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AGB Xuelong 2

In China's Arctic Policy, published in June 2016, Beijing introduced its plans to create a "Polar Silk Road" by extending Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative and by exploring shipping lanes opened by climate change. Xuelong 2 was designed collaboratively between the Finnish engineering firm Aker Arctic and the Marine Design and Research Institute of China in Shanghai. The icebreaker, which is 122.5 meters long, 22.3 meters wide and has a displacement of almost 14,000 tons, will be able to conduct both geological and biological experimentation and surveying in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Xuelong 2 is one of the worlds best research icebreakers and will allow Chinese scientists to extend their stays in polar regions and help the country narrow the gap with polar research powers such as the United States. Before Xuelong 2 was commissioned in July, China only operated a single icebreaker Xuelong which was designed for cargo transportation rather than scientific research operations when it was built in Ukraine in 1993. Xuelong was bought by China and converted into a polar research and resupply vessel. It had carried out dozens of scientific expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.

In recent years, due to the ship's life cycle, the implementation of new polar rules, and economic and political strategic needs, countries are accelerating the pace of technological upgrading and starting to build second-generation polar scientific icebreakers, which are mainly characterized by stronger icebreaking capabilities and larger hull sizes. It is reported that in the future, "Xuelong" will be mainly responsible for the supply and supply of materials, while "Xuelong 2" will be mainly responsible for scientific investigation and research. Heavy icebreakers are the heavy equipment that will be urgently needed for the next step in China's polar strategy in the future. China has started planning the development of heavy icebreakers, and we look forward to more members of the 'Snow Dragon' series.

In August 2012 Aker Arctic won a contract from the China State Oceanic Administration (SOA), Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) and the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) to design a new icebreaking polar research vessel for China. Scheduled to begin operating in 2014, the new icebreaker will join China's other icebreaker, Xuelong (purchased from Ukraine in 1993), on polar expeditions.

China will launch a new icebreaker for use during an upcoming 2013 polar expedition. Both the new icebreaker and Xuelong ("Snow Dragon"), an icebreaker that operated in Antarctica, will form an Arctic-Antarctic maritime research team. The new icebreaker will boast facilities that will allow it to research the oceanic environment, integrate data for real-time oceanic monitoring, deploy and retrieve detectors and conduct aerial studies using helicopters. The new icebreaker can carry up to 60 scientists and 8,000 tons of equipment while churning its way through through ice up to 1.5 meters (nearly 5 ft) thick.

"China will have at least two icebreakers concurrently operating at both the north and south poles," Chen Lianzeng, deputy director of the State Oceanic Administration, told a national conference on polar research in June 2011, which has been the first since 1984 when the country started expeditions in polar regions. The two icebreakers will conduct expeditions in polar regions for more than 200 days annually.

Designed to carry a total of 90 people, the new icebreaker will have a length of 120 meters, breadth of 22.3 meters and draft of 8.5 meters. The 8,000 ton vessel will be capable of breaking through ice up to 1.5 meters thick, sailing at a speed of 2-3 knots. Equipped with twin azimuth propeller drives, the vessel will have dual classification from the China Classification Society (CCS) and Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR).

The design work is expected to take seven months to complete, upon which the design package will be offered to a design firm or shipyard for the detailed design and workshop drawings of the vessel. The new icebreaker will be fitted with scientific equipment for polar oceans research, as well as an integrated survey system that includes marine geological and geophysical equipment, along with marine biological and ecological instruments. The vessel will also have marine and atmospheric observation and sampling capabilities related to climate change monitoring for the integrated environmental science programmes.

After completion, the vessel will be used to undertake ecological surveys and act as a biological research platform for marine biological and ecological programs. China is also planning to undertake technological upgrades on Xuelong in 2013 to expand its service life by another 15 to 20 years, according to China Daily.

China's new icebreaker was orginally planned to debut in a polar expedition in 2013, an oceanic official said on June 21, 2011. The new icebreaker is able to research oceanic environment, integrate data for real-time oceanic monitoring, deploy and retrieve detectors, and conduct aerial studies with helicopters, Chen Lianzeng, deputy director of the State Oceanic Administration, told a national conference on polar research.

It was planned that by 2013, the new icebreaker and Xuelong ("Snow Dragon"), an icebreaker that operates in Antarctica, will operate concurrently at both the north and south poles. The two icebreakers will conduct expeditions in polar regions for more than 200 days annually, Chen said. A fixed-wing aircraft will also be included in the expedition before 2015. It will transport researchers between China's Zhongshan and Kunlun research stations and the Grove Mountains at Antarctica.

China has built three Antarctic stations -- Changcheng (Great Wall), Zhongshan and Kunlun -- and one Arctic station -- Huanghe (Yellow River) Station. The Kunlun station was Chinas first research station on inland Antarctica. It was put into use in early 2009. The Zhongshan station, set up in 1989, now serves as a supply base for the Kunlun station. Since the early 1980s, China has sent 27 Antarctic expedition teams and completed four research missions to the Arctic Ocean.

"Xuelong 2" is equipped with internationally advanced marine environment and geophysical survey equipment, as well as internationally advanced integrated survey methods for polar marine science. The ship adopts an advanced scientific research control support system. The scientific research layout and design concept are in line with international standards: higher vibration and noise reduction requirements ensure scientific research and a livable environment; the 'green ship' pass ensures the advanced nature of the ship and the polar region. The authenticity of scientific research data; advanced communication, navigation, ice exploration and positioning capabilities greatly enhance the safety and efficiency of scientific research operations in ice regions.

"Xuelong 2" has adopted a multifunctional, modular, combinable, and centralized scientific research function design. Comprehensive laboratory + many scientific research subsystems can be configured according to different scientific research tasks. The unified scientific research data platform will analyze, classify, process, and apply precious on-the-spot data in the first time; and carry advanced survey equipment such as 22-meter-long columnar samplers, robotic arms, and underwater robots; The in-cabin moon pool that can reach the sea on the bottom of the sea, the scientific research sampling equipment originally operated on the deck will no longer encounter the risk of floating ice, the safety scientific research coefficient is greatly improved, and the "smart scientific research" is truly realized.

As the name suggests, icebreakers must have icebreaking capabilities, but ships that can achieve "two-way icebreaking" are rare. "Snow Dragon 2" is such a polar scientific icebreaker that can achieve two-way icebreaking of bow and bow. "Xuelong 2" has the ability to continuously break 1.5 meters of ice and 0.2 meters of snow at a speed of 2-3 knots. The ice breaking of the crotch can achieve 20 meters of ice and ice ridges and 20 cm of snow in the year. In addition, in addition to the original Ka-32 helicopter, the Snow Dragon 2 was additionally equipped with a Leonardo AW169 helicopter, which added new equipment to China's polar inspection aviation support. AW169 shipborne helicopter is the world's most advanced 4-5 ton medium-sized twin-engine helicopter, with a maximum take-off weight of 4.8 tons, an external load of 1.5 tons, a maximum cruising speed of 272 kilometers per hour, a maximum range of 740 kilometers, and a maximum climb rate of 9.5 meters in seconds. According to the layout, it can carry 4-8 scientific research team members.

Xuelong 2 was jointly designed by Aker Arctic Technology in Helsinki, capital of Finland, and the Marine Design and Research Institute in Shanghai. In the field of marine scientific research ship design, CSSC 708 Research Institute has a profound heritage. For the development of China's polar scientific research icebreaker, China Shipbuilding Institute No. 708 embodies the dreams and efforts of several generations. Zhang Bingyan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a researcher at CSSC 708, contributed his life's work. As the first senior expert in China's shipbuilding industry to board Antarctica, it was his greatest wish to design and build China's own polar scientific research vessel. In his lifetime, Academician Zhang has trained a group of young scientific research ship designers by using the international advanced scientific research ship design concepts and technical methods. When the "Snow Dragon 2" project was started, Academician Zhang Bingyan was seriously ill, but he was still concerned about the progress of the project.

In July 2012, Academician Zhang Bingyan learned that the "Snow Dragon 2" will adopt the world's first sunken keel design, and he was particularly concerned and valued. The design of the ship is based on seaworthiness of the sea ice environment in the operating area as the primary condition. It adopts a rugged PC3 hull structure and advanced power system design. Its performance indicators are among the first in the international polar scientific research ship of the same kind. "For the first time, we have adopted a sunken box-type keel structure at the front of the ship, which realizes the coordination between important acoustic equipment at the bottom of the ship to avoid the effects of bubbles and ice breaks and the economics of navigation. These equipment will provide us with a large amount of underwater terrain and fish Class distribution data.

As for the ship design, it is also tailored for the North and South Pole expeditions. It must not only be able to sail on ice, have global navigation capabilities, but also be able to withstand the violent turbulence of the westerly belt and meet the requirements of multidisciplinary scientific research. Therefore, "Snow Dragon 2" adopts a closed front deck, and a large number of scientific research operation areas are arranged at the rear. Construction began at the Jiangnan Shipyard Group in Shanghai in 2016. The vessel is 122.5 meters [402 feet] long, 22.3 meters wide and has a displacement of 13,996 metric tons. With a maximum speed of 15 knots, or 27.8 kilometers per hour, it can sail more than 37,000 km in a single voyage and carry out 60-day expeditions with 90 crew members and researchers.

Incorporating state-of-the-art design and advanced equipment, it is capable of operating in any ocean. It is equipped with world-class oceanographic survey and monitoring apparatus, allowing experts to carry out research into polar regions physical oceanography, biodiversity, and atmospheric and environmental conditions, and also to survey fishery resources. Wu Gang, the vessels chief designer at the Marine Design and Research Institute, said it can break ice 1.5 meters thick while traveling at 2 to 3 knots, and can operate in temperatures as low as -30 C.

China's first domestically built polar research vessel and icebreaker, Xuelong 2, was delivered to the China polar research institute in Shanghai on 11 July 2019, China National Maritime Day. The State Council designated China Maritime Day on July 11, 2005, celebrating the 600th anniversary of ancient Chinese explorer Zheng He's maiden voyage in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). China Maritime National Day this year saluted the country's fisheries, shipbuilders, maritime research, education industry and the country's naval personnel.

The theme this 15th year was "driving the high-quality development of the shipping industry," according to a public notice issued Thursday by the China National Maritime Day activities organization working committee, whose 25 members include the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and the ministries of transport, natural resources, agriculture and rural affairs. China has made remarkable achievements in the seafaring and maritime industry, the statement said. The number of ports and registered mariners top the world and the size of the sea transport fleet is also among the largest. Fields such as shipbuilding industry, deep-sea fishing and maritime scientific research have also witnessed accelerated advancement, and the rescue system is increasingly complete.

"The significant features that make the icebreaker different from other vessels are its strengthened hull to resist ice waters, a specially designed ice-clearing shape to make a path forward and extreme power to navigate through sea ice," Marine Insight explained on its website.

On August 15, 2019, China's first self-built polar expedition icebreaker "Snow Dragon 2" set sail from Shanghai and went to China's South China Sea to carry out trial missions. The trial was estimated to be 36 days and was divided into 4 segments. The main purpose is to complete the "Snow Dragon 2" scientific research deck support system, navigation observation equipment, underwater acoustic equipment, tow observation system, sediment deposition survey sampling system, laboratory system and other survey sampling equipment performance test, and on-site acceptance of the above-mentioned scientific research equipment, while carrying out crew independent boat training skills training.

Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, set sail from Shanghai on Oct 22 to the Zhongshan Station before conducting surveys and projects in the Ross Sea and Amundsen Sea. It was expected to return to Shanghai port in late March 2020. China's first domestically made polar icebreaker Xuelong 2 started its maiden voyage to the Antarctic from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen Tuesday. Xuelong 2 set sail on the country's 36th Antarctic expedition. Another icebreaker named Xuelong will also join the expedition, making it the first time that two polar icebreakers work together on China's Antarctic expedition.

The voyage is a major part of Chinas 36th Antarctic expedition, which involves 413 scientists, researchers and support staff. The vessel will make stops at two Chinese Antarctic research stations Zhongshan and Changcheng with members of the expedition team conducting scientific operations, according to Qin Weijia, director of the Ministry of Natural Resources polar expedition office. It will also make a port call in South Africa to enable Chinese researchers to carry out scientific cooperation projects with their local counterparts, Qin told reporters at a news conference in Shenzhen. Xuelong, the vessels partner, set sail from Shanghai on Oct 22 to join Xuelong 2 at the Zhongshan research station for joint survey operations. The two icebreakers will then part company and perform their tasks independently.




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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:08:47 ZULU