China PLA Navy ‘s aircraft carrier Shandong confronts US Carrier Strike Group

According to information published by Global Times on January 15, 2023, the Shandong aircraft carrier group of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently held a series of confrontational drills in the South China Sea at a time when a US carrier strike group had entered the region.

Consisting of several different types of warships and dozens of warplanes, the Shandong aircraft carrier group conducted realistic combat-oriented confrontational exercises in the South China Sea, the PLA Navy said in a statement. The drills simulated hostile aircraft attacks, and J-15 fighter jets took off from Shandong and carried out interception training.

During the exercises, the carrier group also practiced cross-service multidimensional attack and defence on the surface, in the air and underwater, with new J-15 pilots becoming certified for night-time operational capabilities, marking another big step toward forming a systematic combat capability, the PLA Navy said.

Photos attached to the statement showed that J-15 fighter jets crowded on the flight deck of the Shandong, an indication that the Shandong is equipped with sufficient aircraft.

The Shandong carrier group carried out challenging night-time warplane sorties and combat drills under realistic tactical settings, showing that the domestically built vessel has reached a high level of operational capability following its commissioning in December 2019.

Thanks to experience gathered from the PLA Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, the Shandong achieved operational capability fast with a full standard procedure.

By training in the South China Sea, a location where the maritime environment is more complicated, the Shandong demonstrated its capabilities despite challenging situations.

On January 13, 2023, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) began operating in the South China Sea for the first time during the group’s 2022-2023 deployment.

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