Thursday, August 03, 2006

Unusual Focus on Training

I recently wrote of Chinese efforts that indicate they are serious about learning how to fight:

On the heels of Strategypage reporting that the Chinese have set up their version of a National Training Center to churn out high quality army units, the Chinese have set up their own Top Gun program to train pilots[.]

Now, Joseph H. writes with a link to an article showing that the PLA has created mock ups of Taiwanese air bases to practice destroying them:

China’s People’s Liberation Army has built two facilities in the eastern province of Gansu that simulate a military air force base in Taiwan. The facilities are used for drills, a Canada-based military news website has reported.

The site – the Kanwa Defence Review – said high-resolution satellite photographs clearly showed the two facilities, set up near Dingxin airport in Jiayuguan . They are modelled to perfection on the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taiwan. The site said: “It is a clear sign that the Chinese army has stepped up its preparation for military struggles against Taiwan.”

You can get away with poorly trained mass in a land war against a smaller enemy. But for airborne and amphibious operations, you can't initially get the overwhelming numbers you might be used to from past wars whether in Korea or against Vietnam. You need quality to break down the door.

This type of training is expensive and I worry about what it might mean for the near future.

Of course, the PLA might never really succeed in this training due to corruption and inertia. We shall see.