The Eastern Theater Command Navy (Chinese: 东部战区海军), or East Sea Fleet (ESF; Chinese: 东海舰队), is one of the three fleets of the People's Liberation Army Navy, under the Eastern Theater Command. It was the first naval force formed by the People's Republic of China, on 23 April 1949 and was initially based at Shanghai. Renamed in 1955, it has since been assigned to be part of the People's Liberation Army Navy and its headquarters have been moved to Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, but the fleet continues to patrol the East China Sea. Its flagship is 150 Changhcun.
The fleet was used in a support role during the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) invasion of the Kuomintang-held island of Yijiangshan on 14 January 1955. It has engaged in numerous other battles against the Taiwanese military. It has also operated in support of the South Sea Fleet against the People's Army of Vietnam, particularly in the 1980s.
The fleet would have a key role in any invasion of Taiwan, and one of its principal missions is to effectively support a PLA amphibious operation against that island. The fleet has been augmented by two Sovremenny-class missile destroyers, with a further 2 delivered by the end of 2006. Four Kilo class attack submarines have also joined the fleet.
|Eastern Theater Command Navy|
The People's Liberation Army Navy's jack and ensign
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Branch||People's Liberation Army Navy|
|Rear Admiral Wei Gang|