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NO. 49 DECEMBER 8, 2011
Newsletter> NO. 49 DECEMBER 8, 2011
UPDATED: December 5, 2011 NO. 49 DECEMBER 8, 2011
War Games
The PLA demonstrates greater transparency and a willingness to learn

An all-around opening up

As an exercise open to foreign officers, "Vanguard 2011 Queshan" set a record in terms of the number of military branches involved. A total of 12 branches from the PLA army and air force participated in the exercise, including airborne forces, mechanized infantry, artillery forces and army aviation forces. Weapons used by the army included tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers while the air force used ground attack aircraft, fighters, transport aircraft, attack helicopters and transport helicopters.

During previous military exercises, foreign officers were only allowed to watch the final combat phase of the drills. However, during "Vanguard 2011 Queshan," foreign cadets and military attachés were divided into small groups and were able to watch the war games more closely from vehicles. Before the drill started, exercise directors briefed foreign officers on the exercise's contents and goals, the composition of the directors, troops participating in the exercise and the general conditions of the exercise. During the exercise, foreign officers were divided into two groups. One group watched the drills of an airborne regiment and the other watched the performance of an armored brigade. Both groups watched the final live fire attack drill conducted by airborne forces and the mechanized infantry.

The airborne regiment and the armored brigade also cooperated to accomplish two tactical operations: seizing an airport and an important position on a mountain.

The "Vanguard 2011 Queshan" drill marked the first time China's airborne forces sent an entire regiment to participate in a joint exercise with the army. Wang Yongchen, a major general of the PLA's airborne forces, said that this exercise will prompt the airborne forces to refine its vertical strike tactics and explore new combat tactics.

A total of over 1,700 military personnel and 20 aircraft of seven different types participated in the drill. The airborne forces' complex parachuting skills, the use of missile operators, unmanned aircraft, battlefield television, satellite communication and missile site radar were the focuses of the exercise.

After the drill was concluded, foreign officers viewing the drill were invited to a seminar to exchange opinions with Chinese officers on how to choose targets and launch air-and-ground joint strikes. Other questions raised by the observers were how to conduct sudden aerial attacks, airborne combat and how to coordinate aerial and ground fire as well as logistics support. Foreign officers were also invited to visit the barracks of an artillery brigade under the PLA Jinan Military Area Command.

The author works for the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department

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