CHINESE military personnel are being trained to use Russia’s deadly S-400 Triumf missile system in another example of cooperation between the two superpowers which is likely to set alarm bells ringing in Washington.
Chinese personnel will learn how to operate the state-of-the-art weaponry, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
A military-diplomatic source said: “About 100 military servicemen from the People’s Liberation Army of China will undergo instruction at a Russian training centre in the operation and combat uses of the second regimental set of the S-400 system, to be provided to China in the second half of the year.” Russia’s federal service for military-technical cooperation declined to comment.
China is the first foreign customer to purchase the S-400 Triumf system, with the contract covering two regimental sets.
The first set was delivered last spring, and in December 2018, China successfully used the system at its proving grounds to hit ballistic and aerodynamic targets.
Speaking in January, another source told TASS: “The second test firing of the S-400 was carried out in December last year at a Chinese firing ground.
“The 48N6E missile fired by the system’s launcher hit an aerodynamic target simulating an aircraft flying at a speed of more than 600 meters per second.”
The Triumf system’s 40N6 long-range surface-to-air missiles are capable of hitting hostile jets and even hypersonic cruise missiles, and travel at more than half a mile a SECOND.
They have a destruction range of 236 miles for aerial targets – the United States use Patriot PAC-3 missiles which have a maximum range of just 62 miles.
China’s acquisition of the technology from Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the latest example of closer cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, and follows Vostok 2018, a massive military drill held in Siberia and Russia’s far east in September.
This involved 300,000 soldiers, including several thousand troops from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
At the time, Dmitri Trenin, a a former Russian army colonel and director of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank, said: “With its Vostok 2018 exercise Russia sends a message that it regards the US as a potential enemy and China as a potential ally.
“China, by sending a PLA element to train with the Russians, is signalling that US pressure is pushing it towards much closer military cooperation with Moscow.”
NATO spokesman Dylan White said: “All nations have the right to exercise their armed forces, but it is essential that this is done in a transparent and predictable manner.
“Vostok demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict.
“It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence.”
In an article written for London-based think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Nadege Rolland,senior fellow for Political and Security Affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), said: “As times goes on, problems might emerge in the Sino-Russian relationship.
“Russia may eventually realise that China poses a profound threat to its interests and ambitions and decide to get serious about competition. But it took the United States nearly a quarter of a century to come to a similar conclusion.
“Over the medium term, a Sino-Russian condominium over Eurasia will probably continue to take shape.”
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