Chinese navy shows off growing fleet of advanced weaponry in new videos
- PLA training videos show military hardware in defence manoeuvres
- Subs, jets, aircraft carriers get the navy spotlight ahead of 20th party congress
Published: 9:26pm, 29 Sep, 2022
A Type 094A strategic nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine appeared in a PLA navy training video aired by state media, ahead of looming 20th party congress. Photo: Weibo
The Chinese navy has, for the first time, released video footage of its most advanced Type 094A nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine and Type 093 nuclear-powered attack submarine on Thursday.
The vessels appeared in a training video for China’s first combat-ready aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
It’s the first time that state news broadcaster CCTV has aired video of the Type 094A, also known as the Long March-18, since the submarine was put into service on April 23 last year as part of celebrations to mark the 72nd anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
The Type 094A is capable of launching the JL-3 or Julang (Big Wave) ballistic missile, which has a range of more than 10,000km (6,200 miles) – enough to hit the US mainland.
The Type 094A is one of three advanced warships put into service the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping personally presided over a launch ceremony. The other two vessels were the Type 075 amphibious helicopter assault ship, and the Type 055 Renhai-class guided missile cruiser.
The CCTV video showed Zhang Xiaopeng, captain of the Long March-18 submarine, and a 25-year navy veteran, who contributed to its development.
In a separate video released by the navy on Wednesday, a flotilla led by the Liaoning, showcased joint operation capabilities.
Earlier reports from the CCTV said PLA pilots who had previously flown older fighter jets were asked to help fly drones.
In the video, several J-15 fighter jets from the Liaoning were scrambled to simulate dogfights and perform manoeuvres used in encounters with provocative foreign aircraft.
“[It’s like] I repeated [verbal] warnings and started to expel [simulated foreign aircraft] after I found my counterpart giving me unfriendly signals,” said Song Guangzhen, a PLA pilot who took part in the drill, adding he later flew less than 100 metres from the “rival” aircraft to warn it off.
“[The training] is aimed at indicating that we are now capable of dealing with provocations from foreign aircraft in high seas.”
In the video, the J-15 pilots were heard speaking English when “encountering” their simulated counterparts.
Early this week, CCTV aired a video that showed two J-15 pilots scrambled at sea to warn off a suspected US guided-missile destroyer.
Lu Qiangqiang, a commander on the Liaoning, described the giant platform as a “human body”, with the J-15s being “the fists”.
He said the carrier had been able to cooperate with other warships in joint missions involving early-warning surveillance, air defence, anti-missile and anti-submarine operations.
“We have built up a joint operation combat system, marking a big step in transformation from offshore water defence to open sea protection,” Lu said.
The video footage showed the Liaoning escorted by the country’s largest and most advanced Type 055 stealth guided-missile destroyer, as well as frigates and a nuclear-powered attack submarine, among others.
The video also showed the stealth capability of the newest variant of the Type 093 attack submarine, which is able to evade detection from rival warships and aircraft.
Lu Li-shih, a former naval instructor at a Taiwanese naval academy in Kaohsiung, said the videos and CCTV reports were a show of political propaganda ahead of the 20th party congress, during which Xi, who also chairs the all-powerful Central Military Commission, is widely expected to secure an unprecedented third term.
“Weapon demonstrations always have political significance to help set the tone for big political events like the party congress,” Lu said.
“All the strategic weapons, especially aircraft carriers and submarines become good marks on a report card for Xi’s achievements over the past decade.”