A PLZ-83 152mm self-propelled howitzer system attached to a brigade under the PLA 81st Group Army fires at mock target during a round-the-clock live-fire training exercise at an artillery training base in north China in late September, 2018. File photo: eng.chinamil.com.cn

An artillery brigade under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Region recently mobilized from Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region to Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for a live-fire mock combat exercise.

Acting as the red team, the artillery brigade arrived at a plateau with an altitude of more than 4,800 meters in Hotan Prefecture of southern Xinjiang after setting out from Lhasa, capital city of Tibet, more than 10 days ago, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Sunday.

The goal of the exercise is to train the troops’ real-combat capabilities from all perspectives, as the red team will conduct systems confrontation with the opposing blue team.

Thousands of PLA soldiers and officers from Tibet then scattered across an area of tens of square kilometers, together with various types of combat vehicles. Upon receiving their orders, they rapidly formed up and mobilized toward the targeted area, using the night as cover, CCTV reported.

They were soon met with attacks from the blue team, who deployed special operation units for harassment attacks, launched chemical strikes and used drones for reconnaissance, the report said.

Facing electronic jamming from the blue team, the red team used the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and vehicle-borne frequency modulation radio stations to reestablish communication and restored command over the troops.

In the coming days, the two teams will conduct more exercises, including intelligence reconnaissance, infiltration, combat planning and long-range artillery strikes, CCTV reported.

“In this cross-regional exercise, our work is based on an important principle: making it real,” Song Linsheng, a member of the Tibet Military Region exercise director team, told CCTV.

We will push the troops to hopeless situations, to extremes, so we can expose those shortcomings during peacetime that limit the troops’ combat capabilities, Song said, noting that only in this way can the troops be truly trained.

Both Tibet and Xinjiang are China’s borderlands, and exercises like this will boost the PLA’s capabilities to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, analysts said.

Global Times