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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 09:58, March 30, 2007
Chinese flotilla chalks up a couple of the "firsts"
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A two-vessel flotilla of Chinese navy, comprising the missile frigate "Lianyungang" and the missile frigate "Sanming", has returned to China from the at-sea phase of AMAN-07, or "Peace-07", the multinational maritime military drill hosted by Pakistan held from March 8 and 11. This is the first time for the Chinese navy to join in a multinational maritime military drill, the first time for its flotilla to sail and drill overseas without an attached supply ship, the first time to truly use live ammunitions overseas, and also the first time to command or direct a multinational fleet in English language.

Every screw on frigates examined

The mission of the multinational naval exercise was undertaken by a frigate detachment of the East China Fleet, which then had only two months for preparations after accepting the assignment on late December of 2006, whereas such a mission would usually needs about a half-a-year period to brace up for the event.

Of all essential preparations, the work of fitting or equipping the vessels with weaponry was most arduous and unimaginable. With respect to the strenuous job of the navy crews, Wang Wenguo, the political commissar of the frigate "Lianyungant", said with emotions that his men had toiled an average of over 12 hours a day, and almost got every screw on frigates examined and inspected during the course of careful and meticulous preparations.

400 men's 40-day provision bought with one stroke

This is the first time for a flotilla of the Chinese navy to sail and drill overseas without the support of an attached supply ship, so a 40-day provision for 400 navy men has to be purchased once for all. As a matter of fact, a missile frigate is usually designed with a self-supply capacity merely for 15 days. The frigate "Lianyungang" purchased at one stroke a lump sum of 300,000 yuan (some 37,500 US dollars) worth of food, staple or non-staple. Afterwards, they stuffed meat and fish into three freezers aboard the frigates while putting and arranged basketfuls of vegetables and melons in the well-ventilated vessel passages with fresh air. So crews on their return voyage were still able to have vegetables as fresh as those just picked in fields.

Learning tactics rules in English in 2 months

To join in multinational fleets in the "Peace-07" maritime military drill, the biggest huddle faced by Chinese navy men lies in the mastery of the English language. Before the drill, the Pakistani navy, the drill host, initially proposed offering four of its navy crew to assist Chinese navy men and officers with their command effort since it had been the first time for the Chinese flotilla to use the "drill tactics 1000, maritime maneuvering and tactics procedure" and some other documents drafted by the NATO nations concerning the multinational naval exercises. The Pakistan proposal, however, was turned down.

The missile frigate "Lianyungang" set up a group to hasten the learning of English after accepting the mission, and its crew members were required to acquaint themselves with the relevant rules of the "drill tactics 1000" in two months' time. And then, the frigate commander gave lectures on the related courses and played recording of English dialogues on radio, while mimic dialogues, communication drills and weekly inspections and assessments about the learning of the language were conducted among the crew men and officers.

On the afternoon of March 9, the chief commanding vessel of the multinational navel drill relegated the commanding power to the Chinese flotilla, and Senior Colonel Qiu Yanpeng, commander of the Chinese flotilla, assumed the post of directing the joint maritime rescue operation. The Chinese officer, calmed and composed, performed his duty with flying colors, and accomplished the drilling task an hour in advance as scheduled.

Eight-year-old vessel remains in "a sound shape"

The frigate "Lianyungang" has been launched for eight full years. But some officers and men of a Malaysian frigate could hardly find any cracks and rusted stains when they where shown around aboard the frigate, and they felt impressed when they were told that eight full years had passed when it was put into service.

In a nut shell, this past multinational maritime military drill was not only a sincere, coordinated exchange among the involved nations but a match on the same arena among navies of the drill participating partners with respect to the image and competency.

Furthermore, during their group tours of scenic resorts or sites of historical interest in Pakistan, Chinese navy crew members carried themselves with dignity and won high respect, good impression and due acknowledgement from local people for their integrity and model conduct.

By People's Daily Online based on reports from "Liberation Army Daily"

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