NINGXIA, Aug. 9 — On August 5, a live-fire training exercise with authorized weapons and equipment of the Exercise ZAPAD/INTERACTION-2021 was held at the combined arms tactical training base of the PLA Army in Qingtongxia City of West China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. This was the first time for Russian participants to use armored assault vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and other main battle equipment provided by China on a large scale in the drill. The Chinese side set up a teaching group to help the Russian troops master the equipment as quickly as possible.
The teaching group made the Russian version of the equipment operation manual, recorded instructional videos, and used driving simulators, shooting simulators, and simulated radio stations to help Russian troops familiarize themselves with the operation of equipment and enter the combat state as soon as possible.
The Russian troops encountered considerable difficulties due to the difference in equipment and operating habits. However, the Chinese coaches were responsible and unreserved in guiding.
“They explained the operating specifications again and again, and demonstrated the essentials over and over again, which touched us a lot,” said the Russian translator Daniel.
An IFV driver from a motorized infantry brigade in Russia’s Eastern Military District drives a crawler-type vehicle operated by a joystick in Russia. However, the vehicle provided by China is a wheeled one operated by a steering wheel. Under the guidance of the Chinese teaching group, Andrei learned quickly and could soon drive the Chinese IFV forward.
“Using each other’s weapons and equipment to participate in the exercise demonstrates the high level of mutual trust between the two sides,” said Li Tao from the Joint Training Bureau of the Joint Staff Department under the PLA Western Theater Command. In the “Caucasus-2020” strategic exercise organized by the Russian army in 2020, the Chinese participants used the Russian main battleground equipment for the first time and were mixed with the Russian army to perform joint exercises.
“We become more familiar with equipment and drill plan, and we look forward to working with China to launch a real charge in the upcoming drill!” said a Russian colonel participating in the drill.