On January 14, the Chinese navy’s aircraft carrier Shandong taskforce conducted a live-fire confrontation drill in the waters of the South China Sea. Song Zhongping, a military expert, said that the aircraft carrier Shandong (Hull 17) has possessed the ability to carry out various combat and support missions in rough sea conditions, demonstrating that the generation path of Chinese aircraft carriers’ support and combat capabilities has been completely standardized.

During this drill, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong taskforce carried out in-depth training featuring cross-domain and three-dimensional offensive and defensive combat subjects, involving troops of multiple services in the sea, air and underwater. According to military expert Song Zhongping, there are three highlights worthy of note during the drill, that is, the large number of J-15 fighter jets, the highly difficult night takeoff and landing training, and the live-fire confrontation. As the first domestically-developed aircraft carrier in China, the training level of Shandong has been continuously improved since it was commissioned more than three years ago, and it has already acquired quite high combat capability in a relatively short time.

Military expert Song Zhongping said on January 15 that the South China Sea is a sea area with relatively complex sea conditions. “The training carried out in the South China Sea showed that the aircraft carrier Shandong has possessed the ability to carry out multiple operational tasks under rough sea conditions.”

Song Zhongping said that from the news pictures and information released, the aircraft carrier Shandong taskforce possesses the combat support capability both in the daytime and at night during the drill. “This shows that the aircraft carrier Shandong has now had complete combat power and can complete stated tasks in the face of a variety of extremely difficult sea conditions.”

Song Zhongping added that from December 17 to December 31, 2022, the aircraft carrier Liaoning taskforce carried out far-sea training in the western Pacific Ocean. “The aircraft carrier Liaoning carried out exercises in the western Pacific region, and so did the aircraft carrier Shandong in the South China Sea. They are certain to conduct joint training to play an even greater role in the near future”, he thought.