BEIJING, Jan. 29 -- In the middle of winter, a group of multi-sized 'boxes' lined up orderly at a training site of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) in the vast Gobi desert of China. Those are the PLA Air Force's first mobile barracks that were officially unveiled in this drill, a product that presents the Air Force's exploration of new mobile field camping support in complex and unfamiliar areas under harsh weather conditions.
Based on various functional requirements, different modules such as box-type prefabricated houses, steel structure prefabricated houses, container houses and simple cabins are used systematically, shortening the time needed for troops to change field training sites and boosting the support effectiveness.
Compared with traditional field support, the new mobile barracks help save much time and money and are more suited for dispatching the troops in form of a complete organic unit that has become normalized for the PLAAF in recent years. In designing the new barracks, five functions were highlighted, namely the command and communication, conference and office, living and residential use, medical support, and enclosure protection.
At the end of 2018, the first batch of new box-type modular houses designed by the PLAAF was put into use at an airport. The modular houses featured complete supporting facilities, a high level of integrated and functional interoperability, and convenient disassembly and assembly. In this latest exercise, improvements were made according to suggestions from service members, including adjusting water and electricity interface, and improving packing and transportation methods.
The large-space houses in this batch of mobile barracks are steel structure panel houses; the barracks for forward and observation troops use simple cabins and container houses; and for cooking units and temporary observation posts, field tents are used. Besides, the barracks are enclosed by lock-type explosion-proof barriers in the outside, which can be easily disassembled and installed too.
Designed for the deployment requirement of the maneuver operations, such mobile barracks have a designed longevity of 15 years and are expected to be assembled and disassembled at least 50 times, according to Xiao Peng, an assistant of the Military Facilities Construction Bureau with the Logistics Department of the PLAAF.