PLA Navy celebrates 73rd anniversary with half a dozen new warships, obvious clue to third carrier

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The Type 901 Comprehensive Replenishment Ship Hulunhu conducts maritime resupply of the Type 055 destroyers Lhasa and Anshan in an undisclosed sea region in 2022. Photo: Courtesy of PLA Navy

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy celebrated its 73rd anniversary since its founding on Saturday by announcing the commissioning of half a dozen powerful warships and two types of advanced helicopters based on ships that have already begun training to form combat capabilities. These achievements reflect the Navy’s rapid and significant growth in recent years, which enables the naval force to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, senior officers of some of the warships said. most powerful in the country in exclusive interviews with the Global Times. .

An official video showcasing China’s aircraft carrier program released on Friday also gave a very obvious hint that the country’s third aircraft carrier will be officially unveiled soon.

Media revealed ahead of the Navy’s anniversary that at least six new surface ships had been commissioned, namely a Type 075 amphibious assault ship, three Type 055 large destroyers and two Type 052D destroyers. .

Recently entered service as China’s second Type 075 amphibious assault ship, the Guangxi will soon join Hainanthe first ship of this class which was commissioned exactly one year ago on April 23, as part of a two-ship formation, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.

This has significant significance for the rapid development of the PLA’s amphibious combat capabilities, as it shows that the PLA quickly achieves the multi-domain and multi-dimensional landing capability, said senior captain Wang Yanguang, political commissar of the PLA. a warship training center. The report.

While the first Type 075 amphibious assault ship Hainan entered service with Southern Theater Command facing the South China Sea, the second ship Guangxi entered service with the Eastern Theater Command, which is in charge of the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, according to a press release from the PLA Eastern Theater Command.

the Guangxi has already started basic training including organization of navigation, combat rescue and damage control, as well as integration practices with helicopters, armored amphibious vehicles and air-cushioned landing craft , reported CCTV. Military analysts told the Global Times that the ship will gain combat capability very quickly, as the first ship has already gained valuable experience.

A total of three large 10,000 ton Type 055 destroyers have been announced and are now in service with the Navy, namely the Anshan and the wuxi with the Northern Theater Command and the Yan’an with Southern Theater Command, bringing the total number of Type 055s in service to six.

the Anshan and the wuxi recently joined Lhasa, the second ship of the Type 055 class, in a series of review exercises in the Yellow Sea, which means that three new large powerful destroyers have been assembled in the same region at the same time, reflecting the how quickly China has built new warships, CCTV reported on Friday.

Just entered service a month ago, the wuxi aims to achieve operational capability by 2022, the report quoted Senior Captain Zhao Shuqian, the ship’s captain, as saying.

The Navy also revealed the commissioning of two Type 052D destroyers, namely the Shaoxing and the baotou. the Shaoxing recently joined a series of realistic combat exercises hosted by the Navy’s Eastern Theater Command, while the baotou recently joined a five-day live-fire exercise in the Yellow Sea, according to state media.

Senior Captain Zhou Minghui, skipper of the nanchangthe first Type 055, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview shortly before the Navy’s anniversary that his ship takes every opportunity to fly a wide variety of missions to test the ship’s reliability and find problems, so that future ships can be upgraded.

Over the past 10 years, naval warships have undergone great developments, and the concepts of their use have also changed, as new ships have to sail to distant seas and face more challenges, said Zhou.

Zhou was the general manager of the Type 052 destroyer Qingdao and skipper of the Type 052D destroyer Xiningand is now the skipper of Type 055 nanchang. He said the speed of shipbuilding in China reflects its high level of industrial power and growing national defense capability.

The navy has also recently enlisted a number of auxiliary vessels like supply ships, rescue ships and new-type aircraft, CCTV said.

Two carrier-based variants of the China-developed Z-20 medium-lift helicopter were first revealed in a CCTV report on Saturday.

It shows a utility ship-based version of the Z-20 taking off from the helicopter deck of a large Type 055 destroyer, then a ship-based anti-submarine version of the Z-20, also leaving a Type 055 .

The Z-20 outperforms the smaller Z-9, while being more flexible than the larger Z-8. The utility version can be tasked with missions such as transport, assault landing, reconnaissance, and search and rescue, while the anti-submarine version can perform missions such as patrol as well as search and submarine attack, experts told the Global Times, noting that they will not only be found on the Type 055, but also on the Type 075, Type 052D and others.

The Navy is transforming from small boats to large ships, from coastal regions to distant seas, from individual sailors to the whole system, from airfields to aircraft carriers, and from maritime only to all-terrain, making progress in the process , observers said.

Navy ships and planes patrol the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Strait all day, the Global Times has learned. They often encounter provocations from foreign ships and planes that sometimes even point fire control radars at them, but the PLA forces always take resolute action and won’t let them do what they want. want. It has also become common for navy ships to break island chains and conduct exercises in distant seas.

Since 2008, the Chinese Navy has dispatched 40 task forces with more than 100 ships for escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, protecting more than 7,000 Chinese and foreign ships, rescuing nearly hundred from danger, the Navy said in a press release sent to the Global Times. This means the growing PLA Navy not only protects its homeland but also makes an important contribution to world peace, analysts said.

Looking forward

A day before the founding anniversary, the Navy released a promotional video for China’s aircraft carrier program on Friday, in which it gave a very obvious hint that the country’s third aircraft carrier would be officially unveiled soon.

Jointly produced by the PLA Navy Political Publicity Bureau and the PLA News Broadcasting Center, the promotional video is the first of its kind, as it showcases the progress of China’s aircraft carrier program, including the development of the country’s first aircraft carrier. liaoningthe second bearer shandong and the carrier-based J-15 fighter.

At the end of the video, a naval officer had a phone call with his mother, who urged him to have a “third child”, and the officer replied, “That’s the plan”. As the phone call progressed, the camera moved from an image of the liaoning to shandongand stopped at an empty space in the wall.

It’s a very clear implication that the country’s third aircraft carrier is coming soon, observers said.

The new carrier, likely to feature new technologies including electromagnetic catapults, could launch by 2022, experts said.

It will also likely get a new type of fighter jet from state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, a major PLA aircraft contractor, which sent the Navy a birthday celebration on social media on Saturday by posting a cartoon depicting what appears to be an FC-31 stealth fighter aircraft operating from an aircraft carrier nicknamed “No. 3”.

In terms of personnel, the first Chinese aircraft carrier, the liaoningtrained more than 1,000 core talent for the second carrier shandong and more carriers to come, said Captain Wang Zesen, political commissar of the liaoningon CCTV Friday.

The Chinese Navy will have more pilots, more aircraft carriers and more aircraft carrier-based aircraft as well as more powerful measures and more reliable instruments in the future to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and human rights. development interests, said Senior Captain Xu Ying, general manager of the aircraft carrier shandongtold the Global Times in an exclusive interview shortly before the Navy’s birthday.

The development of the Chinese aircraft carrier has passed the initial exploration stage and entered the improvement and acceleration stage, said Xu, who is also one of the first pilots based on Chinese aircraft carriers.

“We need to sail to more uncharted waters, deal with more complicated weather and sea conditions in more complex missions, and have more accompanying forces,” Xu said.

The PLA Navy will continue its development which aims to become a world-class navy, the navy said in the press release sent to the Global Times.

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