Myth of PLAN's Power

Discussion in 'China' started by afako, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. afako

    afako Regular Member

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    Seems they have Quoted from my Post. :cool2:

    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.
     
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  3. DaTang

    DaTang Tihar Jail Banned

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    Good article indeed, keep on posting this kind of clairvoyant observation around. we need it. and Dhank you my Bhai.
     
  4. afako

    afako Regular Member

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    DaTang-e-Wallah Bhaijan,

    MAollah wishes you a Tiananmen Day.
     
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  5. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    16 type 052A with 4 more under building.
    2 type 052B
    4 type 052C with 2 more under building
    3 type 052D

    I count 31 ships not including 3 type 071 LPDs and Liaoning.
    a dozen type 039A, 039B SSK
    a dozen Kilo SSK



    Whoever wrote that , should read CDF. Maybe he may even learn something. :cool2:
     
  6. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    Hainan inccident? it happened in 2001.


    what a good old article.
     
  7. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The numbers seem to be wrong for the latest ship classes, 052A and 054A.

    But it is true that the fleet is too small for full blue water capabilities for operation in the Indian Ocean.
     
  8. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    If we define ships over 6000 ton full displacement as a destroyer, and anything between 2000 and 6000 ton as frigates, then PLAN currently has in service


    12 destroyers with 6 more under various stages of construction

    1 051B
    2 051C
    4 Sov
    2 052B
    3 052C (+3)
    0 052D (+3)


    32 frigates with 5 more under construction

    4 modernized 051
    14 Jiangwei
    2 054
    12 054A (+5)
     
  9. afako

    afako Regular Member

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    Rather than size, can we know the capabilities of your frigate classes in ASW, AShW and AAW?
     
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  10. Apollyon

    Apollyon Führer Senior Member

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    Ohh you brainwashed CCP bot, what if i consider Frigate to be anything between 2300 ton to 6000 ton ? Number of frigates in PLAN comes down to 18 and only 12 054A will be considered modern (well 054 is nothing but a failed design as PLAN moved to 054A only after 2 examples).
    Now compare it with Indian Navy's 5 Talwar Class (5th to be commissioned on 9th November) and 3 Shivalik Class which are in every way superior to PLAN's 054A with inferior cloned Russian SAM's.

    So it's 12 (054) vs 8 (5 Talwar + 3 Shivalik) where Shivalik is a 6000 ton + and carry firepower similar to PLAN's 052C :lol:
     
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  11. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    The Chinesse import of Hydrocarbons comes hugging the Indian coast; all the way from Gulf of Oman to the Straits of Malacca.
    Currently only the US can overwhelm IN in the Indian Ocean.
    And as far as PLA Navy is concerned, in Indian Ocean our naval power equation with them will mostly be a status quo. No drastic upheavels.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
  12. mikhail

    mikhail Senior Member Senior Member

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    hi my little chini:panda:friend agian i see you trolling here!don't you have any other serious work to do or are you a full time member of the 50 center brigade!:pound:
     
  13. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Among destroyers you can only count Sovremenny, 051C, 052B and 052C. That's 11 I suppose apart from the 6 new ones being built.

    Can't really count a 2000 ton ship as a Frigate, more in the Corvette class. A Corvette is considered to be between 550 tons and 2800 tons. 2800 tons to 6000 tons is a Frigate and a Destroyer beyond that followed by Cruiser at ~9000 tons and beyond. So, among Frigates you can only consider the 054 and 054A. Or else we need to start adding the 2800t class USN Littoral combat ships to the list too. They have some 24 4500t class Frigates apart from the LCS.

    That's around ~17 Frigates for PLAN.
     
  14. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Actually 34 frigates because I forgot the 2 4800 ton 052 ships.

    I don't know whether an indian made warship is superior to a chinese one. But I do know that on average it takes a chinese yard 1-2 years to complete a frigate/destroyer sized warship after its launch whereas in India it would normally take 5-7 years. I also happen to know that ca everything on a chinese warship is home made whereas on an india made warship indigenous content is negligible (possibly even the hull material too is imported). I also hapen to know that in general terms China's shipbuilding industry is light years ahead of India which does not have a single yard that can be considered decent by int'l standards.
     
  15. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I dunno what you mean by comparing to India. Higher build speed would mean your future is good. But the facts stand as is, regardless of the build speed. I think the P-17A and P-15B is planned to have a 2 year cycle before commissioning.

    If you look at P-15A then the first ship would take 6 years, 2nd and 3rd ship would take 4 years from launch and this is counting the delays.

    P-15A is probably 60-70% indigenous. But that's because we don't consider license manufacture to be indigenous.
     
  16. shiphone

    shiphone Senior Member Senior Member

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    ...another big joke , I thought you should compare it with the 052B class

    even with your standard,so far PLAN are still operating these DDG and FFG:
    -----------------------------------------

    14 DD DDG

    4200 tons- Type 052 (112,113)
    5800 tons- Type 052B (168 169)
    6000 tons- Type 052C (170 171 150) in the near future: 151,152,153
    7000 tons- Type 051B (167)
    7000 tons- Type 051C (115 116)
    7000 tons- Sovremenny (136,137,138,139)

    14 FFG

    4000 tons- Type 054 (525,526)
    4000 tons- Type 054A (529,530,538,546,547,548,549,568,569,570,571,572) in the near future 550 ,573,574,575

    -----------------------------------
    with PLAN standard. there are the following in the FLEET:

    6 DDG and 13 FFG

    3670 tons- Type 051(modified) (109,110,165,166)
    3670 tons- Type 051 (163,164)
    2250 tons- Type 053H3 (521,522,523,524,527,528,564,565,566,567)
    2250 tons- Type 053H2G (539,540,541,542)
    1800 tons- Type 053H2 (535,536,537)
    ------------------------------------
    a very interesting pic ....since IN could bring 1400 tons level INS RANA-KARMUK to Shanghai, I don't think we could ignore so called 1800- 2250 tons PLAN corvettes..

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  17. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Kolkotta (P15A) class ships have the following equipment:

    AK-100 (Russian)
    AK-630 (Russian)
    RBU-6000 (Russian)
    Brahmos (Russian has the controlling technology)
    Gasturbine (Ukraine)
    Diesel engine (Britain/Norway, license-built)
    EL/M-2248 main search radr (Israel)
    Helicopter: Lynx (British) or Sea King (US) or Dhruv (90% foreign)

    These are some indigenous (mainly BEL) made systems like sonar etc, but I'm pretty certain that most hardware components used in them are of foreign origin also.


    I would not call this 60-70% indigenous, regardless how you cut it. Amazingly with so much off-the-shelf stuff India has not been able to complete any of the 3 ships that were launched between 2006 and 2010.
     
  18. GromHellscream

    GromHellscream Regular Member

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    If I told you Taiwan has more ships than PRC over 6000 tons, is that surprised?
     
  19. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Agreed. All of these are license manufactured in India. Fact is there is no plan to build equivalent systems because these work.

    False. Russia has no controlling stake in this project. It is a 50.5-49.5% partnership in favour of India. Everything has been transferred to India including seeker (a long time ago) and engine. Two manufacturing facilities will be setup in India for the engines. Russia contributed funds by canceling debt that India owed to the erstwhile Soviet Union.

    Agreed. But we don't have plans of making an indigenous equivalent in this field as of now. We are going to work on smaller ships based on Kaveri. However let's not forget the Chinese ships use French engines.

    Not a big deal. These things don't add to the costs of the ships as much as you think.

    You can say the above cost around 30-40% of the cost of the ship. Hence 60-70% indigenous as told by the Navy.

    No. It is entirely home grown. COTS isn't really an issue since both countries will be using it.

    It is the foreign system or more specifically the Barak-8 which is leading to delays. As in Trishul failed and hence Navy had to look for the Israeli option and this resulted in delays.

    The range for all these ships seems to be enough to run operations for 6000 to 8000Km at ~15Knots I suppose.
     
  20. J20!

    J20! Senior Member Senior Member

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    Some where in Li Na's imagination
    I agree. But then in terms of modern, open ocean capable, escort class vessels, the PLAN outnumbers the IN more than 2:1. By that measure, the PLAN is much more capable of operating in the Indian Ocean than the Indian Navy is of operating in the Pacific.

    If PLAN power is a myth, then IN power is negligible at best. It goes both ways...

    This thread is just a flame war in the process of happening.
     
  21. Yijiuliuer

    Yijiuliuer Tihar Jail Banned

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    I would prefer this kind of articles circle around instead of those over-exaggerating China threat propaganda.
    World are peaceful. We want our neighbors to be relaxed when we pass by and say hi.
     

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