PLAN surface combatants 2020

Discussion in 'Navy' started by kwaigonegin, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Tetrach
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    Tetrach Junior Member
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    I was saying "yes" for the initial post about the fleet structure. Sorry if by being so imprecise I wasted your time !
     
  2. Max Demian
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    While the generated noise could be be mitigated with anti-vibration mounts and other noise damping measures, perhaps that's only practical at small power outputs. Type 23s have only a combined 6MW (less in practice) to distribute to electric drive, which obviously helps further in noise mitigation. The Hybrid drive for the Burke's (comparable power output) would've given them a top speed of about 12 knots.

    The other major noise source are the propellers, especially at medium to high speed when they approach or enter into cavitation regime. Speaking of which, does anyone have propeller shots of Type 054A or Type 52 C/D ?
     
    #32 Max Demian, May 16, 2019
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  3. Totoro
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    So, with that recent news of 4 051 destroyers being retired, (Henri K twitter post), PLAN is down to last two 051 destroyers in active service, no?
    At this pace of putting new ships into service, it's plausible even those last two ships will be retired sometime in 2020.
    Could we make any sort of prediction for the 053 frigates, though? I haven't been following their retirement rate closely and the wiki page may be out of date (as it is with 051s currently) Certainly the Jianghu V variants might last another half a decade or so, perhaps to be replaced by a new type frigate.

    What's the status of 037 boats, though? With all the 056 corvettes coming online, one would expect that most, if not all of those subchasers, patrol boats and missile boats will soon get retired. No?
     
  4. Tam
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    Tam Senior Member
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    I like to leave out older ships, since they represent hold overs or legacy doctrines of previous administrations, and do not reflect current or modern doctrine. For example the Russians still have Sovs, Udalois, Slavas and Kirovs. The Soviet Navy has its Cruiser-Destroyer-Frigate-Corvette or Missile Ship arrangement. But its modern doctrine is better represented with the Admiral XXX frigates and the modern Prj. 2038X corvettes. The corvettes are unusual because they can be split into two, a larger heavy or battle corvette like the Project 20380 and its follow ons, followed by a smaller stealth corvette. The larger corvette types, like the Stereguschy and Gremyaschy, displace and armed in a way that might better regard them as smaller frigates, and these ships have traversed all the way to the Indian Sea, traveled both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, these are not characteristic of corvette only craft but true frigates.

    The RN is two tier with Type 42 destroyer and Type 23 frigate. I don't want to mix different time periods as overlaps between tiers create an impression of three and more tiers. Type 42 is replaced by Type 45, but Type 23 persists. Given that there is no follow on to the Type 45, by the next decade it becomes more of carry over to the next administration that is led by the Type 26 at the high end, and the Type 31 at the low end, keeping the two tier structure. The Type 26, despite being a frigate, is only two meters shorter than a Type 45 and appears to weigh less by only less than 1000 tons. While its numerous AAMs do not match the AAMs of the Type 45 in range, the Type 26 has a depth of long range OTH offensive warfare capability the Type 45 doesn't have. Frigates keep growing in size, making older destroyers more like modern frigates in size, and in a number of cases, the frigates are bigger than the older destroyers within the same navy. Note that the Russians are now planning to build Project 22350M, which are improved and larger versions of the Admiral Gorshkov class frigate (one commissioned, one in trials, four under construction), which would reach and exceed 7000 tons and carry 48 VLS. This makes these frigates weigh as much and better armed than older destroyers. Going back to the RN, the next AAW top end warship of the RN to replace the Type 45 is likely going to be based off the Type 26, with this version configured more like the Australian or Canadian versions of the Type 26.


    The matter gets more complicated that in Europe, from London to Moscow, there seems to be a subtle trend with the phase out of the term 'destroyer' and just calling every new surface warship, a frigate. This gives the illusion these 'frigates' all belong to the same weight class, but we are seeing a split up among the frigates, the first, being a heavy, battle or front line frigate, followed by an intermediate or medium frigate, a good example of this is the French FREMM vs. FTI, Type 26 vs. 31, or FREMM vs. PPA. That all reflects a two tier arrangement, with Tier 1 and Tier 2 Frigate tier replacing the Destroyer-Frigate tier.

    PLAN is traditionally two tier, but we also seeing significant overlap of tiers from the Jiang Zhemin and Hu Jin Tao era, or at least contracted from those eras, to give an impression there is more. Call it the "era compression." The JZH era best represented by the collection of Sovs, Type 052, 052B, 051B and 051C for destoryers, and the Jiangweis for the frigates. The HJT era is best expressed with the Luyangs I and II as the top end and the Jiangkais as the second tier. The momentum of the HJT era signed contracts extend all the way to the Xi Jing Ping era, while the first real new ship of the XJP era is the Type 055, and the top end for the XJP era. Does the XJP naval policy have their own two tier, that is not merely an extension of the HJT era contracts (052X and 054X). So there is going to be the question what is the second new surface warfare vessel of the XJP era and the anticipation of this being a second tier ship.
     
  5. Tam
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    Tam Senior Member
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    I think there are still four 051 boats. Would be great to release the names Kaifeng, Zhuhai, Zhanjiang and Dalian for the new destroyers. I remember there is a neat picture of them all four tied up together berthed in the same pier in one group with modern warships in the background. I think that picture is telling about their true status.

    I have not seen boats older than the 053H3 in exercises.

    They might be in 'service'. Not sure about the 'active' part. I remember looking at Google Earth to see rows of small missile boats tied up and berthed together in rows. Its not hard to tell a 037 from an 022. I get the impression that the boats are only active in paper, but I won't be surprised that their crews, which is becoming the most valued resource in the PLAN, has been assigned to somewhere else.
     
  6. Lethe
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    New York Times, citing "Chinese Defense Minstry", notes involvement of "patrol boat" Taizhou (053H1 533)in 2015 confrontation with USS Lassen.

    And here's a photo of 533 Shaoguan with 174 Hefei. Not sure when it was taken, but Hefei was only commissioned in 2015...

    [​IMG]
     
  7. A.Man
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    FYI:

    200519rrqzzpp9p5e1u0p5.png
     
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  8. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Moderator
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    Another rather poor SCMP article from Minnie Chan, this time about the Navy's surface fleet.

    https://www.scmp.com/news/china/mil...-forced-rethink-its-spending-plans-cost-trade

    Among the many doubtful claims and illogical claims made, the most curious thing is that her "military source" also said:

    That statement would only make sense if the plans for ordering 8 055s had not yet been made, however we already know that 4 055s are in the water (two from JN and two from DL each), and based on pictures from the recent past we can confirm that two more 055s are in construction at DL (one in the drydock with the hull mostly finished awaiting topside structures, and one whose modules were alongside the dock in the staging area and awaiting assembly).
    Furthermore based on pictures of JN, we are able to ID at least one hull under the mobile covers consistent with at least one 055 being assembled as well (i.e.: JN's third 055 at least).

    Put altogether, this means we have 6-7 055s in various stages of work that we can see, if not 8 or more.
    Furthermore we've had statements from fzgfzy in the recent past that we may see the 9th and 10th 055 this year (presumably in module form).

    So all in all, even based off the minimum estimate of 6-7 055s being confirmed, it seems very unlikely that 8 055s have not already been ordered many years ago, and should be well beyond the "plan to build" stage of decision making.


    =====


    But I do think now may be a good time to do some basic arithmetic for what kind of surface combatant fleet the PLA may want for its future navy post 2030.
    For a high end conflict, I imagine the PLAN will want to concentrate its forces in the pacific with the ability to fight open ocean battles, naturally which will require carriers among the multi-domain force. Let's say the PLAN wants to field 4 carriers at once in a semi-surge manner in the pacific (i.e.: its home turf). I believe that will require a peacetime fleet of 6 carriers of which almost all 6 will be mostly based at home and training to have high readiness for a high intensity conflict near home. Occasionally one may be deployed abroad such as to MENA for short durations. That means a 2/3 availability rate for a high intensity conflict close to China's doorstep given my deployment concept.

    I believe the PLAN will also want to have a number of supporting surface action groups to support their 4 carrier groups; let's say 4 SAGs and 4 CSGs. These forces will be the primary "open ocean" force that the PLAN will rely on in a high intensity conflict in the western pacific.

    During peacetime, I believe a normal PLAN CSG could be composed of 1 055, 2 052D/E, and 2 FFGs (054A or 054B). But during high intensity war, I believe the escort component may be doubled to 2 055s, 4 052D/E, 4 FFGs.
    A PLAN wartime SAG would be composed of 2 055s and 4 052D/Es.

    Using the 2/3 deployment concept again, and using my concept for the PLAN to deploy 4 wartime CSGs and 4 wartime SAGs, we would see the PLAN as needing at least this number of large destroyers, destroyers and frigates:
    6 x (2 055 + 4 052D/E + 4 FFG) = 12 055 + 24 052D/E + 24 FFG for 6 CSGs (of which 4 will be deployable)
    6 x (2 055 + 4 052D/E) = 12 055 + 24 052D/E for 6 SAGs (of which 4 will be deployable)

    Adding that together, we get 24 055s, 48 052D/E + 24 FFGs, to allow 4 CSGs and 4 SAGs to be deployed (out of 6 CSGs and 4 SAGs).

    However, I would consider this to be the "minimum" requirement for such a fleet concept, because these 4 CSGs and 4 SAGs will be the primary open ocean combat forces.
    Let's call these 6 CSGs and 6 SAGs, the "beyond 1st island chain force," or "B1F".

    The PLAN will obviously still require a number of ships to patrol and monitor waters closer to China's shores, let's call it the "within 1st island chain force" or "W1F".
    The composition of the W1F will likely be far more tilted towards corvettes, FFGs and medium DDGs with only a small number of large destroyers, as they can rely on land based air power and missile power far more than the B1F.
    Again, using the 2/3 deployment concept, I would posit such a fleet for the W1F:
    30+ FFGs, of which 20+ will be deployable
    10+ 052D/Es, of which 7 or so will be deployable
    6+ 055s, of which 4 or so will be deployable
    60+ corvettes, of which 40+ will be deployable

    That provides a deployable W1F orbat of 20+ FFGs, ~7 052D/Es, 4 or so 055s, and over 40 corvettes, which I believe when supported by land based air power and missile power (as well as SSKs), would provide a viable and secure "home fleet" to guard the naval "rear" so to speak.


    Putting all of those numbers together, when we consider the overall surface combatant fleet requirement for that high intensity conflict, we get:
    B1F: 24 055s + 48 052D/Es + 24 FFGs
    W1F: 6+ 055s + 10+ 052D/Es + 30+ FFGs (+ over 60 corvettes)

    That is a fleet total of:
    - 30+ 055s
    - 50+ 052D/Es
    - 60 FFGs (rounded up from 54+)
    - (and 60 corvettes)

    Of the blue water combatants (055s, 052D/Es and FFGs), that is a ratio of about 3:5:6.



    Now, the deployment concept I listed above is inherently flexible to allow some of the B1F and W1F components to do other jobs, for example one of the B1F's SAGs and some elements of the W1F could be deployed to escort LHDs and LPDs for an amphibious assault if necessary.
    Similarly, during peacetime low intensity operations, a fleet of 30+ 055s, 50+ 052D/Es and 60 FFGs will obviously be able to escort a number of CSGs or ARG/ESGs for power projection missions when using a peacetime escort concept.


    However I think the PLAN's overall future surface combatant procurement rationale will be dictated by the "high intensity pacific" requirement whereby during peacetime the majority of their fleet is kept at home, where they will spend the majority of time training and at port kept at high readiness and sometimes sortieing for limited duration in the pacific.
    Only a small percentage of the overall fleet will be deployed beyond the pacific at any one time for extended duration.


    But I suppose the key numbers I've come up with are: 30+ 055s (of baseline and future variants naturally), 50+ 052D/Es, 60 FFGs. Depending on the trajectory of Chinese economic fortunes, I can envision such a fleet being operational by the mid 2030s.

    Assuming they retain the same 6 DESFLOT structure between the three fleets, each DESFLOT will be composed of about:
    - 5-6 055s
    - 8-9 052D/Es
    - 10 FFGs

    Note, the above numbers and concepts are obviously my own idea and I'm certainly not suggesting that the PLAN "will" build that number of ships. But I think we are at a stage of PLAN advancement that it is reasonable to start thinking 10 or 15 years ahead. It would be no different to being in 2005 and thinking what the PLAN of 2020 may be like.
     
    #38 Bltizo, May 31, 2019
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
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  9. Lethe
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    Lethe Senior Member

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    This last bit gives me pause. After all, in 2005 were there any projections regarding the disposition of PLAN in 2020 that came even close to the reality?

    Your projection seems as reasonable as any other, and I like that you have included the strategic and operational assumptions that generate your numbers.

    For my part I would add only a couple points that rather support your projections: first, that in the medium-term (encompassing out to 2035) there is unlikely to be an endogenous halt to PLAN expansion based on an internal assessment of strength and capability in the context of possible threats and the broader strategic environment. That is to say, PLAN will continue to feel itself overmatched and agitate for more capability. Secondly, that the national economy and military-industrial complex will broadly be capable of delivering on those demands, albeit perhaps not as rapidly as PLAN would like. The vast majority of economic projections for the period in question are for ongoing robust growth, albeit at a gradually declining rate, while the current low level of military commitment (as % of GDP) allows for significant increases if that is deemed prudent. In light of both organic and cultivated nationalist sentiment, I would not expect there to be significant opposition to a realignment of spending if that is in fact deemed necessary.
     
  10. Bltizo
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    I don't think there were many projections from that time as far out as 2020 (though I hadn't started PLA watching then) -- though the main reason I bring it up is to demonstrate that 15 years is actually not too far away. It's also to show that if the projections I made for 2035 seem rather outlandish, it is probably not that much more outlandish than someone in 2005 making a prediction for what the PLAN will actually be like come the end of next year.


    Economy will certainly be decisive (as well as overall not going to war I suppose) in the PLA's overall trajectory in coming years and decades.
    My projection is obviously one where I assume the funds are available.

    The question which I'm sure we are all interested in is whether the PRC will seek to increase military spending as a % of GDP going forwards in future years.
    Another question is just how much of military spending up to now was spent on "catching up" (R&D and developing infrastructure etc) vs procurement, and whether going forwards once much of the "catching up" is done whether they will be able to spend more of the budget on procurement and sustainment.
    Related to both of the above, is whether the "slower" growth of GDP in coming years will still be enough to accommodate increases in overall procurement and sustainment/operations, because as it has all been well described, a 6% growth rate at $13 trillion and upwards adds a more absolute GDP than a 10% growth rate at say $4 trillion.

    It's a pity we don't have a breakdown for what Chinese defence budget historically has included.
     
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