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Chinese Navy conducts naval exercise to perform submarine rescue missions

A naval search and rescue flotilla under the Northern Theater Command of the Chinese Navy, together with surface ships, helicopter units, and local maritime search and rescue forces, carried out a 74-hour uninterrupted multi-course drill in actual combat context in waters of the Yellow Sea as scheduled from May 17 to 20, aiming to test the troops’ ability to perform submarine rescue missions and emergency treatment.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Chinese navy Hongzehu 864 Type 926 submarine support ship. (Picture source China MoD)

During the drill, the application of multi-type submarine rescue equipment has highlighted the breakthroughs made in the troops’ core rescue capabilities.

It is learned that a total of one helicopter and nine vessels, including submarine rescue vessel Hongzehu (Hull No. 864), were jointly dispatched to participate in the drill, marking the largest multi-dimensional joint rescue drill in recent years.

The Hongzehu (864) is a Type 926 submarine support ship (NATO reporting name Dalao) The ship is used to conduct submarine rescue and supply ship developed by China for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), as of mid-2014, a total of three are in service. This ship is capable of both replenishing submarines and rescuing submariners in distress. She was commissioned in 2010. 

The Type 926 has a length of 135 m, a width of 18.6 m, and a displacement of 9,500 tons. The ship is equipped with a winch used to launch a rescue capsule to a maximum depth of 300 m and able to carry 18 crew members from a submarine. She is also equipped with an LR7 rescue submarine which can dive to a depth of 500 m.

Submarine rescue is a global problem worth solving and also the highlight of this drill. The joint search and rescue fleet carried out a search for a simulated disabled submarine under the water late at night. The divers on the Ship Hongzehu carried delivery tubes to conduct supply and exhaust ventilation and dropped life supplies for the wrecked submarine.

On the next day, the sea tugboat BeiTuo 739 carrying a motorized submarine rescue chamber docked with the target, and the simulated wounded personnel was able to be treated in time. 

Citing Global Security website, according to the PLA Navy, on 20 July 2017, at a ceremony in Qingdao (China), a new type of head tugboat Bei Tuo 739 was introduced into the Northern Fleet of the PLA. The auxiliary vessel with a total displacement of about 6,000 tons, a length of 110 meters and a width of 16 meters became the largest tugboat in the Chinese fleet and one of the largest tugboats in the world, and, apparently, is intended to provide aircraft carrier groups of the PLA Navy.