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88 Xu Xiake - Training Ship

On June 1, 2011, the first life support ship of our navy built by Guangzhou Shipyard International was delivered to the North Sea Fleet with hull number 88. It has the reputation of "Marine and Marine City" and is a super companion for the rapid realization of aircraft carrier combat effectiveness. The "model ship" of ideological emancipation, concept renewal, people-oriented, and caring for the health of officers and soldiers, and its accompanying support model is the People's Navy's first.

What enabled the "Shandong" aircraft carrier to quickly enter service? It is the original "dual-post training system" of the Chinese Navy. "Let people wait for equipment and not let equipment wait for people" is the old tradition of China's military. As early as 2011 when the "Liaoning" was still undergoing sea trials, the PLAN built the "Xu Xiake" comprehensive support ship for it ( It has been renamed "Qianjin 1"). With a displacement of more than 30,000 tons, it can accommodate 2,500 people to live at sea for 3 weeks. As a member of the "Liaoning" aircraft carrier battle group, it provides a place for study and recuperation in the open sea for the formation. In addition to the team’s scientific research and engineering personnel, there is another group of aircraft carrier crew members for the 2,500 more people in this formation. They can train in parallel with the Liaoning ship, train two crew members at the same time, or exchange two sets of ships at sea. The staff team, one training and one rest, extend the return period, and greatly improve the training efficiency of one voyage.

The 88 and 89 integrated support vessels are shaped like a small displacement cruise ship. But the hull of a luxury cruise ship is very high, usually with many decks, and there are also ancillary structures such as shopping malls, swimming pools, open-air cinemas and sports fields. The luxury cruise ship is generally very large, with a displacement of tens of thousands of tons or even more than 100,000 tons.

For comparison, the only U.S.-flagged ship that sails around Hawaii, Pride of America has a unique itinerary that includes only Hawaii (there aren't any out and back trips to small foreign islands to meet the requirements for foreign-flagged ships). Pride of America is 280 m / 918 ft long and carries 2630 Passengers. The 80,439-ton, 2,135-passenger cruise ship Pride of America became operational in 2005 as the first U.S.-flagged passenger cruise ship to be built in more than 50 years.

The Chinese military continues to evolve its doctrine, organization, and training to ensure its personnel are able to effectively fight modern wars with modern equipment. In addition to improving the traditional destroyer and frigate backbone of its fleet, the PLA(N) is on the verge of incorporating very different platforms that will greatly influence the operations of its future fleet. Sustained leadership emphasis on “realistic” and “complex” training has influenced training patterns and improved operational proficiency. In late 2012, Xi Jinping extolled the continued importance of cultivating “real combat” awareness throughout the military.

The US Navy spends significant time and resources in training ship’s crews for deployments. The major employment categories that sailors in the US Navy normally pass through are deployment, maintenance, and training (either basic or integrated or advanced), and sustainment [means that a ship is ready to deploy, but has not been tasked to do so]. In this cycle maintenance is followed by shakedown (a period of time for material assessment, watch team training, and certification following maintenance), basic training, integrated training (combining unit warfare skills into a single CSG in a multi-warfare environment) or advanced training (mission-specific training for ships not assigned to a strike group).

Although it possesses a full suite of weapons and combat systems, LIAONING will likely offer its greatest value as a long-term training investment. This “starter carrier” will enable the PLA(N) to train its first groups of pilots and deck crews in areas critical to conducting carrier aviation. In addition to shore-based simulators, vessel training centers (VTCs) help maintain year-round readiness levels. Located in each of the three fleets and subordinate to the fleet headquarters, VTCs provide crews with a variety of basic and advanced-level training by supplying technical and tactical foundation training, transition training for vessels recently outfitted with new weapons or equipment, and training instruction for new or returning ship commanders.

Xu Xiake is not just a warship that provides simple accommodation for officers and men. It is a military-standard cruise ship. It not only provides basic life support for naval personnel, but also has very advanced recreational facilities. Xu Xiake's leisure facilities include Internet cafes, gyms, supermarkets, basketball courts, plastic runways, Sanda and so on. Of course, there is no need to talk about the necessary facilities for living. Restaurants, guest rooms and swimming pools are all necessary.

The Chinese aircraft carrier formation is composed of frigates, destroyers and underwater submarine units, but there is a kind of ship that is always ignored. It is the China Navy's No. 88 "Xu Xiake" training comprehensive support ship, commonly known as the "Navy Babysitter". Some people may confuse it with the "aircraft mother" integrated supply ship, but in a strict sense, they are completely different types of support ships. Xu Xiake guarantees the daily training and eating and drinking of sea officers and soldiers.

Some speculate that the comprehensive support vessel will directly train one-on-one training on certain positions of the aircraft carrier at sea. Support, such as setting up many flight training simulators, and connecting with the Liaoning Aviation Operations Department. However, most of the above inferences are unfounded. In fact, the troops that the Chinese Navy sent to shipyards to receive ships are usually equipped with excess personnel, which may use reserved bunks on the ship, and the aircraft support ship may provide more space. Similar to the Western advanced national navies in the same period, most of the Chinese Navy's modern weaponry has integrated training simulation functions (embedded functions including self-test, diagnosis, training simulation, etc.) to equip existing human-machine interface and cabin space. Shipboard training is not the most cost-effective ( no need for additional space to set up a dedicated simulator), and the simulation is highly realistic (because the simulation scenario is executed on the actual system's battle position).

The 88 Xu Xiake belongs to the aircraft carrier training integrated support, mainly used for a series of sea trials in the late stage of aircraft carrier armoring. During the period, the crew, pilots, aviation crew and engineering technicians lived and rested aboard ship.

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:06:57 ZULU