PLAN 2018 Review (Jeff Head)


asif iqbal

Brigadier
thats a pretty decent naval fleet and I've heard some say it nothing compared to USN

however unlike USN the Chinese do not need to forward deploy any assets and thus can concentrate them together in one area

for example to meet demands of operational commanders USN maintained between 85-100 ships continuously deployed out of 286 ship fleet

as of July 2018 USN had 89 ships deployed globally, 47 in Western Pacific, 27 in North Atlantic and 14 in the Persian Gulf

as ships get more sophisticated a 4:1 ratio will be required to forward deploy 1 warship

even if USN gets the 400-ship fleet by 2039 thats still 100 ships forward deployed with around 1/2 in Pacific even with the "Pacific pivot"

for USN carriers the situation gets worse it takes 22 days for a Norfolk based carrier strike group to reach Persia Gulf and 18 days for San Diego based carrier strike group to transit South China Sea

so you can see with China having 6 carriers the situation is favourable for China

with 28 x DDG and 30 x FFG and growing China again is in a pretty good position
 

gelgoog

Senior Member
Registered Member
Well, remember the Invincible Armada? The advantage of the defender is not something you can easily ignore given the ranges involved in a conflict close to China's shoreline. Especially if the Chinese start to deploy a lot of long range SAM systems close to their shores. Let's say you have a 400 km range mobile SAM system. Integrated with an OTH radar network and possibly optical satellite reconnaissance. How large is the combat loaded range of modern US carrier based fighters? Not a lot. Certainly less than a Flanker's.
 

Tam

Captain
Registered Member
Well, remember the Invincible Armada? The advantage of the defender is not something you can easily ignore given the ranges involved in a conflict close to China's shoreline. Especially if the Chinese start to deploy a lot of long range SAM systems close to their shores. Let's say you have a 400 km range mobile SAM system. Integrated with an OTH radar network and possibly optical satellite reconnaissance. How large is the combat loaded range of modern US carrier based fighters? Not a lot. Certainly less than a Flanker's.
Don't forget the US can extend range using tankers. Not only that, they already have a contract on a stealthy drone tanker, which makes detecting and killing such tankers more difficult.
 

Jura

General
now
Pentagon Report Cites Rapidly Modernizing Chinese Navy
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China’s first home-built aircraft carrier is likely to join the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet this year, a highlight of China’s effort to modernize its fleet with modern, farther-ranging platforms and weapons.

Construction began on a second aircraft carrier in 2018, said a new report to Congress from the Defense Department, “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019.” This carrier, which should reach the PLAN fleet in 2022, is likely to be fitted with a catapult aircraft launch system, according to the report.

A coastal defense navy during the Cold War, the PLAN is continuing a two-decade build-up with numerous blue-water platforms

“The PLAN is rapidly replacing obsolescent, generally single-purpose platforms in favor of larger, multirole combatants featuring advanced anti-ship, anti-air and anti-submarine weapons and sensors,” the report said. “This modernization aligns with China’s growing emphasis on the maritime domain and increasing demands on the PLAN to conduct operational tasks at expanding distances from the Chinese mainland using multimission, long-range, sustainable naval platforms possessing robust self-defense capabilities.”

“Modernization of China’s submarine force remains a high priority for the PLAN,” the report said. “The PLAN currently operates four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) and 50 conventionally powered attack submarines (SS). The speed of growth of the submarine force has slowed and will likely grow to between 65 and 70 submarines by 2020.”

The PLAN also continues to modernize its surface warship fleet.

China has built new guided-missile cruisers (CGs), guided-missile destroyers (DDGs) and guided-missile frigates (FFGs) that “will significantly upgrade the PLAN’s air defense, anti-ship, and anti-submarine capabilities. These assets will be critical as the PLAN expands operations into distant seas beyond the range of shore-based air defense systems” the report said.

China has built four Renhai-class CGs over the last two years and has several more under construction. The lead CG is scheduled to join the fleet in 2019. At least three Luyang-class DDGs joined the PLAN fleet in 2018, bringing the total to nine with at least four more under construction. A larger variant forthcoming, Luyang III, will be equipped with a vertical launcher system.

China also emphasizes small surface combatants, with 27 or more Jiangkai II FFGs and more than 40 Jiangdao-class corvettes, with more of both types under construction.

All new attack submarines and surface combatants are being armed with modern anti-ship missiles.

“The PLAN recognizes that long-range ASCMs require a robust, over-the-horizon targeting capability to realize their full potential,” the new Pentagon report said. “China is investing in reconnaissance, surveillance, command, control and communications systems at the strategic, operational and tactical levels to provide high-fidelity targeting information to surface and subsurface launch platforms.”

China also is building a fleet of amphibious warfare ships, adding three to the current five Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock ships. China also is expanding the PLAN marine corps from two brigades and 10,000 marines to seven brigades and 30,000 marines by 2020. The Chinese marine corps also now has its own commander and a new central headquarters.
plus
ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019
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Lethe

Senior Member
The Bear and the Dragon (and the Eagle) [sorry Tom Clancy]

I think everyone here has been thoroughly impressed by the scale and pace of China's development of its naval capabilities over the last decade, and rightly so. China is displaying a level of naval dynamism that the world has not seen since the late Cold War period when Admiral Gorshkov's dream of a Soviet blue water Navy met Ronald Reagan's determination to build a 600 ship navy. But to what extent does the current period resemble those heady days, really?

One admittedly crude method of assessment is to compare the tonnage of major surface combatants (frigates, destroyers, cruisers) commissioned over a given period. The results are as follows:

USA 1980-1989: 452,000 tons (50xPerry, 4xKidd, 6xSprucan, 15xTico, 1xVirginia; 4xIowa battleships not included in total)
Soviet Union 1980-1989: 339,000 tons (9xKrivak, 12xSov, 11xUdaloy, 3xSlava, 3xKirov)
PRC 2010-2019: 236,000 tons (26x054A, 4x052C, 13x052D, 1x055)
USA 2010-2019: 191,000 tons (12x Burke, 6xFreedom, 9xIndy, 2xZumwalt)

All years are from Jan 1st to Dec 31st with reasonable extrapolation to end 2019. Obviously some full load displacements may be more accurate than others, and there are different tons around which I did not take the time to sort out either. I think the relationships above would hold even with more careful attention. And of course you can dig into subs, etc. too if you like.

The point here is not to detract from China's achievements, which we can reasonably assume will continue to grow in the future. Actually this post was prompted by my recent dive into the Russian naval inventory, in the course of which I noted that the Soviet Union commissioned some serious heavy metal in that period (and continuing into the early 1990s). Respectful salutes are due all round I think.
 
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Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
The Bear and the Dragon (and the Eagle) [sorry Tom Clancy]

I think everyone here has been thoroughly impressed by the scale and pace of China's development of its naval capabilities over the last decade, and rightly so. China is displaying a level of naval dynamism that the world has not seen since the late Cold War period when Admiral Gorshkov's dream of a Soviet blue water Navy met Ronald Reagan's determination to build a 600 ship navy. But to what extent does the current period resemble those heady days, really?

One admittedly crude method of assessment is to compare the tonnage of major surface combatants (frigates, destroyers, cruisers) commissioned over a given period. The results are as follows:

USA 1980-1989: 452,000 tons (50xPerry, 4xKidd, 6xSprucan, 15xTico, 1xVirginia; 4xIowa battleships not included in total)
Soviet Union 1980-1989: 339,000 tons (9xKrivak, 12xSov, 11xUdaloy, 3xSlava, 3xKirov)
PRC 2010-2019: 236,000 tons (26x054A, 4x052C, 13x052D, 1x055)
USA 2010-2019: 191,000 tons (12x Burke, 6xFreedom, 9xIndy, 2xZumwalt)

All years are from Jan 1st to Dec 31st with reasonable extrapolation to end 2019. Obviously some full load displacements may be more accurate than others, and there are different tons around which I did not take the time to sort out either. I think the relationships above would hold even with more careful attention. And of course you can dig into subs, etc. too if you like.

The point here is not to detract from China's achievements, which we can reasonably assume will continue to grow in the future. Actually this post was prompted by my recent dive into the Russian naval inventory, in the course of which I noted that the Soviet Union commissioned some serious heavy metal in that period (and continuing into the early 1990s). Respectful salutes are due all round I think.
It is indeed interesting.
I would be interested to see how things change between 2020 and 2029 as well, because the commissions we have seen of PLAN destroyers only really began in 2013 with no destroyers in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as no destroyers had been produced in the immediate years preceding those years.

Whereas going into the 2020s it is likely that we will see simultaneous production of destroyers and frigates as well and a much larger number of large destroyers/055s at that.
 

Lethe

Senior Member
Extending the timeframes to the very bounds of prudence to encompass Jan 1st 1980 to December 31st 1991 (USA and USSR) and Jan 1st 2010 to December 31st 2021 (USA and PRC):

USA 1980-1991: 513,000 tons
Soviet Union 1980-1991: 376,000 tons
PRC 2010-2021: 308,000 tons
USA 2010-2021: 262,000 tons
 

Jura

General
I think the USN issue is exacerbated by inducting unarmed vessels, so called game-changers;
6xFreedom, 9xIndy, 2xZumwalt)
if ever there was an euphemistic sentence, it would be this one (the CNO recently):
"However, the danger of chasing ship counts is that it could drive the Navy toward buying platforms it doesn’t need to meet a specific number, Richardson said."
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Lethe

Senior Member
In both sets of numbers above I erroneously counted the four FFG-7s built for Australia as part of USN totals, and seem to have miscounted anyway. 48 FFG-7s were commissioned into USN during the period in question, subtract 8,400 tons from previous figure.

Revised:
USA 1980-1991: 505,000 tons
Soviet Union 1980-1991: 376,000 tons
PRC 2010-2021: 308,000 tons
USA 2010-2021: 262,000 tons
 
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