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Totoro

Major
VIP Professional
Sure, big trends are decades long. I am pointing out there is a lull in orders/building happening. I am not saying it means this or that, I am just stating its fact. Perhaps we'll see as soon as 2023 a bunch of new ships launched.

But for now, given that there aren't any big ships being under construction, it seems likely that 2022 will not see many ships launched. Several frigates likely and the 003. But it seems there won't be any destroyers launched, or corvettes or amphibious assault ships.
the 003 will, of course, singlehandedly make a big difference in combined tonnage launched for 2022. But without it, the tonnage would be very, very low. Even with it, there were some years with bigger combined tonnage.

This list of launched vessels per year lacks submarines and ships under 1000 t. It does include assault ships.
2006 - 3 ships for 33 000 t.
2007 - 2 for 8 000 t.
2008 - zero.
2009 - 3 for 12 000 t.
2010 - 4 for 40 000 t.
2011 - 7 for 106 000 t. (includes 001 carrier)
2012 - 15 for 50 000 t.
2013 - 14 for 31 000 t.
2014 - 12 for 23 000 t.
2015 - 17 for 71 000 t.
2016 - 13 for 38 000 t.
2017 - 11 for 122 000 t. (includes 002 carrier)
2018 - 17 for 133 000 t.
2019 - 29 for 165 000 t.
2020 - 4 for 71 000 t.
2021 - 5 for 42 000 t.
2022 - 5 for 100 000 t. (estimate, includes 003 carrier)

So the last 3 full 5-year plans show quite a surge in shipbuilding, though the 2006-2010 one did also feature a lull right in the middle of it. With both the first and the last year of that 5-year plan being quite big on newly launched ships.
the 2011 to 2015 plan saw those max annual tonnage levels sustained throughout, with the surge in the year when the carrier got launched. There were no dips or lulls.
The 2016 to 2020 plan saw even further rise in numbers. While the 2017 may seem like an outlier, due to the carrier, the following two years showed the surge continued, and was specific to that 5-year plan. There there was the 2020, where we saw a drop. Tonnage wise it didn't seem like much of a drop, being still better than most years before 2017, but in number of ships it was a drop comparable to the 2006-2010 annual numbers.
Then came 2021. And we see the very same numbers. Very few new ships. And due to even fewer big assault ships and petering off of the destroyer buildup, total tonnage dropped as well. If that one 075 ship wasn't launched in 2021, the total would have been just 4 ships with combined tonnage of some 16 000 t.
And we can already see that 2022 won't be much better in term of number of ships.

It's interesting to me that none of the other shown 5-year plan schedules featured lulls right at the very beginning of the 5 year plan. Yet this new 5-year plan seems to have its first two years set low, and all that coming on top of a very low last year of the previous plan.

The closest thing to such a dip in building/orders was way back in 2007 to 2009.

I don't think there's any good info to conclude what all this means. It can all be a very well thought out plan that includes even more ships, but some are being hidden. But other explanations for this kind of a dip are possible as well. The longer the lull continues, the better we'll be able to explain it, why it happened. Once again, I'm not trying to insinuate anything, but I am pointing out that there will be a 2-3 year period that hasn't really happened to PLAN in some time.

I also happen to think that 5-year plans are not necessarily something that are a gospel for PLAN's plans. And that the orders dynamic is not bound to them, but is more organic and limited by various other factors.
Also, from the pure manufacturing/quality/financial standpoint, it's better not to have big variances in building output. But to try and have all the years over a long period (10 years or more) have a similar number of products. Big items like carriers will skew the tonnage periodically, but submarines, destroyers and frigates are more sensible to build without short term (a few years long) lulls.
 

lcloo

Senior Member
2021 Nov 21st GE satallite photo - Hudong shipyard, Shanghai.

3 frigates, one is almost certainly Pakistani 4th type 054A/P, the other two could be part of the new 20 ships type 054A++??
package. The landing ship could be export variant of type 071 to Thailand.

0 20211114 HD.jpg
 

Xizor

Captain
Registered Member
The closest thing to such a dip in building/orders was way back in 2007 to 2009.

I don't think there's any good info to conclude what all this means. It can all be a very well thought out plan that includes even more ships, but some are being hidden. But other explanations for this kind of a dip are possible as well. The longer the lull continues, the better we'll be able to explain it, why it happened. Once again, I'm not trying to insinuate anything, but I am pointing out that there will be a 2-3 year period that hasn't really happened to PLAN in some time.

I also happen to think that 5-year plans are not necessarily something that are a gospel for PLAN's plans. And that the orders dynamic is not bound to them, but is more organic and limited by various other factors.
Also, from the pure manufacturing/quality/financial standpoint, it's better not to have big variances in building output. But to try and have all the years over a long period (10 years or more) have a similar number of products. Big items like carriers will skew the tonnage periodically, but submarines, destroyers and frigates are more sensible to build without short term (a few years long) lulls.
Can we conclude that China is taking time to tweak/ evaluate the Type 055/075 as part of operationalizing them ? Maybe that's what the lull in launches suggest. While concurrently, wind up studies for Type055A and Type076 ? I particularly don't like the idea of sticking to the 'improvement in batches while keeping up the launch rate' strategy that China adopted for the last decade. Because, the external situation is not evolving good and spending effort/time on new technology may not be good in the near term.

More interestingly, will China increase the numbers of Type055 Heavy destroyers to bring more AESAs and VLS to the battlefield? I think that question is hotly thrown around in other forums and the only bottlenecks I find are drydock availability, capital and success of the first tranche of 055 (ofcourse, we must assume that there are no issues with technology like onboard electronics or GT ).
 

Blitzo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
Sure, big trends are decades long. I am pointing out there is a lull in orders/building happening. I am not saying it means this or that, I am just stating its fact. Perhaps we'll see as soon as 2023 a bunch of new ships launched.

But for now, given that there aren't any big ships being under construction, it seems likely that 2022 will not see many ships launched. Several frigates likely and the 003. But it seems there won't be any destroyers launched, or corvettes or amphibious assault ships.
the 003 will, of course, singlehandedly make a big difference in combined tonnage launched for 2022. But without it, the tonnage would be very, very low. Even with it, there were some years with bigger combined tonnage.

This list of launched vessels per year lacks submarines and ships under 1000 t. It does include assault ships.
2006 - 3 ships for 33 000 t.
2007 - 2 for 8 000 t.
2008 - zero.
2009 - 3 for 12 000 t.
2010 - 4 for 40 000 t.
2011 - 7 for 106 000 t. (includes 001 carrier)
2012 - 15 for 50 000 t.
2013 - 14 for 31 000 t.
2014 - 12 for 23 000 t.
2015 - 17 for 71 000 t.
2016 - 13 for 38 000 t.
2017 - 11 for 122 000 t. (includes 002 carrier)
2018 - 17 for 133 000 t.
2019 - 29 for 165 000 t.
2020 - 4 for 71 000 t.
2021 - 5 for 42 000 t.
2022 - 5 for 100 000 t. (estimate, includes 003 carrier)

So the last 3 full 5-year plans show quite a surge in shipbuilding, though the 2006-2010 one did also feature a lull right in the middle of it. With both the first and the last year of that 5-year plan being quite big on newly launched ships.
the 2011 to 2015 plan saw those max annual tonnage levels sustained throughout, with the surge in the year when the carrier got launched. There were no dips or lulls.
The 2016 to 2020 plan saw even further rise in numbers. While the 2017 may seem like an outlier, due to the carrier, the following two years showed the surge continued, and was specific to that 5-year plan. There there was the 2020, where we saw a drop. Tonnage wise it didn't seem like much of a drop, being still better than most years before 2017, but in number of ships it was a drop comparable to the 2006-2010 annual numbers.
Then came 2021. And we see the very same numbers. Very few new ships. And due to even fewer big assault ships and petering off of the destroyer buildup, total tonnage dropped as well. If that one 075 ship wasn't launched in 2021, the total would have been just 4 ships with combined tonnage of some 16 000 t.
And we can already see that 2022 won't be much better in term of number of ships.

It's interesting to me that none of the other shown 5-year plan schedules featured lulls right at the very beginning of the 5 year plan. Yet this new 5-year plan seems to have its first two years set low, and all that coming on top of a very low last year of the previous plan.

The closest thing to such a dip in building/orders was way back in 2007 to 2009.

I don't think there's any good info to conclude what all this means. It can all be a very well thought out plan that includes even more ships, but some are being hidden. But other explanations for this kind of a dip are possible as well. The longer the lull continues, the better we'll be able to explain it, why it happened. Once again, I'm not trying to insinuate anything, but I am pointing out that there will be a 2-3 year period that hasn't really happened to PLAN in some time.

I also happen to think that 5-year plans are not necessarily something that are a gospel for PLAN's plans. And that the orders dynamic is not bound to them, but is more organic and limited by various other factors.
Also, from the pure manufacturing/quality/financial standpoint, it's better not to have big variances in building output. But to try and have all the years over a long period (10 years or more) have a similar number of products. Big items like carriers will skew the tonnage periodically, but submarines, destroyers and frigates are more sensible to build without short term (a few years long) lulls.

My belief is that rumours give us the basis to speculate, and then we correlate what we see with rumours.

In terms of the "lull" in new ships launched in these couple of years, I am not sure if there is necessarily any significant more explanation other than "previously ordered ships have had contracts fulfilled, and few new ships were immediately ordered".

If there had to be an overall overarching way of explaining this trend, I would argue that the assessment of the strategic environment and/or emergence of new systems and technologies meant they would have taken a bit of time to calibrate what they wanted to buy in numbers (rather than just plowing ahead).


But seeing as you raised the question, what do you think explains this "lull" in production?
 

Andy1974

Junior Member
Registered Member
Seems it can be easily explained by various logic, but the tantalizing prospect is that it could be a change in generations of naval technology.
 

gelgoog

Brigadier
Registered Member
I think the currently available platforms all have some sort of concern. If you take into consideration possible future threats the Type 054A frigate has limitations in terms of speed (which limits its ASW capabilities), it lacks commonality in terms of equipment with the destroyers (different VLS system) and has an outdated sensor package. The Type 052D hull is reaching its limits in terms of possible expansion with the latest Type 052DL's enlarged hull. The Type 055 is still unproven and while we lack any reports about it having any issues with deployment the government might have decided to pause construction to reevaluate it and make changes to the design if necessary. If there was a pressing concern China might just build more ships but I do not think they need to be in any hurry to do so. Their main issue is still the lack of larger surface ships which can carry air wings and the nuclear submarine deterrent so it makes sense they are focusing there.

I think it is pretty well established there should be further orders of the Type 055 and Type 075 but I don't know about the other types.
 
Last edited:

weig2000

Captain
I think the currently available platforms all have some sort of concern. If you take into consideration possible future threats the Type 054A frigate has limitations in terms of speed (which limits its ASW capabilities), it lacks commonality in terms of equipment with the destroyers (different VLS system) and has an outdated sensor package. The Type 052D hull is reaching its limits in terms of possible expansion with the latest Type 052DL's enlarged hull. The Type 055 is still unproven and while we lack any reports about it having any issues with deployment the government might have decided to pause construction to reevaluate it and make changes to the design if necessary. If there was a pressing concern China might just build more ships but I do not think they need to be in any hurry to do so. Their main issue is still the lack of larger surface ships which can carry air wings and the nuclear submarine deterrent so it makes sense they are focusing there.

I think it is pretty well established there should be further orders of the Type 055 and Type 075 but I don't know about the other types.

When you're facing challenging and uncertain strategic environment, you need numbers and scales, not just best platforms.

More 055 and 075 will definitely be built regardless. Some more 052D should be built during normal times. No more 054A should be built during normal times and if they're, this is not normal times.
 

Blitzo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
I think the currently available platforms all have some sort of concern. If you take into consideration possible future threats the Type 054A frigate has limitations in terms of speed (which limits its ASW capabilities), it lacks commonality in terms of equipment with the destroyers (different VLS system) and has an outdated sensor package. The Type 052D hull is reaching its limits in terms of possible expansion with the latest Type 052DL's enlarged hull. The Type 055 is still unproven and while we lack any reports about it having any issues with deployment the government might have decided to pause construction to reevaluate it and make changes to the design if necessary. If there was a pressing concern China might just build more ships but I do not think they need to be in any hurry to do so. Their main issue is still the lack of larger surface ships which can carry air wings and the nuclear submarine deterrent so it makes sense they are focusing there.

I think it is pretty well established there should be further orders of the Type 055 and Type 075 but I don't know about the other types.

"Some sort of concern" I think isn't the right way of describing it, because virtually all platforms at any stage of their life cycle has "some kind of concern".

A newly developed platform is either too new/unproven in terms of subsystems/hull.... whereas a more mature platform is either lacking in growth capacity or using older technologies/subsystems.


In terms of the PLAN's current ongoing procurement, I think it is too easy to lose the forest for the trees.
That is to say, it is very easy to look at the 054A restarts, prospective 052D production, and newer ships like 055s, and think about the various "compromises" or "immaturities" that they have against a specific sort of weapons system that might be more well adapted to them.

But these platforms are procured on a basis of opportunity cost, with consideration of industry availability/advancement, and with consideration of the timing of strategic demands.
There is always room for improvement and better successor classes, but better is the enemy of good enough and that is especially the case if you factor in time and strategic planning.


However I do not see any of this having any specific bearing on the PLAN's "lull" in shipbuilding over the last year or two, as I think that lull can very reasonably be explained simply by the PLAN seeking to establish what the long term trajectory of the navy is meant to be from a strategic procurement point of view.
 

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