China’s ‘most powerful’ carrier group enters West Pacific for drills – The deployment came on the same day that Japan broke away from its defense-only postwar principle and announced plans to equip with first attack-capable missiles, enabling itself to attack China.
Considered as the most powerful aircraft carrier group, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s flotilla sailed from Thursday to Friday, Japan’s Ministry of Defense Joint Staff said in a press release.
It consisted of Type 055 large destroyers Anshan and Wuxi, the Type 052D destroyer Chengdu, the Type 054A frigate Zaozhuang and the Type 901 comprehensive replenishment ship Hulunhu.
The flotilla is expected to host a number of realistic combat-oriented exercises beyond the first island chain, enhancing its capabilities in safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests, military experts said.
“The Liaoning aircraft carrier group is apparently on a routine training exercise, in which vessels within the group will practice coordinated moves and joint operations, and carrier-based fighter jets will practice takeoffs and landings,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.
He said Type 055 large destroyers are the best escorts of Chinese aircraft carriers, with a capability to carry nuclear-powered submarines.
This makes it the most powerful configuration of the Liaoning carrier group yet, according to observers.