V. The Navy

The Navy is a strategic service of the PLA, and the main force for maritime operations. It is responsible for such tasks as safeguarding China's maritime security and maintaining the sovereignty of its territorial waters, along with its maritime rights and interests. The Navy is mainly composed of submarine, surface ship, aviation, Marine Corps and coastal defense wings.

History of Development

The Navy was founded on April 23, 1949. From 1949 to 1955 it set up the surface ship force, coastal defense force, aviation, submarine force and Marine Corps, and established the objective of building a light maritime combat force. From 1955 to 1960 it established the Donghai Fleet, Nanhai Fleet and Beihai Fleet, successively. From the 1950s to the end of the 1970s the main task of the Navy was to conduct inshore defensive operations. Since the 1980s, the Navy has realized a strategic transformation to offshore defensive operations. Since the beginning of the new century, in view of the characteristics and laws of local maritime wars in conditions of informationization, the Navy has been striving to improve in an all-round way its capabilities of integrated offshore operations, strategic deterrence and strategic counterattacks, and to gradually develop its capabilities of conducting cooperation in distant waters and countering non-traditional security threats, so as to push forward the overall transformation of the service. Through nearly six decades of development, a modern force for maritime operations has taken shape, consisting of combined arms with both nuclear and conventional means of operations.

Structure and Organization

In time of peace, the Navy adopts a leadership system which combines operational command with building and administration, and which mainly consists of the Navy Headquarters, fleets, test bases, educational institutions, and an armaments academy. There are three fleets under the Navy, namely, the Beihai Fleet, Donghai Fleet and Nanhai Fleet, which are headquartered respectively in Qingdao of Shandong Province, Ningbo of Zhejiang Province, and Zhanjiang of Guangdong Province. Each fleet has under its command fleet aviation, support bases, flotillas, maritime garrison commands, aviation divisions and marine brigades. At present, the Navy has eight educational institutions, namely, the Naval Command College, Naval Engineering University, Naval Aeronautical Engineering College, Dalian Naval Academy, Naval Submarine College, Naval Arms Command College, Naval Flying College and Bengbu Naval School for Non-commissioned Officers.

The submarine force is equipped with nuclear-powered strategic missile submarines, nuclear-powered attack submarines and conventional submarines, all organized into submarine bases and submarine flotillas. The surface ship force mainly consists of destroyers, frigates, missile boats, mine sweepers, landing ships and service ships, and is organized into flotillas of destroyers, speedboats, landing ships and combat support ships, as well as maritime garrison commands. The aviation wing mainly consists of fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, patrol aircraft and helicopters, all organized into aviation divisions. The Marine Corps is organized into marine brigades, and mainly consists of marines, amphibious armored troops, artillery troops, engineers and amphibious reconnaissance troops. The coastal defense force is mainly organized into coastal missile regiments and antiaircraft artillery regiments, and mainly consists of shore-to-ship missile, antiaircraft artillery and coastal artillery troops.

Force Building

In line with the requirements of offshore defense strategy, the Navy takes informationization as the orientation and strategic priority of its modernization drive, and is endeavoring to build a strong navy. It deepens reforms and innovations in training programs and methods, highlights training in maritime integrated joint operations, and enhances integrated combat capability in conducting offshore campaigns and the capability of nuclear counterattacks. It organizes in a scientific way operational training, tactical training, specialized skill training and common subject training, focuses on the integrated training of joint operations elements in conditions of informationization and explores methods of training in complex electromagnetic environments. It also attaches importance to MOOTW, training and actively participates in bilateral and multilateral joint training exercises.

Upgrading weaponry and equipment, and optimizing the weaponry and equipment system.Efforts are being made to build new types of submarines, destroyers, frigates and aircraft, forming a preliminary weaponry and equipment system with second-generation equipment as the core and the third generation as the backbone. The submarine force possesses underwater anti-ship, anti-submarine and mine-laying capabilities, as well as some nuclear counterattack capabilities. The surface ship force has developed a surface striking force represented by new types of missile destroyers and frigates, and possesses maritime reconnaissance, anti-ship, anti-submarine, air-defense, mine-laying and other operational capabilities. The aviation wing has developed an air striking force represented by sea-attack aircraft, and possesses reconnaissance, anti-ship, anti-submarine and air-defense operational capabilities. The Marine Corps has developed an amphibious operational force represented by amphibious armored vehicles, and possesses amphibious operational capabilities. The coastal defense force is represented by new types of shore-to-ship missiles and possesses high coastal defense operations capability.

Optimizing the logistical support system, and improving maritime integrated support capabilities.Aiming at enhancing its integrated logistical support capabilities, the Navy has preliminarily built a logistical support system with shore-based logistical support as the foundation and sea-based logistical support as the mainstay, and meshes the two into an integrated whole. It has stepped up the building of ship bases, berthing areas, supply points, docks and airfields. As a result, a shore-based support system is basically in place, which is coordinated with the development of weaponry and equipment, and suited to wartime support tasks. The Navy has gradually deployed new types of large integrated supply ships, medical ships and ambulance helicopters, and succeeded in developing many types of maritime support equipment and a number of key technologies, leading to significant progress in the modernization of the maritime support force.

Enhancing the capabilities and quality of naval officers and men, and training qualified military personnel.The Navy has adopted a personnel training model in which commanding officer candidates receive integrated education for academic credentials and separate pre-assignment education, and is making efforts to improve the pre-assignment training system for officers. The personnel training of the Navy highlights the uniqueness of the service, and stresses the cultivation of practical capabilities. To raise officers' competence for handling their assignments, the Navy is striving to improve the personnel training programs of its educational institutions and implement assignment-oriented curricula. It is also endeavoring to expand the scale of training for NCOs and foster intermediate and senior NCOs qualified for technically complex posts.