Yuan Wang-class tracking ship

The Yuan Wang-class of tracking ships (Chinese: 远望; lit. 'Long View' Yuǎn wàng) are used for tracking and support of satellite and intercontinental ballistic missiles by the People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force of the People's Republic of China (PRC).[1] This class is not a single design, but instead is a group of different designs under the same series that share the same name.

Yuan Wang 2 in Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand, on 27 October 2005. The ship was resupplying after being at sea to support the Shenzhou 6 spaceflight.
Class overview
BuildersYuan Wang 1 and 2 - Jiangnan Shipyard, Shanghai / Yuan Wang 3 to 6 - China State Shipbuilding Corporation, Shanghai
OperatorsPeople's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force
Preceded bynone
Succeeded bynone
Retired2, 1 destroyed as target
General characteristics
Typetracking ship
Displacement~21,000 tons (Yuan Wang 1 and 2: 10,000+ / Yuan Wang 3 and 4 18,000)
LengthYuan Wang 1 - 156.09 m / Yuan Wang 2 - 191 metres; Yuan Wang 3-6 - N/A
BeamYuan Wang 1 - 20.6 metres / Yuan Wang 2 - 22 metres; Yuan Wang 3-6 - N/A
PropulsionSulzer Ltd. diesel engine
Speed20 knots (37 km/h)
ComplementYuan Wang 1 - 200 / Yuan Wang 2 - 470; Yuan Wang 3-6 - N/A
Aircraft carriednone, but capable of handling either Super Frelon or Z-8
Aviation facilitiesnone

Detailed specifications for every ship have not been released by the PLASSF. Yuan Wang 1 and Yuan Wang 2 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 metres (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 was approved by Mao Zedong in 1968. The first two ships of the class, Yuan Wang 1 and Yuan Wang 2, were built at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai and put to sea on 31 August 1977 and 1 September 1978 respectively. The general designer of this class is Xu Xueyan [zh]. 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, Yuan Wang 1 and Yuan Wang 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. The first was Yuan Wang 3, which was commissioned on 20 October 1995. The Yuan Wang 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 Yuan Wang-class vessels were launched in Shanghai in early 2007.[2]

Pictures of Yuan Wang 6 were published, and both Yuan Wang 5 and the newly commissioned ship were on duty for the Shenzhou 7 mission.[3]

During the Shenzhou spacecraft flights, the four ships were positioned as follows:[4]

Fleet list Edit

  • Yuan Wang 1 - 1977
  • Yuan Wang 2 - 1978
  • Yuan Wang 3 - 1995
  • Yuan Wang 4 - 1999
  • Yuan Wang 5 - 2007
  • Yuan Wang 6 - 2007
  • Yuan Wang 7 - 2016
  • Yuan Wang 21 - Long March 5 transport ship
  • Yuan Wang 22 - Long March 5 transport ship

Type 718 Edit

Yuanwang 1 in Shanghai, October 2019

Type 718 tracking ship is the very first design of Yuanwang series, and it consists of two ships, Yuan Wang 1 and Yuan Wang 2, both of which have since retired in the early 2010s. Type 718 can attain speeds of 20 kn.

Number Length (m) Width (m) Draft (m) Height (m) Displacement (t) Builder Launched Commissioned Status
Yuan Wang 1[5] 191 22.6 7.5 38 21,157 Jiangnan Shipyard 1977 August 31 1978 Retired
Yuan Wang 2[6] 192 22.6 7.5 38.5 21,000 Jiangnan Shipyard 1977 1978 Retired

Yuan Wang 3 Edit

Yuan Wang 3 is the second generation tracking ship of Yuan Wang series, and it can attain speeds up to 20 kt, with a range of 18,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 18 kt.

Number Length (m) Width (m) Draft (m) Height (m) Displacement (t) Builder Launched Commissioned Status
Yuan Wang 3[7] 180 22.2 8 37.8 17,000 Jiangnan Shipyard 1994 April 1995 May Active

Yuan Wang 4 Edit

Yuan Wang 4 was converted from Type 643 research vessel Xiangyanghong 10 (向阳红10), which was originally designed in February 1971, with construction begun in July 1975, and entered service in October 1979. Conversion was completed in August 1998, and the ship is capable of carrying a Changhe Z-8. Conversion work included more than four hundred projects in four major categories. Powered by 9000 hp diesel engines, Yuan Wang 4 has an endurance of 100 days and could reach a speed of up to 20 kn, with a range of 18,000 nautical miles cruising at 18 kn.

While in Jiangyin port at 5:10 AM on 5 August 2007, Yuan Wang 4 was hit by a coal carrier Harbor Sea 666 (Gang Hai 666, 港海 666), which caused a massive fire started at the point of collision at 4th fuel tank. The fire was put out after four hours without any casualties, but the equipment on board was severely damaged beyond repair. As a result, Yuan Wang 4 was subsequently converted to a target ship for DF-21 ballistic antiship missile to simulate an aircraft carrier target as it entered Jiangyin Shipyard on 15 April 2010 for repair, and eventually destroyed in the latter half of 2010.[citation needed]

Number Length (m) Width (m) Draft (m) Height (m) Displacement (t) Builder Launched Commissioned Status
Yuan Wang 4[8] 152.6 20.6 7.75 39 12,700 Jiangyin Chengxi Shipyard 1997 July 1998 August Destroyed as a target

Yuan Wang 5 Edit

Yuan Wang 5 is the third generation tracking ship of Yuan Wang series, and entered service on 29 September 2007. Loaded with electronic tracking gear, the Yuan Wang 5 has been called a "spy ship".[9][10]

Built by Jiangnan Shipyard, Yuan Wang 5 has a displacement of 25,000 tones, and is designed to withstand winds up to Beaufort scale 12, and perform duties in sea state 6.[11] It has a carrying capacity of 11,000 tons DWT and its draught is reported to be 8.2 meters. Its length overall (LOA) is 222 meters and its width is 25.2 meters.[12] Its home port is Jiangyin on the Yangtze.[9]

The general designer of both Yuan Wang 5 and 6 was Mr. Huang Wei (黄蔚), the general engineer of the 708th Institute of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).[13][14]

Yuan Wang 6 Edit

Yuan Wang 6 in port at Papeete.

Yuan Wang 6, like its sister ship Yuan Wang 5, is also a third generation tracking ship of Yuan Wang series. Designed by the 708th Research Institute, construction begun in April 2006, and the ship was launched on March 16, 2007. The ship entered service on April 12, 2008, and become fully operational in July 2008. Yuan Wang 6 utilizes fiber optic for its information system on board, and the electricity generated by the ship is enough to supply a city of 300,000.[15] Specification:

  • Length (m): 222.2
  • Width (m): 25.2
  • Displacement (t): 24,966
  • Accommodation: 400

Yuan Wang 7 Edit

China's Space Tracking Ship Yuanwang-7 Starts new mission in 2018

Yuan Wang 7 was constructed by Jiangnan Shipbuilding, and is said to be able to operate for 100 days at sea. The China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Control Department has said the vessel will be used for maritime tracking of the Shenzhou 11 crewed space mission, and the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, using three large dish antennae some 10–12 meters in diameter. It was commissioned on 19 July 2016.[16]

  • Length (m): 220
  • Width (m): tbc
  • Height (m): 40m
  • Displacement (t): 25,000

Yuan Wang 21 Edit

The Yuan Wang 21 is a cargo ship designed by the 708th Research Institute specially to transport rockets such as the Long March 5; construction began on 1 April 2012, and it was launched on 29 November 2012. Yuan Wang 21 entered service on 6 May 2013. Specification:[17]

  • Length (m): 130
  • Width (m): 19
  • Draft (m): 5.8
  • Displacement (t): 9080

Yuan Wang 22 Edit

Yuan Wang 22 is also a cargo ship designed specially to transport rockets such as Long March 5, and it is also built by Jiangnan Shipyard, the same builder of earlier Yuan Wang 21. Yuan Wang 22 might be a sister ship of Yuan Wang 21, but this cannot be confirmed yet, because detailed information / specification of Yuan Wang 22 has not been released by official Chinese governmental sources yet (as of 2014). Yuan Wang 22 was launched on 24 January 2013. [18]

See also Edit

A list of similar ships:

French Navy Edit

Indian Navy Edit

Soviet Navy / Russian Navy Edit

United States Navy Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "军队人大代表褚宏彬所在单位去年底由原总装转隶战略支援部队,网易,2016-03-15". Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  2. ^ "Yuanwang Space Tracking Ships". www.sinodefence.com. June 3, 2007. Archived from the original on July 7, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  3. ^ "远望六号航天测量船交付将执行神七任务". 人 民 网. April 14, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "Xinhua - English". News.xinhuanet.com. 2005-10-12. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  5. ^ Yuan Wang 1
  6. ^ Yuan Wang 2
  7. ^ Yuan Wang 3
  8. ^ Yuan Wang 4
  9. ^ a b Xin, Ling (20 August 2022). "Why did Chinese ship Yuan Wang 5 spark a diplomatic scuffle?". South China Post. Archived from the original on 22 August 2022.
  10. ^ Tan, Yvette (16 August 2022). "Chinese 'spy ship' Yuan Wang 5 docks in Sri Lanka despite Indian concern". BBC News. Archived from the original on 16 August 2022.
  11. ^ 远望5号 [Yuan Wang 5] (in Chinese). Haijun 360. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Yuan Wang 5". Marine Traffic.
  13. ^ 研新船,带新人,许身国威壮远洋 [New research ships, new lead people, Xu Shenguo is powerful and ocean-going] (in Chinese). China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited. 5 December 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2015.
  14. ^ 造新船,带新人,许身国威壮远洋 [Build a new ship, bring new people, Xu Shenguo is powerful and ocean-going]. Shanghai Science and Technology Working Committee of the Communist Party of China. 20 January 2015. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015.
  15. ^ Yuan Wang 6
  16. ^ China commissions space tracking ship as new station readied, SpaceDaily.com, 19 July 2016
  17. ^ Yuan Wang 21
  18. ^ Yuan Wang 22

External links Edit