As such, Africa is fast becoming a policy incubator for China’s future global role. Earlier this year, Beijing sent its first ever contingent of combat troops to South Sudan as part of a UN mission as well as assuming the role of mediator between the two warring sides. Opening a military base in Djibouti should therefore fall neatly into this narrative, right? However, looking farther afield, integrating the Obock facility into the Maritime Silk Road framework sends a very strong signal that the militarization of Chinese-owned ports can happen elsewhere, a worrisome prospect for the . and its allies.
Today ships are significantly faster than in former times, thanks to much improved propulsion systems. Also, the efficiency of the engines has improved, in terms of fuel, and of how many sailors it takes to operate them. In World War II, ships needed to refuel very often. However, today ships can go on very long journeys without refueling. Also, in World War II, the engine room needed about a dozen sailors to work the many engines, however, today, only about 4–5 are needed (depending on the class of the ship). Today, naval strike groups on longer missions are always followed by a range of support and replenishment ships supplying them with anything from fuel and munitions, to medical treatment and postal services. This allows strike groups and combat ships to remain at sea for several months at a time.