PLAN ASW Capability


Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
I agree that the frigates and corvettes are more cost effective and more expendable assets for ASW patrols.
If you don't mind me nitpicking a bit: if I recall correctly, about a third of the Type 54A currently in service do not have TASS, and of the remainder, they do not have VDS although they do have TASS. That said, I don't know how up to date that info is, so maybe VDS has been installed.

The earlier ones all have TAS, so no ship does not have TAS. A third, which are the earlier ones, do not have VDS. Don't know if there has been any retrofits on the earlier ones yet. The Maanshan 054 refit might have installed one.
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
My three cents on 055 and 056 and their roles:

Let's start with the logic of ASW operations.

The first problem in combat is knowledge of enemy position. Submarines never attack from positions which can be disclosed by a torpedo launch due to their inherent vulnerability. A submarine which disclosed its location is a dead submarine. A single ASW ship searching for target on its own will either have to depend on passive detection or will have to disclose its position to provoke reaction. Both carry very high risk and low probability of success. This is why currently ASW at minimum requires one passive element and one active element. Either two ships forming a bistatic sonar network or a ship and a helicopter working in tandem.

ASW helicopters never work alone even though they are technically capable of building their own multi-static networks with sonobuoys. Helicopters have relatively short range especially when carrying torpedoes. Whenever you have an ASW helo operating at any significant distance from its mothership it is reacting to something a friendly submarine or ASW plane spotted.

ASW warships have hangars when their intended area of operation does not allow for basing on land. All aerial operations are primarily logistical problems of X time in air with Y payload. Helicopters operating from small ships have limited size and therefore range and payload making the logistics of their mission uneconomical. This is why for coastal vessels having a hangar is a detriment. The ship has to be enlarged and balanced etc while having a helicopter that is not effective enough compared to a land-based ASW plane. 2-4 hours on station is always better than 30-45 minutes.

Type 056A is a coastal ASW vessel therefore it has no need for a hangar. 056As intended role is persistent passive search with the use of towed array sonar while ASW aircraft are the primary active element. ASW aircraft come and go creating artificial periods of "hunt" and "lull" but the ASW ship never stops listening.

Obviously when your operation exceeds range of land-based aircraft you need hangars or aircraft carriers.

A ship with hangar is never on patrol alone because if it needs to change position there is a limited time when the ASW aircraft can listen. ASW ships work in pairs and take turns. In such arrangement helicopters extend the radius of the operation and shorten reaction time. They are a multiplier.

Now a little bit about hangars.

Flagships need a helicopter to carry flag officers and staff. If a 055 is damaged and unable to continue its mission the flag is moved to another vessel whether it has the facilities or not. It will not be moved to a carrier - even if one is available - because of risk management and because of the simple fact that modern tactics puts the carrier and the escorts as independent action groups. When the carrier is under attack it will launch its aircraft which can require a change of course, while the escorts will put themselves between the threat and the carrier and will close the distance and spread apart to gain detection time and increase effective kill zone.

In USN only ASW ships had two helicopters - Spruance DDGs and Perry FFGs. Arleigh Burke did not have hangar until Flight IIA - 29th vessel in class. Flight IIA was introduced as a replacement of Spruance class retired between 1998 and 2005 after 20 years of service. That however does not mean that Ticonderogas are ASW ships. It simply means that hull is not wasted on a flagship of a task force without a carrier.

The same should hold true for 055. It has two hangars and a towed array not because it is a "primary ASW asset" but because it would otherwise be a waste of hull. A "primary ASW asset" is a ship that will engage in active pursuit of a submarine. I can't imagine high value capital ship ever doing that unless it's defending itself.

Type 055 might be classified as a destroyer by PLAN but it performs the function of a cruiser by current USN classification. As a flagship 055 has ASW capabilities because they will ultimately be its self-defense capabilities if all else fails - including the escort. Naval task forces are like chess figures - the flagship is king, all other figures are expendable.

Finally just because it has two hangars doesn't mean it will always carry two helicopters. For example I can't imagine 055s ever working without an absolute minimum of one 052C/Ds and two 054As. That's total of two AAW ships for aerial defense and two pairs of ASW ships. If you detect a submarine in one area you deploy two ASW ships to intercept it but you can't leave yourself defenseless - you keep the second pair. And if one ship is lost the valuable helo can be salvaged and stored in the extra hangar on the flagship.

At the same time I can't see 055s ever working with 056As as part of a single task force. The one exception is a 056As deployed to an overseas naval base but then it will be performing "coastal" duties operating from that base.

A 12000t ship capable of 30 knots and a small 1500t ship with two diesels and a maximum speed of 25 knots don't have the same seaworthiness. That's the reason why PLAN had to built Type 901 as replenishment ships for carrier groups. Maximum speed is theoretical and dependent on sea state. Size of the hull determines the maximum permissible sea state. Small ships will never reach their maximum speed at the upper range of their seaworthiness and they will not operate in dangerous conditions.

Type 056/A are more practical replacements for Type 037I. They are larger but not too large because ship size determines necessary port facilities. If China is expanding rapidly its maritime reach in the WestPac region
it serves it to keep the ships at practical size as they can be based almost anywhere with basic infrastructure. Whether an allied port or newly made harbor at an artificial island - Type 056A can be based there. It comes at a cost of not being able to use those ships for all missions but that's a choice that all navies have to make.

Even the USN at the height of Cold War had to economize and chose fewer more capable blue water ships leaving coastal duties to others. China has the industry and manpower to field both a blue water navy for power projection and a green water navy for coastal protection and will maintain this two-tier navy until it manages to establish a secure zone of influence.

Type 056/A and the frigates and destroyers are two fleets belonging to a single navy. Their tasks overlap but they do not operate according to the same rules. They may exercise together but we won't see modern frigates and destroyers operate with coastal corvettes in situations other than transit between bases. It is logistically too problematic. In every task force the slowest/weakest ship determines the threshold of maneuver and whatever your impression about modern naval warfare on a tactical level naval maneuver is still the foundation of all strategy and operational art. There's barely a place for a 056A among 054As let alone anything bigger.

Type 056 are coastal vessels so they will be coordinated from the land unless in aforementioned overseas deployment scenario. They simply don't have the range or seaworthiness to ever need a ship like 055 to protect and command them.

The current rumored shipbuilding plan (16x 055, 51x 052C/D, 50x 054A + older destroyers) fits a self-contained sea-going fleet rather than one organically working with coastal vessels. The best argument is to compare the future USN fleet proposals from Hudson Institute. If 056s were an inherent part of the main fleet then the ships would be built in different proportions - more of largest and smallest ships. But they are built exactly how you build two parallel self-sufficient navies - one seagoing and one coastal. One operating with air support from land, and one operating around air support from CVs and LHDs.

Well.. that's looking not like three cents but one Great Wall of Text but I hope you'll find it useful enough to forgive me.


The Type 054A overlaps both fleets however, as these are seen leading and drilling with 056s. The 056s also conduct patrols deep in the South China Seas keeping watch of foreign navy vessels and escorting surveillance and oceanographic ships.

I should add that Type 052C/D appears to have flag command, as they do so in Gulf of Aden missions for example. Captains of 055 do rank higher than those of 052C/D.
 

blindsight

Junior Member
Registered Member
The earlier ones all have TAS, so no ship does not have TAS. A third, which are the earlier ones, do not have VDS. Don't know if there has been any retrofits on the earlier ones yet. The Maanshan 054 refit might have installed one.
I think the first 16 054A have no VDS, which counts a bit more than half for now.
 

Lethe

Senior Member
A ship half the size of the Type-055 is actually a Type-052D destroyer hull

It also happens to be about half the cost and have half the VLS cells. But you would have to add another helicopter somehow.

An 052-ASW is plausible, though a clean-sheet design may ultimately be preferred. Compared to 052D, I would delete the aft VLS and cut back the AAW fit to frigate or "frigate plus" levels, i.e. no Type 346 or HQ-9. More of my thoughts on a "large ASW frigate" and how it would fit into the inventory in cost/capability/doctrine terms can be found in the discussion beginning here.
 

5unrise

New Member
Registered Member
My three cents on 055 and 056 and their roles:

Let's start with the logic of ASW operations.

The first problem in combat is knowledge of enemy position. Submarines never attack from positions which can be disclosed by a torpedo launch due to their inherent vulnerability. A submarine which disclosed its location is a dead submarine. A single ASW ship searching for target on its own will either have to depend on passive detection or will have to disclose its position to provoke reaction. Both carry very high risk and low probability of success. This is why currently ASW at minimum requires one passive element and one active element. Either two ships forming a bistatic sonar network or a ship and a helicopter working in tandem.

ASW helicopters never work alone even though they are technically capable of building their own multi-static networks with sonobuoys. Helicopters have relatively short range especially when carrying torpedoes. Whenever you have an ASW helo operating at any significant distance from its mothership it is reacting to something a friendly submarine or ASW plane spotted.

ASW warships have hangars when their intended area of operation does not allow for basing on land. All aerial operations are primarily logistical problems of X time in air with Y payload. Helicopters operating from small ships have limited size and therefore range and payload making the logistics of their mission uneconomical. This is why for coastal vessels having a hangar is a detriment. The ship has to be enlarged and balanced etc while having a helicopter that is not effective enough compared to a land-based ASW plane. 2-4 hours on station is always better than 30-45 minutes.

Type 056A is a coastal ASW vessel therefore it has no need for a hangar. 056As intended role is persistent passive search with the use of towed array sonar while ASW aircraft are the primary active element. ASW aircraft come and go creating artificial periods of "hunt" and "lull" but the ASW ship never stops listening.

Obviously when your operation exceeds range of land-based aircraft you need hangars or aircraft carriers.

A ship with hangar is never on patrol alone because if it needs to change position there is a limited time when the ASW aircraft can listen. ASW ships work in pairs and take turns. In such arrangement helicopters extend the radius of the operation and shorten reaction time. They are a multiplier.

Now a little bit about hangars.

Flagships need a helicopter to carry flag officers and staff. If a 055 is damaged and unable to continue its mission the flag is moved to another vessel whether it has the facilities or not. It will not be moved to a carrier - even if one is available - because of risk management and because of the simple fact that modern tactics puts the carrier and the escorts as independent action groups. When the carrier is under attack it will launch its aircraft which can require a change of course, while the escorts will put themselves between the threat and the carrier and will close the distance and spread apart to gain detection time and increase effective kill zone.

In USN only ASW ships had two helicopters - Spruance DDGs and Perry FFGs. Arleigh Burke did not have hangar until Flight IIA - 29th vessel in class. Flight IIA was introduced as a replacement of Spruance class retired between 1998 and 2005 after 20 years of service. That however does not mean that Ticonderogas are ASW ships. It simply means that hull is not wasted on a flagship of a task force without a carrier.

The same should hold true for 055. It has two hangars and a towed array not because it is a "primary ASW asset" but because it would otherwise be a waste of hull. A "primary ASW asset" is a ship that will engage in active pursuit of a submarine. I can't imagine high value capital ship ever doing that unless it's defending itself.

Type 055 might be classified as a destroyer by PLAN but it performs the function of a cruiser by current USN classification. As a flagship 055 has ASW capabilities because they will ultimately be its self-defense capabilities if all else fails - including the escort. Naval task forces are like chess figures - the flagship is king, all other figures are expendable.

Finally just because it has two hangars doesn't mean it will always carry two helicopters. For example I can't imagine 055s ever working without an absolute minimum of one 052C/Ds and two 054As. That's total of two AAW ships for aerial defense and two pairs of ASW ships. If you detect a submarine in one area you deploy two ASW ships to intercept it but you can't leave yourself defenseless - you keep the second pair. And if one ship is lost the valuable helo can be salvaged and stored in the extra hangar on the flagship.

At the same time I can't see 055s ever working with 056As as part of a single task force. The one exception is a 056As deployed to an overseas naval base but then it will be performing "coastal" duties operating from that base.

A 12000t ship capable of 30 knots and a small 1500t ship with two diesels and a maximum speed of 25 knots don't have the same seaworthiness. That's the reason why PLAN had to built Type 901 as replenishment ships for carrier groups. Maximum speed is theoretical and dependent on sea state. Size of the hull determines the maximum permissible sea state. Small ships will never reach their maximum speed at the upper range of their seaworthiness and they will not operate in dangerous conditions.

Type 056/A are more practical replacements for Type 037I. They are larger but not too large because ship size determines necessary port facilities. If China is expanding rapidly its maritime reach in the WestPac region
it serves it to keep the ships at practical size as they can be based almost anywhere with basic infrastructure. Whether an allied port or newly made harbor at an artificial island - Type 056A can be based there. It comes at a cost of not being able to use those ships for all missions but that's a choice that all navies have to make.

Even the USN at the height of Cold War had to economize and chose fewer more capable blue water ships leaving coastal duties to others. China has the industry and manpower to field both a blue water navy for power projection and a green water navy for coastal protection and will maintain this two-tier navy until it manages to establish a secure zone of influence.

Type 056/A and the frigates and destroyers are two fleets belonging to a single navy. Their tasks overlap but they do not operate according to the same rules. They may exercise together but we won't see modern frigates and destroyers operate with coastal corvettes in situations other than transit between bases. It is logistically too problematic. In every task force the slowest/weakest ship determines the threshold of maneuver and whatever your impression about modern naval warfare on a tactical level naval maneuver is still the foundation of all strategy and operational art. There's barely a place for a 056A among 054As let alone anything bigger.

Type 056 are coastal vessels so they will be coordinated from the land unless in aforementioned overseas deployment scenario. They simply don't have the range or seaworthiness to ever need a ship like 055 to protect and command them.

The current rumored shipbuilding plan (16x 055, 51x 052C/D, 50x 054A + older destroyers) fits a self-contained sea-going fleet rather than one organically working with coastal vessels. The best argument is to compare the future USN fleet proposals from Hudson Institute. If 056s were an inherent part of the main fleet then the ships would be built in different proportions - more of largest and smallest ships. But they are built exactly how you build two parallel self-sufficient navies - one seagoing and one coastal. One operating with air support from land, and one operating around air support from CVs and LHDs.

Well.. that's looking not like three cents but one Great Wall of Text but I hope you'll find it useful enough to forgive me.

I don't like quoting a big wall of text, but this is quite insightful!
 

Hendrik_2000

Lieutenant General
Well during the WW II they have dedicated ASW corvette to guard convoy thru atlantic crossing. They are small so they can dart between the ship in formation 1000 ton about the same tonnage as Type56. So I wouldn't foreclose type 56 as ASW screen for SAG
They were successful design
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In early 1939, with the risk of war with
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increasing, it was clear to the Royal Navy that it needed more escort ships to counter the threat from
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. One particular concern was the need to protect shipping off the east coast of Britain. What was needed was something larger and faster than
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, but still cheap enough to be built in large numbers, preferably at small merchant shipyards, as larger yards were already busy.

To meet this requirement, the
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of
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, a specialist in the design and build of fishing vessels, offered a development of its 700-ton, 16 knots (18 mph; 30 km/h)
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(whale catcher)
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.
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They were intended as small convoy escort ships that could be produced quickly and cheaply in large numbers. Despite naval planners' intentions that they be deployed for coastal convoys, their long range meant that they became the mainstay of
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
convoy protection during the first half of the war.


Operations​

Flower-class corvettes were used extensively by both the RN and RCN in the war-long
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. They also saw limited service elsewhere with the RN, as well as the USN and several Allied navies such as the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Royal Hellenic Navy, the Free French Naval Forces, the Royal Indian Navy, and the Royal New Zealand Navy. The
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
used some of these vessels during World War II, and have continued to use Flower names for
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to this day.
 

5unrise

New Member
Registered Member
I think we should have a thread on PLAN ASW capabilities - or a general discussion on ASW altogether. Good discussion here though.
 

Hendrik_2000

Lieutenant General
I think we should have a thread on PLAN ASW capabilities - or a general discussion on ASW altogether. Good discussion here though.
There is thread about PLAN ASW called littoral ASW. I post a lot of article
 

Richard Santos

Senior Member
Registered Member
Well during the WW II they have dedicated ASW corvette to guard convoy thru atlantic crossing. They are small so they can dart between the ship in formation 1000 ton about the same tonnage as Type56. So I wouldn't foreclose type 56 as ASW screen for SAG
They were successful design
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

In early 1939, with the risk of war with
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
increasing, it was clear to the Royal Navy that it needed more escort ships to counter the threat from
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. One particular concern was the need to protect shipping off the east coast of Britain. What was needed was something larger and faster than
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, but still cheap enough to be built in large numbers, preferably at small merchant shipyards, as larger yards were already busy.

To meet this requirement, the
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
of
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
, a specialist in the design and build of fishing vessels, offered a development of its 700-ton, 16 knots (18 mph; 30 km/h)
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
(whale catcher)
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
They were intended as small convoy escort ships that could be produced quickly and cheaply in large numbers. Despite naval planners' intentions that they be deployed for coastal convoys, their long range meant that they became the mainstay of
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
convoy protection during the first half of the war.


Operations​

Flower-class corvettes were used extensively by both the RN and RCN in the war-long
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
. They also saw limited service elsewhere with the RN, as well as the USN and several Allied navies such as the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Royal Hellenic Navy, the Free French Naval Forces, the Royal Indian Navy, and the Royal New Zealand Navy. The
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
used some of these vessels during World War II, and have continued to use Flower names for
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
to this day.
They were successful because U-boots were virtually immobile while submerged, and has only one pitiful 88mm plus 1 or 2 20mm auto cannons and negligible reserve bouyant while surfaced. So the Uboat can barely hide, can’t run away, and can’t fight even a 700 ton pursuer derived from a whale catcher design.

those relative attributes do not apply to nuclear submarines that type 056 will most likely face.
 

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