PLAN Littoral Combat Ships II

Discussion in 'Navy' started by AssassinsMace, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Brigadier

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    http://www.sinodefenceforum.com/navy/plan-littoral-combat-ships-4076.html

    Not sure why they're making a big deal about it unless a lot of people never heard about this until now.

    From a ferry, a Chinese fast-attack boat - Yahoo! News Malaysia


    From a ferry, a Chinese fast-attack boat
    By David Lague | Reuters – 7 hours ago.

    REUTERS - It looked like a textbook win-win deal when Australian high-speed ferry designer AMD Marine Consulting formed a joint venture in 1993 with the engineering arm of a state-owned Chinese shipbuilder.

    The joint venture partner, Guangzhou Marine Engineering Corporation, a subsidiary of the giant China State Shipbuilding Corporation, gained access to state-of-the-art technology in wave-piercing, aluminium-hull designs.

    For AMD, a Sydney-based private company, the payoff was a foothold in China's maritime market during a period of rapid growth.

    The joint venture, Seabus International Co, began designing high-speed aluminium catamaran ferries, rescue vessels and patrol boats for China's inland and coastal waters, according to the company's website.

    That's when a third winner emerged.

    Attracted to the performance of these fast, stable and relatively cheap vessels, the Chinese military adopted the technology as it began replacing its aging missile boats that had been derived from an obsolete Soviet design.

    AMD did not respond to a request for comment.

    China's naval buildup in the South China Sea, to back its claims to islets and reefs in waters rich in oil and gas and which half the world's ship tonnage passes through each year, has prompted the United States to make a strategic shift toward Asia.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, on his first visit to the region since announcing that shift in January, will brief allies about it this weekend, beginning with "The Shangri-La Dialogue". The event brings together senior civilian and military chiefs from nearly 30 Asia-Pacific states to foster security cooperation and takes its name from the host Singapore hotel.

    S. China sea map http://link.reuters.com/hym48s

    TV story on sea conflict Reuters Insider

    MISSILE BOAT

    Since 2004, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy has deployed a rapidly expanding fleet of heavily armed, Houbei class fast-attack missile boats based on AMD's advanced catamaran hull, according to reports on Chinese military websites and Western defence magazines.

    In a clear demonstration of the value of foreign dual-use technology in China's rapid military buildup, the Houbei class or Type-022 as it is also known, appears to be adapted from the AMD 350 patrol boat design, Chinese and Western analysts say.

    "I think it is the most impressive missile boat in the Asia Pacific region," said Andrei Chang, a Hong Kong-based analyst of the Chinese military and editor of Kanwa Asian Defence Magazine.

    "It looks very high-tech and stealthy with plenty of firepower from eight anti-ship missiles."

    In its annual report on the Chinese military, the Pentagon said earlier this month the Chinese navy had deployed about 60 of the Houbei class patrol craft.

    "These boats have increased the PLA Navy's littoral warfare capabilities," the Pentagon said.

    The United States is also beefing up its littoral warfare capabilities in the region. The USS Freedom, first in a new class of combat ships, will be sent to Singapore next year as part of the strategic "Asia pivot".

    The smaller, shallow-draft ships are intended for operations close to shore and capable of deploying quickly in a crisis. Singapore has discussed hosting up to four such U.S. "Littoral Combat Ships" on a rotational basis at its naval facilities.

    "ANTI-ACCESS STRATEGY"

    In the report, the Pentagon also said China's defence and civilian sectors worked in close cooperation as part of a long-standing effort to incorporate technology that could accelerate military modernization.

    The report noted the cumulative effect of dual-use technology transfers, particularly from the United States, could make a substantial contribution to Chinese military firepower.

    The mass production of the Type-022 suggests the Chinese navy believes these vessels will complement its so-called "anti-access" strategy aimed at keeping foreign forces away from waters surrounding Taiwan in time of conflict, said Sam Roggeveen, an analyst and commentator at the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy, an independent private foreign policy research group.

    China considers self-ruled Taiwan a renegade province to be brought under mainland control eventually, and by force if necessary. The United States is Taiwan's biggest ally and arms supplier and is duty-bound by legislation to help the island defend itself.

    "China's anti-access capabilities are now such that it would be very difficult for the U.S. Navy to intervene in a conflict over Taiwan at an acceptable cost," Roggeveen said. "The Type-22 has made a contribution to that capability."

    Some analysts forecast the Chinese navy will take delivery of up to 100 of these vessels, which carry an estimated price tag of about $15 million each.

    No one has suggested AMD Marine Consulting has done anything illegal. Under Australian law, exporters of military equipment must seek government approval for foreign sales but these restrictions do not apply to work done by Australian company subsidiaries operating offshore.

    An Australian company is also providing aluminium hull design technology to the U.S. military. Western Australian shipbuilder Austal has won contracts to design and build a new class of littoral combat ship and high-speed transport catamarans for the U.S. Navy.

    On its Chinese website, Seabus said it was engaged in research and development and design of wave-piercing and conventional, high-speed catamarans. It also advertises a range of AMD catamaran designs from 80 to 2,600 tonnes.

    WESTERN WEAPONS SALES BAN

    Despite bans on Western weapons sales to China that have remained in place since the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, Beijing has mounted a rapid military build-up that has made the PLA increasingly capable of challenging the military dominance the United States has enjoyed in Asia since the end of the Cold War.

    Average annual increases of almost 12 per cent in military spending over more than two decades have allowed China to deploy an expanding force of potent warships and submarines, long-range strike aircraft, missiles and modernised nuclear warheads.

    Early in this period, China relied heavily on imports of Russian weapons but this has slowed as the domestic arms industry gears up to build more locally designed hardware.

    As part of this shift, dual-use technology from abroad has been crucial to advances across a broad range of China's military technologies including satellites, communications networks, helicopters, radars, marine engines, signals processing and training simulators, military analysts say.

    China's state-owned commercial shipbuilders, who also deliver warships for the navy, have been at the forefront of absorbing foreign technology.

    TOP PLA PRIORITY

    The link between AMD's designs and the Chinese navy was first reported in 2007 in SIGNAL Magazine, a Fairfax, Virginia-based specialist defence technology publication. Roggeveen also reported on the deal in a Lowy Institute blog.

    At the time, AMD confirmed the Chinese navy had adopted its technology.

    Since then, the expanding Houbei class fleet has become a top priority for China's military with mass production involving up to five shipyards, defence experts say.

    With an estimated top speed of more than 36 knots, the 225-tonne boats were clearly designed for offensive missions where they would attack with their YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, which can strike targets at a distance of more than 200 km, experts say.

    They also appear to be equipped with advanced data processing links so these missiles can be directed from sensors on other aircraft or ships.

    The Type-22 also has a close-in weapon system for defence against incoming missiles and what appears to be a launcher for anti-aircraft missiles.

    "CARRIER KILLER"

    Naval strategists suggest that deployed in big numbers in wartime, these fast and stealthy craft could overwhelm bigger and much more expensive enemy warships with waves of missiles fired from different directions.

    Combined with missiles from China's land-based launchers, surface warships, submarines and strike aircraft, these attacks could sharply raise the stakes for an enemy operating close to the mainland.

    "This craft is a purebred ship killer, perhaps even a carrier killer," wrote John Patch, a retired U.S. Navy officer in an article for the United States Naval Institute.

    In its report on China, the Pentagon said it would continue with efforts to block the transfer of important technology to China that would contribute to China's defence industry and military firepower.

    However, for the United States and its allies, it could be difficult to evaluate which technologies or materials should be restricted, according to military analysts, particularly for countries that benefit from close trading relationships with China.

    "If you were going to be terribly rigid about this, you'd argue that Australian iron-ore exports indirectly benefit the PLA and thus should be stopped," said Roggeveen.

    (Editing by Bill Tarrant and Nick Macfie)
     
  2. Preux
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    Preux Junior Member

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    They make a song and dance about it because they have a story already in mind and are looking for a talking point. Hordes of cheap, small and presumably expendable crafts with a clear ancestry from a foreign (specifically, Australian, to which audience this article is aimed at and from whose sources it draws) design fits it perfectly. It's what passes for journalism these days.

    You don't really have to read any further than this "I think it is the most impressive missile boat in the Asia Pacific region" - in the context of modern naval warfare that's like saying an army has the most impressive knee-pads in the region. It's not exactly a _bad_ thing but one fails to see how that is going to change anything in the grand scheme of things.
     
    #2 Preux, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  3. jobjed
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    jobjed Captain

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    80+ missile boats with 8 missiles each means 640 high-tech C-803 missiles awaits any invading navy. Assume, in the worst case scenario that 5 missiles are needed to down one ship and a third of the 022s are destroyed before the battle, that's still 42 ships gone for the invading navy. 42 ships is a considerable number and a loss of that many ships is already a strategic victory to some degree. This is a really bad scenario for the Chinese and most would assume in any future conflict, their initial casualties won't be this high. These ships are highly effective coastal combat vessels and will not fail to change things even in the grand scheme of things.
     
  4. Mysterre
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    Mysterre Banned Idiot

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    You are assuming all of the missiles would get through the air and missile defense screen. Why would you assume that? In reality, if we are talking about the US Navy, it's quite possible that NONE of the missiles get through the defenses. China would quite possibly have to muster the bulk of its fighter and naval ASCM's in one massive saturation attack to have a hope of taking down a CVBG. This is just assuming a totally conventional attack. I don't know about the effectiveness of the ASBM. It's quite possible the 2nd Artillery can modify its 1,000+ DF-15's with the same electronics that the DF-21D has and thus achieve ASBM capability in which case China could push the USN out to 600+km from shore, at least for a while.
     
  5. jobjed
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    jobjed Captain

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    Like I said, I'm assuming it will take at least 5 missiles per ship to take it out of action (not necessarily 'sink'). So, 4 out of 5 are shot down and only 1 goes through. In any case, it won't be just the 022s doing all the work, not to mention they are small and stealthy so reasonably hard to detect. An invading navy will be preoccupied with long range ASBMs and larger surface combatants when these smallish FACs suddenly swarm them. The C-803 has a supposedly (please don't take my word as gospel) low cruising altitude making them harder to intercept. It's quite reasonable to say 1/5 of missiles will make it past their defence screen.
     
  6. Preux
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    Preux Junior Member

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    Very nice. Except it has the following problems.

    1) Invading Navy - This isn't the '90s anymore, there is precisely one navy in the world capable of actually approaching China's coastline. That navy is not going to get anywhere near the 200 or so range of the coast (except subs but that isn't going to be tackled by the 022s anyway) unless it is planning on landing. Which it won't.
    2) You need planes and on-shore radars to provide targeting data for the boats or their range will be a couple dozen km at most. If you have planes, you need fighter planes to escort said planes. Then the question arises - why not just send the 300 or so planes capable of carrying AShMs to do the job?
    3) The platform is neither survivable nor suitable for the high seas. Realistically you want them 100nm out at the very most, so they are under the cover of land-based air cover and C4ISR network, taking into account the physical constraints of the FIC and even that number is too high. Then that begs the question, in what way is it better than a shore-based AShM battery?

    What it is is a component in the very last rung of the area denial strategy - shore-based, sub-based, airborne and FAC - each of which can be countered effectively by one thing, everything together, not so much. But let's not lose sight of what it is - the very last layer of defence, which brings me to the point - it's nice to have but doesn't really change anything in the grand scheme of things. China will be chugging along perfectly fine with any 2 to 3 of the above 4, it's the intangibles like doctrine, training, integration and response time that determines their effectiveness.

    That's why I used the analogy. Kneepads alone doesn't really do much for the infantryman. Good load-bearing gear, kneepads, protective vest, helmet and gun together, plus vigorous training in fieldcraft and infantry skill does.
     
  7. PanAsian
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    PanAsian Major

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    That's pretty much a standard 'China threat' article with only half the story on every aspect of the topic to make China look bad. The propagandist 'reporter', or his editor, adds in more fudging for good measure: the Type22 looks like it has anti-aircraft missile launchers!

    The underlying prejudice is that others should be able to do whatever they want with China but China shouldn't be able to do anything about it.
     
  8. Kurt
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    Kurt Junior Member

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    You know that Australia has a pretty dangerous littoral because of sharks, crocodiles and jellyfish?
    It's no problem if a nation can defend her littoral. Taiwan stands a good chance to keep their eastern beach open and make a trip to the western beach lethal. There's none capable of challenging the US navy in blue water warfare. China is unlikely to change that within decades and is rather oriented towards trying to safeguard against this overwhelming US capability. The US can anytime defend Taiwan and other places by their blue water and chokepoint control with little own losses.
    Going littoral means increasing the US ability for not only controlling, but dominating in all naval aspects.
    China's boats are a nice try at a streetfighter concept for home defense. I still don't understand the US LCS concept, but China's boats are a far cry from the Visby class that is meant for a similar purpose in the Baltic Sea. In a naval conflict the chance of these boats is their informative noise and non-stealth under the cover of more capable units with emission silence and real stealth.
     
  9. CottageLV
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    CottageLV Banned Idiot

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    Even the mighty USN's Aegis system cannot block all the missiles. I remember an expert mentioned it in an academic article, forgot what it was about, he briefly touched on this topic. He said even the latest Patriot system can't block more than 30% of the missiles in real combat. The stat from Gulf war was extremely exaggerated. On top of that, Iraq was one of the least capable in terms of missile capability. For a country like Russia or China, the latest missiles are much harder to intercept, especially if it cruises at extremely low altitude and switch to supersonic speed at terminal attack stage. With all the Standards, Sparrows and gatlin guns combined, they'll be lucky if they can get 50% of the incoming missiles. When there are more than a 100 missiles flying towards you, it's almost impossible to intercept them all.
     
  10. Mysterre
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    Mysterre Banned Idiot

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    How did you come to this number of "1/5", exactly? And what makes you think a single hit from a YJ-83 would take a ship out of commission? If I were a naval commander I would put at least 2 missiles into every frigate, 3 or 4 into every destroyer, and maybe 4 or 5 dozen into a carrier.

    When the defense of a CEC-connected battle group such as that of the USN is concerned, we are not talking about 1 out of 5 or 2 out of 5 per ship or whatever other number you want to pull out of thin air, but how many missiles in aggregate is needed to overcome the defense screen, which at the outermost layers will consist of naval fighters out to 500-700 km, then SM-2's out 170-200km, then ESSM out to 50-60km, then RAM and Sea Sparrow out to 10-15km, then CIWS and ECM at point blank ranges. The great unknown is ECM, which may actually end up eliminating more incoming missiles than any of the other defenses.

    Nah. It's easy. Just ask some other expert.
     
    #10 Mysterre, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
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