PLA Guard of Honor heralds military review
China's military parade reached a climax as a formation of Guard of Honor of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) three services marched past Tian'anmen in the center of Beijing.
The tall and handsome soldiers, dressed in green, white and blue ceremonial PLA uniforms, marched past Tian'anmen in swift and impeccable goosesteps, leaving spectators intoxicated in admiration.
The PLA Guard of Honor, representing the Army, Navy and Air Force, escorted the PLA flag. Following the Guard of Honor are 55 phalanxes composed of China's armed forces, including 13 on feet, 30 by vehicles and 12 flying squads.
The PLA flag is red with a golden star in the upper hoist. Next to the star are two Chinese characters "Ba Yi", the Chinese numerals for "8" and "1", which stand for "August 1", to commemorate the establishment of the Communist-led army in 1927.
On August 1, 1927, the Communist Party of China (CPC) fired the first shot of combating Kuomintang (KMT) in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi Province, after it underwent sanguinary purges.
The Nanchang Uprising was seen as CPC's initial bid to establish the people's army. August 1 has been used as the major symbol of the PLA flag and army emblem since 1949. The date is also China's Army Day.
All the personnel phalanxes will march past Tian'anmen in goosesteps. In between the two ornamental pillars standing on each side of the Tian'anmen Rostrum, the soldiers will have to take exactly 128 goosesteps in 96 meters.
Each step should be exactly 0.75 meters, according to organizers of the parade.
Over the past months, participating servicemen and women had trained for nearly 12 hours a day, even in summer when temperatures reached 40 Celsius.
The PLA Guard of Honor is primarily responsible for ceremony and protocol missions. Since it was established in 1952, the PLA Guard of Honor has successfully accomplished over 3,000 honor and ceremony missions.
Sailors and marines in the National Day parade Thursday impressed the audience on Tian'anmen Square and nationwide with the country's growing ability to guard its coast and territorial waters.
Formations of cadets, sailors and marines represented the progress the country had made in building a multi-dimensional naval defense capable of diversified missions.
Aged 18 on average, the sailors from the Navy Submarine Academy formed the youngest military formation in the parade.
When the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy established a submarine unit in 1954, the only two submarines it had were given by the Soviet Union.
Today the country's submarine fleet is made up of both conventionally-powered and nuclear submarines with their combat capabilities being substantially upgraded.
In a grand offshore fleet review in April to mark the PLA Navy's 60th anniversary, two homebred nuclear submarines, the Long March 6 and the Long March 3, made their maiden show. Also on show were two conventionally-powered ones, the Great Wall 218 and the Great Wall 177.
The cadets' phalanx was made up of naval cadets from the Dalian Naval Surface Warship Academy. Founded in November 1949, the academy is regarded as the cradle of the country' s navy officers.
About 40,000 officers have graduated from the academy over the past 60 years, of whom 180 have become admirals and 1,200 become captains of warships. The marine corps, in the third naval formation in the parade, is one of the youngest services in the Navy.
Founded in 1979, the crops made its debut in the National Day parade in 1999, signaling the Navy's breakthrough in land warfare.
Armed police commando
The Snow Leopard Commando unit, the crack force of the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF), made their debut Thursday onboard 08 wheeled armored vehicles, the only kind in Thursday's parade covered with urban camouflage.
The Chinese SWAT, officially named the Special Brigade of the PAPF Beijing Corps, was established in 2002 and named by the Central Military Commission (CMC), is a crack emergency force to handle emergency and terrorist threats and maintain stability.
The special brigade carried out security work during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It also took part in several national anti-terrorism drills and the 2007 Sino-Russian anti-terrorism exercise.
The brigade has been praised for dealing with emergencies, fighting violent crimes and safeguarding important events.
Largest PLA howitzers
The PLA rolled out battalions of its new artillery units to join tanks and SWAT teams in a grand military parade to celebrate the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China in the heart of Beijing.
The PLA's Type 05 tracked self-propelled gun-howitzers thundered past the audience on and at both side of the Tian'anmen Rostrum amid applause studded with exclamations.
The Type 05 gun-howitzers were first delivered to the PLA at the beginning of this year, and are the PLA's largest guns in service.
One of China's most sophisticated artillery pieces in terms of its automation level, strike range and navigation and fire control systems, the Type 05 gun-howitzers have received several batches of foreign guests, in a demonstration of the country's military openness and transparency.
Paratroopers bear PLA's new automatic rifles
The PLA's airborne corps soldiers in their featured sky gray camouflage uniforms march during a massive parade in Beijing to celebrate the 60th founding anniversary of New China. [Xinhua]
BEIJING: Holding newly equipped Type 03 automatic rifles, the PLA's airborne corps soldiers in their featured sky gray camouflage uniforms arrived.
The Type 03 automatic rifle is the latest member of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Type 95 rifle series which adopt 5.8-mm caliber combining the advantages of both Russian-made AK-74 and U.S.-made M-16 small-caliber rifles.
The paratroopers on the parade also become the first official users of the new firearm as the rifle's unique foldable gunstocks can be seen in front of the soldier's chest.
Type 03 automatic rifle was initiated as a backup plan just after the Type 95 rifle, which has been widely adopted to replace the Type 81 rifles, became the PLA's standard equipment.
"The Type 95 rifle has a world popular Bullpup design, but many troops complained that their soldiers were not accustomed to the fashionable rifles without gunstocks," said Ma Shizeng, a retired light firearm expert.
The equipment of Type 95 series including Type 03 rifle among most of the PLA's troops to replace Type 81 series also embodies that the PLA's individual weapon has been upgraded from imitations of Russian models to independent designing, said Ma.
Different from the caliber of both Russian and NATO rifles, the PLA's own rifle criterion might be a typical footnote of the defensive nature of China's military development, said Duo Yingxian, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and chief designer of Type 95 rifle series.
"If invading enemies captured the PLA's rifles in China, they could not fire them with foreign bullets," Duo said.
Bearing glorious battle histories in the Korean War and engagement in disaster relief as well as joint military exercises with foreign armies, the paratroopers first appeared on the National Day parade in 1954.
During the PLA's desperate rescue efforts two days after the deadly Wenchuan earthquake last May, 15 paratroopers from this airborne corps managed a high-altitude jump at about 5,000 kilometers above sea level to become the first rescuers arrived near the epicenter.
Army special forces debut
The special operations forces of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) made their first public appearance Thursday in the National Day military parade on Tian'anmen Square.
The soldiers, in brown camouflage uniforms, were holding silenced submachine guns.
The phalanx was from the special operations brigade of the Beijing Military Area Command, which shoulders responsibility of anti-terrorism and handling other emergencies.
The PLA special operations forces, established in the early 1990s, have evolved from a traditional reconnaissance unit. They are equipped with silenced rifles and bayonets, as well as high-tech facilities such as unmanned aircraft, global positioning and battlefield information processing systems.
Before the special forces marched cadets from the Shijiazhuang Mechanized Infantry Academy and soldiers from the "Red Army's First Division."
Intercontinental ballistic missiles
The National Day military parade culminated in the final staging of giant nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles Thursday.
The camouflaged nuclear weapon rode on 18 launch vehicles. Each vehicles had 20 wheels, carrying the "remarkable symbol" of China's defense muscle.
Aircraft bearing live ammunition present largest air force show
Right on time, the first aircraft of National Day air display, Kongjing-2000 AEWC aircraft, roared down from skyline to the east of Tian'anmen Square where the emissions from tanks and missile-carrying trucks had not dispersed.
Featured with the distinctive giant radome on its back, a Kongjing-2000 was escorted by eight J-7 fighters from the PLA's Bayi (August 1) Aerobatics Team, leaving colorful smoke trails in the sky over Tian'anmen Square.
Some spectators with sharp eyesight shouted with surprise on the east reviewing stands of Tian'anmen Rostrum when they found six J-11 fighters following two AEWC aircraft mounted with air-to-air missiles under their wings.
The Air Force's vice commander Zhao Zhongxin told Xinhua earlier that all the combatant aircraft of the air fleet in the parade were loaded with live weapons.
"It is the second time for us to equip the aircraft with live ammunition during air display on National Day parade," said Lt.-Gen. Zhao who is also the air display's chief director.
On the inaugural parade when late Chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China, the PLA's four US-made P-51 WWII fighters captured from the Kuomintang air force were fully loaded with ammos to their machine guns when they flew over the crowd.
"I suggested then general director of the parade Marshal Nie Rongzhen that at least four of the fighters on the parade must bear live ammunition to deal with possible dog fight with enemy planes," Fang Huai, a retired air force general, recalled.
The inaugural parade on October 1, 1949, was held amid occasional harassment by the Kuomintang military aircraft since the Chinese mainland was not completely liberated by the Communist Party of China.
However, missiles and bombs now are not expected to be actually used, they just showcase China's capability of air defense weaponry. Pilots on today's aerial display will not allow a single fire of their shinning missiles to ensure security of the people on the ground.
"We have disarmed all the warheads of the missiles mounted to the aircraft and reinforced all the hardpoints to prevent accidental fall-off of the missiles," said Lt.-Gen. Zhao Zhongxin.
"This is the largest air display among all 14 military parades on National Day," Zhao said. "Sixty years ago we only had 17 captured aircraft, today we showcase 151, all domestically made."
The jets that the Air Force's Bayi Aerobatics Team were using for the air display are the PLA's second-generation fighter J-7GB. It was the final show of the jets as the aerobatics team will be equipped with the third-generation J-10 fighters after the National Day parade, said Lou Guoqiang, captain of the aerobatic team.
Logistical equipment phalanx
The PLA showcased its logistical support capability in a grand military parade to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China Thursday morning.
The first-ever logistical equipment phalanx appearing in the parade highlighted the PLA's state-of-the-art vehicles for field operations, including those for surgical operation, staple food cooking, water purification, gas filling and platforms for heavy-duty equipment.
The formation made by an armored division of the Beijing Military Command represents the PLA's second-generation logistical equipment.
Under the Outline for Building a Modern Logistics System promulgated by the Central Military Commission in December 2007, the PLA has aimed to acquire the full capability of providing logistic support to emergency operations by 2010 and to complete the task of building a modernized logistical system by 2020.
A primary task for the present and in the near future, says the outline, is to make sure that the PLA is capable of winning a local war of the information age, to advance the integration of tri-service logistical support, to deepen reforms in joint logistics and to speed up the outsourcing process.
In April 2007 the Jinan Military Command formally adopted the joint logistics system based on the integration of tri-service logistical support.
In an effort to facilitate the outsourcing process, the PLA has started to out-source the commercial and housing services of combat units stationed in large and medium-sized cities, general-purpose materials storage, capital construction, logistical equipment production and logistical technical services.
It also enlarged the scope of centralized procurement, increased the proportion of procurement through bidding, and extended centralized procurement to non-combat units so as to improve capital use efficiency.
Updated: 2009-10-01 11:40