“Through complex, realistic training and exercises that emphasize joint tactics and incorporate advanced technologies, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) continues to refine organizational and process changes initiated as part of 2015’s sweeping reforms. These reforms compensate for the lack of recent combat experience, both critical steps as the PLA prepares for modern warfare,” United States Indo-Pacific Command (US INDOPACOM) commander Admiral Philip Davidson said in a statement before US Senate Armed Services Committee on March 9.
Admiral Davidson said the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “is not merely developing advanced weapons systems but is increasingly employing them in training and exercise scenarios to hone PLA warfighting skills and send an unmistakable message to regional and global audiences.”
“In August 2020 for example, the PRC conducted coordinated DF-21D missile launches into the South China Sea. These mid-range, anti-ship ballistic missiles are capable of attacking aircraft carriers in the western Pacific, and their employment during a large-scale PLA exercise demonstrates the PLA’s focus on countering any potential third-party intervention during a regional crisis,” the US INDOPACOM commander said.
He noted that the Chinese PLA “conducts joint amphibious landing and maritime strike training to simulate a Taiwan invasion scenario and performs large-force maneuvers to demonstrate its ability to intervene in a Korean peninsula crisis.”
Davidson also said that “PRC is simultaneously developing several modern, long-range weapons intended to strengthen the PLA’s standoff precision strike and nuclear deterrence and counterattack capabilities. The PRC is pursuing a range of advanced weaponry, including electromagnetic railguns, hypersonic glide vehicles, and land-attack and antiship supersonic cruise missiles, and the PLA Rocket Force conducts more ballistic missile livefires every year than the rest of the world combined.”