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People's Daily Online

Getting close to a submarine detachment of the PLA navy

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 08:10, May 07, 2015

According to CCTV reports on April 27, the PLA navy's nuclear submarine completed an escort mission of more than two months in the Gulf of Aden recently and returned to the port of Qingdao. CCTV broadcast footage of the improved type 091 nuclear submarine for the first time, indicating that the submarine's escort missions in the region will become a standard exercise.

'Submarine voyages' are a mysterious and interesting topic for ordinary people. But when on a voyage, soldiers will understand the meaning of life and death. They are exposed to high pressure, high intensity, and high risk.

A submarine detachment of PLA's North Sea Fleet, the 'cradle' of the submarine troops of People's Republic of China, was set up during the 1950s in the military port of Dalian, Liaodong Peninsula. Dalian is an ice-free port. Jiang Tao joined the submarine corps in 1998 and is now the commander of a vessel. He says there is no difference in status between commander and soldiers. They breathe the same air and eat the same food from the same pot. With the exception of the hierarchy of command, the crew are like a brotherhood. Jiang Tao has to coordinate all parts of the vessel and dozens of troops to ensure that every task runs smoothly.

During missions, they are required to keep secrets, even from their families.

Sun Yongjiu became a sailor in 1993. He believes the longer one serves as a submarine sailor, the greater the psychological pressure on the family members.

When the family cannot contact you by phone, they assume that you have gone out to sea, but they have no idea when you will come back. They are worried about you. 'My mother is more than eighty years old. When she hears any news of battle, she immediately asks my father to call me,' says Su Yongjiu.

The submarine is the 'trump card' of the navy. Yao Jianjiang, chief of staff of the detachment, explains that no slacking can be permitted during routine drills, which need to be close to real combat.

At present, 60 percent of the staff of the submarine have experience of deep sea voyages. Sun Hui, who has participated in numerous submarine voyages, is an electrical technician. He says that trying to keep abreast of new developments in equipment is the major challenge he faces.

This article was edited and translated from 《央视首曝091改型核潜艇 亚丁湾护航常态化》, and 《中国潜艇远航成常态 探访某潜艇支队》source: and

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