It could have been just another routine military drill with the pseudo enemy’s jets retreating. But then the pilots of the People’s Liberation Army were caught off guard by chatter over the radio – in English.
By the time they had figured out that they had to confront a third party, their field command – an early-warning plane – had already been shot down, the PLA Daily reported.
Analysts said the inclusion of an English-speaking third party in PLA drills was aimed at sending a message that the Chinese military is preparing for possible intervention by the United States if China clashes militarily with neighbouring countries over territorial disputes.
The “third party” was a surprise scenario added to the drill to strengthen the air force’s real combat response capability, the army newspaper said.
“Who is that? Why is there a foreign language?” some PLA pilots asked, according to the newspaper.
The shooting down of the “red army” airborne command centre forced its air force land commander to withdraw all fighter jets and change strategy to deal with the crisis, it reported.
“The ‘third party force’ was another surprise scenario we provisionally added to the drill with the aim of making our training more like real combat,” the daily quoted drill director Jing Jianfeng as saying.
Full article: PLA trains to fight Asian enemy allied with English-speaking ‘third force’ (South China Morning Post)