BEIJING, Jan. 19 (ChinaMil) -- When speaking of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), people would naturally think of the aviation units, surface-to-air missile units and radar units. However, the PLAAF has a vessel unit for operation on rivers, lakes and seas.
The main task of the vessel troops of the PLAAF, and especially of those positioned along the Yangtze River, is the transport of aviation fuel, materials and supplies. In recent years, as the Chinese air force steps up preparations on maritime combats and far sea combat patrol, there is a remarkable shift in the development focus of the vessel troops.
According to sources, the air force vessel troops under the PLA Southern Theater Command established in 2012 a maritime training support base responsible for providing equipment and operational support for pilot parachuting and rescue at sea, maritime search and rescue, and surface targets setting up and recovery.
To perform multiple support missions, this base is equipped with tugboats, reconnaissance boats, landing boats and offshore rush-repair platforms, which are used in operations of setting up and recovering surface targets and "rescuing" downed pilots at sea.
In addition, the base is equipped with combat vessels, such as the reconnaissance boat with a 25mm naval gun, which is capable of performing alarm and guard during wartime maritime search and rescue actions.