Type 055 DDG Large Destroyer Thread


Lethe

Senior Member
Yes, but I think the military would've recognized the vulnerability of their shipyards in the event of war, and would've made a sensible and reasonable degree of redundancy planning without incurring excessive inefficiencies... including splitting production of its major destroyer classes between two shipyards.
That there are two destroyers classes being produced at two shipyards is already sufficient redundancy in the absence of imminent conflict. And if more redundancy were deemed necessary it would be set up differently:

Shipyard #1: 055, 052D
Shipyard #2: 055, 054AG
Shipyard #3 052D, 054AG

The other points you have raised (redundancy, upskilling) are well taken, however. As usual we will have to wait and see what eventuates.
 
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Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
That there are two destroyers classes being produced at two shipyards is already sufficient redundancy in the absence of imminent conflict.
I think realistic situations could definitely arise where one shipyard being put out of action could significantly alter the Navy's procurement decisions, if one shipyard only produced one type. That would essentially limit the Navy to only procure one type of destroyer for a foreseeable period of time from a single shipyard, and if they sought to produce the other type of destroyer (in response to changing operational demands) it would likely be with a degree of higher cost and also possibly lower quality in some ways compared to a shipyard experienced with both types of ships.
I'd also add that conflict is only one way in which redundancy could be beneficial -- accidents at a shipyard or restructuring or relocation of a shipyard and their workers could also be mitigated by redundancy.

I think the question of "efficiency" also depends on how many destroyers of a particular type will be produced by each shipyard. If JN and DL each only ever produce two 055s each then I agree and would say it would probably make more sense for 055s to be produced at only one shipyard. But projections for 055 have ranged from anywhere from 12 to 24 ships, and with that kind of number it would be quite viable for each shipyard to accrue significant gains in efficiency even if each "only" produces 12 ships instead of 24 ships from a single shipyard.


The other points you have raised (redundancy, upskilling) are well taken, however. As usual we will have to wait and see what eventuates.
Sure.
 

steve_rolfe

Junior Member
Building 055 at two shipyards would seem to undermine the notion that 052D production is going to continue. If that were the case, the obvious setup would be to have one yard dedicated to 052D and one to 055.
Elsewhere i have read that a 3rd shipyard in the CSSC Defence group, may be tasked with building China's larger surface combatants, such as Destroyers.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
I think realistic situations could definitely arise where one shipyard being put out of action could significantly alter the Navy's procurement decisions, if one shipyard only produced one type. That would essentially limit the Navy to only procure one type of destroyer for a foreseeable period of time from a single shipyard, and if they sought to produce the other type of destroyer (in response to changing operational demands) it would likely be with a degree of higher cost and also possibly lower quality in some ways compared to a shipyard experienced with both types of ships.
I'd also add that conflict is only one way in which redundancy could be beneficial -- accidents at a shipyard or restructuring or relocation of a shipyard and their workers could also be mitigated by redundancy.

I think the question of "efficiency" also depends on how many destroyers of a particular type will be produced by each shipyard. If JN and DL each only ever produce two 055s each then I agree and would say it would probably make more sense for 055s to be produced at only one shipyard. But projections for 055 have ranged from anywhere from 12 to 24 ships, and with that kind of number it would be quite viable for each shipyard to accrue significant gains in efficiency even if each "only" produces 12 ships instead of 24 ships from a single shipyard.




Sure.
In a wartime environment, China's shipyards are just too vulnerable as they have to be located on the coast (the exception being Wuchang in Wuhan). Plus it takes months/years for a warship to be built, so any production increase will likely come too late anyway.

A single shipyard with guaranteed orders has no incentive to produce faster or work more efficiently and drive down costs.

But having multiple shipyards competing for for module orders or assembly work has a big efficiency and cost gain.

So yes, each shipyard will have a learning curve at the beginning, but after a few ships (say 3), the efficiency gains should really kick in. The cost associated with the learning curve can also be mitigated if one shipyard starts later and can learn from the experiences of the first shipyard. We've seen this with the Type-52D where Dalian shipyard is benefiting from the experiences of Jiangnan shipyard.

But this all depends on having enough orders to sustain 2 shipyards with a continuous run of orders, so the learning curve can apply.

For AEGIS-type destroyers built with modular construction techniques, I think we're looking at a steady state of at least 3 destroyers per year, in order for 2 shipyard assembly lines to be kept busy. This would be consistent with current production rates in China over the past 5 years and the average US production rate over the past 30 years.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
I don't see any point in continuing production of both Type-52D and the Type-55

They both fulfill the large destroyer function, but the Type-55 will probably only cost $200million more than the Type-52D, which is probably around $800-$1000million. These figures are based on extrapolations of the cost/labour for the Burkes built by SK/JP/US and the Type-54 detailed cost breakdown estimate that was published.

So the Type-55 would cost some 16%-25% more than the Type-52D, but would have the following benefits:

1. 75%-100% more VLS cells. Remember the current Type-52D doesn't have enough cells.
2. Radars mounted higher on the superstructure which means a better detection range over the horizon for sea-skimming missiles and higher-flying aircraft.
3. More cruising range, better living conditions and better redundance, damage resilience etc
4. More space for helicopters/UAVs/UUVs which are the future.
5. A lot more electrical power for radars. Future railguns and lasers would also benefit from this.

So the Type-55 simply offers much better value for money, particularly as China's increasing defense budget can absorb the additional cost.
 
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So the Type-55 simply offers much better value for money, particularly as China's increasing defense budget can absorb the additional cost.
The first part is true, the second part may not be. What they procure also has to match their strategy which in turn has to match the circumstances they face. As other navies in the region build up their numbers, the USN pivot intensifies, and a more robust China containment alliance forms the PLAN will be forced into keeping up with numbers to an extent where it has to build more smaller ships rather than fewer larger ones. That is on top of replacing obsolete ships that are still in service. We already see that with 056x-054x-052x and will continue to see that after they start building 055.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
The first part is true, the second part may not be. What they procure also has to match their strategy which in turn has to match the circumstances they face. As other navies in the region build up their numbers, the USN pivot intensifies, and a more robust China containment alliance forms the PLAN will be forced into keeping up with numbers to an extent where it has to build more smaller ships rather than fewer larger ones. That is on top of replacing obsolete ships that are still in service. We already see that with 056x-054x-052x and will continue to see that after they start building 055.
We can clearly see a Low-Medium-High strategy in terms of naval shipbuilding.

And China's current Coast Guard fleet and ongoing production rate is already more than a match for the combined Coast Guards of Asia.

The same applies to the low-end (Type-56 Corvette) of China's Navy which is tasked with the SCS and littoral waters and ASW.

Where China lags somewhat is on the medium-end (Type-54 Frigate) and particularly on the high-end (Type-52/55 Destroyer) numbers.

At the moment, the Type-52D is smaller than the Burke in terms of physical size and weaponry, whereas the Type-55 will be bigger than the Burke in both departments. So the Type-55 will also have a much bigger psychological "presence" when meeting a Burke. The Type-52D does not have this and remember that there are a lot of Burkes already in the water.

And given that China will be spending at least $24billion more on high-end destroyers, the difference in hull numbers is notionally 20x Type-55 versus 24x Type-52D

In most scenarios, that won't make any difference in terms of physical availability in a particular location, but a fleet based on the Type-55 will have at least 40% more VLS cells available to use.

Hence the Type-55 is simply better value for money and also is affordable, given the increasing defense budget and how the low end presence mission is already adequately covered.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
We can clearly see a Low-Medium-High strategy in terms of naval shipbuilding.

And China's current Coast Guard fleet and ongoing production rate is already more than a match for the combined Coast Guards of Asia.

The same applies to the low-end (Type-56 Corvette) of China's Navy which is tasked with the SCS and littoral waters and ASW.

Where China lags somewhat is on the medium-end (Type-54 Frigate) and particularly on the high-end (Type-52/55 Destroyer) numbers.

At the moment, the Type-52D is smaller than the Burke in terms of physical size and weaponry, whereas the Type-55 will be bigger than the Burke in both departments. So the Type-55 will also have a much bigger psychological "presence" when meeting a Burke. The Type-52D does not have this and remember that there are a lot of Burkes already in the water.

And given that China will be spending at least $24billion more on high-end destroyers, the difference in hull numbers is notionally 20x Type-55 versus 24x Type-52D

In most scenarios, that won't make any difference in terms of physical availability in a particular location, but a fleet based on the Type-55 will have at least 40% more VLS cells available to use.

Hence the Type-55 is simply better value for money and also is affordable, given the increasing defense budget and how the low end presence mission is already adequately covered.
A few points.

Firstly, procurement costs are only one factor, you also have to bear in mind operational costs.

055 might be much more cost effective to buy compared to 052D, but given the much larger displacement and likely crew size, they will also be much more expensive to run, and would represent a bigger logistical burden for resupply, thus need more supply ships for the fleets. Those costs could also need to be considered and factored into the equation for deciding what ratio to buy the two types.

Secondly, a big badass cruiser is cool, but not every mission calls for such presence and firepower, as the USN has found out to its cost with its over reliance on Burkes and subsequent over-balance with the LCS, but that's a different discussion.

The PLAN is unlikely to face a problem of that level because of its heavy investment on Frigates, but the point remains that there are comparatively few missions where only an 055 and nothing less will do. For lesser missions, sending 052Ds will get the job done for less, both in terms of procurement and operational costs.

Thirdly, we need to remember that the currently PLAN fleet expansion is as much, if not more to do with giving Chinese shipyards a helping hand in a difficult market as it is with any imminent operational need from the PLAN.

As early as a couple of years ago, commercial shipping contracts were down from 40-70% in Chinese yards. That's a massive threat to the very existence of many yards.

The PLAN naval contracts are pretty much a form of government stimulus, designed to help yards weather the current rough times without having to make deep, painful cuts to core capacity that will be hard and expensive to reverse once the good times comes again.

In that context, efficiency is very much a secondary concern, and any additional costs incurred from setting up production at so many yards would also be offset greatly by the massive decline in commodity prices.

I agree that there is a considerable amount of overlap between the 052D and 055, and in normal times, 052D production may well be superseded with 055 production.

However, given the economic reality, the Chinese government will probably run both types in parallel to keep as many yards viable as possible.

Such a decision is especially evident in the way smaller ships like the 056 and coast guard ships are being built all over the place.

In a similar way, it may also be possible for the 054A and 054B/057 classes to be built in parallel, whereas in normal times you would expect production of the earlier type to be replaced with the newer.

WWII made the USN the power it has been ever since. The global economic downturn may well be doing the same for the PLAN.
 
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Where China lags somewhat is on the medium-end (Type-54 Frigate) and particularly on the high-end (Type-52/55 Destroyer) numbers.
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We differ in where we see overlap. I see the 054x and 052x both belonging to the middle tier and just differ in role. As more rival assets and actions confront the PLAN especially in high tension low intensity operations which may go hot and high intensity I anticipate the PLAN will find the 052x necessary where previously the 054x sufficed while the 055 will still be overkill. This also works from the angle of better survivability and flexibility via dispersion, and cost constraints despite potentially better value in a 055 over a 052x.
 

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