The navies of China and Thailand are holding a joint exercise closely following joint drills by the armies and air forces of the two countries. The China–Thailand Blue Strike 2023 joint naval training exercise is scheduled to be held from Sunday to September 10 in the upper Gulf of Thailand and a marine camp in Sattahip, the Bangkok Post reported on Saturday.
The training aims to enhance practical cooperation between the two navies and strengthen their capabilities of jointly addressing regional security threats, said the source. Both sides will conduct land and sea training and practise sniping tactics, jungle survival and maritime search and rescue, as well as cross-deck helicopter landings. There will also be learning sessions about chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence.
It marks the fifth edition of the Blue Strike bilateral naval exercises held since 2010.
Chinese forces participating in the exercise, including the Type 071 comprehensive landing ship Simingshan, the Type 054A guided missile frigate Anyang, the Type 903A comprehensive replenishment ship Chaohu, a Marine Corps unit and a vessel-borne helicopter unit, arrived at the Port of Sattahip in Thailand on Thursday, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) East Sea Fleet said in a press release that same day.
A Chinese Type 039 conventional attack submarine also arrived in Sattahip, according to Thai media reports. Shortly before the joint exercise, Thai navy chief Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet said on Friday that he had approved the use of the Chinese-made CHD620 engine as a substitute for a German-made engine for the S26T Yuan-class submarine that Thailand is purchasing from China. The S26T is developed based on the Type 039.