Tuesday, October 30, 2007

PLA's new Type 920 Hospital Ship launched

August 29 (Wednesday), PLA's one new Hospital Ship was launched in Guangzhou. PLA navy listed this ship as "Type 920" hospital ship. This vessel was launched in the ship yard of CSIC (Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Limited), which is a subsidiary of CSSC (China State Shipbuilding Corporation).

Type 920 Hospital Ship has a transom stem, a bulbous bow, an extended deckhouse with a forward bridge. And a helicopter landing deck can be found on rear part of the vessel. Six Large Red-crosses have been painted on the ship body. The ship is approximately 170 meter length and 25 meter in beam and about 20000 tons displacement.

The model of Type 920 Hospital Ship was once displayed in Chinese Military Revolution Museum in Beijing for PLA's 80th anniversary. Resources said Type 920 hospital ship is a variant of Type 904 multi-product replenishment ship. This year early, China also bought a retired hospital ship from Russia, which will possibly be recovered as appropriative hospital ship.

Before the appearance of PLA's new hospital ship, PLA did not has any professional hospital ships in its fleets. Since the "Paracel Islands Conflict" in 1974 between China and South Vietnam navies, PLA navy notice the hospital ship's importance in modern naval warfare. But the economic ability makes that the building hospital ship converted by other boats is the first step.

In 1980, a cargo ship named "Qiongsha" was converted to a hospital ship and was renamed as Y833 "Nan Kang", which was provided to South Sea Fleet. Later PLA navy transferred two other ships to hospital ships, Y832 "Bei Kang" and Y834 "Dong Kang", and separately pointed to North Sea Fleet and East Sea Fleet. In 1990s, PLA South Sea Fleet also accepted a medical training ship “Nanyi 09” converted by a roll on/roll off ship.

Since CPC heads' call of "Strengthen the Military Preparation against Taiwan Island" in the end of 1990s, PLA navy enter a speedy development. Beside the combat ships, PLA navy also built auxiliary military ships. And hospital ship is the necessary equipment in amphibious invasion to Taiwan.

In 1996, PLA Navy Medical Research Institute successfully developed a "Ship-used Medical Module System". The system is based on international standard container and can quickly set up a fully-functional ship-borne hermetical medical system in civilian ships. According to China’s great power on ship-building, PLA will definitely get sufficient container ships to service as the supplementary to military hospital ship.

Type 920 Hospital ship is one part of PLA Navy’s “Marine Medical Ambulance System” concept. While PLA Navy is going to select some civil 150~500-ton class high performance passenger ships as medical ambulance boat, which transfer the wounded from the landing zone to the rear large hospital ships. Now Hi-speed SWATH, Sidewall Hovercraft and Air Cushion Catamaran are the options for PLA navy.

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