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Chinese aviation brigade conducts live-fire exercise

An aviation brigade of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force held a live-fire exercise off the country's southeastern coast on 18 April, according to a statement from the PLA Ground Force reported on

Chinese aviation brigade conducts live fire exercise WZ-19 and Z-9 attack helicopters performed live-fire exercices (Picture source: Chinese MoD)

The statement, which was released on 19 April morning, said multiple types of armed helicopters took part in the drill that lasted until late night at sea and verified the brigade's all-day combat capability on the sea. WZ-19 and Z-9 attack helicopters fired rockets and missiles during the drill, which began around 9am and concluded around 11pm, and practiced a host of tactic maneuvers such as sea-skimming assault and joint strike.

Yang Baowei, deputy commander of the brigade, was quoted in the statement as saying that the exercise was aimed at honing the unit's operational capability at sea, at night and against sophisticated electronic countermeasures. The event also tested pilots' ability to respond to rapidly changing situations in action, he added.

The Fujian Provincial Bureau of Maritime Safety published a navigational alert on April 12, saying that the military would perform a live-fire drill in the Taiwan Straits on Wednesday. The administration released the coordinates of the drill zone-a rectangular area off the province's eastern coast-on its website, asking ships to stay out of the area. Whether this was a reference to Wednesday's drill remains unknown.

In another development, Japan's Joint Staff on Wednesday published an announcement on its website, claiming that two H-6K long-range bombers of the PLA flew over the Miyako Strait and then made a sharp turn toward a direction to the southeast of the Taiwan Island.
The PLA has yet to confirm the information by Thursday morning.