A new airport at the Zhurihe Training Base under the Beijing Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) was completed in summer of 2012 in the hinterland of the grassland in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
"Our paratroopers can be soon airdropped to the vast grassland for drill and then return by transport aircraft," said a commanding officer of a troop unit of the PLA airborne force who came to watch a drill.
In the past, due to the absence of airports in some unfamiliar training fields, the airborne troops had to travel long way to return to their home bases by trains or buses after fulfilling long-distance airdropping drills, which greatly reduced the efficiency of their all-area combat training.
Today, not only the PLA airborne force can be airdropped to the northern vast desert for training and return to their home bases on the very day, but also the warplanes of air force aviation troop units, naval aviation troop units and army aviation troop units of the PLA can land at the airport of the training base to conduct joint drills with armored troop units of the PLA ground force.
How is this modern and large-scale "ground-air joint operation experimental field"?
First, it covers a land area of over 1,000 square kilometers and is the PLA's only training base for launching joint air-ground and actual-troop campaign exercise of group army scale. In the past decade, more than 100 ground-air joint tactical actual-troop or online confrontational exercises for troop units were directed and supported in this training base. Hundreds of thousands of officers and men，in another word, nearly one hundred divisions and brigades led by over 1,000 commanders at group army, division and brigade levels conducted drills here one after another.
Second, the PLA's first actual-troop exercise in complex electromagnetic environment was conducted here. In late autumn of 2008, a total of over 110 military observers from 36 countries watched an exercise in the grassland, and one foreign military observer said the Chinese military had taken solid steps in its training in complex electromagnetic environment.
Third, it features complete battlefield functions and is equipped with advanced facilities. The base possesses digital monitoring and assessment system, and is the first to adopt the digital one-thousand-score quantified assessment mode to monitor and assess the troop units participating in the exercise in whole process with time accuracy in seconds. A professional "Blue Army" is stationed here all year long and ready to carry out laser-simulation combat exercises at any time with various troop units of the PLA.
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