China – Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

PLA Troops Arrives in Russia for Joint Exercise

This article is published with kind permission of „Chinese Defence Today –„.

Chinese Defence Today

Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan will be holding their first joint military exercise ‘Peace Mission 2007’ in August. The first train carrying PLA troops and equipment arrived at the China-Russia border on 27 July.

A total of 6,500 military personnel and 80 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters will take part in the joint exercise, which will be held between 9th and 17th August in the Chebarkulsk training ground in the Privolzhsko-Uralskiy military district in Russia.

Russia will send 2,000 military personnel and 36 aircraft to participate the exercise, with an additional 2,700 personnel to provide logistic support. China will contribute 1,700 troops and 46 aircraft. Tajikistan and Kazakhstan will each send an airborne company, and Kyrgyzstan will send an airborne platoon. Uzbekistan will also send officers to take part in the exercise.

The Chinese troops for the exercise include:
Ground forces: A battalion-size mechanised infantry group consisting of 880 officers and soldiers, equipped with Type 86 IFVs, ZSL92 wheeled IFVs/APCs, 100mm assault guns, and 122mm howitzers. The personnel of the unit came from the 4th Motorised Infantry Division and 6th Mechanised Infantry Division in Xinjiang Military District.

Army Aviation: 16 Z-9G attack helicopters from 8th Army Aviation Regiment of the 38th Group Army (GA) in Beijing Military Region (MR), and 16 Mi-17 helicopters from 3rd Army Aviation Regiment in Xinjiang Military District.

Air Force: The PLAAF will send 8 JH-7A fighter-bombers, 6 IL-76MD transport aircraft, and an airborne company from the 15th Airborne Corps, totalling 460 personnel.

Logistic support: 260 personnel

Long-Distance Manoeuvre
While a small number of the Chinese troops will be airlifted to the training ground in Russia, the majority of the ground troops will be transported via railway. Kazakhstan has refused to allow Chinese troops to travel to Russia via the railway links in its territory. As a result, some 800~900 troops will be transported from its base in Xinjiang, southwest China to the northeast border with Russia by 4~5 railway trains. They will then be transported to the training ground by Russian trains. The total distance of the this manoeuvre is nearly 10,000km, taking about 15 days.

‘Peace Mission 2007’ is the second joint military exercise between China and Russia, following a similar joint exercise held in China two years ago. This is also the first time that the PLA sends troops of this size to a foreign country to take part in military exercise.

According to the SCO, ‘Peace Mission 2007’ aims at counter-terrorism operations and is not targeted at any third country. No heavy artillery and strategic bomber aircraft will be used in the exercise due to its counter-terrorism nature. Scheduled exercise subjects will including using special operations forces (SOF), airborne troops, and sniper teams for hostage rescuing.

PLA counter-terrorism exercise
PLA troops in counter-terrorism drill before their departure to Russia
for the Peace Mission 2007 joint military exercise
(Source: Chinese Internet)