Friend­ship Over Cham­pi­onship “Mil­i­tary­olympics”inchina

“Military Olympics” in China

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Text by Chen Jian and Wan Quan

From July 29 to Au­gust 12, the Avi­adarts and Air­borne Pla­toon, two com­pe­ti­tions un­der the frame­work of the 2017 In­ter­na­tional Army Games (IAG), were held in Hubei Prov­ince and Jilin Prov­ince, re­spec­tively. It was the first time the Chi­nese Air Force hosted com­pre­hen­sive in­ter­na­tional military com­pe­ti­tions.

Dubbed the “Military Olympics,” the IAG is an an­nual military com­pe­ti­tion event launched by the Min­istry of De­fense of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion in 2013.

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping sent a con­grat­u­la­tory video to the IAG when it con­vened in late July. In the video, Xi pointed out that the IAG has be­come a key brand for re­gional military ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion and an im­por­tant plat­form for ar­mies from var­i­ous coun­tries to deepen friend­ship and learn from each other. He added that the Chi­nese army is will­ing to make com­mon progress through mu­tual learn­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion arena.

Air­borne Pla­toon: Land­ing in Guang­shui

The Air­borne Pla­toon com­pe­ti­tion was held in Guang­shui, Hubei Prov­ince. Fea­tur­ing low hills and criss­cross­ing rivers, the city is home to one of the Chi­nese Air Force’s top train­ing grounds. The com­pe­ti­tion at­tracted air­borne troops from China, Iran, Kaza­khstan, Morocco, Rus­sia, South Africa and Venezuela. The Chi­nese team was com­prised of 42 para­troop­ers from two well-known com­pa­nies: the Shang­gan­ling 8th Company with Spe­cial-class Mer­its and the 3rd Red Company.

The com­pe­ti­tion in­cluded three events: ve­hi­cles, non-ve­hi­cles and BASE jump­ing. At 12:00 p.m. on Au­gust 8, ac­com­pa­nied by roar­ing en­gines, sev­eral Rus­sian as­sault ve­hi­cles jumped off the start­ing line to kick off the ve­hi­cle re­lay—the last and most im­por­tant event in the Air­borne Pla­toon com­pe­ti­tion. Par­tic­i­pants also in­cluded teams from China and Kaza­khstan. In the event, they com­pleted an ob­sta­cle race in moun­tain­ous ter­rain cou­pled with a shooting com­pe­ti­tion.

On the Chi­nese team, No. 801 as­sault ve­hi­cle took the first leg of the re­lay. It pre­cisely passed ev­ery ob­sta­cle and hit all six shooting tar­gets. No. 802 ve­hi­cle, which ran the sec­ond leg, hit four of the six tar­gets. When No.803 ve­hi­cle started off on the third leg, it be­gan rain­ing. The track be­came muddy. The gun­ner, Liu Xian­jun, strug­gled to keep his eyes open and held his breath when he shot. The tar­get scor­ing sys­tem showed that he hit ev­ery tar­get.

The cur­tain of the 10-day Air­borne Pla­toon com­pe­ti­tion fell when the ve­hi­cle re­lay con­cluded. Of seven par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries, China took first in 11 of 12 subevents in both ve­hi­cle and non-ve­hi­cle events.

Avi­adarts: Hov­er­ing above Taip­ingchuan

The venue of the Avi­adarts com­pe­ti­tion was Taip­ingchuan Shooting Range of the Chi­nese Air Force, lo­cated at the in­ter­sec­tion of Liaon­ing Prov­ince, Jilin Prov­ince and the In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion. Dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, the weather was not as hot as in Guang­shui, but rainy and cloudy, which is rare for the re­gion.

Avi­adarts is a com­pe­ti­tion of military avi­a­tors cat­e­go­rized into eight events for fight­ers, fighter-bombers, bombers, scouts, at­tack­ers, trans­port air­craft, trans­port he­li­copters, and armed he­li­copters. Both China and Rus­sia dis­patched 39 air­craft to par­tic­i­pate in the com­pe­ti­tion. The av­er­age age of Chi­nese and Rus­sian pilots in the com­pe­ti­tion was only 35.

The Avi­adarts com­pe­ti­tion is di­vided into three phases: phys­i­cal stamina, flight skills and air as­sault on ground tar­gets. The phys­i­cal stamina phase in­volves swim­ming and bas­ket­ball races. On Au­gust 8, the subevents of the sec­ond phase, such as vis­ual re­con­nais­sance and low-al­ti­tude aer­o­bat­ics, kicked off. Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese pilot Wang Sen, low-al­ti­tude aer­o­bat­ics not only look great vis­ually, but are also prac­ti­cal in real bat­tle. “These skills can help pilots avoid anti-air­craft fire, radar track­ing and even mis­siles.” In the third phase of the com­pe­ti­tion, Chi­nese and Rus­sian military air­craft as­saulted ground tar­gets with aerial bombs, rocket pro­jec­tiles and guns to test pre­ci­sion as­saults.

Dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, Chi­nese military avi­a­tors won four subevents as well as many group and in­di­vid­ual prizes.

On Au­gust 10, the Avi­adarts com­peti- tion con­cluded in Changchun, the cap­i­tal of Jilin Prov­ince. Ma Xiao­tian, a mem­ber of China’s Cen­tral Military Com­mis­sion and com­man­der of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) Air Force, de­liv­ered a speech at the clos­ing cer­e­mony. He noted that the Chi­nese Air Force has al­ways up­held the con­cept of friendly, co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment and is will­ing to broaden in­ter­ac­tion, co­op­er­a­tion and friend­ship with air forces of var­i­ous coun­tries and work to­gether to up­grade military flight train­ing and make greater con­tri­bu­tions to build­ing an airspace en­vi­ron­ment fea­tur­ing win-win co­op­er­a­tion and last­ing safety and har­mony.

Along­side military com­pe­ti­tions, par­tic­i­pants also car­ried out ex­ten­sive cul­tural ex­change. On Au­gust 1, which marked the 90th birth­day of the PLA, for­eign par­tic­i­pants cel­e­brated the an­niver­sary with Chi­nese troops and ex­tended their con­grat­u­la­tions.

Al­though they com­peted against each other, par­tic­i­pants from dif­fer­ent coun­tries be­came friends. Dur­ing breaks, they hugged and took pho­tos with each other. The direct di­a­logue be­tween those par­tic­i­pants laid an emo­tional foun­da­tion for broader ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion. “The IAG has be­come a sig­nif­i­cant plat­form for dif­fer­ent coun­tries to deepen friend­ship and learn from each other,” re­marked Shen Jinke, spokesper­son for the Chi­nese Air Force. “China’s Air Force is will­ing to strengthen ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion with air forces from around the world and work to­gether to re­al­ize new achieve­ments in in­ter­na­tional military co­op­er­a­tion and make new con­tri­bu­tions to safe­guard­ing world peace.”

A Rus­sian S-34 strike fighter demon­strates the re­lease of de­coy flares.

by Chen Jian

by Wan Quan

A Rus­sian BMD-2 air­borne as­sault ve­hi­cle in the Air­borne Pla­toon com­pe­ti­tion.

by Wang Zhengkun

An aerial view of the Air­borne Pla­toon com­pe­ti­tion.

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