Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PLA Navy plays strategic role in maintaining national safety, interest


The Navy, a strategic branch of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), was founded on April 23, 1949.
  The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have attached great importance to the Navy's development. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Navy has progressed along with the advancement of the nation. With the rapid elevation of the overall national strengths of China, the Navy has been making great strides in its development.
  Today, the PLA Navy has developed into a strategic, comprehensive and international military force with both nuclear and conventional combat capabilities. It is composed of the submarines, surface ships, aviation troops, Marine Corps, and shore defense wings. It has become an important strategic tool for maintaining state sovereignty, national dignity, state security and development interests and a resolute force for maintaining world peace.
  Currently, the PLA Navy has 235,000 officers and soldiers. It has 3 Fleets, namely the North China Sea Fleet, the East China Sea Fleet, and the South China Sea Fleet. Each Fleet consists of fleet aviation, bases, flotillas, maritime garrison commands, aviation divisions, and Marine Corps brigades.
  The PLA Navy follows the military strategy of active defense and engages in active defense at sea in line with the strategic requirements of offshore defense. Its mandate involves seven key missions: maintaining state unity and territorial integrity; withstanding military invasion from the sea; defending sovereignty of islands and territorial waters and maritime interests of the state; protecting maritime traffic lines; supporting maritime economic development; safeguarding maritime production and personnel; maintaining overseas rights and interests of the state, citizens, and overseas compatriots; maintaining regional and world peace.
  Regular readiness patrol
  The PLA Navy focuses on maintaining state territorial sovereignty and maritime interests and this requires constantly being on alert and thus needs readiness practice.
  In accordance with the principles of effective force-employment, systematic patrol, whole-area monitoring, it organizes and conducts regular readiness patrols to maintain a constant presence in certain areas. Each Fleet keeps a certain amount of vessels and aircraft to routinely patrol areas under their jurisdiction throughout the year and organizes mobile forces to patrol and guard certain areas when necessary.
  Tactical combat drills and training
  The PLA Navy has been taking tactical combat drills and training as the basis for transforming its military training system and improving the level of combat effectiveness of the force. It extensively tests combat concepts in simulated conditions with detailed information to reflect real situations into the practice of training; this includes being focused on information and intelligence, systematic confrontation, precision operations, fusion and integration, winning through a united effort, etc.
  The PLA Navy organizes exercise and training as per the requirements of real combat, wartime force groupings and the operational flow of combat; it emphasizes command-in-confrontation training, real-force autonomous confrontation training and training in complex battlefield environments to improve the overall systematic combat effectiveness of the force based on the concept of information based warfare.
  In recent years, the Navy has continued to explore training modes that involve open sea combat task groups by organizing open sea training programs for task groups composed of new kinds of destroyers, frigates, amphibious landing ships, fast combat support ships and ship-borne helicopters.
  It has deepened studies and training on mission subjects in complex battlefield environments, which emphasizes training in important contexts such as remote early-warning, comprehensive control, open sea interception, long-range raids, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) in open sea, long-range escort, etc.
  Since 2007, the PLA Navy has organized more than 30 open sea trainings in the west Pacific region with over a 100 practice rounds.
  Protecting maritime interests
  It is an important duty of the PLA Navy to resolutely maintain the maritime interests of the state.
  The PLA Navy provides safety support for maritime law-enforcement, fishing vessels and oil and gas exploitation projects alongside its readiness operations. It has also established a coordination and cooperation mechanism with the Chinese Coast Guard. The navy-police-civilian joint defense mechanism has been established and improved.
  In coordination with certain civil departments, the PLA Navy also carries out maritime survey and scientific research, constructing a maritime meteorological monitoring system, satellite navigation system, radio navigation system and a navigational aid system that can issue timely information on weather and shipping conditions. It has also established and improved a navigation safety support system in areas under its surveillance.
  The Chinese navy has held joint maritime law enforcement exercises and drills with the Chinese Coast Guard and has constantly improved the military-civil maritime joint operations to enhance its command, coordination and emergency response capabilities.
  In October of 2012, a total of 11 ships and 8 aircraft participated in a comprehensive exercise called “the East China Sea cooperation - 2012”, which was a joint maritime exercise to safeguard the maritime rights in the East China Sea.
  Protecting overseas interests
  Overseas operations, such as escorting merchant vessels, evacuations and emergency disaster relief are an important way for the PLA Navy to protect the state interests and to fulfill its international obligations.
  For example, in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and with the consent of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the Chinese government dispatched a PLA Navy taskforce on Dec. 26, 2008 to the Gulf of Aden and the Somali waters for escort mission.
  The primary mission of this task force is to protect the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel transiting through this area, protect the safety of vessels carrying humanitarian supplies chartered by World Food Programme (WFP) and other international organizations and provide cover for foreign vessels transiting through this area.
  As of Apr. 10, 2015, the PLA Navy has dispatched more than 50 support missions and over 30 helicopter missions in 20 task groups, which have provided escort for almost 6,000 vessels bearing both Chinese and foreign flags, covered or rescued 11 vessels released by pirates or being attacked by pirates, and rescued 43 vessels from pirate hijack attempts in 32 different incidents.
  In February 2011, the PLA Navy dispatched FFG Xuzhou to Libyan waters to provide support and protection for vessels evacuating Chinese personnel stranded in Libya.
  International disaster relief and humanitarian medical services
  The PLA Navy proactively carries out medical services and assistance in foreign countries and participated in international medical exchanges and cooperation to improve friendship and mutual trust with various countries.
  The PLA Navy hospital ship “The Peace Ark” has conducted medical service tasks as part of the “Mission Harmony” series abroad, during which it provided free medical service to nearly 80,000 people in 22 countries.
  Besides that, it also participated in important events such as the ASEAN Defense Minister Plus Meeting -- Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (ADMM-HADR&MM Exercise), the multinational joint round visits at Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, the humanitarian medical aid for the earthquake-hit Philippines and the world’s largest Naval exercise known as the “Rim of the Pacific Exercise” or RIMPAC in 2014.
  Maintaining the safety of international maritime channels
  The PLA Navy fulfills its international obligations through regular escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters.
  Through exchanges and cooperation, it has maintained the safety of international maritime channels together with escort-forces of other countries.
  As of Oct. 10, 2010, the PLA Navy Escort Task Force has escorted 8 World Food Programme (WFP) vessels and over 2,700 foreign ships, assisted 5 foreign vessels and rescued 20 foreign vessels during 15 separate incidents of pirate hijack attempts.
  The PLA Navy has established a good communication mechanism with various navies to conduct joint escort operations, share information and in coordination and liaison efforts.
  It has conducted joint escorts together with Russian naval ships, carried out joint exercises with South Korea, Pakistan, and US naval vessels, and coordinated with the EU when escorting WFP vessels; it has organized cross-deck visits between commanding officers with escort forces from EU, NATO, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), South Korea, and Singapore; it has exchanged officers for onboard observation with a Dutch naval ship; it also actively participates in international mechanisms such as CGPCS (Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia) and SHADE (Shared Awareness and De-conflict)
  From February to July 2014, the PLA Navy dispatched ships to escort vessels carrying chemical weapons out of Syria.
  Joint exercises and training with other navies
  In recent years, the PLA Navy has participated in the “Maritime Coalition” series of exercises with Russia, conducted the “Blue Strike” series of joint trainings with the Royal Thai Marine Corps, and taken part in the “Peace” series of multilateral maritime joint exercises hosted by Pakistan.
  In June 2014, the PLA Navy sent a task group to participate in the world’s largest Naval exercise known as the “Rim of the Pacific Exercise” or RIMPAC 2014 led by the US navy near Hawaii.
  The PLA Navy also avails opportunities such as cross-deck visits and escort operations in the Gulf of Aden to conduct bilateral or multilateral exercises with Indian, French, British, Australian, Thai, US, Russian, New Zealand, and Vietnamese navies in areas such as communication, formation maneuvers, replenishment at sea, cross-deck landing of helicopters, anti-surface firing, joint escort, visit, board, search and seizure operations (VBSS), joint search and rescue, diving, etc.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy --The Submarine force
  The submarine force is an important underwater assault force and an important arm that has contributed to the development of the PLA Navy.
  The submarine force is equipped with strategic missile nuclear submarines, attack nuclear submarines, and conventional submarines. It is organized into submarine bases and submarine flotillas.
  After more than 60 years of building, the submarine force has developed into a strong underwater assault force with both conventional and nuclear submarines.
  The submarines’ stealth, underwater endurance and ability to survive have been remarkably improved; their underwater penetration capabilities have been greatly enhanced; the number and total displacement have remarkably increased; it has achieved the transformation from a force focused on increasing its numbers to tone that is now more oriented towards increasing its quality and combat effectiveness.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy --The Surface force
  The surface force is an important combat force at sea.
  Currently, the 3 Fleets of the PLA Navy have dozens of destroyer flotillas, landing ship flotillas, risk avoidance and life-saving flotillas and combat support ship flotillas.
  There are hundreds of ships above Grade III , with the total tonnage now over 5 times that of the 1980s. The onboard weapons systems in these new warships have been upgraded and modernized. Modern warships have also created the opportunity to utilize a large number of new methods of training and combat.
  Now it has become routine to train in open seas and the level of training has been elevated every year, and the comprehensive combat capabilities have been remarkably improved.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy – The Aviation force
  The aviation force is an important component of a modern navy.
  With the commissioning of the third-generation fighter planes, the aviation force has made great improvement in its emergency maneuvers, ship-aircraft coordination, air combat, low-level penetration and in its long-range attack and precision strike capabilities.
  All fighter groups are capable of carrying out maneuver and combat tasks out of their defense area; all pilots on readiness duty have undergone real missile firing training.
  All the above indicates that the overall combat capabilities of the naval aviation force in the high-tech conditions have reached a new level.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy – The Marine Corps
  The Marine Corps is a fast assault force for amphibious operations.
  A well-trained marine can operate not only equipment such as infantry automatic weapons, amphibious tanks, amphibious armored transportation vehicles, self-propelled artillery of various calibers and anti-tank missiles but also special operations weapons.
  With the commissioning of new amphibious tanks, armored vehicles and special operations equipment, the combat effectiveness of the Marine Corps has been elevated overall. Their capabilities have been demonstrated in various PLA-level and PLAN-level exercises and joint exercises with foreign armed forces. They are true to their motto of being like “a Tiger on land and a dragon at sea”.
  Five major wings of the PLA Navy – The Shore defense force
  The shore defense force is deployed at important shore areas and participates in defense operations along the shore.
  Equipped with new generation shore-to-surface missiles that have stronger penetrating capabilities, higher levels of intelligence, longer range and stronger anti-jamming capabilities, the shore defense force has gradually become a new service that is both capable of important area/offshore air defense and can effectively support other services when launching attacks.

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