Chinese carrier strike group Liaoning returns from deployment

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) refuels underway during a deployment in December 2021. PLANNING

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Liaoning People’s Liberation Army Navy Carrier Strike Group returned to its home port of Qingdao on December 30 after a successful training deployment, according to an official statement from PLAN.

During the 20 days of training, the aircraft carrier group crossed the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and entered the Western Pacific via the Miyako Strait, conducting comprehensive exercises in various areas aimed at improving the concept of aircraft carrier group formation, the release said. The carrier group sailed to the Yellow Sea on December 9 where they conducted formation search and rescue operations, as well as tactical and air management flights of their on-board JF-17 fighters and Z helicopters. -9 and Z-18. Take-off and landing training was carried out day and night.

A PLAN J-15 fighter jet takes off from the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) during a deployment in December 2021 in the Western Pacific. PLAN

The aircraft carrier group then traveled to the Western Pacific where training was provided on the group’s combat capabilities, including air and anti-submarine warfare training, command and control operations. , refueling exercises and coordination of forces. A photo released by PLAN showed Liaoning (16) carry out a refueling exercise with a type 901 supply vessel.

Although the PLAN statement did not name the other ships in the aircraft carrier group, the Japan Self-Defense Force Joint Staff Office said that Liaoningdestroyer Nanchang (101), frigate Rizhao (598) and a Type 901 supply ship were sighted in the area west of the Danjo Islands in eastern China on December 15, traveling southeast, then operating between Miyako Island and Okinawa on December 16 and sailing south into the Pacific Ocean. .

Russian and Chinese ships on October 23 off the coast of Japan. JMSDF Image

Press releases from Japan said that on December 19 and 20, the four ships, along with the destroyer Xiamen (154) and an unidentified Type 54A Jiangkai II frigate, had carried out activities, including aircraft carrier flight operations. A statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Monday said that the Liaoning Carrier Group, including the Liaoning, Nanchang, Xiamen, Rizhao and the Type 901 supply ship was seen on December 25 sailing northwest between Okinawa and Miyako Island towards the East China Sea.

Throughout the voyage, warships and foreign planes repeatedly monitored, approached and followed the carrier group, according to the statement from PLAN. He did not say which country the ships and sighting planes came from, although PLAN did release a photo showing the JMSDF JS helicopter carrier destroyer. Izumo (DDH-183) close

A J-15 aircraft carrier fighter of the People’s Liberation Army takes off from the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) during a deployment in December 2021. PLANNING

. Japanese statements showed that Izumo monitored the Liaoning carrier group throughout its passage from the East China Sea to the western Pacific. Destructive Akizuki (DD-115) maritime patrol aircraft, P-1 from Fleet Air Wing 1 at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Honshu and P-3 Orion MPA from Fleet Air Wing 5 at Naha Air Base, Okinawa joined Izumo to monitor the group. In addition, Japanese statements said that Japanese Self-Defense Force fighter jets were jammed when Liaoning launched fighter jets and helicopters.

While the travel and activities of the Liaoning Carrier Strike Group were in line with international practice, the group’s activities in proximity to Japan are likely to raise new concerns about China’s military activities. In mid-October, after a joint naval exercise, the Russian Navy and PLAN ships conducted a joint navigation in international waters east of Japan’s main island, Honshu, before separating to their ports of ‘tie, the two countries pledging to conduct further joint naval exercises.

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