Military Review

Assessment of the underground bases of the Chinese Air Force (Part 2)

16
Part 1
Internal design of underground shelter

Photos taken inside the underground shelters of the PLA Air Force are usually very small and usually of low quality. Most likely, this is done intentionally. Naturally, the PLA Air Force will gain nothing from the distribution of such materials; moreover, it will indicate to the potential adversary the weaknesses of their design and use.

Assessment of the underground bases of the Chinese Air Force (Part 2)

Inside view of the device external blast gate 14 meters in width in Gjadër Lezhë-Zadrima airbase in Albania. In the foreground, China-supplied J-6 Farmer Albanian Air Force, with the NR-23 cannons removed.


Appearance of open convex external blast doors of underground shelter 14 meters wide in Gjadër Lezhë-Zadrima airbase in Albania. The main bulging external blast gates are reinforced so as to transfer the overpressure of the explosion to the outer frame. Top outdoor blast gates closed.


Another appearance of the open convex external explosion-proof gate underground shelter width 14 meters in Gjadër Lezhë-Zadrima airbase in Albania. The upper gate is hung on the right side of the gate. The concrete arch above the main entrance is a characteristic feature observed on Chinese airfields. In the foreground is China-supplied J-6 Farmer Albanian Air Force.

An alternative to Chinese airfields can serve as airfields in other countries, built according to the same rules, design and technical characteristics. A number of states have purchased a significant number of Chinese aircraft since the 1960s, but only the DPRK and the former Khoja regime in Albania also imported design data and built airfields with underground shelters according to PLA specifications. Albania received ongoing assistance from China until the end of the 1970s, before their relationship collapsed.


The geometry of the external explosion-proof gate underground shelter width 14 meters.


The geometry of the internal explosion-proof gate underground shelter width 14 meters.


The main tunnel is 14 wide meters in Gjadër Lezhë-Zadrima airbase in Albania. In the foreground is China-supplied J-6 Farmer Albanian Air Force. The area to the right of the airplanes is vacated for vehicle traffic


The main tunnel 14 meters wide at Gjadër airbase Lezhë-Zadrima in Albania. The design is a linear segment. Pay attention to the sheet facing.


A short forking tunnel with a width of 14 meters at Gjadër Lezhë-Zadrima airbase in Albania. This example is used to illustrate aircraft maintenance, in the specific case of replacing a J-7 Fishbed engine.


View from another point of the same tunnel of 14 underground shelter meters wide at Gjadër Lezhë-Zadrima airbase in Albania.


The main tunnel 14 meters wide in Gjadër airbase Lezhë-Zadrima in Albania.


The main tunnel 14 meters wide in Gjadër Lezhë-Zadrima airbase in Albania, can also see the bend of the tunnel and the J-7 Fishbed planes of earlier models.


A short branch width 12 meters underground shelter at the airbase Tirana-Rinas in Albania. This tunnel is about 60 meters long, enough to accommodate four J-6 Farmers aircraft.

A number of important observations that can be made by analyzing the following images:
Location a: The main tunnel connecting the paired main entrances usually consists of straight sections, which are adjoined by easily curved sections. This is one of the possible basic layouts and is possibly the easiest to build;

Location b: Split blind tunnels about 60 meters in length, connected to the entrances to the main tunnel. In Albanian underground shelters, they are used to carry out deeper servicing of a single aircraft or to accommodate several airplanes, which are parked nose to tail. From the available images it can be concluded that the blind tunnels are connected to the main tunnel at a right angle;

Geometry: Two main sections of the tunnel are used. The first one has a simple cross section with a width of approximately 12 meters up to the floor of the tunnel. Such geometry is used in the underground shelter in Tirana-Rinas. The other has a cross section of approximately 14 meters wide, connected to vertical walls with a height of 3.4 meters with a total internal height of the arch of 6.3 meters. The latter geometry is used at air bases in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima and Kuçovë;

Entrances and internal gates: The main entrance to the tunnel at the air bases in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima and Kuçovë is through an inverted T-shaped main gate. Hinged exterior blast doors consist of several steel horizontally opening segments, complemented by smaller vertically opening steel gates for the passage of the vertical tail of the aircraft (see illustrations above). It is unclear whether such a structure is sufficiently tight when using WMD, although it is possible to maintain excess pressure inside the shelter in order to ensure hermitization with the internal gate closed. Internal gates are of course used to protect against adverse weather conditions;

External blast gate: The left and right main and upper swing blast-proof bulging gates of small radius of curvature are made of steel. In the available photographs, the gate has either a circular cross section or a chain curvature designed to transfer the load from the explosion pressure to the outer frame of the gate. Swing gates open outwards on hinges so that their inner side aligns with the left and right inner walls of the tunnel. The blast gate and the upper concrete wall structure are located about 7 meters from the tip of the hill to protect the open blast gate;

Internal blast gate: In the hangar at the air bases in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima and Kuçovë, a second pair of swing-proof gates create a kind of gateway to enhance protection against shock waves.

Internal structure: The inner walls of the tunnels are made of reinforced concrete. It seems that the construction method involves the creation of a frame, a wooden flooring for forming the mold and pouring concrete in short stretches from 2-x to 3-meters. The twelve-meter tunnel in Tirana-Rinas has traces of adjacent concrete pouring segments. The four meter tunnels in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima and Kuçovë have additional internal reinforcement of steel I-beams with an interval of 3 meters on the linear sections of the tunnel and only 1 meters on the turns of the tunnel. Most likely it was a reinforcement of the final design, and was also used to support the formwork during construction. Parts of the tunnel in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima indicate that the mold is sagging during the pouring of concrete.

Drainage: Water seepage is clearly visible on the joints between the tunnel segments in sufficient quantity to observe the puddles in both tunnels in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima and Kuçovë;

Surface finish: Parts of the tunnel wall in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima are sheathed in white or light enameled sheet metal, the same is observed in the PLA tunnels. The walls of other tunnels in Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima and Kuçovë are either not plastered or smoothly plastered. A possible cause of cladding sheet metal may be improved lighting of tunnels, as well as improving the propagation of VHF radio waves in a tunnel or hiding a communications corridor;

Markup: Fourteen-meter tunnels are separated by a white marking line at a distance of 10 meters along one of the walls for storing aircraft, and the remaining 4 meters for automobile traffic along the entire length of the tunnel. PLA Air Force Tunnels seem to use a similar system.

The design of a fourteen-meter tunnel is very common in Chinese shelters and appears to be much more new than the design of a twelve-meter tunnel. The internal volume of the hangar is sufficient to accommodate the aircraft and provides considerable freedom of movement for tankers, loaders weapons and the movement of other providing vehicles.

Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima and Kuçovë shelter location diagrams were compiled by Roland Büchler after visiting sites and have photographic evidence.


Gjadër / Lezhë-Zadrima (see above) and Kuçovë (see below) shelters use a horseshoe / linear segmented arrangement (© Roland Büchler).


Most likely, airplanes are always towed to one entrance and taken out of another. Planes returning from flights will be placed at the end of the line and then the tunnel will gradually undergo necessary maintenance, refueling and loading of ammunition as they approach the other end of the tunnel. Airplanes that require more maintenance will be placed in the branches of the tunnel, so as not to interfere with the routine maintenance, refueling and rearming of the aircraft following the tunnel.

The design of the external explosion-proof gate, observed in Albania, is similar to the well-known images of Chinese explosion-proof gates of underground shelters, but differs from others, having a number of different design features. The explosion-proof gates of the Albanian structures are able to withstand the impact of a shock wave and fragments during bombardment. It is unlikely that one blast-proof gate alone will be enough to withstand modern penetrating ammunition, such as GBU-39 / B or BLU-116 / B. Perhaps they reflect the chronological age of the structure built in the era of "stupid" ammunition. With the inner and outer gates closed, the inner gates are likely to stop small ammunition that can penetrate the outer gates.

The design of the inner gates in these tunnels is not particularly reliable when there is a threat of attack from guided air-to-ground missiles. The penetrating ammunition that pierced the outer gate is likely to knock out the inner door panels or connections between the panels, and even if the ammunition does not penetrate the shelter, it is likely that its power will be enough to jam one or two doors of the gate, eliminating their effective functioning.


The design of the external explosion proof gates shelter
Materials from open sources indicate the existence of several different designs of blast doors, at least two types of gates are used for shelters the size of "MiG" and at least one for shelters the size of "Beagle" and one for shelters the size of "Badger". These are described in detail below. Images courtesy of Roland Büchler.


Shelter at the Luyan / Ranghe-Zhen airbase with a movable segmented external gate the size under "Badger". Additional side tunnels were made to ensure normal entrance to the shelter when the outer gate is open.


Above and below in detail the outer gate at Luyan / Ranghe-Zhen airbase.



The Luyan / Ranghe-Zhen airbase (see above) and Zhangjiakou (see below) are an explosion-proof external gate the size of "Beagle". Sliding doors usually open in one direction.


Zhangjiakou airbase, explosion-proof external gate size under "Beagle".


Satellite imagery shows that this is a size-hangar hangar at Luyan / Ranghe-Zhen airbase on the eastern side of the mountain to the south of twin size hangars under MiG is abandoned. A brick wall was built to block the entrance.


Above and below: Hinged blast doors of the size of a shelter under the "MiG" at an unidentified air base.

The open mounted explosion-proof gates of shelter are the size of "MiG" at an unidentified air base. Pay attention to the camouflage net stretched over the entrance.


Shelter at the Luyan / Ranghe-Zhen airbase with a movable segmented external gate the size of a "MiG" on the eastern slope of the mountain.


Hinged blast doors of the PLA Air Force underground shelter the size of under the MiG.

In continuation of the article:
Strategy, design and capacity of PLA underground air bases
Vulnerability of underground air bases
Overview of all PLA underground air bases
Estimated capacity of PLA underground air bases
Details of the construction and construction of underground air bases
General plan of the location of the air base
Author:
Originator:
http://www.ausairpower.net
16 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Col.
    Col. 21 February 2012 10: 03 New
    +1
    The article is interesting, but, unfortunately, does not correspond to its title: there is no assessment of the possibilities of the described shelters, there is only a description of the structure, dimensions, section, etc., that is, we were offered a statement of fact. The assessment involves an analysis of the possibilities for capacity, repair, maintenance, etc. in specific figures: how many and what type of aircraft can be received, repaired, refueled in a specific shelter, in the shelters of the country as a whole. Explosion resistance of shelter gates in figures (kg / sq.cm), the rate of preparation of aircraft for re-flight, the capacity of fuel and lubricants and ammunition warehouses, the capabilities of repair units, the degree of coverage by air defense forces and means, etc. In short, the article is good as a review, but not pulls "with all due respect to the author.
    1. Professor
      21 February 2012 11: 10 New
      -2
      Do not rush to conclusions. Many of your questions will be answered in the sequel.
      In continuation of the article:
      Strategy, design and capacity of PLA underground air bases
      Vulnerability of underground air bases
      Overview of all PLA underground air bases
      Estimated capacity of PLA underground air bases
      Details of the construction and construction of underground air bases
      General plan of the location of the air base


      PS
      And please do not forget, the article is for a wide range of readers, and not for professionals from the General Staff. Therefore, there will be very few dry numbers.
      1. Max79
        Max79 22 February 2012 00: 20 New
        -1
        Professor, The article is truly interesting! I look forward to continuing. Professor, but is there any information about that. Are there such (or similar) bases in Russia?
        1. Professor
          22 February 2012 10: 05 New
          -1
          Thank. The continuation will take some time - in addition to hanging on the forum, you also need to earn bread and butter ... sad
          As far as I was able to find out from printed sources and from veterans of the Air Force, such monsters were not built in the USSR, and until 1967 even caponiers were "out of fashion." The planes were put in a row and if the nose of at least one protruded a little, then someone would get hit on the head.
          1. Max79
            Max79 22 February 2012 16: 27 New
            0
            Professor, Greetings. Raise interesting topics!
            Still, there was no such topic on the forum as protective bunkers. I once read about it a long time ago. Even an Englishman was shown with a personally arranged bunker against nuclear threats. If you see such a topic, it would be nice to publish it here! fellow
            1. Professor
              22 February 2012 16: 58 New
              -2
              Let me talk this topic ... wassat
              Further there will be an article on the protection of American aviation, and then if there is time and desire I will do about bunkers, here, by the way, the key figures were the French.
  2. SIA
    SIA 21 February 2012 10: 08 New
    0
    Thanks to the author for a competent article and great photos.
  3. PISTOL
    PISTOL 21 February 2012 10: 37 New
    -1
    An interesting article, Russia also would not hurt to build such a secret underground airfield for our fighters
  4. Kyrgyz
    Kyrgyz 21 February 2012 10: 46 New
    0
    It is also necessary to make an underground runway with a springboard that opens only during military operations and is not outwardly marked in any way, executed in the form of an runway at an angle up
    1. FROST
      FROST 21 February 2012 15: 09 New
      0
      Ingenious. And how will they land on the underground runway?) Should they get in bad weather conditions at night or at night in no way indicated?) Can you imagine the complexity and cost of building a huge strip completely hidden underground? The game is not worth the candle.
      To the author of the translation, special thanks for choosing such an interesting topic for the material.
      1. Kyrgyz
        Kyrgyz 24 February 2012 08: 33 New
        0
        this is another runway with a disguised exit point, and not the only one, but let it sit on the usual one that can be seen, but in order to make it cheaper it is necessary to get people from rallies and determine working out for subversive activities, with modern technologies it’s unnecessary to sentence for a tag,
  5. ikrut
    ikrut 21 February 2012 14: 47 New
    +1
    Yeah. if you place such a structure somewhere on the mountain coast and build a take-off - landing directly from the hangar (into the hangar), and even strengthen the air defense - any AUG for such a fortified area can smoke aside. And if how many such systems are placed around the perimeter of the state, it will not be bad at all. Yes, and more interesting and cheaper than AUG build. IMHO.
    1. FROST
      FROST 21 February 2012 15: 25 New
      0
      landing directly from the hangar (to the hangar)

      Is this how?) Do you propose catching planes with a grid?)

      Yes, and more interesting and cheaper than AUG build.


      What is more interesting? AUG is a universal (one might say strategic) defensive and offensive, highly mobile and defended force. Destroying a static object is always easier.
  6. TRex
    TRex 21 February 2012 18: 23 New
    +1
    In Soviet times, there was no such structure on the territory of Belarus? I heard stories that fighters went out "on the air" already at the speed of separation from the runway ...
    1. VAF
      VAF 21 February 2012 18: 39 New
      0
      These are tales. In the GSVG, we still had airfields from the Germans, where the duty unit started and took off (but in pairs), starting directly from the caponier, in other cases, almost everywhere where there were protected shelters for aircraft, it was only possible to launch, with further taxiing out on the main engine and runway for takeoff.
      And we also had a sufficient number of people like the Chinese, I hope their "reforms" on Taburetkin & K did not touch.
      And as a review article, for "non-military" people, it is not bad, made on the principle of go and see!
  7. 755962
    755962 21 February 2012 20: 26 New
    -1
    An interesting article: How interesting are things with similar structures in other countries?
    1. Professor
      22 February 2012 21: 45 New
      -1
      Similar bases are available in North Korea (20 bases), China, Taiwan (1 bases), Former Yugoslavia (6 bases), Sweden (3 bases), Switzerland (2 bases), Albania (2 bases).
      1. 755962
        755962 23 February 2012 15: 02 New
        0
        Thank you, professor. I always read your translations with interest. Very convincing arguments and facts in the forums. I look forward to continuing with interest.