PLA Rocket Force quick off the mark with drills

Updated: 2016-01-05 07:57

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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A series of drills has been held since the start of the new year to hone the combat readiness of the newly established People's Liberation Army Rocket Force, according to a report by China Central Television.

Several ballistic missile units under the new force conducted war games with an "enemy force" in snow-covered Northeast China over the weekend, footage from the broadcaster showed.

The PLA Rocket Force was formed on Thursday to replace the PLA Second Artillery Corps and to manage the country's strategic missiles.

The footage featured the DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile being operated by soldiers, with units carrying out more than 10 maneuvers.

At the same time, another missile brigade staged a drill in Northwest China that involved simulated target-setting and multiple launches of short-range ballistic missiles, according to CCTV.

At a ceremony at the Central Military Commission in Beijing on Thursday, President Xi Jinping, who is also the commission's chairman, announced the establishment of the PLA Rocket Force.

Military enthusiasts were attracted by what appeared to be a minor detail in the CCTV report on the ceremony.

Their attention focused on three white, small-scale models of missiles, together with another three models of launch vehicles, which were placed on a shelf in the hall where the event was staged.

The enthusiasts said the missiles in the footage were DF-5 and DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missiles and DF-21, showcasing the new force's capability of reaching short-, medium- and long-range targets worldwide.

According to PLADaily, the PLA Rocket Force has at least nine missiles in active service. They include the DF-5B, the intermediate-range DF-26 and the CJ-10A ground-launched cruise missile.

Seven of the nine types were displayed during the Sept 3 parade in Tian'anmen Square marking the 70th anniversary of victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and the end of World War II.

Their appearance caused a global surprise, as it confirmed the existence of the DF-21D and DF-26. According to experts, they are the only two ballistic missiles capable of sinking aircraft carriers.

PLA Rocket Force quick off the mark with drills

(China Daily 01/05/2016 page3)