PLA aircraft carrier Type 055 destroyer sail into Pacific

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BEIJING: An aircraft carrier task group of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy led by the Liaoning, accompanied by a Type 055 large destroyer for the first time and others in a cross-sea area exercise, sailed through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean, at a time when US warships including an aircraft carrier made pointed provocations near China, Global Times reported on Monday.
The PLA’s aircraft carrier exercise is routine and aimed at comprehensively boosting its combat capability rather than any specific country, but the US should understand that its warship activities on China’s doorstep will not win it any advantage with the PLA on guard, Chinese analysts said on Monday.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted a PLA Navy flotilla consisting of six warships, namely the aircraft carrier Liaoning, the Type 055 large destroyer Nanchang, the Type 052D destroyers Chengdu and Taiyuan, the Type 054A frigate Huanggang and the Type 901 comprehensive supply ship Hulunhu, which passed through waters between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island and sailed south toward the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, Japan’s Ministry of Defense Joint Staff said in a press release on Sunday.
In the air, a Y-9 patrol aircraft, also known as Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, flew across the Miyako Strait and returned on Sunday, a separate press release by the Japanese defense authority said on the same day.
Military affairs observers said that this is not only the first time in 2021 a Chinese aircraft carrier task group has conducted a cross-sea area exercise, but also the first time the Type 055 Nanchang, the first ship for the country’s latest, most powerful destroyer type that entered PLA naval service last year, has taken part in such a voyage, as far as the general public is aware.
With the Type 055 accompanying the Liaoning carrier, the task group’s offensive and defensive capabilities have received an all-round enhancement, thanks to the Type 055’s more powerful radar systems, battlefield information management systems and stronger firepower compared to the Type 052D, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military affairs expert, told the Global Times on Monday.
The 10,000 ton-class Type 055 large destroyer can not only provide the carrier group with strong air defense cover, but also use anti-ship and land-attack missiles and launch attacks together with the Liaoning’s J-15 fighter jets, Wei said.
The combination of aircraft carriers and Type 055 large destroyers will become a standard configuration of Chinese aircraft carrier task groups in the future, analysts said.
Coinciding with the PLA aircraft carrier exercise, the US Navy destroyer USS Mustin on Saturday sailed into the East China Sea and edged close to China’s Yangtze River estuary before heading south. On Sunday, the US Navy Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group entered the South China Sea via the Strait of Malacca, according to monitoring by Beijing-based think tank the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative. The US tends to make military provocations during holidays, another Chinese military affairs expert told the Global Times on Monday, requesting anonymity. China is also always prepared to fend off any military provocation at any time, particularly during holidays, when some forces think their opponents will let their guard down, the anonymous expert said.
– The Daily Mail-Global Times News exchange item