Chinese Navy: significant impressions in the sea | Daily News

Chinese Navy: significant impressions in the sea

Aircraft carrier - Shandong
Aircraft carrier - Shandong

For centuries the merchant ships of China sailed the seven seas. The maritime history of Sri Lanka records contact with Chinese sailing vessels in the fifth century BC. In the naval domain of sailing, the Chinese Navy, which is the seagoing arm of the People’s Liberation Army has grown to have a fleet of ships.

Today, the Chinese Navy boasts of more than 350 vessels under the category of aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, landing helicopter docks, missile boats, landing ships, replenishment ships, minesweepers, hospital ships, icebreaker vessels, rescue ships, ballistic missile tracking ships, corvettes, submarine chasers and a fleet of submarines. It is the second largest Navy in the world, in terms of tonnage. The Chinese Navy was established on April 23, 1949. Its roots stem from the Republic of China Navy. In 1949, Mao Zedong made a statement “In order to oppose imperialist aggression, we must build a powerful Navy”. Decades later, his wish has blossomed into a reality.

Electronic Reconnaisance ship - Type 815
 

In order to train their officers and sailors, the Naval Academy was set up at Dalian in November 1949. The Naval Air Force was born in 1956. From 1954, with Soviet assistance, the Chinese Navy reorganised its commands into the North Sea Fleet, South Sea Fleet and East Sea Fleet. In the 1980s, the Chinese Navy was largely a brown-water Navy, meaning that its capacity was within riverine and littoral operations. Under the leadership of Chief Naval Commander Liu Huaqing, the Navy made good progress. In 1982, the Navy tested an underwater ballistic missile. By 1986, the Chinese had two Xia class SSBN with 12 CSS- N3 missiles and three Han class submarines armed with six SY-2 cruise missiles. In 1987, the Navy Headquarters was in Beijing. It was subordinate to the PLA General Staff Department.

By the 1990s, there was a paradigm shift towards forward-oriented security policy which set the foundation towards a modern Navy. The move from a “green water Navy” towards a regional “blue water” Navy with defensive and offensive capacity has been embraced by the Chinese Navy. Over the years, regular patrols and naval exercises have been conducted in the South China Sea. The officers and sailors of the Chinese Navy come under five branches: the Surface Force (all surface ships), the Submarine Force (all nuclear and diesel electric submarines), Coastal Defence Force (land-based troops), Marine Corps (rapid deployment forces) and the dynamic Naval Air Force (aviation branch with 700 aircraft). These aircraft include fighter jets, bombers, attack aircraft, early warning planes, maritime patrol aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft and helicopters. In 2012, the Navy operated their first aircraft carrier Liaoning, and naval aviators began carrier-based operations. The Chinese Navy has a total cadre of 240,000 personnel.

In 2009, the Chinese Navy ordered four Zubr Class craft from Ukraine. These are hovercrafts that can land marines and armoured vehicles for amphibious assaults. In 2013 July, the Chinese Navy took part in a joint training exercise with ships of the Russian Navy. The Chinese deployed a

Nuclear submarine

seven-ship Task Force from her North Sea Fleet. Chinese ships participated in the 2014 RIMPAC naval exercise alongside the ships of the US Navy. When Yemen faced a political crisis in 2015, a Chinese Navy frigate was able to rescue citizens from 10 countries, at the port city of Aden. Presently, the Chinese Navy has three fleets: North Sea Fleet (Yellow Sea) in the Shandong Province, East Sea Fleet (East China Sea) headquartered in Zhejiang Province and the South Sea Fleet (South China Sea) located in the Guangdong Province. Each of these strategically positioned fleets is made up of frigates, destroyers and amphibious vessels augmented by submarine forces, aircraft and coastal defence units. The Navy also works alongside the Chinese Coast Guard.

The Chinese Navy has a traditional protocol in naming her ships. All nuclear submarines are named Changzheng with a number. Aircraft carriers are named after provinces. Destroyers and frigates are named after cities. Anti-Submarine ships are named after counties. Tank landing and landing dock ships are duly named after mountains. Names of rivers are kept for infantry landing vessels. Replenishment ships bear the names of Chinese lakes.

The submarine fleet of China is a topic of great interest laced with a touch of mystery. The Tang class, Jin class and Xia class are nuclear ballistic missile submarines. The type-94 Jin class submarine can carry 12 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). This missile has a supposed range of 7,400Km and carries one warhead. The submarine is 133 metres long and has a submerged speed of 20 knots. She has a displacement of 11,000 tonnes. The nuclear attack submarines consist of the Sui class, Han class and Shang class. The conventional attack submarines represent the Yuan class, Ming class and Kilo class. These are smaller with a displacement of 3,600 tonnes.

The active aircraft carriers are the massive Liaoning and Shandong ships. The Liaoning is the first aircraft carrier commissioned in the Chinese Navy. She has a displacement of 67,500 tonnes (full load) and a length of 304 metres.

Chinese frigate Yulin

Her propulsion comes from steam turbines and eight boilers. Liaoning has a speed of 32 knots and a sea endurance of 45 days. This floating fortress is home to 1,960 crew. She is fitted with type 346/382 radars. Liaoning can carry 40 aircraft and they consist of Shenyang J-15, Changhe Z-18F, Changhe Z-18J and Harbin Z-9 helicopters. The Shenyang J-15 is a fourth generation all weather fighter bearing the NATO code name Flanker X2 and a service ceiling of 20,000 feet. This fighter jet carries the PL-12 radar guided air-to-air missile and YJ anti-ship missile. The aircraft carrier Shandong was launched in April 2017. Her first sea trial was completed in May 2018. She has a full load of 66,000 tonnes. Her length is 315 metres. Shandong has the capacity to carry 44 aircraft. She carries the HQ-10 surface to air missiles.

The destroyers of the Chinese Navy include the Renhai class, Luyang class, Luzhou class, Luhai class, Luhu class and Sovremenny class. These various classes have a displacement between 13,000 to 4800 tonnes. Another unique ship is the Yuan Wang class ballistic missile tracking ship. This unusual looking ship has a displacement of 21,000 tonnes. The ship has a sailing crew of 470 onboard. Her operations and characteristics remain classified.

The beautiful hospital ship Type-920 is named the Peace Ark, and she was launched in 2007. This ship has a displacement of 14,000 tonnes and is assigned to the South Sea Fleet. The ship has 300 beds, 20 ICU beds and eight operating theatres. Her medical crew can perform 40 surgeries each day. In keeping with the Geneva Convention, this vessel has no offensive weapons. She has a Z-8 Super Falcon helicopter to transport serious patients if required. In 2013, she sailed to the Philippines to assist the people afflicted by the typhoon Haiyan. She has also provided medical treatment to the people of Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Seychelles. Peace Ark visited the nation of Gabon (West Coast of Central Africa) and treated 3,000 people performing many life-giving surgeries. Peace Ark has visited Sri Lanka in August 2017 and conducted fruitful communications with the Sri Lanka Navy. The Chinese Navy sails with success.

Hospital ship - Type 920
Shenyang-J-15-fighter
Ballistic missile tracking ship
Houjian Class - Missile boat
 

 


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