Saturday, August 30, 2014

China hosts SCO live fire drill

ZHURIHE, Inner Mongolia, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Five Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states carried out a massive live fire drill on Friday in north China's Inner Mongolia.

More than 7,000 troops from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan participated in the anti-terrorism drill, involving ground, air, special operations and airborne troops using support from electronic countermeasures, reconnaissance, mapping and positioning units.

Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Fang Fenghui, along with his counterparts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan, watched the exercise, which started at 10 a.m. at the Zhurihe training base.

Viewers also included representatives from SCO observer states Pakistan and Mongolia, and the dialogue partner Sri Lanka, as well as delegations of foreign military attaches from 40 countries.

The exercise scenario involved a fictitious separatist organization with more than 2,000 "terrorists" armed with tanks, missiles and light aircraft. Participants were asked to imagine the terrorists are entrenched in hilly areas, plotting attacks and a coup.

The SCO dispatched military forces to put down the staged insurrection and restore stability at the request of the country's government.

The 2014 event has exceeded previous drills in scale and depth of military cooperation among the SCO member states. The integrated troops set up an information-sharing platform to exchange intelligence about the "terrorists" and made joint actions based on an overall judgment.

China's military drone, capable of conducting surveillance, reconnaissance and ground attacks, made its first appearance in the drills under the SCO frame. The drone, whose model was unidentified, shot off one missile during the live fire drill.

China's domestically produced WZ-10 and WZ-19 attack helicopters were deployed to practice reconnaissance and rocket barrages in the exercise. Russian MI-8MT helicopters were tasked with ground attacks as well.

During the drill, groups of helicopters conduct rocket barrages against the same target from below 200 meters with drones flying above at the same time.

More than 19 different models made up a group of about 70 aircraft dispatched for the multinational drill, including fighter planes, early warning aircraft and armed helicopters.

The drill is a vital measure to deal with the growing threat of terrorism, said Fang Fenghui, adding the massive exercise has been excellently conducted with joint efforts by all troops of the five member states.

"The success of the joint drill demonstrated the unity of the SCO military forces, the strong capability of safeguarding regional safety and world peace, and their resolution to fight against the three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism," Fang said.

Founded in Shanghai in 2001, the SCO groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are observers. Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

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