PLAN 2018 Review (Jeff Head)


asif iqbal

Brigadier
Jeff in 2005 you wrote that China is testing various designs of DDG Type 052B, Type 052C etc

And that it looks like they have finally found the design they are happy with and it’s likely they will pick a design and continue production after trials and evaluations most likely Type 052C

Well fast forward into 2018 we have 6 x Type 052C and 17 x Type 052D identified

Wow man that’s some stuff right there !
 

Jeff Head

General
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Jeff in 2005 you wrote that China is testing various designs of DDG Type 052B, Type 052C etc

And that it looks like they have finally found the design they are happy with and it’s likely they will pick a design and continue production after trials and evaluations most likely Type 052C

Well fast forward into 2018 we have 6 x Type 052C and 17 x Type 052D identified

Wow man that’s some stuff right there !
Yes. The Type 052C worked out...and then they improved it.

The Typoe 052D is the real winner for them.

Still six "C"s and 17 "D"s to this pint (I honestly think there will be more "D"s...maybe a total of 24 or so...maybe even higher upwards of 30).

I expect at least 12 Type 055s and probably more like a total of 18-20.

If they have 24 52D and 6 52C that's 30 right there. Then 18 55s makes for 48 very strong DDGs.

Add to that 32 or more Type 054As and you have 90 total strong, modern surface combatants...all bklue water caable.

Plenty to escort their LHDs and carriers. and with plenty left over for SAG's, shyow the flag, etc., etc.
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the review. While for many here the projects and details are familiar, there is a real lack of quality English writing on Chinese military matters, and overviews like yours perform a valuable service in helping less familiar folk get up to speed.

I have read with sadness of your progressing cancer. Though we are of very different minds politically, I respect your even-handed moderation of this forum, and have read with interest the snippets of your life that you have shared here -- including, of course, your model shipbuilding hobby. It is in the nature of military-oriented forums such as these to tend towards an adversarial, politicised discourse that highlights the differences between us, but the things we share run deeper. We all emerge from dust and return to dust. Along the way we try to gain a measure of wisdom, to share our joys and sorrows with family and friends, and to accomplish something meaningful. Thanks for sharing this part of your journey with us.
Thank you Lethe for such a kind and gracious word of honor to our beloved Jeff Head,, no doubt this will encourage our brother Jeff, but it is also a testament to the Sino Defense Forum. Again thank you for bringing honor and honesty, you have encouraged many of us with this very thoughtful post!
 

asif iqbal

Brigadier
Ok time for a change in mood with the wild predictions

32 x Type 054 and Type 054A plus 24 x Type 054B
6 x Type 052C and 18 x Type 052D
Already talk of 12 x Type 052E
On top of that 8 x Type 055 and 8 x Type 055A

Overall by 2030

56 x FFG
36 x DDG
16 x CG

Total 108 builds

My feeling the CG numbers will be higher though

I have watched PLAN since early 2004 wow !!
 

Jeff Head

General
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Super Moderator
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  • #86
Ok time for a change in mood with the wild predictions

32 x Type 054 and Type 054A plus 24 x Type 054B
6 x Type 052C and 18 x Type 052D
Already talk of 12 x Type 052E
On top of that 8 x Type 055 and 8 x Type 055A

Overall by 2030

56 x FFG
36 x DDG
16 x CG

Total 108 builds

My feeling the CG numbers will be higher though

I have watched PLAN since early 2004 wow !!
I believe there will be some number of 54B, though we do not know how many yet, and we do not know how quickly.

I also believe there will be more than 16 Type 055...I am thinking 20-24.

As to DDGs. it is clear they intend to keep the Type 052Cs, the Type 051Cs, the Sovs, and of course the Type 052Ds for a long time. I expect with all of those togther they will keep a fleet of closer to 42 DDGs.

Then the Type 055s.

robably l;ook like this:

FFGs - 48 to 52
DDGs 42-48
FFG - 20-24

That means something like110 - 124 major surface combatants before all is said and done.

...and given what the US plans between LCS/FFG, DDGs, and CGs, and then adding in Japan, South Korea and Australia as a minimum...they will need that large a number.

I expect the US will end up with:

52 LCS/FFG
90 DDG
22 CG

164 major surface combatants. But they have to do a lot to get them all their now and in good shape. The Burkes are going to be fine...ultimately the LCS and FFGs will be made good, and ultimately there will be a CGX of some sort to replace the Ticos.

Then when you add in those other 3 nations, you are talking about a significant disparity even with the CHinese having 124 major combtants.
 

Iron Man

Major
Registered Member
I believe there will be some number of 54B, though we do not know how many yet, and we do not know how quickly.

I also believe there will be more than 16 Type 055...I am thinking 20-24.

As to DDGs. it is clear they intend to keep the Type 052Cs, the Type 051Cs, the Sovs, and of course the Type 052Ds for a long time. I expect with all of those togther they will keep a fleet of closer to 42 DDGs.

Then the Type 055s.

robably l;ook like this:

FFGs - 48 to 52
DDGs 42-48
FFG - 20-24

That means something like110 - 124 major surface combatants before all is said and done.

...and given what the US plans between LCS/FFG, DDGs, and CGs, and then adding in Japan, South Korea and Australia as a minimum...they will need that large a number.

I expect the US will end up with:

52 LCS/FFG
90 DDG
22 CG

164 major surface combatants. But they have to do a lot to get them all their now and in good shape. The Burkes are going to be fine...ultimately the LCS and FFGs will be made good, and ultimately there will be a CGX of some sort to replace the Ticos.

Then when you add in those other 3 nations, you are talking about a significant disparity even with the CHinese having 124 major combtants.
South Korea sending its warships (or any other military assets) to fight China for almost any reason is a non-starter. It would have to involve/threaten SK's core national interests; by way of an example, Taiwan and the SCS are not SK's core national interests. Australia may be only somewhat more likely to fight China than Korea, especially if China is not the aggressor and US is actually the one to initiate hostilities, as this would not definitively obligate Australia under ANZUS. Really the US's only reliable military partner against China will be Japan. The other thing to keep in mind is that US warships are divided 60/40 in the Pacific and Atlantic/ME theaters, as the US has to also threaten Russia, Syria, Iran, etc., which means your 52/90/22 is more like 31/54/13. The US also suffers (badly) from the tyranny of distance, with even Guam being 2,000+km away from any areas of potential hostilities with China, to speak nothing of Hawaii and the West Coast, meaning longer transit times and lower availability rates. Also, the availability of the USAF in almost any scenario against China would be far more limited than the availability of the PLAAF and PLANAF in the same scenarios. The bases in Japan and Korea (assuming Korea even allows the use of them to attack China) would easily be under significant threat from the hundreds to thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles that could reach them from the Chinese coastline. And of course the balance of forces is changing in favor of China with each passing year as it pumps out more and more modern cruise/ballistic missiles, ships, planes, etc.
 

weig2000

Junior Member
...and given what the US plans between LCS/FFG, DDGs, and CGs, and then adding in Japan, South Korea and Australia as a minimum...they will need that large a number.

...

164 major surface combatants. But they have to do a lot to get them all their now and in good shape. The Burkes are going to be fine...ultimately the LCS and FFGs will be made good, and ultimately there will be a CGX of some sort to replace the Ticos.

Then when you add in those other 3 nations, you are talking about a significant disparity even with the CHinese having 124 major combtants.
South Korea sending its warships (or any other military assets) to fight China for almost any reason is a non-starter. It would have to involve/threaten SK's core national interests; by way of an example, Taiwan and the SCS are not SK's core national interests. Australia may be only somewhat more likely to fight China than Korea, especially if China is not the aggressor and US is actually the one to initiate hostilities, as this would not definitively obligate Australia under ANZUS. Really the US's only reliable military partner against China will be Japan. The other thing to keep in mind is that US warships are divided 60/40 in the Pacific and Atlantic/ME theaters, as the US has to also threaten Russia, Syria, Iran, etc., which means your 52/90/22 is more like 31/54/13. The US also suffers (badly) from the tyranny of distance, with even Guam being 2,000+km away from any areas of potential hostilities with China, to speak nothing of Hawaii and the West Coast, meaning longer transit times and lower availability rates. Also, the availability of the USAF in almost any scenario against China would be far more limited than the availability of the PLAAF and PLANAF in the same scenarios. The bases in Japan and Korea (assuming Korea even allows the use of them to attack China) would easily be under significant threat from the hundreds to thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles that could reach them from the Chinese coastline. And of course the balance of forces is changing in favor of China with each passing year as it pumps out more and more modern cruise/ballistic missiles, ships, planes, etc.
Agreed with Iron Man.

The chance that South Korea will be involved in a Sino-US conflict is close to zero, especially in a Taiwan or SCS contingency. SK will probably get involved only in a Korean Peninsula scenario when there is an all-out conflict between NK + China and SK + US - it simply has no choice in that case.

Japan will get involved if a conflict breaks out between US and China now or in the next decade, simply because if it does not support the US it would mean the end of US-Japan alliance, which will still benefit Japan at least in the next decade or two. However, I expect Japan will be more likely to limit its involvements to logistics support and maybe ASW, but not active offensive front-line fighting. It can always cite its constitution to justify its defensive-only posture. Unless, of course, there is a massive attack or invasion of Japanese main islands. I expect China will refrain from doing those, although Okinawa will not be spared. There will be a tacit agreement between China and Japan, given the stakes involved.

Australia will not get involved or only symbolically involved, e.g., sending a ship or two to show solidarity. Australia mainland will always be available for logistics support and R&R for the US military personnel, but it's too far away to be useful for direct fighting.

In another 15 years, I expect none of the three nations will get involved in any US-China military conflict at all, which will be highly unlikely in any case.
 

kwaigonegin

Colonel
South Korea sending its warships (or any other military assets) to fight China for almost any reason is a non-starter. It would have to involve/threaten SK's core national interests; by way of an example, Taiwan and the SCS are not SK's core national interests. Australia may be only somewhat more likely to fight China than Korea, especially if China is not the aggressor and US is actually the one to initiate hostilities, as this would not definitively obligate Australia under ANZUS. Really the US's only reliable military partner against China will be Japan. The other thing to keep in mind is that US warships are divided 60/40 in the Pacific and Atlantic/ME theaters, as the US has to also threaten Russia, Syria, Iran, etc., which means your 52/90/22 is more like 31/54/13. The US also suffers (badly) from the tyranny of distance, with even Guam being 2,000+km away from any areas of potential hostilities with China, to speak nothing of Hawaii and the West Coast, meaning longer transit times and lower availability rates. Also, the availability of the USAF in almost any scenario against China would be far more limited than the availability of the PLAAF and PLANAF in the same scenarios. The bases in Japan and Korea (assuming Korea even allows the use of them to attack China) would easily be under significant threat from the hundreds to thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles that could reach them from the Chinese coastline. And of course the balance of forces is changing in favor of China with each passing year as it pumps out more and more modern cruise/ballistic missiles, ships, planes, etc.
Admittedly your assessment is fairly accurate. With the balance of firepower slowly shifting towards chinas favor predictive model anlaysis and scenario done by certain organizations indicate outcomes on similar nature. It’s no state secret and relatively common knowledge.
In a conventional and limited conflict scenario, the US 7th with JMSDF would have a difficult time containaing both PLAN and PLAAF due mainly to logistical issues. Even with 2 CSGs, an entire wing of Raptors and all of JMSDF brought to bear, the balance of capabilities would still be extremely strained. Patriot batteries can only do so much in massive saturation attacks and even then tested only in simulation never in real life. SK and Australia like you said would sit it out unless china is the clear aggressor or other geopolitical factors at play.
The only way to win is to never play in the first place.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
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  • #90
Admittedly your assessment is fairly accurate. With the balance of firepower slowly shifting towards chinas favor predictive model anlaysis and scenario done by certain organizations indicate outcomes on similar nature. It’s no state secret and relatively common knowledge.
In a conventional and limited conflict scenario, the US 7th with JMSDF would have a difficult time containaing both PLAN and PLAAF due mainly to logistical issues. Even with 2 CSGs, an entire wing of Raptors and all of JMSDF brought to bear, the balance of capabilities would still be extremely strained. Patriot batteries can only do so much in massive saturation attacks and even then tested only in simulation never in real life. SK and Australia like you said would sit it out unless china is the clear aggressor or other geopolitical factors at play.
The only way to win is to never play in the first place.
Sometimes you do not get to choose...sometomes your are forced to play.

THiose who believe that South Korea would stand by while the US and JApan fought for their lives are, IMHO, sorely underestimating the SKOR mind set.

They are and have been solid allies for decades...and I believe if it came down to it, they would stanf by that alliance.

Like Kwaig, I pray we never have to find out...but as I say, and as we have found in the past...somtimes you are not left with a choice.

As it is, US, JMSDF, ROKN, and the RAN together are a very powerfu...and for the forseeable future, an allied force that is not about to be overpowered at this stage.

With current projections, particularly if the US continues to turn things around...I do not believe it would ever become wise for either side to test that.

But, others have, in the past, done so. I pray that it does not occur again...but I also pray that we will not forget the hard lessons that that type of peace is best preserved through strength.

Time will tell...and I really expect, with my own health, and also be cause I honestly believe God in Heaven has other plans...that it does not happen at all.
 

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