Selection – PLA SOF are composed of highly-trained, skilled and motivated professional soldiers, who are carefully selected from officers and non-commission officers (NCO) serving in active service. These members must pass highly strict and demanding multi-phase selection and screen process before they are accepted.
PLA SOF Training: PLA SOF, like their counterparts around the world,
emphasizes superior physical fitness and small-arms proficiency in their soldiers
(Source: Chinese Internet)
Basic Training – PLA SOF, like their counterparts around the world, emphasise superior physical fitness and small-arms proficiency in their members. All SOF members are trained in martial arts and field survival skills.
Specialised Training – Depending their specific roles, PLA SOF members have specialised training in one or more of the following areas: urban warfare, sniper tactics, amphibious operations, demolitions, communications, computers, or foreign languages.
Infiltration – The ability to infiltrate undetected behind the enemy lines is one of the most essential skills required for PLA SOF. Members of PLA SOF are said to undergo “highly intensive and comprehensive multi-course training in complex terrain, including in-depth infiltration and covered reconnaissance behind the enemy line.”
PLA SOF adopts a “three-dimensional, all-weather” infiltration approach, using sea (submarine, high-speed boat, open-water swimming and scuba diving), air (airborne, powered parachute and helicopter) and land (long-distance movement and rock climbing). Chinese media has reported that PLA SOF were able to penetrate through defensive positions that use night-vision equipment, anti-infantry radar, and other hi-tech surveillance equipments.
Sea infiltration Training:
PLA SOF soldiers using high-speed boat for sea
infiltration training (Source: Chinese Internet)
Mountain Training – The potential operating theatres of PLA SOF including Taiwan, Tibet and central Asia all feature mountainous terrains. Therefore, PLA SOF are routinely trained in some high mountain areas in Western China that offer extremely harsh weather conditions.
Field Survival Training – Chinese media frequently report various field survival skills training for PLA SOF, carried out on small islands, in jungle or mountainous regions. Sometimes these training courses were also carried out in harsh weather conditions. Students will learn to catch wild animals; to identify and gather edible plants; to find, extract and purify water; to make fires by any means; to make shelters and resist rain and insects; etc.