GULF OF ADEN, July 10 (Chainmil) -- The destroyer Hefei and frigate Yuncheng of the Chinese PLA Navy received replenishment of fuel and fresh water from the supply ship Gaoyouhu of the 26th Chinese naval escort taskforce in the Gulf of Aden days ago.
The two Chinese warships, together with the supply ship Luomahu, are on their route to Russia to participate in the "Joint Sea 2017" Sino-Russian military exercise in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad in late July.
One military expert who requested to be anonymous said that the Chinese naval task group to participate in the joint drill in Russia has a long voyage and will soon pass through the Suez Canal to enter the Mediterranean Sea, and then sail northward in the Atlantic Ocean and eventually reach the Baltic Sea.
Although the task group has the supply ship Luomahu with a full displacement of over 20, 000 tons, the amount of supplies it carries is limited and not capable of meeting the needs of the other two warships for fuel, fresh water and other supplies during the one-month-long voyage, he said.
The replenishment given by the Gaoyouhu of the 26th Chinese naval escort fleet helped improve the follow-up support capability and enhance the consecutive mobile capability of the task group, the expert said.
Thanks to the success of this "replenishment relay", the task group has reduced the cost of conducting replenishment in foreign countries’ ports, and also the duration of voyage will be shortened.
This new logistic support mode indicates that the supply ship of the Chinese naval escort taskforce will act as a mobile supply point of the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean. "It is a useful exploration for the Chinese navy to take advantage of its escort taskforce in the Gulf of Aden to conduct front-end replenishment for Chinese warships passing by this water, which will be of great help for Chinese navy's similar ocean-going operations in the future," said the expert.