Skip to comments.2012 Update: "The Rising Sea Dragon in Asia," and the growth of the Chinese Navy
Posted on 06/15/2012 9:15:58 AM PDT by Jeff Head
By Jeff Head - Last Update: June 15, 2012
(Click on any image for a larger picture)
2011 has seen significant increases in major combatant shipbuilding by the PLAN across the board. From the PLA Navy's first carrier being launched and sent to sea for trials, to continued testing and production of J-15 fighters for that carrier's airwing, to the increased tempo of serial production of the PLAN's Type 071 LPD, the Yuzhao Class (with a second and third unit launched and a fourth being built), to increased serial production of the PLAN's premier stealthy, area-wide anti-air/multipurpose destroyer, the Lanzhou Type 52C Class DDG with VLS and PARS which now has seen a 3rd, 4th, and 5th unit launched and a 6th, 7th and an 8th unit under construction, to continued rapid production of the modern Type 054A FFG Guided missiles Frigate, which now numbers 16 units either launched or about to be launched, to a brand new class of Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), the Type 056 Class which appears to be a PLAN litoral combatant which is already building in two shipyards and may expand to as many as four shipyards for very rapid production (30 or more units), to production of a new, improved Yuan Class SSK conventional submarine, the Qing Class, which has Air-independent Propulsion (AIP) capabilities.
While increased production picked up in all of the above areas, units of the Type 093 SSN, Nuclear attack Submarine, the Shang Class, with improved reactors, sensors, and weapons suite continue trials and introduction into the fleet at a slower rate, along with the same for the Type 094 Jin Class ballistic missile submarines.
In addition, the PLAN sent its 10th task force to the Arabian Sea to conduct anti-piracy operations, usually sending a guided missile destroyer, a guided missile frigate, and a UNREP logistics vessel to perform these duties, which is giving many, many Chinese sailors and commanders in the PLAN blue water experience. The PLAN has sustained these operations now for going on three years without pause.
As in past years, other, ongoing exercises of the many new units the PLAN has introduced into its fleets continues to improve their performance and ability to operate cohesively with their new technology, particularly as surface action groups and task forces. They do this by conducting exercises and manuevers regularly, and have the money to sustain these operations. This will continue at an increased tempo once their new carrier finishes trials, is commissioned and is introduced into the fleet.
All of these developments represent significant, rapid progress by the PLAN in establishing itself as a consistent blue water presence. Indeed it is already sending significant SAGs, including the new LPDs, to areas in the Arabian Sea (as mentioned) the Indian Ocean, off the coasts of Africa and South America, and throughout the Western Pacific to makes the PLAN presence known, show the flag, and protect Chinese interests.
Other Western Pacific nations are monitoring these developments carefully, and in the case of Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, and the Republic of China on Taiwan, are themselves increasing their own ship production and operational tempos as they can, and to modernize and enlarge their own navies. The US has now indicated plans to shift more vessels and other assets to the Western Pacific in response.
FINAL OUTFITTING AND LAUNCH OF CHINA'S FIRST AIRCRAFT CARRIER OCCURRED IN 2011
History was made for the People's Republic of China on August 9. 2011, when China's 1st aircraft carrier conducted its first sea trials.
MORE J-15 FIGHTERS PRODUCED & TESTED FOR THE CARRIER. INITIAL AT-SEA FLIGHTS EXPECTED IN 2012.
PRODUCTION OF THE YUZHAO CLASS LPD, INCREASED. COMMISSIONED THE 2ND, LAUNCHING A 3RD, & BUILDING A 4TH.
SERIAL PRODUCTION OF THE LANZHOU CLASS DDG. COMMISSIONING THE 3RD, LAUNCHING A 4TH & 5TH, BUILDING 6TH, 7TH & 8TH.
RAPID SERIAL PRODUCTION OF THE JIANGKAI II CLASS FFG CONINUES. LAUNCHING A 15TH & BUILDING MORE
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In the last several years they have grown their navy with new, capable, modern diesigns by over 142% while the US NAvy has shrunk by 13% in that same time period.
FYI...our hard earned dollars at work.
PLA so far is replacing her old destroyers and frigates with newer designs. One does not expect the Chinese to defend her economy with 1970’s or older warships. One medium size jump carrier is a signal for a deep blue navy, but the pace which she is developing the carrier force is still leisurely. I would be more concern with what China is up to with submarines while the US should be more concern with getting out of overseas adventures and conserving financially. Right now the only thing sinking the US navy is shrinking economy and growing gov deficit. Lack of money is sinking our fleet faster then a Chinese missile.
Japan thinking it’s the Asian Switzerland is a mistake...
They had better get ready the next Tsunami may not be from an earthquake..
The next drown a chinaman technology needs to be developed..
That fighter jet is a dead ringer for the F-14 Tomcat.
Actually, the surface combat fleet development is not leisurely. As I said, they have increased the sizee of their fleet by 142%...that is not simply replacing what they had.
They are planning on having three carriers by 2020...so that is not a leisurely pace either.
I’ve been watching, researching, and studying this for the last 10-12 years. It is of concern to our Naval planners and that is why they have convinced Obama (or any other prsident) to shift US Naval forces even more heavily to the Pacific.
As to Subs, the Chinese are increasing rapidly there too. Their new Jun and now Qing classes are AIP SS boats that are better than the Kilos they bought from Russia. They have produced a new SSN that is arguably very close to our Improved LA Class, and are produicing new SSBNs that are far better than their single Xia unit of past years.
The SS boats will be deployed in the litorals and at choke points within the 1st two island chains and will represent a significant threat in any close or restricted waters. Their new SSNs will range out further, but they have a long way to go there in numbers and quieting before those boats are any kind of serious match for the Sea Wolfs (3) or the new Virginia Class (now 9) that we have.
Until then the Improved LA Class, which is at least as good if not better than these new Chinese boats, will hold the vast weight of any confrontation and will fair very well out in the blue water.
No it is not. (No swing wings, among other things...).
It is, however, a dead ringer for a Su-27 or Su-30 from which it is licensed or copied.
Their new J-20 Stealth fighter surprised a lot of people. No match for the F-22 yet, but a lot better than our own analysts expected at this time...but it is not a naval fighter.
In 2011, the PLAAF conducted a test flight of their new stealth fighter. As there has been a lot of speculation and comparison, here are a set of images comparing the USAF F-22 Raptor (which has been capped in production at 195), with the PLAAF J-20:
They have six very good AEGIS destoryers modeled after our Burke's and they have upgraded seversal of them to BMD (BAllistic Missile Defense) capable.
Now, they are worried about China, because the Chinese growth is far outstripping their own and the PLAN will overtake and pass them. That is why the US shift to the Pacific is so welcome to them, the South Koreans, the republic of China on Taiwan, the Philippines (where, BTW, we have announced that Subic Bay and Clark airfied willbe reopened as major US bases), and Australia. India likes to see it too and is forging much closer ties to us than they have had in the past.
It is all working together as a contain China strategy and I hope we keep it up. The best thing we can do is get our economic house in order too and stop feeding the beast.
I am not a military aviation expert, and I don’t play one on TV.
My impression of that plane is that it looks like an F-14 (at first glance). That’s all!
Their UNREP capabilities and vessels are good,
What you see there is their answer to the USS San Anotnio LPD Calss with what they call the PLAN Yuzhao Class which is about the same displacement and performs the same functions (with their own LCAC's in a large well deck in the stern) as the San Anotinio Class, and their AEGIS-like Lanzhou DDG, which has their own new battle mangement system, PARs and VLS missile magazines like our Burke class.
The new Frigate back there, the Type 054A FFG, also sports VLS and may have cooperative engagement capabilities with the larger DDG.
That FFG is now quite a bit beeter than our or Perry frigates which have been defanged and have no medium to long range AAW capabilitiy since the single arm launcher has been removed on all of them, which also means their Harpoon missile capability was taken away. All they have now is a single 76mm gun, a single Phalanx 20mm CIWS, and their helos. So they can still perform decent ASW duties, but their multi-mission capabilities are pretty much gone.
The J-15 has the forward canard to add more life and help some in manueverability, it has fixed wings, has a single pilot, etc.
Here's a picture of the two side by side:
Hope that helps.
The issue is that the Chinese are advancing rapidly and building very wuickly...phenominally. My dad, before he passed away in 2004 (and it has increased since then) said it reminded him of the naval buildup before World War II of the JApanese and the Germans.
The cannard on the J-15 adds a little more more LIFT for takeoff from their jump ramp. Not necessarily more life.
More first glans similarities perhaps in that configuration I suppose.
I disagree with the surface fleet. PLA so far is replacing older destroyers and frigates with new ones. Same with the sub fleet. However on amphibious ships and introducing a carrier is the new area for the PLA. It is still a leisurely pace because China does not have any pressing wars to fight or enemies to contain. One of the major problem China has is experience with new technologies. It is a conveyor belt effect. By the time China can replace all her warships and subs built before 1970’s, she has to start introducing next generation of warships. It is a never ending process for any nation that wants to build a blue sea navy of any size and prominence. But China can afford to sit back a bit because unlike the US she has no pressing enemies to contain or wars to fight. In the next ten years China will spend it building up the technical skills and experience of her sailors and officers. Only 1/3 of the PLA navy is consider modern ships and subs. Ten years from now when she finally retires the older ships and have crews that spend time gaining experience on modern ones, then it becomes interesting on what the PLA plans to do.
If China wants a credible carrier force, a medium tonnage jump carrier is not it. China will need at least four Nimitz size carriers to create a budding challenge to US navy. Right now her ship yards can build large oil tankers, it is capable of building a 90000 ton plus carrier. To get to that level she will need years to develop operational experience. She can copy an American carrier via stolen blueprints, but the US navy does not provide operational notes with it. That has to be developed with thousands of hours of flying time in all weather conditions. China has the time, while the US is on borrowed time due to her huge gov and corporate debt.
Look up www.firepower.com. PLA defense budget is a distant third after the US. But China’s strength is financial. The entire US foreign exchange/reserve is 150 trillion. China as 2600 trillion. If China is going to challenge us, it will most likely be economic and financial.
Sorry fee, they are building up rapidly. To anyone watching what is going on in their shipyards it is self evident.
Their growth rate makes it plain that they are doing a lot more than just relacing their old designs. If that were the case, their rate would be close to xero...or maybe 10-10% percent in the positive. But their major combatant fleet is growing at ten times that rate. In fatc, many of their old Luda’s have been upgraded with modern ASMs and sensors to let them work in concert with the newer vessels and have not been replaced at all.
So, as I said, a 142% growth rate is pretty phenominal for a 6-8 year period. Particularly when our rate is negative.
The 65,000 ton Varyag is a credible threat in the concenrated spaces of the Western Pacific within the Island chains. And to anything short of a full US Carrier Strike Group ready for battle, it is a focre that most other nations cannot match. Particularly when also protected by ground air coverage in numbers. They intend to have three carriers by 2020...we’ll see if they make that. Indiciations are that either the second or third will incroporate at leat two cats.
It is obvious that there is significant concern by the professional naval planners in the nations of the Western Pacfic to what China is doing. All of them that can, are embarking on significant modernization and buildup programs. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (as much as she can), Australia, India...and ourselves are all involved. We are moving more ships away from other areas and into the Pacific...and our negatoive growth rate is slowing and will actually uptick in the next 3-5 years so we start gaining in numbers again. This is happening precisely because all of these nations view the situation as one that is serious enough to warrant being countered...so we are doing so.
Finally, there are a couple of critical issues about the relative value of dollars as spent by the US and China on military systems.
1) China rouitinely is much less transparent about what they are actually spending and we have to estimate what the real number is. This number is politicized both ways so we aren’t really sure what the real number is...which from a perspective of able planning and deterrent is not a good situation.
2) The Chinese get a lot more bang for their buck than the US. Much of the regulation, safety, benefits, etc. that are necesarily included in every dollar we spend are either not included at all in China, or they are very much less expensive for the Chinese because they do not have the type of society and controls in those areas that we do.
Anyhow, as I indicate at the site...it bears serious consideration and considertion in our go forward planning.
So, what may be a 100 million US dollars in China spending may well cost the US 180 million or more becasue of such considerations.
The last OB I saw of the PLA navy is 2/3 of her fleet is still from the 1970’s or prior. Luda need air cover and its ASW sonar sucks. They are very old ships. It is like taking a Fletcher class destroyer, give it upgraded electronics and SSM and declare it equal to an Ticonderoga CGM??!! China has the same problem faced by any nation that intends to build a world class navy, it costs more to replace old designs with modern designs. If China builds a new destroyer and retires an old destroyer, and expands the fleet once all the old destroyers are replaced, then your hyper alarm is justified. If the new Chinese ships are replacing old Soviet and Chinese design subs, destroyers, frigates and coastal missile/torpedo boats that is another story. Does that mean we ignore China completely, the answer is NO. China’s expanding into carrier aviation, carriers, ocean going amphib ships needs to be paid attention to. But to declare that she now possesses the ability to take on the US navy is a bit premature. A Varyag class carrier may intimidate Vietnam/Phillipines, but not Japan and South Korea. Definitely not the US Navy.
If China builds four Nimitz class carriers, more nuc subs plus all the auxillary ships to support them guarded by squadrons of destroyers and frigates plus means to support it beyond China Sea (like bases stocked with shops, parts, personnel). Yeah, China is a serious guy on the block. Today I say monitor China, but I would not be screaming alarm yet. In the mean time the US needs to resolve its debts and deficits. Anything that will cripple US Defense is our deficits and debts.
Thanks for the ping!