New rocket force gets facility to acclimate its soldiers

Updated: 2016-02-01 04:40

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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The People's Liberation Army has said it is testing its new rocket force with various battlefield scenarios, including extreme weather and strong electronic jamming.

A rocket force brigade, which is equipped with short-range ballistic missiles, has built a training base that can simulate rain, snow, galeforce winds, fog and lightning, as well as electronic warfare situations, according to a PLA statement.

Senior Colonel Shi Hongyan, commander of the brigade, was quoted in the statement as saying that missile units must use every means to make training as realistic as possible, so that soldiers can understand the complexities of a real battlefield.

China Central Television has aired footage that shows missile operators during a "heavy rain" simulation at the base, as well as soldiers in protective suits taking part in a biological warfare scenario.

In addition, the force has been using simulated launch vehicles and missiles to facilitate training, the PLA statement said.

Last week, another short-range ballistic missile unit held live-fire drills in a desert in Northwest China in temperatures as low as -30 C, PLA Daily reported. The story was accompanied by an image of a DF-15 missile being launched.

Shao Yongling, a professor of military strategy at the PLA Rocket Force Command College, told China Daily that the Chinese military has spared no effort in making sure its personnel are able to perform in any circumstances.

"Rain, snow and the cold do not cause problems to missiles, but lightning does," she said. "Normally, operators avoid lightning when they launch missiles. However, we must train our operators in every weather condition, as enemies will not wait for a nice, clear day to strike."

On electronic jamming, Shao said the measure would have little effect on ballistic missiles because unlike cruise missiles, which receive in-flight guidance, the parameters for ballistic missiles are preset before launch. Yet command and communications equipment is susceptible to electronic jamming, so operators need to use drills to find solutions, she said.

President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, announced on Dec 31 the establishment of the PLA Rocket Force to replace the former Second Artillery Corps, which had managed China's ballistic missiles since the 1960s.