Thursday, February 23, 2017

Doing the math

Calculating the amphibious assets of a 10-ship formation can project, using "China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities -- Background and Issues for Congress" by Ronald O'Rourke and "Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: An Ambitious and Uncertain Course" edited by Andrew S. Erickson as the main references, here's the result: 

A Yuzhou Class Type 071 LPD is capable of carrying four helicopters and a naval infantry battalion with twenty armored fighting vehicles.  This would typically total five hundred to eight hundred assault troops per ship.

A PLAN LST (Yukan, Yuting-1, Yuting-II, Yudeng, etc) typically carry 3 MBT plus a naval infantry company, or 10 tanks without infantry.

Assuming normal, non-sardined, load here is what we can expect from the 10-ship formation below:

2x Type 071 LPD =  (20+20) 40 AFV plus 2 naval infantry battalions
8x LST= (8x3) 24 AFV plus 8 naval infantry companies

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Photos of the day: 6th Landing Ship Flotilla, South Sea Fleet.

Last week, 10 landing ships - including two type 071 Yuzhao class Amphibious Transport Dock LPD and their LCACs - from the 2nd and the 16th Landing Ship Squadrons were out and about in the South China Sea.  A simple math would suggest that a Marine regiment could sardined into those tiny boats. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Photo of the day: PLA dog tags are now with QR code

2nd carrier almost complete

China is close to completing its second aircraft carrier, which will begin service by 2020, experts said. 

China Central Television (CCTV) reported that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's Type 001A class aircraft carrier's scaffold has been removed and red undercoat has been painted below the ship's waterline in Dalian, northeastern Liaoning Province, and that a launching ceremony will soon be held. 

"Unlike the Liaoning(Type 001), China's first aircraft carrier, a refitted ship built by Ukraine (under the former Soviet Union), the 001A is China-built, and its design, combat capability and technologies will be much more advanced," Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the Global Times.
"One key difference is the design will be more 'humanized,' which means all personnel on the carrier will enjoy a more comfortable and modern environment," Song said. 

However, "there's still a long way to go from its launch to enlistment, which normally takes two years," Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Navy Equipment Research Center, told CCTV.
Song said "its status can be compared to a house whose paint job has been completed but requires decorating, which, in military terms, is called the 'outfitting stage.'"

It means all weapons and equipment, including the radar system, air defense system and communications system will be outfitted on the carrier. After this, the carrier and aircraft on it will be tested, and then the carrier will be ready to serve, Song said. 

"Construction of the aircraft carrier is on schedule. Most of its construction and design work has been completed. Its hull has already been assembled at the shipyard. The ship will soon be equipped with radar and other facilities," said Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian in October 2016, in response to media inquiries on reported aircraft carrier images circulating online.

A large amount of work remains to be done on the carrier's outfitting stage after it's launched, presumably sometime this year, Li Jie, a naval military expert, said. "It will take about one to two years to carry out functional debugging of its devices, weapons and equipment. The new aircraft carrier can begin sea trials by early 2019."

Catapult technology

On December 31, 2015 the Chinese defense ministry formally announced the construction of the 001A, and another spokesperson Yang Yujun said, "This carrier, with a displacement of 50,000 tons, will be the base for J-15 fighters and other types of aircraft." 

The design and construction of the second aircraft carrier is based on experience, research and training from the first carrier, the Liaoning, Yang added.

Based on information released by the Chinese defense ministry, 001A's aircraft will still use the ski-jump method of taking off from a ski ramp on the front of the carrier just like its "sister," the Liaoning, rather than more advanced catapult technology used by US aircraft carriers.

China is looking into catapult technology, Li said, and the technology will likely be adopted on the 002, China's third aircraft carrier, which is being built in Shanghai.

"In other words, 002 is entirely different from the Liaoning (001) and 001A, and it will look like US aircraft carrier rather than a Russian one," Li said.

Most advanced aircraft carriers use the Electromagnetic Catapult System, or Electromagnetic launcher (EML), to launch carrier-based jets, but China is still testing steam catapults, Li said. "The main difference is that EMLs are more flexible and the system's speed can be controlled, so it can launch aircraft of different sizes."

Yin said "in order to protect China's territories and overseas interests, China needs two carrier strike groups in the West Pacific Ocean and two in the Indian Ocean. So we need at least five to six aircraft carriers."

Saturday, September 24, 2016

001A LIAONING II Class CV (CV17) construction update (Sept 24th, 2016)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Photos of the day: Republic of China Marine Corps conducts amphibious exercise.

With ROC Chung Pang (LST-230) (here) and M60A3 TTS MTB

Namesake warships across the Strait may encounter at sea

 ROCN's La Fayette class FFG Xining (Hull 1203) 
PRC's PLAN  DDG Xining (Hull 117) of the North China Sea

BEIJING, Feb. 7 (ChinaMil) -- The guided-missile destroyer Xining (Hull 117) was officially commissioned into the PLA Navy before the Chinese Spring Festival in 2017. While, Taiwan media has paid special attention to the fact that navies across the Strait both have a main warship named Xining. They claimed that the "Xining warships across the Strait will inevitably encounter at sea".
Taiwan's Liberty Times reported February 6 that a naming and commissioning ceremony was held for a 7,000-ton-class type-052D guided-missile destroyer of the PLA before the Chinese Spring Festival in 2017. The new vessel, which is named "Xining", has a same name with the La Fayette class warship Xining currently serving in Taiwan's navy.
According to an official in the Taiwan military, Taiwan's Xining ship belongs to the 124 Fleet with its home port in Zuoying. The PLA's Xining belongs to the North China Sea Fleet, but according to PLA's exercise and training model in recent years, main vessels in the PLA's three major fleets should all carry out cross-sea-area and far-sea combat training, so it's possible that the two Xining warships across the Strait will encounter at sea in the future.
The La Fayette class vessel of the Taiwan navy is also called Kangding class. Taiwan bought 16 of them from France in 1991. The six vessels in the first batch were built in France in early 1992, but the other ten were no longer built due to the high price and other reasons.
The Kangding class vessel features good stealth performance, large tonnage and advanced electronic reconnaissance, but its equipped weapons are limited, some of which have poor performance, and it is weak in air defense, and pilots even have to "scream for communication". This takes a toll on the vessel's overall combat capability.
In contrast, the recently commissioned Xining warship is the latest guided-missile destroyer of the PLA Navy. Integrating multiple new-type weapons and equipment and boasting a high level of IT application, good stealth performance and strong electromagnetic compatibility, it mainly undertakes such missions as taskforce command, regional air defense, anti-submarine and sea combat.
It is learnt that Taiwan's military vessels and ships are usually named as follows: first-class vessels (main battle vessels) are named after the local areas or famous generals in history, patrol ships are named after mountains, and third-class vessels are named after rivers.
According to the Rules on Denomination of PLA Naval Vessels, the denomination of the PLA Navy's warships follows the rules below: cruise ships are named after administrative provinces (districts) or specific words, destroyers and frigates are named after large and medium-sized cities, nuclear submarines are named Changzheng (Long March) plus a number, submarine chasers are named after counties, dock landing ships and tank landing ships are named after mountains, infantry landing ships are named after rivers, and replenishment ships are named after lakes.
其实,这不是两岸军舰首次“撞名”。2014年服役的052D首舰昆明舰也和台湾海军同属拉法叶级军舰“昆明”号军舰 “撞名”。
Actually this isn't the first time that naval vessels across the Strait have the same name. Kunming, the first type 052D guided-missile destroyer commissioned by the PLA Navy in 2014, also had the same name as the La Fayette class vessel Kunming of the Taiwan navy.
Some netizen commented that this reflects the "amity across the Strait", but what bothers the Taiwan media isn't the name sharing, but a sense of insecurity.
In mid-January, 2017, the PLA Navy's first aircraft carrier formation headed by Liaoning crossed the Taiwan Strait on its way back from the Tsushima Strait, throwing the whole Taiwan into a collective panic.

20 years ago.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Long expected, the third PLAN Marine Brigade is now here.

The commission of the third PLAN Marine Brigade should come as no surprise since "with great power comes great Marines".  The current two-Marine Brigade ORBAT simply does not have the manpower to fulfill all those new "historical missions" the PLA high command has planned for them.  The question is really about which PLA ground unit will be transferred to the navy and how soon.

The first PLAN Marine Brigade commissioned on May 1980.  164th Motorized Infantry Division, 41st Army Group Army transferred to the Chinese Marine Corps as the 164th Marine Brigade on July 1998.  This new Marine Brigade is another army transfer, this time from the 77th "Yimeng/沂蒙" Motorized Infantry Brigade, 26th Group Army, Jinan MR/ Northern Theater Command.

The 77th is a proud PLA outfit, commissioned by the CMC on December 1945 and participated in some of the major campaigns during the Chinese Civil War (The Battle of Luannan, the Battle of Laiwu, the Battle of Menglianggu, the Battle of Kaifeng, the Battle of Huaihai, the Battle of the Yangtze River, and the Battle of Shanghai).  It also took part in the Second, Fourth, and Fifth campaigns of the "War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea".

Yimeng Brigade's unit sleeve insignia can be seen from the picture above  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

ZTL09 8x8 Wheeled Light Tank to the PLAN Marine??

ZTL09 8x8 Wheeled Light Tanks sporting the now-famous "Blue Smurf" camo were spotted in Sanya City, near the HQ of the PLAN Marine.  Rumor has it that they are now getting those wheeled new toys to increase their mobility for MOOTW and non-amphibious operations.  Time will tell.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Photos of the day: PLAN Marine anti-terror training pics

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Send In the PLAN Marine

Shortly after the passage of new law authorizing the PLA to conduct counter-terrorism operations overseas, the PLAN marine now heads to Xinjing for some baptism of fire under "desert conditions".    Coincidence?

Chinese marines leave for military training in Xinjiang
Source: XinhuaEditor: Dong Zhaohui
2016-01-02 16:250

GUANGZHOU, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Chinese marines will be deployed in the next few days to a training base in northwest China's Xinjiang to begin their first military exercise of 2016.

As the Chinese military expands its training sites and conditions, the Xinjiang base gives troops a real combat situation under desert conditions.

Previous drills were conducted at a training base in north China's Inner Mongolia, cold regions in northeast China, and in highland jungles.

The drill will improve troops' fighting abilities "in a wider area, a larger space and in a more complicated environment," said a military source.

The soldiers will be transported via a 5,900-kilometer route from southern province of Guangdong to Xinjiang by train, air or truck. Their mobilization, desert combat tactics and coordination will be tested, and they will also carry out a combat exercise with an infantry division of the Lanzhou Military Area Command.

Photos from last year's Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) drill

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Law Allows PLA to Undertake Counterterror Missions Overseas

China's new counter-terrorism law has made it legal for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to participate in counterterror missions overseas.
The PLA and the country's armed police forces may carry out such operations with the approval from the Central Military Commission, says the law adopted by top legislature on Sunday.
Public security and national security authorities may also send personnel overseas for counter-terrorism missions, with the approval from the State Council and agreements from concerned countries.
The law also stipulates that related departments, authorized by the State Council, may collaborate with overseas governments and international organizations in holding policy dialogues, communicating on intelligence information, enforcing the law and regulating international capitals.
The new law comes at a delicate time for China and for the world at large - terror attacks in Paris, the bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt, and the brutal killings of hostages committed by the notorious Islamic State (IS) extremist group are alerting the world about an ever-growing threat of terrorism.
It will provide legal support to the country's counter-terrorism activities as well as collaboration with the international society, said An Weixing, an official with the public security ministry, at Sunday's press conference.