Future PLAN orbat discussion


jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
You stated that an excessively large Chinese military would deter the smaller ASEAN nations from embracing more trade with China.

I'm pointing out that if the Chinese military demonstrates a significant margin of superiority over the US military, then the smaller nations of ASEAN will give up trying to use the US military to help balance against China.

Then the smaller nations of ASEAN will prioritise relations with China over the USA, from both a military and economic perspective.

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Defining an "excessively large Chinese military" is another question and depends on the goal.

From a requirements perspective

I understand you view is that 7 Chinese large carriers would be required to match say ~7 US large carriers assigned to the Indo-Pacific.
And that this is the optimal Chinese response to encourage the smaller ASEAN nations to maximise trade with China.

But my view is that the smaller nations of ASEAN will still see the US as a viable military ally, because they know that once the US redeploys its carriers, the US will be able to control the waters beyond the 2nd Island Chain. That will encourage some factions in ASEAN to resist a deeper economic relationship with China.

In comparison, if China has blue-water navy which is 30% larger than the US Navy (with say 13 large carriers), it's obvious to everyone in ASEAN that a military alliance with the USA is pointless because the US Navy would likely lose control of the high seas globally.

That neuters the factions in ASEAN who advocate closer relations with the USA and more distant relations with China.

And given that China is already the world's largest trading nation, smaller nations can understand if China wants to build a pre-eminent navy to protect its global trading interests.

From a resourcing perspective

Let's say in the 2030-2035 timeframe, China has an economy twice the size (100% larger) than the USA.
It's perfectly reasonable and affordable for China to build a blue-water navy which is 30% larger than the US equivalent.
If you run the figures, that might be possible with China continuing to spend a modest 2% of GDP on the military.
At worst, it would be a maximum of 3% of GDP, which is still significantly less than what the US spends.
What you are saying might work in the last century when military is more of an industrial-era product. Back then, technology is simple and there aren't options when it comes to asymmetrical warfare. Today, That's not true. 30% larger than the US equivalent is a silly waste of resources. It would be much better to spend that 30% on other emerging technology, more inline with the idea of asymmetrical warfare.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Junior Member
Registered Member
Relative to the size of its economy and security interests, a China with 20 supercarriers by the 2040s is not excessive in the slightest. It is proportionate to both its capabilities and requirements.
more inline with the idea of asymmetrical warfare.
I think China should also pursue asymmetrical capabilities, like a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed autonomous stealth bomber that can stay aloft for years at a time. But asymmetrical capabilities are not a magic bullet - they're a useful niche solution to certain problems. You still need brute strength, and carriers will be the only way to deliver it for the indefinite future, so long as Earth contains water.
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
You stated that an excessively large Chinese military would deter the smaller ASEAN nations from embracing more trade with China.

I'm pointing out that if the Chinese military demonstrates a significant margin of superiority over the US military, then the smaller nations of ASEAN will give up trying to use the US military to help balance against China.

Then the smaller nations of ASEAN will prioritise relations with China over the USA, from both a military and economic perspective.

---

Defining an "excessively large Chinese military" is another question and depends on the goal.

From a requirements perspective

I understand you view is that 7 Chinese large carriers would be required to match say ~7 US large carriers assigned to the Indo-Pacific.
And that this is the optimal Chinese response to encourage the smaller ASEAN nations to maximise trade with China.

But my view is that the smaller nations of ASEAN will still see the US as a viable military ally, because they know that once the US redeploys its carriers, the US will be able to control the waters beyond the 2nd Island Chain. That will encourage some factions in ASEAN to resist a deeper economic relationship with China.

In comparison, if China has blue-water navy which is 30% larger than the US Navy (with say 13 large carriers), it's obvious to everyone in ASEAN that a military alliance with the USA is pointless because the US Navy would likely lose control of the high seas globally.

That neuters the factions in ASEAN who advocate closer relations with the USA and more distant relations with China.

And given that China is already the world's largest trading nation, smaller nations can understand if China wants to build a pre-eminent navy to protect its global trading interests.

From a resourcing perspective

Let's say in the 2030-2035 timeframe, China has an economy twice the size (100% larger) than the USA.
It's perfectly reasonable and affordable for China to build a blue-water navy which is 30% larger than the US equivalent.
If you run the figures, that might be possible with China continuing to spend a modest 2% of GDP on the military.
At worst, it would be a maximum of 3% of GDP, which is still significantly less than what the US spends.
It's much better to gain more different kinds of capabilities (especially on new horizon technologies and capabilities that are new to everyone), instead of betting all your resources on one particular capability. That's a one trick pony, won't mean much.

As for the number of super carriers, I still believe China should only put into commission a numerical equivalent and nothing more. Instead, the extra money should be spent on new cutting edge technologies that gives the PLA more options in capabilities than the US.
 

AndrewS

Major
Registered Member
It's much better to gain more different kinds of capabilities (especially on new horizon technologies and capabilities that are new to everyone), instead of betting all your resources on one particular capability. That's a one trick pony, won't mean much.
That is obvious. It's what the Chinese military have been doing for decades, and what I've posted previously.

These comments still do not address your assertion that an excessively large Chinese military would deter the smaller ASEAN nations from embracing more trade with China.

Do you still believe this assertion to be accurate?
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
Relative to the size of its economy and security interests, a China with 20 supercarriers by the 2040s is not excessive in the slightest. It is proportionate to both its capabilities and requirements.

I think China should also pursue asymmetrical capabilities, like a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed autonomous stealth bomber that can stay aloft for years at a time. But asymmetrical capabilities are not a magic bullet - they're a useful niche solution to certain problems. You still need brute strength, and carriers will be the only way to deliver it for the indefinite future, so long as Earth contains water.
That's idiotic. If the PLA fields twice the forces/unit size as the US, because it has twice the budget, it will mean that per unit money spent are pretty much the same. This is number game that is dangerous to play in this current era. Because right now we are at the pre-dawn of the next technological revolution. Sinking all your investment in old tech and old way of thinking is a big risk.

I believe the PLAN should only have enough of each major areas of equipment/units to be the equivalent of the USN and no more. If there are left over resources and money, spend them on development new tech and new capabilities.
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
That is obvious. It's what the Chinese military have been doing for decades, and what I've posted previously.

These comments still do not address your assertion that an excessively large Chinese military would deter the smaller ASEAN nations from embracing more trade with China.

Do you still believe this assertion to be accurate?
Yes, it will.
Because asymmetrical means will be seen as directly aimed at the US. For example, none of the ASEAN countries will think that the DF-21D would be aimed at them, because ASEAN barely has anything that can be called a capital ship. Killing a little ASEAN corvette or frigate by a DF-21D would be seen as a disconcerting waste of money even by the ASEAN.

Super carriers are traditional, 20th century weaponry, as well as the traditional naval surface and submarine forces. These weapons follows concepts and doctrines that got carried over from as early as the colonial era. If a PLAN carrier is not seen as tackling an USN carrier, people will only assume that their purpose is to invade another small country. Just like what the USN carriers has been doing in the last decades.

An equivalent carrier forces will maintain the fine balance between deterrence and fear.

Therefore, PLAN should only deploy just enough super-carriers as how much the US is willing to assign and deploy for the sole purpose of confronting China.
 

AndrewS

Major
Registered Member
Yes, it will.
Because asymmetrical means will be seen as directly aimed at the US. For example, none of the ASEAN countries will think that the DF-21D would be aimed at them, because ASEAN barely has anything that can be called a capital ship. Killing a little ASEAN corvette or frigate by a DF-21D would be seen as a disconcerting waste of money even by the ASEAN.

Super carriers are traditional, 20th century weaponry, as well as the traditional naval surface and submarine forces. These weapons follows concepts and doctrines that got carried over from as early as the colonial era. If a PLAN carrier is not seen as tackling an USN carrier, people will only assume that their purpose is to invade another small country. Just like what the USN carriers has been doing in the last decades.

An equivalent carrier forces will maintain the fine balance between deterrence and fear.

Therefore, PLAN should only deploy just enough super-carriers as how much the US is willing to assign and deploy for the sole purpose of confronting China.
You state that US Carriers invade other countries. That is NOT correct.

It is Amphibious Warfare ships which carry soldiers who can invade and hold territory.

Aircraft can bomb a land target, but then they have to fly back to base.
 
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AndrewS

Major
Registered Member
What you are saying might work in the last century when military is more of an industrial-era product. Back then, technology is simple and there aren't options when it comes to asymmetrical warfare. Today, That's not true. 30% larger than the US equivalent is a silly waste of resources. It would be much better to spend that 30% on other emerging technology, more inline with the idea of asymmetrical warfare.
You're talking about how to allocate resources within a budget, and what you've said is obvious.

It's not relevant to the question.

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If you have a look at the Type-076 thread, I looked at the numbers and for the Chinese Navy, and it looks like smaller LHA sized carriers with EMALs are a viable or better alternative to large carriers in a high-end conflict against the USA.

Furthermore, that conclusion is specific to the context of the Western Pacific, still somewhat close to mainland China.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Junior Member
Registered Member
That's idiotic.
No, it's far from idiotic. You can't just say "technology" and hand-wave carriers away. If anyone followed your ridiculous strategy seriously, they'd never build anything since tomorrow will always bring better technology. But I suspect that isn't the case with you - I suspect you're a Southeast Asian concerned about what China will do with real naval power, so you couch your wish for an enfeebled China in terms like "asymmetry". If you care to dispute my characterization, do explain your insistence that China not scare its neighbours by being too "excessive".

Yes, China will very likely practice gunboat diplomacy when it has the power to do so. No neighbouring state will be allowed the freedom to threaten China's national security by allying with foreign powers and basing foreign troops. If you want security, be sure to keep that in mind and get on the winning side.
 

AndrewS

Major
Registered Member
Yes, China will very likely practice gunboat diplomacy when it has the power to do so. No neighbouring state will be allowed the freedom to threaten China's national security by allying with foreign powers and basing foreign troops. If you want security, be sure to keep that in mind and get on the winning side.
I actually see China primarily using economic diplomacy in the future.
But it'll be more like how the US does it.

There are limits to militarised gunboat diplomacy, which the US has amply demonstrated.
 

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