The Chinese Army has deployed around 50,000 heavily-armoured troops over thousands of miles to test the army’s long-distance mobility, under its largest-ever tactical military exercise called ‘Stride-2009’.

During the exercise, one army division from each of the military commands of Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan and Guangzhou will participate in a series of live-fire drills that will last for two months, reports Xinhua.

The army will introduce a newly developed laser-beam combat simulation system as part of the live-fire drills to be conducted in four tactical training bases.

Stride 2009 will involve the army using laser transmitters and receivers as well as China’s Beidou or COMPASS-G2 satellite communication and positioning system.

The exercise is aimed at improving the army’s capacity, coordination and ability to conduct joint operations and long-range force projection.

Suppressing adversaries’ electronic devices and countermeasures under a complex electromagnetic environment as well as dealing with natural disasters, such as last year’s devastating Sichuan earthquake will also be part of the exercise.

China Rail will carry all heavy weapon systems, while lightly armoured troops deployed to Jinan Military Command will go by China Railway high-speed (CRH) trains.