PLA Navy holds 1st amphibious assault ship far sea drills in West Pacific
and Guo Yuandan Published: Mar 02, 2023 09:56 PM
The Hainan, the first Type 075 amphibious assault ship of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy, sails in the South China Sea in 2021. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television
, the first Type 075 amphibious assault ship of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, recently joined a flotilla and conducted a far sea exercise in the West Pacific, marking the first time that China has held an expeditionary voyage with a warship of this type.
Such drills displayed the vessel's high level of combat readiness and the PLA Navy's amphibious landing capabilities in carrying out traditional security missions as well as non-traditional ones like anti-terrorism and humanitarian aid, analysts said on Thursday.
The far sea joint training flotilla under the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy recently returned to base after successfully carrying out a combat training mission in the South China Sea and the West Pacific over 30 days and across more than 9,000 nautical miles, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Thursday.
Consisting of the Type 075 amphibious assault ship Hainan
, the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Hohhot
, the Type 054A guided missile frigate Liuzhou
and the Type 901 comprehensive replenishment ship Chaganhu
, the flotilla started its mission from Zhanjiang, South China's Guangdong Province in late January, CCTV reported.
Multiple mission groups including the Marines, helicopters and air-cushioned landing craft carried by the Hainan
held deeply integrated exercises. In highly intense live-fire confrontational drills, the flotilla explored the limits of weapons and equipment, and optimized multiple tactics and training methods, according to the report.
This is the first time the Hainan
has joined a far sea training mission since its commissioning on April 23, 2021 and its forming of
, and it displayed the vessel's high level of combat readiness, observers said.
Far sea drills allow the crews of vessels to familiarize themselves with the maritime environments and weather conditions in remote regions where missions could take place, and these are important factors in navigating ships and flying aircraft, Zhang Xuefeng, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times on Thursday.
More unpredictable situations could arise in far sea exercises, where land-based forces cannot provide support, and foreign vessels and aircraft could also come to cause a disturbance, Zhang said.
That is why far sea exercises offer good practice for the sailors' realistic combat-oriented capabilities, he said.
The exercise shows that the PLA is making strides to reach the far sea and better safeguard the country's strategic interests, another Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday.
The Type 075 also excels in conducting non-combat operations, including disaster relief and humanitarian aid in countries far away from China, as it can become a large mobile maritime rescue base, with helicopters and landing craft rapidly transporting supplies and personnel, the expert said.
It can also carry out anti-terrorism and anti-piracy missions to help safeguard regional peace and stability, analysts said.
China is a responsible major power, and a strong blue-water Chinese navy will benefit others, they said.
The PLA Navy has commissioned three Type 075 amphibious assault ships, the Hainan
, the Guangxi
and the Anhui
. They are also often called helicopter carriers because of their large, straight flight decks that can host takeoffs and landings of many helicopters.