Type 055 DDG Large Destroyer Thread


Bltizo

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In other news, the CMSI has produced a report on the 055.

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As far as English language articles on the 055s go, this one is above average, but it is obviously below the quality of understanding that most of us have for the 055.


The authors also make a few unsubstantiated inferences and questionable conclusions, and some of the designations they use are out of date. Many of the weapons systems they describe as being part of 055's VLS are either yet to be confirmed or unlikely to be fitted overall.


The article also relies a bit too heavily on some unofficial magazine CGIs and inserting them in a manner as if they believe specific systems or cutaways or diagrams of 055s are representative of the actual ship or how it may operate.
And of course, many of the English language articles they reference are about the same kind of quality that we have come to recognize as infamous here -- TNI, SCMP etc. I do not they cite my 055 article from a few years ago, however even that piece (which I think was published in mid 2018) has some parts which are out of date because of new information that had come to hand since then.
 

Max Demian

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As far as English language articles on the 055s go, this one is above average, but it is obviously below the quality of understanding that most of us have for the 055.
I read the paper today myself. It is the best English language article I have read on the subject. I think the authors painted the overall context and strategic implications very well.

I understood the cutaways as useful illustrations: the source is clearly stated.

For some of the weapon loadout claims (like HQ-16B), they quoted Chinese sources.

What particular conclusions did you find questionable?
 

Bltizo

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I read the paper today myself. It is the best English language article I have read on the subject. I think the authors painted the overall context and strategic implications very well.

I understood the cutaways as useful illustrations: the source is clearly stated.

For some of the weapon loadout claims (like HQ-16B), they quoted Chinese sources.

What particular conclusions did you find questionable?
Where to begin.

First of all, the inclusion of CGIs without clearly conveying for every single one of them that they are non-official and speculative, was quite concerning to me. It's one thing to include a CGI for illustrative purposes, but then to interpret CGIs as if they are somehow representative of actual Chinese naval thinking is a flaw that can't be easily ignored. One of their cited CGIs of an 055 cutaway is described as "a cutaway reveals attributes of the new vessel's design," as if they believe that the cutaway is somehow representative of the real thing, whereas it should've been described as "a non-official cutaway shows a speculative configuration of the ship".

Second of all, the inability to actually discriminate between Chinese sources is a bit concerning as well. Just because a source is Chinese doesn't mean it should be taken seriously or that it should be described as "Chinese strategists believe". The weapon loadout claim is a perfect example, because at this stage we don't have any evidence to suggest that HQ-16 or DK-10 or YJ-83 or even CJ-10 are part of the loadouts of 055 (or 052D).

Third, the quoting of various English language sources of dubious quality -- your TNI and SCMP types

Fourth, some older inaccuracies like suggesting 055 may be able to fit Z-18s when it's been established for over the last year that it cannot, or the old name of QC-280, whereas it has since been understood to be called GT25000 instead.

Some of the comparisons are also a bit dodgy but those are my own personal valuations on how systems are weighed (e.g.: the description of Sejong class having more VLS than 055 is of course true, but when not considering the different in diameter of the 055's UVLS vs the Sejong's Mk-41 and KVLS it falls a bit flat)


.... Now this isn't to say it's necessarily a bad paper, and I think for people who are new to PLA watching or who know nothing about 055 at all then it provides useful context a general description of the class (albeit with some mistakes like I mentioned above).

But for a lot of us who have been following the 055 since before the land mock up began construction and who have been tracking basically every picture of it and every hull launched and every associated development with it, there are a few glaring mistakes and dubious interpretations of information that I think many of us wouldn't make as of what we know in early 2020.
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
Where to begin.

First of all, the inclusion of CGIs without clearly conveying for every single one of them that they are non-official and speculative, was quite concerning to me. It's one thing to include a CGI for illustrative purposes, but then to interpret CGIs as if they are somehow representative of actual Chinese naval thinking is a flaw that can't be easily ignored. One of their cited CGIs of an 055 cutaway is described as "a cutaway reveals attributes of the new vessel's design," as if they believe that the cutaway is somehow representative of the real thing, whereas it should've been described as "a non-official cutaway shows a speculative configuration of the ship".

Second of all, the inability to actually discriminate between Chinese sources is a bit concerning as well. Just because a source is Chinese doesn't mean it should be taken seriously or that it should be described as "Chinese strategists believe". The weapon loadout claim is a perfect example, because at this stage we don't have any evidence to suggest that HQ-16 or DK-10 or YJ-83 or even CJ-10 are part of the loadouts of 055 (or 052D).

Third, the quoting of various English language sources of dubious quality -- your TNI and SCMP types

Fourth, some older inaccuracies like suggesting 055 may be able to fit Z-18s when it's been established for over the last year that it cannot, or the old name of QC-280, whereas it has since been understood to be called GT25000 instead.

Some of the comparisons are also a bit dodgy but those are my own personal valuations on how systems are weighed (e.g.: the description of Sejong class having more VLS than 055 is of course true, but when not considering the different in diameter of the 055's UVLS vs the Sejong's Mk-41 and KVLS it falls a bit flat)


.... Now this isn't to say it's necessarily a bad paper, and I think for people who are new to PLA watching or who know nothing about 055 at all then it provides useful context a general description of the class (albeit with some mistakes like I mentioned above).

But for a lot of us who have been following the 055 since before the land mock up began construction and who have been tracking basically every picture of it and every hull launched and every associated development with it, there are a few glaring mistakes and dubious interpretations of information that I think many of us wouldn't make as of what we know in early 2020.
I won't fault US analysts and academics for their shortcomings in using Chinese sources. It's not like the US academia have the same level of information available to them about China's national defense, as the reverse.

For example, we know a lot about the Japanese Type-10 tank, even before the first Type-10 tank was built. Yet, even until today, we don't really know when the first Type 99A was built. PRC national defense is not nearly as transparent as the west.
 

Bltizo

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I won't fault US analysts and academics for their shortcomings in using Chinese sources. It's not like the US academia have the same level of information available to them about China's national defense, as the reverse.
I do fault them, because if we enthusiasts are able to discriminate between which Chinese sources are with paying attention to and which Chinese sources are not worth paying to, then I expect US analysts and academics who do this as their job to be able to do it as well...
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
I do fault them, because if we enthusiasts are able to discriminate between which Chinese sources are with paying attention to and which Chinese sources are not worth paying to, then I expect US analysts and academics who do this as their job to be able to do it as well...
You are right. However, if we take this rigorously, as academics normally do, there is no scientific way to determine how much more "us enthusiasts" is really reliable and accurate than those other sources. Academic papers is built partially upon the foundations of the accuracy of the source material. Determining the reliability of the source materials, especially when there are no truly reliable platform of sources, is simply beyond the capability of researchers.
 

Bltizo

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You are right. However, if we take this rigorously, as academics normally do, there is no scientific way to determine how much more "us enthusiasts" is really reliable and accurate than those other sources. Academic papers is built partially upon the foundations of the accuracy of the source material. Determining the reliability of the source materials, especially when there are no truly reliable platform of sources, is simply beyond the capability of researchers.
I disagree, I think the method of PLA watching that the PLA watching community has developed over the years have demonstrated itself to be one of the most effective means of tracking new PLA developments.

If foreign academics studying the PLA are unable to use the same methods as we do for their papers then I think that says more about the constraints of their methodology than it does about effective means of tracking the PLA.
... OTOH if you're saying that we should give these academics a pass for not having the same ability to discriminate sources as the PLA watching community does, then that is fine as well -- it just means that we are all agreeing that formal academics and papers contribute very little to the leading edge of PLA watching, which is something I think lots of us have understood for many years now.
 

AndrewS

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Registered Member
I disagree, I think the method of PLA watching that the PLA watching community has developed over the years have demonstrated itself to be one of the most effective means of tracking new PLA developments.

If foreign academics studying the PLA are unable to use the same methods as we do for their papers then I think that says more about the constraints of their methodology than it does about effective means of tracking the PLA.
... OTOH if you're saying that we should give these academics a pass for not having the same ability to discriminate sources as the PLA watching community does, then that is fine as well -- it just means that we are all agreeing that formal academics and papers contribute very little to the leading edge of PLA watching, which is something I think lots of us have understood for many years now.
Agreed.

But I see this as part of the bigger issue, which is the dearth of China expertise in the USA and Europe.

Personally, I'm really surprised that others haven't come to some of the same conclusions on the forum.
They must be looking at the same public datasets that we are.

So I think it exposes a lack of critical thinking, specific China/Asia knowledge, and also historical knowledge/analogies.
 

jimmyjames30x30

Junior Member
Registered Member
I disagree, I think the method of PLA watching that the PLA watching community has developed over the years have demonstrated itself to be one of the most effective means of tracking new PLA developments.

If foreign academics studying the PLA are unable to use the same methods as we do for their papers then I think that says more about the constraints of their methodology than it does about effective means of tracking the PLA.
... OTOH if you're saying that we should give these academics a pass for not having the same ability to discriminate sources as the PLA watching community does, then that is fine as well -- it just means that we are all agreeing that formal academics and papers contribute very little to the leading edge of PLA watching, which is something I think lots of us have understood for many years now.
True, but it could also mean that our "leading edge" simple do not offer any significant benefit for defending the thesis of the papers written by these academics.
For example, on the matter of the PLAN universal VLS system on 055 and 052D, does it really matter that Ericsson took it as a fact that "HQ-16B mid range air defense missile" can be loaded and armed by the 055? Personally, I don't see how it would really affect his defense of the paper thesis whether that "fact" is sourced reliably or not. It could even be a false fact, but it still won't affect his thesis much.
Does it really matter for Ericsson's thesis that the power plant of 055 and 052D is code named QC-280 or GT25000? I don't think so, because doesn't matter what name it is, or what origin it is. As of right now, China is able to independently procure and locally mass-produce that power plant.
 

Bltizo

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True, but it could also mean that our "leading edge" simple do not offer any significant benefit for defending the thesis of the papers written by these academics.
For example, on the matter of the PLAN universal VLS system on 055 and 052D, does it really matter that Ericsson took it as a fact that "HQ-16B mid range air defense missile" can be loaded and armed by the 055? Personally, I don't see how it would really affect his defense of the paper thesis whether that "fact" is sourced reliably or not. It could even be a false fact, but it still won't affect his thesis much.
I would argue that it very much does matter what the known and confirmed weapons loadout of a ship is. If they've taken all of the effort to write a paper like this, you'd think getting things like the weapons systems of the ship they're writing about right, would matter?
If you're suggesting they believe details like that are unimportant, then you're being even more condemning than I am.

Either way, I think we are all in agreement that the vast majority of the "academic" output by these foreign defense analysts and even government institutes do not offer much to experienced PLA watchers and often contain outdated or inaccurate information.
That is fine, and we can treat them as a neat supplement to observe and critique -- and to marvel at, when occasionally one of those papers get written without significant mistakes.


Also, Ericcson didn't write this particular paper, it was written by Caldwell, Freda and Goldstein.
 

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