In the last couple of days, the PLAN and RuN fleets held a naval drill next to the Gulf of Aden. You can actually see a video of it here.
Here is the article associated to the video:
The Chinese naval escort task force has carried out a joint exercise coded “Peace Blue Shield 2009” with the Russian navy in the Gulf of Aden.
Two guided-missile frigates and one supply ship took part in the exercise. The Russian navy dispatched a large anti-submarine ship, a comprehensive supply ship and one towing ship.
The exercise included communications and liaisons, assembling of the two naval escort task forces, and sailing maneuvers.
They also cooperated in examining suspected ships with helicopters and naval ships.
It’s the first time the Chinese naval escort forces has conducted joint exercises with a foreign navy, in the mission area since the end of last year.
From the article, this certainly looks like the first joint exercise of this kind that China has had with any navy in its Somali patrols. On the PLAN side, they are involving 529, 530 (054A frigates) and 886 replenishment ship. The Russians are providing BPK 564 (Udaloy class) of Pacific fleet with tanker “Boris Butoma” and tugboat “MB-99”.
Looking at these pictures, I thought it’s kind of interesting how nice and clean the PLAN ships are and how rusty and run-down the Russian ships look. I know that the Russian ship has been there maybe a month longer, but it’s still looking far worse than it should. Of course, even after all the money and ships being diverted to PLAN, it still has not done as much long distance missions as the Russian Navy has in the past year. So, I do think there are a lot PLAN can learn from the Russians when it comes to long distance missions.
Recently, we also heard about the possibility of a joint exercise between PLAN, USN and RAN. That would certainly be a good learning experience. At this moment, I think PLAN is at least competent enough to not have to worry about embarrassing itself.