Home » Foreign Forces » China, Russia Land 400 Marines in First Joint Pacific Amphibious Exercise


China, Russia Land 400 Marines in First Joint Pacific Amphibious Exercise

Chinese amphibious warship Changbaishan deploys what appear to be several ZBD-05 infantry fighting vehicles as part of Joint Sea 2015 on Aug. 25, 2015. Chinese MoD Photo

Chinese amphibious warship Changbaishan deploys what appear to be several ZBD-05 infantry fighting vehicles as part of Joint Sea 2015 on Aug. 25, 2015. Chinese MoD Photo

Chinese and Russian forces conducted a first-ever joint amphibious exercise landing 400 marines on Russia’s Pacific Coast about 300 miles away from Japan’s home islands, according to a description of the exercise and photographs released from the Chinese Ministry of Defense on Wednesday.

The exercise marks not only the first time People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Russian Navy have drilled together in an amphibious exercise but also the first time China has landed troops on foreign territory as part of the ongoing Joint Sea 2015 II, the ministry said.

“For the first time, we shipped tanks and armored vehicles, and landed soldiers directly into an overseas drill area after a long-distance voyage,” said Liang Yang, assistant to the Chinese director of the drill in the Chinese statement on the amphibious component of the exercise —
“Such a drill will fully test the performance of our weapons in terms of adaptability to local weather and topographical conditions.”

The PLAN landed about 200 marines attached to the from Type 071 amphibious warship Changbaishan parked a little more than half a mile off the Russian Pacific coast in pictures dated Aug. 25.

Images published by the MoD show what appear to be several ZBD-05 infantry fighting vehicles — reminiscent of the U.S. Marines canceled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) — deploy from Changbaishan to shore.

“This type of dry landing, which involves putting soldiers ashore without the need for wading, as they did previously, meets both our tactical demands and requirements for real-battle landing,” Liang said.

Chinese amphibious warship Changbaishan deploys what appear to be several ZBD-05 infantry fighting vehicles as part of Joint Sea 2015. Chinese MoD Photo

Chinese amphibious warship Changbaishan deploys what appear to be several ZBD-05 infantry fighting vehicles as part of Joint Sea 2015. Chinese MoD Photo

In addition to amphibious landings, the Chinese also used aviation assets to move troops to the beach via parachutes and fast ropes via helicopters.

The Chinese also employed fighters to provide air cover as part of the combined arms exercise.

The MoD did not elaborate on the Russian assets used in the amphibious exercise aside from a picture of Russian paratroopers.

The craft and tactics employed by the PLAN — well known for copying and adapting doctrine and material for their own needs — are reminiscent of the U.S. Marine methods of moving troops to shore via a doctrine that calls for enveloping an enemy by forces simultaneously via water landings and air insertion.

Amphibious assault is arguably one of the most complex military maneuvers, especially as the proliferation of relatively inexpensive guided weapons has grown worldwide. The U.S. Navy and Marines have mounted a years-long campaign to execute amphibious operations from beyond the line-of-sight from shore to better protect their ships.

Placing the sea base for the operation — Changbaishan — within sight of shore significantly lowered the degree of difficulty of the exercise and would put the 20,000-ton warship at significant risk against a prepared adversary in war time conditions.

While China is quick to say the joint exercise isn’t aimed to raise the ire of any particular nation the PLA has long tailored training operations to simulate a potential amphibious invasion of Taiwan as well as operations that have arguably simulated the quick capture and control the Japanese administrated Senkaku Islands off of Taiwan’s eastern coast.

Russian commandos conduct parachute landing during the landing drill. The Chinese and Russian navies held a joint beach landing drill in Russia's Peter the Great Gulf on August 25 as part of the ongoing China-Russia Joint Sea-2015 (II) live-fire military exercise. Chinese MoD Photo

Russian commandos conduct parachute landing during the landing drill. The Chinese and Russian navies held a joint beach landing drill in Russia’s Peter the Great Gulf on August 25 as part of the ongoing China-Russia Joint Sea-2015 (II) live-fire military exercise. Chinese MoD Photo

More than 20 ships from China and Russia participated in Joint Sea 2015 II — the second joint Chinese-Russian exercise the year — which will conclude on Thursday. Joint Sea 2015 I was held in the Mediterranean — a first for China.

Russia and China announced an uptick in military-to-military cooperation late last year in an effort — officials from both countries say — is to boost collective regional security and serve as a backstop against the expansion of U.S. military and political influence in the region.

The following was the complete Aug. 26, 2015 report issued by the Chinese MoD.

The Chinese Navy completed its first overseas joint beach landing drill on Tuesday as part of an ongoing marine exercise with Russia.

The drill took place in waters off Russia’s Clerk Cape as part of the ongoing Joint Sea-2015 (II) exercise between the two countries from Aug 20 to 28.

The two navies deployed amphibious equipment and more than 400 marines, who landed on a beach using various methods, including parachuting and descending by rope from helicopters, as well as using amphibious armored vehicles and landing ships.

“For the first time, we shipped tanks and armored vehicles, and landed soldiers directly into an overseas drill area after a long-distance voyage,” said Liang Yang, assistant to the Chinese director of the drill.

“Such a drill will fully test the performance of our weapons in terms of adaptability to local weather and topographical conditions.”

More than 100 Chinese marines were transported directly onto the beach in 14 amphibious armored vehicles, which were unloaded from the Chinese landing ship Changbaishan, anchored more than 1 kilometer off the beach.

“This type of dry landing, which involves putting soldiers ashore without the need for wading, as they did previously, meets both our tactical demands and requirements for real-battle landing,” Liang said.

Another 24 Chinese marines landed by helicopter fast rope, while the Chinese landing vessel Yunwushan deployed six armored vehicles and 26 marines directly onto the beach.

The Chinese air force also took part in the drill with two J-10 and two JH-7A fighters, which took off from an airport in China and flew across Russian airspace before arriving at the drill area.

Chen Yong, a Chinese air force officer who took part in the drill, said, “The fighters were here mainly to assist the beach landings by commanding the air and launching long-distant attacks at targets on the beach.”

Russian soldier Andrey Ivanov, 30, who was taking part in a military exercise for the first time, said, “Although this drill was complicated and difficult, it went smoothly thanks to the thorough preparations on both sides.”

Dong Jun, Chinese navy deputy chief of staff, said such large-scale joint beach landings require careful planning and command.

The success of the drill demonstrates that both nations’ navies are capable of high-level cooperation

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Categories: Foreign Forces, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • NavySubNuke

    Hey the Russians finally found someone to give them a ride — if they beg hard enough. It isn’t surprising that China is looking to learn some lessons from Russia – why bother learning the hard way when you can just pay a dying power to teach you the last few tricks it remembers?

  • John B. Morgen

    This is a prelude for something that is going to be greater than just a TV news report….

  • Rob C.

    Sadly, China has their ducks in a row aka they’re getting what their actually need for the Marines, while US Congress, their Navy and Marines play political games with the future capacities. They have expedition vehicle Marines been pawning for decades as replacement, while Marines have to settle with for third best design option due to money and other factors. Sad state of affairs.

  • Navyjag907

    Aren’t these combined vice joint operations according to US and NATO doctrine?

  • Contrarianthefirst

    Very interesting…

  • John B. Morgen

    This is just a test run for major changes in the South China Sea.that the future awaits. We’ll be seeing more construction and deployment of new LSD type warships in the PLAN’s new Fleet…

    • Michael Nunez

      Sadly , this could be True …… , with all the deliberate destruction of Marine Life , the tranquility and the Win-Win situation for all being taken away , by The Red Tide….. .

      • John B. Morgen

        I agree because I don’t think the Chinese really understands how important it is of having a clean environment for the marine life, and also for their own people of China. Based from news reports China is just beginning to understand that safety regulations of the United States must be adhere to; such as, finding lead in children’s toys, if China wants to conduct trade with us…..

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  • Eagle

    400 marines, they plan on taking very small islands then