Yuan Wang class tracking ship

Yuan Wang class tracking ship

The "Yuanwang"-class (远望; meaning "Long View") are used for tracking and support of satellite and intercontinental ballistic missiles by the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The detailed specifications of the ships are not released by the PLAN. They are thought to have a displacement tonnage of around 21,000 tons when fully loaded, with a crew of about 470 and a length of about 190 meters (620 ft). Their propulsion is from one Sulzer Ltd. diesel engine, with a top speed of 20 knots (37 km/h).

The class was first proposed by Premier Zhou Enlai in 1965, and the idea was personally approved by Mao Zedong in 1968. The first two ships of the class, "Yuanwang 1" and "Yuanwang 2" were built and put to sea on 31 August 1977 and 1 September 1978 respectively. For the first time, this gave the PRC the ability to track launches and satellites that were not over their territory.

The first survey mission of the two ships was during May 1980. After being used for tracking of the launches of indigenously developed communications satellites, "Yuanwang 1" and "Yuanwang 2" underwent overhauls in 1986, so they could be used for supporting international satellite launches by the PRC.

Two further ships of the class have been built. First was "Yuanwang 3", commissioned on 20 October 1995. The "Yuanwang 4" tracking ship was constructed by China State Shipbuilding Corporation and delivered to the China Satellite Launch and Tracking Control General on 18 July 1999. It had been converted from the previously used "Xiang Yang Hong 10" scientific survey ship.

Another two "Yuanwang"-class vessels were launched in Shanghai in early 2007. [cite web |url=http://www.sinodefence.com/navy/support/yuanwang.asp |title=Yuanwang Space Tracking Ships | publisher= [http://www.sinodefence.com] |date=June 3, 2007 |accessdate=July 12 |accessyear=2007]

Pictures of "Yuanwang 6" were published as it has been revealed that both "Yuanwang 5" and the newly commissioned ship would be on duty for the Shenzhou 7 mission. [cite web |url=http://scitech.people.com.cn/GB/7117881.html |title=远望六号航天测量船交付将执行神七任务| publisher= 人 民 网|date=April 14, 2008 |accessdate=April 15 |accessyear=2008]

During the Shenzhou spacecraft flights, the four ships are positioned with: [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-10/12/content_3607832.htm] ]
*"Yuanwang 1" in the Yellow Sea
*"Yuanwang 2" about 1500 km (about 900 statute miles) southwest of French Polynesia
*"Yuanwang 3" off the Namibian coast
*"Yuanwang 4" off the coast of Western Australia in the Indian Ocean


External links

* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/yuan-wang.htm Global Security]
* [http://www.hazegray.org/worldnav/china/aux_othr.htm World Navies Today]
*cite news |url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10352219 |title=Giant Chinese space-tracking ship makes rare visit |publisher=New Zealand Herald |date=27 October 2005

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