters to hone combat skills, the Navy noted.

A J-15 fighter jet takes off from CNS Shandong during the battle group's recent training in the Western Pacific. (Photo by Li Jinghan/For China Daily)

According to pictures released by the Navy, the carrier battle group consists of several Type 055 and Type 052D guided-missile destroyers and Type 054A guided-missile frigates, as well as a large supply ship.

The Shandong — China's second aircraft carrier and the first to be wholly designed and built domestically — displaces 50,000 metric tons of water. Commissioned in December 2019 by the South Sea Fleet, it is the largest and most sophisticated naval ship currently in any Asian navy.

Song Zhongping, a military affairs commentator and retired PLA officer, said the fact that the Shandong carrier battle group was on combat duty during the training period indicates that all of its vessels, especially the carrier, have combat capability and are able to engage in actual battle.

"The PLA's carrier battle groups are tasked with operating in waters far from our shores to thwart enemy forces. They will play an important role in military operations against 'Taiwan independence' and foreign interference in the future," he said.

Song also said that the encounters with foreign air and naval forces provided the Shandong group precious opportunities to hone and test its operational capabilities and accumulate experience.


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