Scale of the Exercise and Participating Fleets

The 2023 China-Russia naval joint exercise reached a record scale, with more than 50 ships of various types participating in the training (including China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier and Russia’s Varyag cruiser). Xinhua News Agency said that China has two destroyers, four frigates and one supply ship participating in the exercise, in addition to an unspecified number of submarines with a total displacement of more than 200,000 tons. Russia’s participating ships include three destroyers, five frigates and two supply ships, including several nuclear submarines, whose displacement is at least 1 times that of undeployed aircraft carriers.

The exercise also reportedly showcased the Chinese Navy’s newest Type 052D destroyer. Due to the advanced radar system and vertical launch system, the destroyer has strong anti-missile and anti-submarine capabilities. The Chinese Navy also dispatched four Type 054A frigates, which have good air defense and anti-submarine capabilities. The Liaoning carries 30 J-15 fighters and also carries helicopters for air warning and air-to-submarine missions.

The core of the Russian fleet is the powerful anti-ship and air defense flagship of the Pacific Fleet, the Varyag. According to the Russian news agency TASS, the S-300F air defense missile system and anti-ship missiles on the Wanxun ship have a range of up to 200 kilometers when fighting the enemy. Russia has sent its latest 22350-type frigate, equipped with the most advanced electronic warfare systems and anti-submarine weapons, with very comprehensive combat capabilities.

According to the Global Times, in the anti-submarine exercise, China sent 6 submarines and at least 10 anti-air combat fighters to cooperate with Russia to practice sinking enemy submarines. In the air defense exercise, the two sides launched more than 50 air defense missiles of various types and successfully intercepted multiple waves of simulated incoming enemy aircraft.

According to the People’s Daily, the Sino-Russian joint exercise, in addition to other contents, also carried out 5 rounds of complex maritime supply force exercises, implemented a total of maritime refueling missions, and trained long-term combat capabilities. In the night exercise, the ship formations of both sides successfully carried out joint anti-ship missile strikes under complex meteorological conditions, with each side launching 8 missiles with an accuracy rate of 90%.

Tactical and Strategy Analysis

During the air defense exercise, China and Russia jointly launched 50 different missiles for an interception success rate of 90%. The Chinese 052D destroyer and the Russian 22350 frigate shown to be particularly powerful in defending missiles with their advanced radar systems and vertical launchers. Both six submarines and 10 anti-submarine aircraft were also engaged in separate multiple joint ASW training at sea. The Chinese People’s Daily also reported that during a simulated enemy submarine attack, the anti-submarine forces of China and Russia located and sank each other within 20 minutes from start to finish. The good side show is in place for effective long-range joint mining capabilities;

The Sino-Russian navy simulated a fleet attack on enemy ships in the anti-ship missile exercise and launched 8 missiles, with an accuracy rate of up to 85%. During the exercise, Russia’s cruiser “Varyag” and China’s aircraft carrier “Liaoning”, capable of launching an air wing carried out a strike on land targets according to TASS. The exercise also witnessed bombings during the night hours showing precision strike potential in adverse weather.

During the exercise, China and Russia carried out 5 maritime replenishment exercises involving fuel supply, material transfer as well as food. The Global Times said that in a replenishment exercise conducted under complex weather conditions, the fleets of both sides successfully carried out three-hour maritime complementary supply operation and demonstrated good coordination and emergency response capabilities. China and Russia also carried out simulated maritime blockades, long-range strikes training exercises more than 100 various types of missiles and torpedoes.

Content and Details of the Exercise

The Global Times reported this was a 10-day exercise and included over 50 ships, accompanied by more than 20 aircraft conducting raids of small islands with ten thousand soldiers. China and Russia this week employed in a joint air defense exercise, where they accurately simulated various types of attacking enemy aircraft with multiple sorties for the first time ever to shot down 50 targets using different kinds of air defense missiles, realizing an overall success rate above 90%. With the data link systems working, both were able to share real-time information with each other in which this display of their advanced radar and missile defense system. Chinese and Russian navies deployed 6 submarines, more than ten anti-submarine aircraft were sent to the South China Sea for joint training in underwater attack instructions with over fifteen expert-level exercise missions carried out on Sunday alone: People’s Daily The Chinese and Russian anti-submarine forces located the target and launched missiles to sink it in less than 20 minutes, demonstrating outstanding coordinating capability of both personnel for successful execution during surmised an enemy submarine attack exercise.

In the anti-ship attack part of exercise, Sino-Russian navy simulated a fleet attacking enemy ships specifically by firing 8 missiles with an accuracy rate of up to 85%. In particular, as noted by TASS citing sources in the Russian military department, during a large-scale event related to Russia’s cruiser “Varyag” and appeared with him on exercises Chinese aircraft carrier “Liaoning”, both of these ships confirmed their high combat characteristics. In a test under complicated meteorological conditions, the two fleets respectively but everything is positive for more than 3 hours at sea keep ferrying operation, and shows well-coordinated with emergency room combat capacity. During the exercise, China and Russia carried out 3 joint search and rescue mobilization exercises with a total of 7 ships participating in the operation. The two helicopters collectively completed simulated personnel distress situations.

Strategic Significance Analysis

The 2023 Sino-Russian naval exercise featured high in the strength of both navies, and was laden with a lot of strategic implications. This exercise has effectively enhanced China-Russia strategic mutual trust and cooperation. Navies of the two countries achieved an unprecedented level of coordination in tactical cooperation and command through joint exercises. China and Russia made comprehensive arrangements for naval cooperation, with more than 20 joint exercises in the fields of air defense, anti-submarine detection, and auxiliary rescue within 10 days.

This exercise is said to involve complicated tactical situations such as enemy fire strike waves, and submarine threats. It indicated the resolute attitude of China and Russia in their commitment to maintain regional security and stability (The Global Times). The drill was conducted between China and Russia, who sent 50 ships, 20 aircraft and even close to 10,000 soldiers showing its strong combat capabilities as well rapid response of the two powers when it comes down to defend their interests in Asia. The Chinese-Russian joint exercises are aimed at sending a message to the outside world that China and Russia have the will to uphold regional peace. This did strongly discourage any forces that wanted to disrupt the regional peace. In the process of performing exercise tasks, China and Russia carried out simulated maritime blockade actions, long-range precision strikes and joint search-rescue missions as well to display the ability to respond efficiently different forms of maritime security threats.

It saw the use of a variety of high-end military hardware, including China’s 052D destroyer and Russia’s 22350 frigate. The use of these modern equipment not only improved the practical effect of exercise, but also promoted exchanges and cooperation in military technology between Changchun Military Area Command and Army Aviation Force from Thailand. The Chinese and Russian navies conducted high-tech equipment mobilization exercises, such as advanced radar systems, missile defense systems and sonar system during the exercise to enhance both countries’ naval combat capabilities in general.

During the air defense exercise, China and Russia hit 90% of designated targets when they launched a total of around fifty different kinds of missiles. For the anti-submarine exercise, 6 submarines and 10 anti-submarine aircraft worked together to locate targets within a time period of not more than 20 minutes on which they would fire simulating it as sinking target. In the Sino-Russian Navy, 8 anti-ship missiles were launched with an accuracy of 85% in a missile attack exercise. China and Russia’s navies held a joint parade showcasing high-capability naval forces, reflecting the deep strategic trust between Beijing and Moscow. The Chinese defense ministry said this was the fifth time that such a drill has been held and it will “enhance both countries’ anti-convulsion battle capability, maintaining regional peace.” After the completion of these exercises, China and Russia will conduct more joint military drills and contacts in various levels, to promote further development of their strategic cooperative partnership.

The 2023 Sino-Russian naval exercise provided not only a key demonstration of power for both countries but also considerable efforts towards increased strategic confidence and regional security as well as international responsibility. The completion of the exercise successfully, laid a good foundation for further cooperation between China and Russia in more fields.

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