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)