Michael Fabey, Washington, DC – Jane’s Navy International
20 August 2018
The Pentagon’s recent annual report on the Chinese military spotlights growing Chinese naval capability, underscoring the narrowing gap between the Asian power’s maritime forces and those of the US Navy (USN), as well as drawing attention to China’s increasing dominance in the Western Pacific.
The report, ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2018’, was released on 16 August and also highlights the global naval ambitions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) – which are far beyond the traditional perimeters of its land-based defence systems.
“The PLAN continues to develop into a global force, gradually extending its operational reach beyond East Asia and the Indo-Pacific into a sustained ability to operate at increasingly longer ranges,” the Pentagon reported. “The PLAN’s latest naval platforms enable combat operations beyond the reach of China’s land-based defences.”
In particular, the Pentagon said, “China’s aircraft carrier and planned follow-on carriers, once operational, will extend air defence coverage beyond the range of coastal and shipboard missile systems, and enable task group operations at increasingly longer ranges.”
The PLAN’s emerging requirement for sea-based land-attack will also enhance China’s ability to project power,” the US Department of Defense said. “Furthermore, the PLAN now has a sizable force of high-capability logistical replenishment ships to support long-distance, long-duration deployments, including two new carrier operations. The expansion of naval operations beyond China’s immediate region will also facilitate non-war uses of military force.”
China continues to learn lessons from operating its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning , the Pentagon pointed out.
“[China’s first domestically produced aircraft carrier was launched in 2017 and is expected to be commissioned in 2019 – the beginning of what the PLA states will be a multicarrier force,” the Pentagon reported. “China’s next generation of carriers will probably have greater endurance and be capable of launching more varied types of fixed-wing aircraft, including EW [electronic warfare], early warning, and ASW [anti-submarine warfare] aircraft.
Source: Jane’s 360 “Pentagon notes Chinese naval global expansion and regional control”
Note: This is Jane’s 360’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
In its article “Five things to know about the home-built destroyer that will guard China’s next-generation aircraft carrier” on August 5, SCMP compares China’s new Type 055 destroyer with all other advanced destroyers in the world.
Type 055 destroyer is of the size of a cruiser, being more than 180 metres long and 20 metres wide with a full displacement of more than 12,000 tonnes, The articles says, “‘In fact, in the US defence department’s annual China military power report, Type 055 is called a “cruiser’, which, by the US definition, is the largest and most powerful surface combatant after an aircraft carrier.”
It has a 112-cell VLS for HHQ-9 air defense missiles, YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles, CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles and missile-launched anti-submarine torpedoes, a 130mm dual-purpose naval gun and close-in weapon system and carries two anti-submarine helicopters.
Its advanced X band radar in four active electronically scanned arrays and integrated electronic system are similar to US warships’ Aegis combat system.
However, as it is a later design than US Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers, its radar, electronic and missile systems use newer technology; therefore, it is stronger than those US warships.
Compared with Japan’s best Atago-class and South Korea’s Sejong the Great Class analysts said that they believe Type 055 surpasses the Korean and Japanese vessels in size, radar system performance, missile capacity and multifunctionality.
Therefore, the article quotes analysts as saying, “In theory, Type 055 is the world’s second most powerful destroyer after the US Navy’s DDG-1000, or Zumwalt class.”
DDG-1000 has a powerful 155mm gun system and is stealth in shape but DDG-1000 class destroyers are so expensive that the US can afford the construction of only 3 of them.
Type 055 however, is well affordable for Chinese navy, which has launched 4 within 13 months and is building 4 more.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2158059/five-things-know-about-home-built-destroyer-will-guard.
By Brad Lendon, CNNUpdated 0038 GMT (0838 HKT) June 22, 2018
(CNN) — The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is regarded as the world’s most-advanced warship — but for how much longer?
A story published Thursday on the English website of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army said the country’s top shipbuilding company is working on an aircraft carrier with an electromagnetic catapult aircraft launch system, something featured exclusively aboard the US Navy’s most expensive carrier ever, the USS Gerald R. Ford.
Aircraft launched by electromagnetic catapults can get airborne quicker and with greater quantities of fuel and ammunition, giving them an advantage over planes launched by standard steam catapult.
For decades, US carriers have used steam catapult systems, where steam explodes into a piston attached to the plane’s landing gear, powering it off the deck. Besides the Ford, the other 10 carriers in the US fleet use steam catapults.
Currently, Chinese carriers launch planes using a use a different, less advanced system, known as the ski-jump, meaning planes rely on their own power when lifting off.
The US Navy touts the electromagnetic system as capable of launching a wider range of aircraft at a better pace and requiring less maintenance. It’s also planned for the next ships in the Ford class, the USS John F Kennedy and USS Enterprise.
China has been undergoing an extensive naval modernization and expansion program, and a carrier to equal the US ships has long been thought to be an ambition of Beijing.
The story gave new support to that. Written by the state-owned Global Times and posted on the PLA’s website, the story centers around a photo that is “believed to be the country’s first aircraft carrier equipped with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system.”
The photo in question was released by the No.701 Research Institute of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation and shows China’s two current ski-jump carriers flanking a larger ship with a flat deck.
That flat deck “makes an electromagnetic aircraft launch system possible,” the story says, citing military expert Song Zhongping.
“Three catapults on board show that the new ship will be able to launch aircraft faster and more frequently than the previous carriers, and therefore will possess stronger combat capabilities,” the Global Times story goes on to say.
The story included speculation that the new carrier is already under construction in Shanghai.
The new flat-top carrier would be China’s second domestically built carrier and its third carrier in total, following the acquisition and refit of a former Ukrainian vessel.
Last month, its first homegrown carrier, a 50,000-ton ship temporarily named Type 001A, began its first sea trials. The PLA’s website reported Wednesday that those trials were successfully completed this week. The Type 001A is expected to officially join the PLA Navy’s fleet sometime before 2020.
But experts said while the Type 001A will dramatically boost China’s military power in the Asia region, its technology was still outdated and lagged far behind the American fleet.
“This is, in and of itself, not designed to be some frontal challenge to US power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn’t in the class of America’s aircraft carriers,” Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney’s Lowy Institute, told CNN in May.
China’s first carrier, the Liaoning, a retrofitted Soviet-era vessel bought from the Ukraine, was hailed as the fulfillment of a “70-year dream” of the Chinese nation when it launched to much celebration in 2012.
CNN’s Serenitie Wang and Ben Westcott contributed to this report.
Source: CNN “Will China have aircraft carrier that can match US Navy’s?”
Note: This is CNN’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
At 12:02 pm Beijing time, China’s central television (CCTV) displays in its “News 30 minutes” footage of live-ammunition drill of stealth surprise attack by China’s new-type destroyers and submarines. The following photos are taken from the footage.
Source: CCTV “Navy conducts integrated tests and drills to speed up the realization of real combat capabilities of new equipment” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the TV report in Chinese). The footage is available at http://tv.cctv.com/2018/06/14/VIDEccKtROVKog8AqKMYL6ll180614.shtml.
James Pearson, Greg Torode March 27, 2018
HANOI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Dozens of Chinese naval vessels are exercising this week with an aircraft carrier in a large show of force off Hainan island in the South China Sea, satellite images obtained by Reuters show.
The images, provided by Planet Labs Inc, confirm a Chinese carrier group has entered the vital trade waterway as part of what the Chinese navy earlier described as combat drills that were part of routine annual exercises.
The Liaoning carrier group last week traversed the Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese defense ministry.
The photos, taken on Monday, show what appear to be at least 40 ships and submarines flanking the carrier Liaoning in what some analysts described as an unusually large display of the Chinese military’s growing naval might.
Sailing in a line formation more suited to visual propaganda than hard military maneuvers, the flotilla was headed by what appeared to be submarines, with aircraft above.
Jeffrey Lewis, a security expert at the California-based based Middlebury Institute of Strategic Studies, said the images showed the first confirmation that the carrier was joining the drills.
“It’s an incredible picture,” he said. “That’s the big news to me. Confirmation that, yes, the carrier participated in the exercise.”
While the Liaoning has previously entered the South China Sea as part of drills in uncontested training grounds south of Hainan, its annual exercises are closely watched by regional and international powers eyeing Beijing’s growing military might.
It is unclear where the flotilla was headed, or how long operations will last. China’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.
Collin Koh, a security expert at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, described the deployment as unusual for its size and scope.
“Judging by the images, it does seem they are keen to show that elements of the South Sea Fleet are able to routinely join up with the carrier strike group from Dalian in the north,” he said.
“It does seem they want to show inter-fleet interoperability – something the (Chinese) navy has been quietly working on for some time.”
Chinese naval and coast guard forces have expanded rapidly in recent years and now patrol the vast swathes of the South China Sea, but little is known about their combat readiness and co-ordination.
Koh said as well as the destroyers, frigates and submarines that would ordinarily support a carrier, the flotilla appeared to include a large oiler for re-supply as well as smaller corvettes and possibly fast attack catamarans.
“While it highlights an extensive ability to deploy, we are still left to guess at the PLAN’s combat readiness,” Koh said.
As well as Vietnam, China’s claims in the South China Sea are disputed by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei while Taiwan also has claims.
The exercises come amid fresh signs of tension in the resource-rich waterway, with Vietnam recently halting oil exploration off its coast by Spanish firm Repsol under pressure from Beijing.
Beijing also objected to a so-called freedom of navigation patrol by a U.S. warship last week close to one of its artificial islands in the Spratlys archipelago further south.
Reporting By Greg Torode and James Pearson, additional reporting by Ben Blanchard. Editing by Lincoln Feast.
Source: Reuters “Exclusive: Satellite images reveal show of force by Chinese navy in South China Sea”
Nuclear submarines, giant aircraft carriers, robot warships.
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer March 16, 2018
For a brief moment, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), put online China’s next big naval projects (but quickly pulled them down). The revelation, of which screenshots were taken before censors intervened, provided a picture of China’s ambitions for a world class navy.
CSIC is a major shipbuilder for the People’s Liberation Army Navy, responsible for high ticket items like aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. The biggest item in CSIC’s not-so-secret portfolio is China’s first nuclear-powered carrier. Popularly identified as the Type 003, it will be the largest non-American warship in the world when its launched in the late 2020s. CSIC’s Dalian Shipyard, which refurbished the aircraft carrier Liaoning, and launched China’s first domestically built carrier, CV-17, in 2017, will presumably build China’s first “Type 003” CVN.
The Type 003 will displace between 90,000-100,000 tons and have electromagnetically assisted launch system (EMALS) catapults for getting aircrafts off the deck. It’ll likely carry a large air wing of J-15 fighters, J-31 stealth fighters, KJ-600 airborne early warning and control aircraft, anti-submarine warfare helicopters, and stealth attack drones. When joined with Type 055 destroyers and next-generation attack submarines, it would provide the PLAN a highly capable task force for representing China on global missions.
CSIC’s website also boasted that it would build a new nuclear-powered submarine, likely the Type 095 nuclear attack submarine (SSN). The Type 095 SSN would be built at CSIC’s Bohai Shipyard, which is China’s sole nuclear submarine shipyard. Compared to the Type 093 SSN, the Type 095 SSN will include new noise reduction measures, like an integrated electric propulsion system and possibly a shaftless rim drive, single hull, and electronic noise cancellation. CSIC is also working on a separate ‘quiet’ submarine project, presumably to be built at its Wuhan conventional submarine shipyard. This submarine is presumably quieter than the air-independent propulsion (AIP) Type 039B Yuan submarine; it’ll likely have quieting measures like a single hull, a new AIP system, and lithium-ion batteries. A new generation of Chinese submarines could help the PLAN remedy its historic technologic disadvantage against the submarines forces of the American and Japanese navies.
The big CSIC announcement also covers 21st century naval wish lists, like autonomous robot submarines. This is the first official confirmation of China pursuing armed unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), in addition to unmanned surface vehicles already offered for exports. Autonomous UUVs, armed with torpedoes and missiles, could act as expendable scouts or wingmen for manned Chinese submarines and surface warships, such as undertaking dangerous missions like probing enemy minefields, launching sneak attacks, and drawing away enemy forces.
To defend Chinese home waters and expand the anti-access/area denial umbrella underwater, CSIC is designing an underwater attack and defense system. It could likely be an armed variant of the “Underwater Great Wall” of UUVs, other maritime robots and seafloor sensors. With built in modularity, it could be tailored to defend naval bases with surveillance UUVs and counter torpedo defenses on one end, and at the other end of the spectrum; a networked minefield of armed and smart UUVs supported by automated underwater listening posts. These capabilities would require not just the platforms, though; CSIC would need to master emerging technologies like underwater high capacity datalinks, combat AI, and multi-spectrum sensors.
Source: Popular Science “A Chinese shipbuilder accidentally revealed its major navy plans”
Note: This is Popular Science’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Reuters Staff February 28, 2018
BEIJING (Reuters) – China is developing technologies to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, state media reported on Wednesday, as Beijing pushes forward with an ambitious military modernization program.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged in October last year to turn China’s military into a world-class fighting force by 2050, and has made new technology development a key policy plank, investing in stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and missiles.
State-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), the country’s largest naval vessel manufacturer, revealed on Tuesday the ambition in a list of technical developments the company hopes to achieve as part of weaponry upgrades for the Chinese navy by 2025, according to the state-backed Global Times.
The announcement by CSIC appears to have been subsequently edited on the company’s website to remove the mention of nuclear-powered vessels, but it remains widely available on the Chinese internet.
“We must…speed up key breakthroughs such as the realization of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, new-style nuclear submarines, quiet submarines, and unmanned intelligent underwater defense systems,” the original document said, according to the Global Times.
CSIC declined to immediately comment on the Global Times report.
CSIC built China’s first home-built aircraft carrier, which was launched in April last year and is expected to enter service in 2020, once it has been fitted out and armed.
The vessel was designed based on China’s first carrier, the Liaoning, which was bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted for China.
CSIC has also said that it is working on a third carrier that will be designed, constructed and equipped entirely using the company’s own technology.
Little is known about China’s aircraft carrier program, which is a state secret.
Chinese state media has quoted experts as saying that the country needs at least six carriers, an endeavor expected to take decades. The United States operates 10 and plans to build two more.
China’s navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role over the last year, with its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places.
Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Jacqueline Wong
Source: Reuters “China has plan to build nuclear-powered aircraft carrier”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.