Seems they have Quoted from my Post. Much is made of the People's Liberation Army Navy's (PLAN) (actually known simply as the Chinese Navy since 2010) modernisation and the ability of Chinese shipyards to turn out major surface and sub-surface combatants rapidly. However, beyond the hype it is perhaps time to do a more realistic appraisal of whether the PLAN is indeed all that it is made out to be, especially with reference to its purported ability to project power in the Indian Ocean now or in the near future. In this two part guest post, Rahul M takes a closer look at China's naval buildup with the first part focusing on surface capabilities. China entered the 90's with a navy that was technology-wise still stuck in the 60's and 70's. In a similarity that it incidentally shared with India, the navy was the most neglected branch of the military and starved of funds for modernisation. While modernisation of the Army and Air Force started in earnest in the 80's, the Navy found little funds to meet its needs, with the exception of the nuclear submarine programme. In line with Mao's philosophy of 'strength in numbers', it had inherited a large number of obsolescent ships made to old soviet designs that were for the most part too small to operate outside coastal waters. Even worse, training standards were generally very poor with large parts of the fleet rarely venturing out to the sea over a year. The Indian Navy at the same time, similarly starved of funds, decided to opt for quality over quantity. It had far lesser number of warships on its roster than PLAN but these were built to modern designs and crew were in general better trained. The real impetus for PLAN's modernisation came with the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. China's decision to intimidate Taiwan with a series of missile tests and military exercises was in turn met by the US sending two aircraft carrier battle groups (CBGs) to the region, in addition to the one already present in Japan. Realising their vulnerability vis-a-vis the USN fleet, the PRC finally decided to embark on a course of accelerated naval modernisation, a decision that was to have far reaching consequences. PLAN : Myth and Reality Majority of the expert opinions on PLAN originate in the US, with its plethora of think-tanks and semi-governmental academic institutions. The popular consensus is that PLAN has a vast and relatively modern fleet which is only a short time away from challenging US (and western) naval supremacy on the oceans. Taking their cue from US publications, Indian and other regional media portray the PLAN as being so far ahead of other navies in the IOR that any comparison seems to be an exercise in futility. This article, published in DNA, is a typical example. This view, as we shall see, is misleading and is meant to serve the interests of certain lobbies and interest groups inside the US and other western countries. With the break-up of the USSR, large swathes of military-bureaucratic complex in western countries became redundant. The threat from China, suitably magnified, serves as an ideal excuse to continue as before and request funds for hyper-expensive military projects. The object is not to downplay the rapid modernisation of the PRC's military, which deserves to be taken seriously. However, from the Indian point of view, it behooves us to form a more realistic assessment of PLAN's strengths and weaknesses, separate from the american analysis. PLAN Order of Battle (ORBAT) A major source of confusion about the actual strength of PLAN is that the designation for capital ships like destroyers, frigates etc as employed by PLAN is different from those of the other navies. Chinese designation system put lighter class of ships in the heavier classes, for example, the Type 051 Luda Class 'destroyers' weigh less than 4000 tonnes and in any other navy would be designated as frigates. Similarly, ships that are better termed corvettes and missile boats are referred to as frigates, which are a larger and more capable class of ships. Surface Fleet A number of parameters need to be considered while estimating the capabilities of China's surface fleet, chief among those are training level of crew, reliability of the ships and the triple qualities of Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Ship Warfare (AShW) and Anti-Air Warfare (AAW). Training level of Chinese Navy sailors has been poor in general, it was widely reported that PLAN helicopter pilots were incapable of operating at night, the Hainan incident and other similar examples all point to this problem. A Chinese naval aviation fighter pilot sent to intercept a US Navy spy plane ended up crashing into it and losing his life in the process. PLAN surface fleet focuses on AShW at the cost of neglecting ASW and AAW(though this is changing), it is primarily geared to take on USN aircraft carriers and escorts. Both the quality and quantity of its ASW fleet is far less than what a fleet its size should operate. This is slowly changing with introduction of more capable helicopters into the fleet. AAW used to be a major weakness of PLAN but over the last decade, with the introduction of copies of French Crotale SAM, in the form of HQ-7 and later with the copies of the capable Russian origin S-300 SAM, in the form of HHQ-9, the situation has improved significantly. Large parts of the fleet are however still without credible air-defence missiles. What follows is a break-down of PLAN surface fleet along with a more realistic designation of their classes : Saurav Jha's Blog : Guest Post 3: 'Dragon on the High Seas' by Rahul M Ship classes smaller than frigates are not considered for the purposes of this monograph since they do not have the endurance to sail beyond China's immediate neighbourhood and are not relevant from an Indian point of view. Similarly, China's amphibious assault ships are ignored since the chances of a Chinese invasion of Indian mainland or even Andaman and Nicobar islands are rather remote. What emerges from the above table is that, if we apply globally accepted standards of ship classification, PLAN operates only 14 frigates and 8 destroyers. This is a far cry from the dozens that are listed in most military publications under PLAN ORBAT. As we shall see, this number is barely adequate to defend China, let alone provide a flotilla for any significant projection of power abroad.