Monday, May 14, 2012

A visit from the People's Liberation Army

Several times recently, I have joked about how neat... or at least interesting... or at least nerdy it was to be so near to the biggest military aviation rollout in recent years. A J-20 flyby would be epic; I still remember how blown away I was the first time I saw the F-117 and B-2 in the air.

So what happened today as I sat at my desk, innocently reading a story about the euro zone's imminent collapse? The Chinese military showed up.

First came these:
The buzz begins.

It's hard to tell from a cellphone shot, but I'm pretty sure these have the two crewmen sitting one behind the other in staggered cockpits, which would make it either a Z-10 or the fancy, new Z-19. The camo pattern makes me think we're looking at land-based helos, plus I don't know whether that model is used at sea anyway.

Then came these:
... and gets bigger.

There were two of them, and they looked pretty convincingly like Type 0-37II guided missile corvettes. Just stone cold steamin' along through Victoria Harbor. Those two guys were followed by two of these:

Oil tanks? Or just tank tanks?

At first these looked like tankers, carrying fuel to resupply warships on longer voyages. But a co-worker found this, and I have to agree that they do look pretty similar, especially if you examine the aft half of the ship. So perhaps it's a landing craft. And finally, bringing up the rear, was this guy:

Mystery at sea.

I have no idea what this is. Looks like a catamaran, but it is not one of China's newer, much-publicized fast missile boats. There seems to be maybe a helipad on the aft deck? I dunno. It's almost like a yacht with a military paint job.

In any event, they motored past going west, then about 30 minutes later, came back the other way. And then the Admiral's Yacht, which you have to admit would be a good bar name, came back heading west again. And then it parked. So maybe the good folks of the somewhat hilariously named People's Liberation Army Navy were just doing some sightseeing. But whatever they were up to, I definitely enjoyed the view.*

*which was pretty impressive, despite the unimpressive quality of my cellphone shots

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