China Central Television (CCTV) on March 22 reported that the Southern Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Army had just sent an upgraded J-11B fighter jet to participate in a simulated exercise in the South China Sea (Vietnam calls it the East Sea).
The information did not specify in which area of the South China Sea the exercise takes place and at what time period.
According to the Global Times of the Communist Party of China, at least one J-11B took part in the exercise out of a total of 10 fighter jets participating in the event.
According to the information posted by the PLA’s Southern Command on its Weibo social media account, the day and night drills include air combat drills, offensive and defensive tactics.
CCTV said the confrontation drills included four-on-two and two-on-two combat drills in the South China Sea.
On March 19, China’s Maritime Administration announced on its website that China would continue another drill in the South China Sea from March 19 to April 9.
Previously, on March 4, China’s Maritime Administration (MSA) posted information that the country’s military would conduct drills from 6 pm on the same day to 6 pm on March 15 in the waters in the South China Sea outside the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin. If we compare the coordinates posted by MSA with Google maps, the exercise area is closer to Hue city of Vietnam than to Hainan island of China. The distance from the exercise area to Hue is estimated at about 100 km.
Global Times reported that China’s improved version of the J-11B has a wide target range of vision and detection, and is capable of using more modern weapons such as the PL-10 and PL-15 short-range missiles beyond the limits of air-to-air missiles.
The Global Times, citing Chinese military analysts, said that China currently has a large number of J-11B fighter aircraft, and improvements to this aircraft will allow a significant improvement of Chinese military capabilities.
Translated by Thoibao.de from RFA: https://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/news/internationalnews/pla-navy-s-upraded-j-11b-fighter-jet-joins-scs-exercise-03242022074411.html