Zhurihe base makes ideal PLA train­ing ground: ex­pert

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Yang Sheng

For years, Zhurihe, the largest mil­i­tary train­ing base in China, has pre­pared Chi­nese troops for war.

On Sun­day, the base in North China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion hosted a mas­sive mil­i­tary pa­rade for the 90th an­niver­sary of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA). Com­pared to past mil­i­tary pa­rades in Tianan­men Square, Zhurihe’s mil­i­tary pa­rade re­sem­bled a pre­war in­spec­tion, an anony­mous re­tired PLA se­nior com­man­der said.

Cov­er­ing more than 1,000 square kilo­me­ters, Zhurihe has been the site of many ma­jor PLA ex­er­cises and in­ter­na­tional war games in­volv­ing the PLA and for­eign mil­i­taries. The train­ing base cov­ers deserts, grass­lands, moun­tains and ravines, mak­ing it the

per­fect place for mas­sive joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises, be­cause the PLA can use it to learn how to fight un­der dif­fer­ent con­di­tions and re­gions, and also to test ad­vanced weapons, said Song Zhong­ping, a mil­i­tary ex­pert who served in the PLA Rocket Force.

In the past, Zhurihe was not re­ported in State me­dia, and was only re­ferred to as “a mil­i­tary train­ing base in North China.” It could only be seen in satel­lite im­ages. It was fi­nally de­clas­si­fied in 2003, ac­cord­ing to China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion.

“The PLA uses Zhurihe to show­case its mod­ern­iza­tion. Open­ing it to for­eign mil­i­taries shows the grow­ing trans­parency and con­fi­dence of the Chi­nese mil­i­tary,” said Yang Yu­cai, a pro­fes­sor at the Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity of the PLA.

In 2005, a mas­sive mil­i­tary drill was held in Zhurihe, which was wit­nessed by mil­i­tary of­fi­cers and diplo­mats from 24 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US, Rus­sia, the UK, France and Ger­many, news web­site peo­ple.com.cn re­ported.

Sta­tioned in Zhurihe is China’s first pro­fes­sional sim­u­la­tion op­po­si­tion force brigade, or the “Blue Army brigade.”

As of Septem­ber 2015, the brigade won 31 of 33 sim­u­lated bat­tles against elite troops across the coun­try, and th­ese troops play the role of the “Red Army.”

Zhurihe holds mil­i­tary sim­u­la­tion com­pe­ti­tions every year, and troops across all com­mand the­aters come to Zhurihe to train and im­prove their com­bat skills by fac­ing the Blue Army.

Real­is­tic sim­u­la­tions

The Blue Army plays the role of a “knife grinder” for the whole army, “and the grinder should be harder than the knife to sharpen the knife. There­fore, the Blue Army has well-trained per­son­nel and bet­ter weapons than other troops in the sim­u­la­tions,” Song said.

The state-of-the-art sim­u­la­tion sys­tem uses laser sim­u­la­tions to make it ap­pear as if the Blue Army is us­ing for­eign weapons and is ca­pa­ble of pow­er­ful airstrikes based on the re­quire­ments of those in charge of the ex­er­cises. It can even use sim­u­lated tac­ti­cal nu­clear bombs or chem­i­cal weapons, an anony­mous PLA of­fi­cer who had par­tic­i­pated in ex­er­cises in Zhurihe, told the Global Times.

“For in­stance, the Blue Army is armed with Type-59 main bat­tle tanks but the Red Army has more ad­vanced Type-99s or Type-96s. But those in charge of the ex­er­cises will make it ap­pear as if the Blue Army’s tanks are US-made M1 tanks through laser sim­u­la­tion, and this will make it more dif­fi­cult for the Red Army,” he said.

The task for the op­pos­ing force is to de­vise tac­tics to think like our po­ten­tial en­e­mies rather than just us­ing sim­i­lar weapons, Song fur­ther noted.

“The Blue Army will nor­mally sim­u­late the US Army, but it doesn’t mean we are hos­tile to the US. The US has the most pow­er­ful and ad­vanced mil­i­tary force in the world, so we want to learn from the best and use the high­est stan­dards to train our troops and im­prove our own com­bat ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” Song said.

Man Guangzhi, the Blue Army com­man­der, told CCTV that “we are try­ing our best to sim­u­late the for­eign forces by study­ing their most re­cent mil­i­tary oper­a­tions and gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion on their most ad­vanced mil­i­tary tac­tics.”

“In some cases, the op­pos­ing force will also sim­u­late a weaker force, such as Tai­wan’s mil­i­tary,” Song said.

Photo: Xin­hua

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, who is also the chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, re­views the armed forces on Sun­day at the Zhurihe mil­i­tary train­ing base in North China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.