David Axe October 5, 2017
Chinese state television has broadcast the first clear, overhead view of the Chinese navy’s first Type 055 cruiser. The image confirms what foreign analysts have expected since the new cruiser began taking shape in 2014.
The Type 055 carries no fewer than 122 missiles in vertical cells — any mix of anti-air, anti-ship and land-attack models. That matches the weapons-loadout of the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers … and exceeds the armament of every other surface warship in the Pacific region.
The new cruiser could enter service as early as 2018.
The Type 055 — which is an estimate 590 feet long and displaces at least 10,000 tons — represents a new class of warship for the Chinese navy. When Beijing launched its naval rearmament program in the 1990s, it focused on building large numbers of small- and medium-size corvettes, frigates and destroyers.
These surface vessels patrol the Chinese coast, sail independently or in small groups to deter pirates in the Indian Ocean or act as escorts for China’s new amphibious assault ships and the country’s — so far — sole aircraft carrier, the refurbished, ex-Russian Liaoning.
Prior to the Type 055, the biggest surface combatant in the Chinese fleet was the 7,500-ton-displacement Type o52D destroyer, six of which were in service and several others fitting out as of October 2017. A Type 052D carries 64 missiles in vertical cells.
For comparison, the U.S. Navy’s 9,600-ton Arleigh Burke-class destroyers boast as many as 96 missile cells. Japan’s Atago-class destroyers, displacing 10,000 tons, also feature 96 cells. The 11,500-ton Russian cruiser Varyag, the biggest vessel in Moscow’s Pacific fleet, carries 120 missiles.
With the Type 055, China has caught up to, or surpassed, the other Pacific powers in terms of sheer seagoing firepower. Per ship. But the Chinese fleet still lags behind the United States and barely exceeds Japan in the overall number of seagoing vertical missile cells, a useful shorthand for naval power.
China’s 39 modern destroyers and frigates — not counting the Type 055 — together can deploy around 1,500 cells. The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s 36 Burkes and 12 Ticonderogas together possess nearly 5,000 missile cells. Japan’s 19 modern destroyers carry around 1,000 cells, combined.
Source: National Interest “China’s Giant New Cruiser Matches America’s Naval Firepower”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
It’s triple-hulled, autonomous, and armed.
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer September 26, 2017
At the turn of the 20th century, the great powers competed to build the modern-day battleship. Today, a new arms race may be breaking out, this time with robotic warships.
The D3000 is a 98-foot-long, stealthy robotic trimaran warship designed to operate autonomously for months. Notably, this system—which appears to be tagged for export—is being offered by the China Aerospace and Science Technology Corporation, a Chinese defense contractor whose primary strength is in missiles and other aerospace technologies. (It’s the company that’s building the T Flight, China’s answer to the Hyperloop.) CASC notes that the D3000 can either operate by itself, or as part of a larger task force with manned ships.
This isn’t the first time China has offered a trimaran warship for export; the China Shipbuilding Trading Company offered a 2,400-ton trimaran frigate (manned) at the IDEX 2017 arms fair in the UAE earlier this year.
From available pictures, the D3000 has significant stealth shaping and likely displaces about 100-150 tons. While the model shows that the D3000 is armed with three Type 730 Gatling cannons (two stern, one aft), the conceptual nature of the robot warship suggests that we shouldn’t take that armament fit seriously. More realistically, the D3000 will also be armed with anti-ship missile launchers built into its superstructure, and launch tubes above the waterline. Those launch tubes could potentially be used to launch torpedoes, lay mines, or deploy underwater unmanned vehicles.
Using unmanned vessels as a mothership for more unmanned systems is becoming popular in both defense and civilian applications. In this case, unmanned surface vehicles could extend the sensor net of the D3000, hiding underwater to spot enemy submarines and carriers to call back to the D3000, which, in turn, networks firing solutions to friendly ships and aircraft.
China has already tested (and tried to sell) other armed unmanned surface vehicles. The High Speed Intercept Boat is a 42-foot trimaran with speeds of 80 knots and can be armed with machine guns and anti-tank guided missiles, potentially operating in unmanned swarms. It is being tested by the PLAN, and made its international debut in 2016 in Malaysia.
The D3000’s closest international counterpart is the Sea Hunter, built for DARPA’s ACTUV anti-submarine program. The 131-foot, 145 ton Sea Hunter has a speed of only 27 knots, but that’s fine because it’s conceived as a test ship for future unmanned operations. Conceptually, the Sea Hunter and its follow-ons would also take on roles like tracking enemy submarines and mine detection, as opposed to antiship role reflected the D3000 concept. Of course, there’s nothing from stopping China from building its own sub-hunting robotic warships to make up for its historical anti-submarine warfare weakness.
That China is already pitching a large robotic warship for export—and from a vendor not typically known for such offerings—suggests a high degree of confidence in the global competitiveness of the country’s unmanned naval technologies. In turn, more established shipbuilders like the China State Shipbuilding Corporation and the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) are certainly not going to sit the robotic revolution out, so expect more news on robotic Chinese warships in the near future.
Source: Popular Science “With the D3000, China enters the robotic warship arms race”
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.
In its report “China launches seventh Type 815A AGI”, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly says, “The seventh improved Dongdiao-class (Type 815A) intelligence collection ship (AGI) on order for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was launched on 8 September at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai.”
It is the 6th of the class of AGI China has launched since March 2014. The report says each of the 6 AGIs is 130 m (426.5 ft) long with a beam of 16 m and a displacement of 6,000 tonne (6,614 ton) and fitted with 3 or 4 very large and highly distinctive radomes that enclose the antennas.
Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report on the AGIs that such AGIs have times and again been found in sea areas near the US and Japan monitoring their military drills and tests of missile launches.
Source: IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly “China launches seventh Type 815A AGI” (summary by Chan Kai Yee, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.janes.com/article/73706/china-launches-seventh-type-815a-agi)
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Jane’s: China launches 7th type 815A intelligence collection ship and will build more in the future” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese
Top naval engineer says new propulsion system will put PLA Navy ‘way ahead’ of US
The US Navy’s Pacific fleet used to mock Chinese submarines for being too noisy and too easy to detect, but that has largely been remedied in recent years and China is now on the cusp of taking the lead in a cutting-edge propulsion technology.
Naval experts said the new technology would help China build more elusive submarines, but might also prompt the United States to ramp up anti-submarine warfare measures.
In a recent interview with China Central Television, Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, a leading Chinese naval engineer, showed a component of a new Integrated Electrical Propulsion System (IEPS) for naval warships in a laboratory. He said the system, which turns all the engine’s output into electricity, and a rim-driven pump-jet had been fitted to the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s newest nuclear submarines.
“This is one of our work team’s first world-leading projects, which has been used on [China’s] next-generation nuclear submarines,” Ma said in May. “[Our technology] is now way ahead of the United States, which has also been developing similar technology.”
Ma’s exalted status in the PLA Navy was highlighted by a photograph of then navy commander Admiral Wu Shengli holding an umbrella for Ma during an inspection of the PLA Naval University of Engineering in Wuhan, where Ma works, on a rainy day in June last year. The photo, posted on the social media website of the PLA’s Navy Magazine, sparked public curiosity about why the commander would give such “preferential treatment” to a rear admiral.
Ma told CCTV “the ultimate goal” of developing the new propulsion system “was aimed at solving the problem of deploying high-energy radio-frequency (HERF) weapons on board”, hinting that China was close to emulating the US in that regard.
HERF, a form of directed-energy weapon, can fire highly focused energy at a target, damaging it accurately and quickly. Directed-energy weapons require vast amount of electricity – something IEPS can deliver – and can counter the threats posed by fast missiles such as ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles. Besides China, the US, Russia and India are also developing them.
The CCTV report did not say which types of Chinese submarines would use the pump-jet propulsion system, but mainland military websites said they believed Ma had hinted at the new-generation, nuclear-powered Type 095 attack submarines and Type 096 ballistic missile submarines.
The Chinese acoustics research that might help shield submarines from sonar(
Collin Koh Swee Lean, a submarine expert from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said Ma’s remark showcased the growing scientific and technological maturity of China’s submarine development.
“In the long term, if the pump-jet propulsion is declared fully operational and tested successfully … future [Chinese] submarines would be equipped with pump-jet propulsion as a standard design feature,” he said, adding that the new technology would also benefit other naval shipbuilding projects, such as surface warships.
“The operational/strategic ramifications would be that China would muster stealthier submarines … and this essentially broadens various options for Beijing where it comes to the peacetime use of its naval capabilities.”
A rim-driven pump-jet has a ring-shaped electrical motor inside the pump-jet shroud, which turns the vane rotor inside the pump-jet cavity to create thrust. The design reduces noise by removing the shaft and also creates fewer water bubbles, making it even quieter.
Modern American and British submarines already use pump-jet propulsion, but Koh said the technology had not been adopted more widely because its design was complex, and just a few countries could support the technology with “a good deal of funding and technical expertise”.
Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said China had put a lot of resources and encouragement into developing cutting-edge technologies, including the pump-jet, air-independent propulsion (AIP) for non-nuclear submarines and other measures as part of its efforts to make Chinese submarines stealthier.
“Both the ultra-quiet engine and AIP will help Chinese subs to elude foes as high concealment is very important to all nuclear attack subs,” Li said. “Quieter subs means stronger stealth capability, which will help them to conduct surprise attacks when necessary.”
China has built Asia’s largest submarine base at Yulin, on the south coast of Hainan, near Sanya. The base features underground submarine facilities with tunnel access, shielding Chinese submarines that enter the South China Sea from the prying eyes of US reconnaissance satellites. That’s prompted American warships and aircraft to conduct more close surveillance operations in the disputed waters, which are claimed wholly or in part by mainland China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
Koh warned it was foreseeable that the US Navy would ramp up anti-submarine warfare measures to detect, classify and track Chinese submarines if they were harder to detect after being fitted with pump-jet propulsion and other stealth equipment.
“This more intensified cat-and-mouse game would also result in the risk of underwater accidents … between submarines or with surface ships,” he said. “The quieter the submarine is, the greater the likelihood of such navigational safety hazards and, potentially, they could cause diplomatic incidents in the context of those maritime disputes and of course, the persistent Sino-US divergence in views over foreign military activities in coastal states’ exclusive economic zones. ”
The Chinese navy is likely to begin construction of the Type 096 submarines, which will be armed with 24 JL-3 intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missiles, in the early 2020s, according to the Pentagon’s annual report to the US Congress this year.
US and India discuss anti-submarine warfare in latest move to keep China in check(
Ma, 57, became a household name in 2011 when he announced during a speech to accept a national technology award that his team had successfully developed a Chinese electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS).
Ma, a PLA deputy to the National People’s Congress, has since been asked by the media at the annual sessions of the national legislature when his EMALS will be fitted to China’s next-generation aircraft carriers.
“I am very unhappy because I have no power to decide when my EMALS will be used,” a frank Ma told reporters on the sidelines of this year’s NPC session in Beijing in March. “But I dare to tell you that the EMALS developed by my working team is more advanced and reliable than the US system to be used on their Ford-class aircraft carrier.”
The first of America’s Ford-class carriers, the first US vessel to use EMALS, completed sea trials in May.
Sources close to the navy told the South China Morning Post earlier this year that Ma’s EMALS might be fitted on China’s third-generation nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Type 003. However, the Central Military Commission, chaired by Xi, has not decided when the Type 003 will be built, and construction work has not yet started on the second-generation Type 002.
The PLA Navy has two aircraft carriers, the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet carrier commissioned in 2012, and the domestically built Type 001A, which was launched on April 26. They are both conventionally powered platforms featuring ski-jump take-off ramps.
‘Blatant hypocrisy’: Why China is being criticised over its opposition to Australia buying stealthy Japanese submarines(
Xi has urged the PLA to pursue a “strong army dream”, but when asked by the Post whether he hoped to see his EMALS fitted to a Chinese aircraft carrier one day, Ma said he “never has any dreams” and was focused on finding practical projects for his team that would release its potential.
“Whether the new technologies will be used never bothers me, because I’ve found that my task is to cultivate talent, meaning I have to create more opportunities for them and help them solve problems,” Ma said. “For example, compared with the US, China couldn’t devote as much funding to developing the electromagnetic aircraft launch system and advanced arresting gear (AAG) system, but I understood that our valuable resource was that I could mobilise my hundreds of talented students.”
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Navy’s quiet achievers
Source: SCMP “Why Chinese submarines could soon be quieter than US ones”
Note: This is SCMP’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
At reporter’s enquiry in Chinese Defense Ministry’s regular press conference on June 29, the Ministry’s spokesman Wu Qian says in reply, “The new-type destroyer is entirely designed by our country independently. It is of 10,000-ton class and adopts combined gas turbine and gas turbine, radio frequency comprehensive integration technology, vertical launch systems and the all-round integration of onboard combat, platform and communication networks.”
Source: people.com.cn “Defense Ministry made public the technical functions of 10,000-ton class destroyer: It adopts combined gas turbine and gas turbine” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
In its article “China is developing a warship of naval theorists’ dreams” by Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer on June 2, Popular Science says that China has been developing two types of stealth and fast giant arsenal ships able to carry hundreds of guided missiles to hit land and sea targets.
According to the article, China is developing two types of such ships: one is a high-speed warship with much of its hull submerged with radar, antennae and sensors above water while the other is almost completely submerged. Both are giant warships with 20,000 ton displacement but stealth as most parts (Design 1) and all parts submerged (Design 2).
The following picture in the article shows the following designed 4 stages of an arsenal ship: submerged, partial exposure of the superstructure, raising the hull to the ‘waterline’ and as a low draft, and operating as a high-speed hydroplane.
The development of the ship was led by Professor Dong Wen Cai, the late Chinese hydrodynamics expert. The article says Prof. Dong was designing the hydroplane function of the vessel on his deathbed. It seems that he had done most of the design and wanted to complete it in his lifetime.
Note the ships are designed for surprise operation being stealthy and fast. If one of them is included in China’s aircraft carrier battle group, it will greatly enhance the group’s fire power. Supported by the large number of air defense missiles as good as S400 and China’s best anti-ship cruise missiles on an arsenal ship, a Chinese conventional aircraft carrier battle group will be rival to US best aircraft battle group.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Popular Science’ article, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.popsci.com/futuristic-chinese-warship-concept-is-making-waves?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=%2ASituation%20Report
Andrew Tate, London and Sean O’Connor, Indianapolis – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
26 April 2017
Commercial satellite imagery taken on 11 April shows that significant progress has been made in the construction of the first four Type 055 destroyers for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
At the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai, where construction of the lead ship of the class commenced in late 2014, Hull 1 appears to have all the modules in place and most of the modules for Hull 2 are in position.
In late 2016, hull modules appeared on the side of a graving dock at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) yard and by 7 March keel blocks were being positioned in the dock to support the construction of two hulls side by side. By 11 April, modules for two Type 055 hulls had been lifted from the dockside onto the keel blocks and assembly was clearly underway.
Measurements from the images indicate that the Type 055 will be about 180 m long and 19 m wide, meaning that it will be significantly larger than the 7,500-tonne Luyang III-class (Type 052D) destroyers (157 m long and 17 m wide). This places the size of the Type 055 between the Republic of Korea Navy’s Sejong Daewang (KDX-3) class (166 m/10,500 tonnes) and the Russian Federation Navy’s Slava class (186 m/11,700 tonnes).
The images from Changxingdao show the module that will contain the forward vertical launch system (VLS) cells, with a second grid of cells set to be positioned forward of the hangar.
The forward grid appears to be divided into 16 sections, four across and four deep, with overall dimensions of 13 m in length and 10.5 m in width.
Comparison with the dimensions of the two 32-cell VLS grids fitted to the Type 052D suggests that the VLS in the Type 055 will have 64 cells in the forward grid.
Source: IHS Jane’s 360 “Construction of China’s Type 055 destroyers forges ahead”
Note: This is IHS Jane’s 360’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.