PLA Navy holds submarine rescue drill in East China Sea

September 3, 2018 – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy conducted a submarine rescue drill in the East China Sea on Saturday, with military experts on Monday calling it a worldwide challenge.

The drill involved frigates, submarines, rescue vessels and anti-submarine aircraft from multiple PLA Navy forces, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.

“Submarine rescue work is a worldwide challenge with high risks,” Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday.

The drill shows that China understands its importance, and is making efforts to ensure its support to submarines in need, Song said.
The drill simulated malfunctions in a submarine, including the loss of communications with its headquarters.

Rescue forces arrived at the scene as fast as possible and began searching by using various air and sea methods, Xinhua reported. It is not an easy task to find the exact location of a stranded submarine, Song said, adding that oxygen is limited on a submarine, and the pressure caused by the weight of sea water may also cause problems to the vessel at any time.

The rescue equipment must dock with the submarine to rescue its crew, Song said, noting that the process is very risky and difficult.
The submarine’s crew also practiced survival skills, Xinhua reported, adding that the drill fully tested China’s submarine rescue mechanism.

China can rescue Chinese and foreign submarines, Song noted.