While a 50,000 troops drill is not large by PLA standards, as there were many 100,000 troops drills conducted during the past 20 years to list them all here. However, the fact that the drill will be composed by four different divisions from different regions is interesting, as it could be an indication of a battalion battle-group focused drill. In theory, a PLA battalion battle-group is composed by elements from different service arms to fit a specified mission profile, a break from the traditional top heavy and rigid regimental structures. Looking at the 50,000 troops figure; it is likely that four battle-groups from four different divisions with support elements to test out different scenarios.
This drill is not "Taiwan Centric" as elements from Nanjing is not involved, another break from the past.
China to hold massive military drill in second half of 2009
www.chinaview.cn 2009-05-05 20:46:52 Print
BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese People's Liberation Army(PLA) has started preparations for a massive military drill in the second half of this year that involves as many as 50,000 troops, sources from the Headquarters of General Staff said here Tuesday.
The drill, dubbed Kuayue-2009, will be undertaken by troops from four military command areas, namely, Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan and Guangzhou.
This is the first time in the history of the PLA that four divisions from four military command areas are taking part in a drill that involves the deployment of troops across different military command areas, the sources said.
The PLA has seven area command areas. The other three are Beijing, Chengdu and Nanjing.
The Air Force and the Army Aviation troop will also send men and various aircraft to take part in the drill, the sources said.
The drill is aimed at assessing and improving the PLA's overall combat capacity in the context of information warfare, the sources said.
It will put to tests the PLA's capacity in command and decision-making, joint operations of land and air troops, operations in complicated electro-magnetic conditions, paratrooper assault operations, simulated battles, and comprehensive exercises by specialist units.
China to stage 50,000-troop military drill: report
Tuesday, May 5, 2009; 9:33 AM
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's People's Liberation Army will hold a big training drill later this year to hone the modernizing force's skills in complex, high-tech warfare, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
The exercise will involve 50,000 troops from four divisions across four of China's seven military command regions, Xinhua reported, citing the PLA General Staff Headquarters. It will include infantry forces as well as paratroopers and aircraft.
The drill will mark another step in China's efforts to remake its military as a modern force, capable of complex and far-reaching missions, Xinhua said.
China showed its growing confidence as a military power during a naval parade last month that featured two of its nuclear submarines.
A PLA parade in Beijing on October 1 to mark the founding of the People's Republic of China will also underscore that confidence.
While the global economic crisis has forced many nations to rethink military spending plans, Beijing plans to spend more on its military. In March, the government said the official military budget would grow to 480.7 billion yuan ($70 billion) in 2009, a 14.9 percent rise on last year.
For decades, the focus of PLA planning has been seeking to prevent a possible bid for full independence by Taiwan, the self-governed island divided from the mainland since 1949.
But in recent years, Chinese military horizons have expanded with the country's economic reach, and its navy has been helping with anti-piracy patrols off the east African coast.
(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Paul Tait)