China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has commissioned a new training ship for the Dalian Naval Academy. Named Qi Jiguang (pennant number 83), the vessel entered service on 21 February at the Lushun Naval Base, near Dalian, which is expected to be its base port.
The ceremony was attended by Vice Admiral Tian Zhong, deputy commander of the PLAN and former commander of the North Sea Fleet. Rear Admiral Yan Zhengming, the commandant of the Dalian Naval Academy, also attended.
The ship is reported to be 163 m long, with a beam of 22 m and a displacement of 9,000 tonnes. Diesel engines provide propulsion and it has a maximum speed of 22 kt.
The vessel is purpose built for initial sea training of naval cadets and footage broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) shows an impressive level of equipment.
In addition to large classrooms for trainees to undertake conventional navigation chart work, the ship has a large lecture theatre and facilities for computer based training, including a bridge/ship handling simulator. It is also equipped with a gymnasium.
The ship is designed to be capable of embarking 400 junior officers for training, with up to 50 training staff.
The ship is lightly armed with a 76 mm single barrelled H/PJ-26 mounting on the fo'c's'le and two 30 mm H/PJ-17 guns installed forward of the bridge.
The ship has a large flight deck but no hangar.
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