Thursday, September 21, 2017

A recap of the Amy's organic landing ship units in a North Korea Crisis


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Nanjing MR Landing Ship Unit

Unlike other major military organizations, The PLA ground force also has organic landing ship units attached to each of the coastal Military Regions (MR).   Nanjing MR's landing ship units are particularly strong -- boosting its own mobile dry dock and other support ships.   However, those small LSMs are small and only capable of reaching out 110 miles to the Pacific, East of Nanjing. 

Those amphibious assets are not tracked by most PLA watchers and generally ignored by those with only a passing interest.  




















The Army's own.  (N stands for Nanjing)




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Friday, March 19, 2010


An Army At Sea

Besides the PLAN, the Army also has an organic fleet for amphibious operations. Curious to see what "combat team" means.

Army vessels conduct exercise on sea

http://eng.chinamil.com.cn/news-channels/china-military-news/2010-03/19/content_4156420.htm

(Source: PLA Daily) 2010-03-19

At the beginning of the Year of Tiger, a vessel group of the Nanjing Military Area Command (MAC) of the PLA staged a maritime joint combat exercise in complex electromagnetic environment in a sea area of the East China Sea, symbolizing the leap of the army vessel troop unit from a “support team” to a “combat team”.

Since the founding of the team 8 years ago, the team has gradually gotten rid of the traditional mode of self-training, self-examination and self-assessment and actively carried out trans-theatre training, trans-sea-area support and trans-arm-and-service cooperation. It carried out joint trainings and joint exercises with more than 30 specialized teams of 10-plus arms and services in succession.

When it took back a batch of new equipment last November, it organized trainings on a multiple of key and difficult subjects including night navigation, navigation under foggy condition, navigation in the sea area with submerged reef, and navigation by breaking the ice in its voyage of more than 1,000 nautical miles.

In recent years, the team participated in 40-plus key exercises and trainings in succession with a total voyage of more than 240,000 nautical miles, and transported troops for more than 80,000 persons/times and heavy equipment for more than 3,000 units. Therefore, it was awarded the title of “Outstanding Unit in Military Training” by the general headquarters/departments of the PLA and the Nanjing MAC.

By Ni Minzhi and Duan Yaohui

Editor:Yang Ru

Landing and Support Ships of the Nanjing MR







Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Army's new LSM to support South China Sea Garrisons

The South China Sea is traditionally the PLAN's Area of Responsibility (AOR), just hope this new army insertion is part of a greater collaboration between different service branches and not a rivalry brewing underneath.

At any rate, the material commitment by the PLA Ground Force only reinforces the Chinese commitment to the South China Sea dispute.  



New ship to ferry supplies to S. China Sea
Source: China Daily Editor: Zhang Tao
2015-11-25 09:200
http://english.chinamil.com.cn/news-channels/china-military-news/2015-11/25/content_6784425.htm

New ship to ferry supplies to S. China Sea

The ground force of the People's Liberation Army commissioned its largest ship in Sansha, Hainan province, on Monday, planning to use it to transport materials to islands in the South China Sea.

PLA Daily, the military's newspaper, reported on its website on Tuesday that the ship is a new-generation logistics support vessel for the PLA Army. It is 90 meters long and has a full-load displacement of 2,700 metric tons, making it the largest ship in the Army's watercraft fleet, the report said, without revealing the vessel's designated class.

The ship is capable of ferrying heavy-duty weapons and accommodating a helicopter. It will be used to transport supplies, weapons and equipment to places in the South China Sea and to conduct search and rescue operations there, the newspaper said.

Photos released on the website show the ship bearing a designation of GY820, which indicates it belongs to the Guangzhou Military Command.

Cao Weidong, a researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told China Daily that Army soldiers guard many islands in the South China Sea and that transporting their living necessities is the Army's responsibility.

"Compared with the Navy's logistics support vessels, which mainly supply combat ships at sea, the Army only uses such ships to transport materials to soldiers stationed on islands, so their ships are smaller and have fewer weapons," he said.

According to earlier reports, the PLA Shenyang Military Command received a ship of the same class in November last year.

Footage broadcast by China Central Television showed that the Shenyang Military Command ship can carry at least one Type 99 main battle tank, which weighs around 60 metric tons, and several trucks.

CCTV quoted Colonel Zhang Xichun, head of shipping operations at the Shenyang Military Command, as saying that, compared with other transport ships of the PLA Army, the new vessel has a higher speed and takes less time to load and unload.



Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A new Amy (not Navy) Landing Ship Medium (LSM) undergo sea trials

A newbuilt ship of an entirely new type for the PLA Ground Forces is currently running sea trials in the Sea of Bohai. It was launched at the Army’s Songliao Shipard at Dalian in August 2013.

Officially described as an Army Ro/Ro Transport, it is really a Landing Ship Medium (LSM), equipped with the with the typical kedging anchor of landing ships, even though the bulbous bow would preclude the ship from beaching.

The ship is equipped with both bow and stern ramps and a short helicopter platform aft.  The armament consists of four twin 14.5 mm guns, two forward and two aft. Twin funnels indicate  twin-screw propulsion; in addition, it has a bow thruster for improved maneuvrability.The lifting capacity is probably a mechanised infantry company.

The ship is a striking departure from the Type 271III YUWEI class Landing Craft Tank (LCT) that has been building for decades for the Army, and of which there currently are some 85 in service with the Army’s landing craft units. The dark grey colour, too, is a departure from the usual blue of Army vessels.

It is not known if the new ship will go into series production nor which unit will operate the new ship. In view of its experimental nature, a good possibility would be the Ship Squadron (Unit 73502) at Dongshandao, attached to the Nanjing MR Amphibious Training Base.

Songlia Shipyard built another unique ship in 2012, the training vessel AL201 belonging to the Training Squadron of the Army/Air Force Navigation School at Zhenjiang. That ship was based on the Sea Police’s Hai Jing 31101 PUDONG (Type 718).

-- franco-russe



Good bye 121st Jungle-Mountain Infantry Brigade, oh hello 121st Air-Assault Brigade (空中突击第121旅) 75th Group Army, Southern Theater Command

Lets change the subject from DPRK to Southern China for a few.   The old 121st Jungle-Mountain Infantry Brigade is no more, it has merged with the old 12th LH (Army Aviation) Regiment to form the new 121st Air-Assault Brigade (空中突击第121旅). 

Air Assault 1st BN is equipped with ATV's (see picture)
Helicopter 4th BN is equipped with Z-19's


Pairing Army Aviation with organic specialized, light infantry units,  I am seeing a trend here.















Sunday, August 20, 2017


The 1st LH (Army Aviation) Brigade is now the 161st Air-Assault Brigade (空中突击第161旅), 83rd Group Army, Central Theater Command

The great PLA orbat reform of 2017 continues -- the former 1st LH Brigade now has an organic light assault infantry detachment and renamed as the 161st Air-Assault Brigade accordingly.   It is no-longer just a battlefield transport arm of the 83rd Group Army anymore.

To be clear, the PLA has been experimenting with heli-assault tactics in combined arms operations since the formation of its LH (Army Aviation) Corps (here), albeit at a low scale.  In 2005, the CMC detached elements from the 149th Mech Infantry Division to form the experimental 155th Special Light Mechanized Regiment as a first step of putting theoretical theory into practice.  In addition to the 155th, a smaller Heli-Assault battalion battle group was also created at the Nanjing MR to further refine small-unit, heli-assault operations.   Fast forward to 2017, Air-Assault is now part of the ground force's arsenal.  More LH units are expected to be converted into Air-Assault Brigades as part the orbat reform.

The PLAAF is also doing the same (see below) 






Saturday, June 27, 2015


Next up at the Stride 2015 - Zhurihe A "red-vs-blue" confrontational exercise, 1st Heli-Assault Brigade, Nanjing MR

This is 1st Heli-Assault Brigade's first "baptism of fire" at Zhurihe, China's premier operational level "red vs blue" proving ground. It should be interesting to see how fine-tuned the PLA air assault tactics are after 10 years of trial and error in adopting this new combat operation. 

The 1st Heli-Assault Brigade (or 直升机机降突击旅 in Chinese) started as the 1st Heli-Assault battalion battle group in 2005, expanded into a full assault brigade in 2008. According to its commander 厉振彪 Li ZhenBiao, due to shortage of organic vertical assets, flatbed trucks were pressed into service to simulate airdrops. Their first military exercise was feasible only by 2009 when additional  helicopters found their way to the Nanjing MR.  Despite taking part at this year's Zhurihe, the outfit is still fairly new by PLA standards, doubts about their effectiveness will remain for some time to come.

Here are CCTV captures of its first military exercise in 2009









Saturday, September 16, 2017

PLA's STUFT (Ships Taken Up From Trade) capacity in a North Korean crisis

While it is fashionable to cite the PLNA having the"capable of sea-lifting only one infantry division" (TM), but without the PLAN, the PLA can draw upon its own organic amphibious warfare assets, which is enormous in its own right.  Furthermore,  the CMC also has a long tradition of STUFT-ing civil assets in a crisis.

When-and-if the PLA is able to secure a beachhead near the plain of Pyonyang, undoubtedly they will use captured ports to send supply and reinforcement from Dailian, Yantai and Shanghai.   Distance between Pyongyang and Dalian 224 miles across the Yellow Sea. 

Here is a look at China's STUFT (Ships Taken Up From Trade) capacity as of 2012.

-  Bohai Ferry Fleet. 11x Ropax liners with 1400-1600 passengers + 200+ vehicle spaces each.  That is 22,000 vehicles and 28,000 troops. 

 - State owned CSC-sinotrans has 27 Ro-ROs 
 http://www.sinotrans-csc.com/art/2016/9/30/art_12507_221252.html
Jinling Shipyard has to date delivered 27 RORO ships of various types. It was awarded the project for the 16,000-ton RORO ships, further consolidating its advantageous position in the global RORO ship building sector, and indicating the acknowledgment by the ship-owner of the Jinling RORO brand for its fully guaranteed timely ship delivery. At present, Jinling Shipyard is has received the contracts for and is in the process of building 10 RORO ships, which fall into the four series, i.e., 6700-vehicle, 3800-vechile, 12,00-ton and 16,000-ton ships, with the ship-owners being internationally renowned big companies. 

 - Five Ocean going rail ferries.


I n short,  if the CMC is committed to STUFT its entire Ro-Ro fleet, it could drop 150,000 troops together with their supply and vehicles in a single lift.  











Sunday, August 12, 2012


After Shangyang MR, Jinan MR is also getting STUFT-ed

China Launch Passenger RoRo Ship with Military Capability
PLA Daily
Friday, August 10, 2012

China's largest RoRo 'Bohai Emerald Bead' with the longest reach leaves Yantai Port in East China.

Different from ordinary ships, the 36,000 displacement civilian passenger and roll-on/roll-off ship was constructed in accordance with national defense requirements in mind in its design and construction so that it can carry organic troop units and heavy equipment.


The 178-meter-long and 28-meter-breadth ship can carry 2,000-plus persons and be loaded with over 300 vehicles of various sizes simultaneously.

The "Bohai Emerald Bead" is the first ship of its kind to be built in China, and there are three more of the same design under construction.

According to Rong Xianwen, director of the Military Transportation Department under the Jinan Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), the passenger and roll-on/roll-off ship is the most optimal ship type in maritime transportation of military troops as it possesses the advantages including large transportation quantity and high loading efficiency.

It is not only the means of transportation, but also a temporary barrack. Such type of ship is often utilized in military operations by western developed countries.


















Thursday, January 19, 2012


STUFT-ed, Chinese Style.

According to the Chinese edition report of the same (here), the China Army will STUFT (Ship Taken Up From Trade) a total of four large size Ro-Ro ships under the command of the Shenyang MR.  
Advanced passenger ro-ro ship commissioned in Shenyang MAC
http://eng.chinamil.com.cn/news-channels/photo-reports/2012-01/19/content_4772483.htm
(Source: China Military Online) 2012-01-19

The “Qingshandao” large-scale passenger ro-ro ship (China Military Online/Chen Li and Du Mingjun)

Escorted by related personnel of the military representative office of navigation affairs under the Shenyang Military Area Command (MAC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Passenger Ship Co., Ltd of the China Shipping Co., the 23,000-ton “Qingshandao” large-scale passenger ro-ro ship smoothly arrived at the Dalian Port from the Guangzhou Shipyard on Jan. 12, 2012. The commission of this most advanced ship lays a solid foundation for improving the maritime strategic projection capability of the Chinese Navy.(China Military Online/Chen Li and Du Mingjun)

Editor:Zhang Qingxia

Of course, all those news release could be part of a Communist propaganda attempt to deceit -- China, as a nation, still only capably of sea-lifting one division at a time.  Don't believe me? See this official US government report.
 
"China Naval Modernziation: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities -- Background and Issues for Congress released by the US government.
http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/128334.pdf

Change in Amphibious Lift Capability Since 2000 Although China in recent years has deployed new amphibious ships and craft, DOD states that “PLA air and amphibious lift capacity has not improved appreciably since 2000 when the Department of Defense assessed the PLA as capable of sealift of one infantry division.”


"As China’s capabilities for local and regional operations have increased in certain areas since 2000, a number of limitations appear to have persisted. The PLA has developed new doctrine for joint warfighting and implemented organizational changes, such as including service commanders on the Central Military Commission, to facilitate the transition to a more “joint” force. However, joint integration still lags. Similarly, PLA air and amphibious lift capacity has not improved appreciably since 2000 when the Department of Defense assessed the PLA as capable of sealift of one infantry division. Likewise, China’s current ability to deliver about 5,000 parachutists in a single lift (less if equipment is carried at the same time) is similar to previous assessments. China’s at-sea replenishment has improved with experience since 2000, but the PLA Navy today remains limited by a small number of support vessels – much as it did then. In 2000, the Department of Defense projected aerial refueling as an operational capability by 2005. Today, while China has a few aerial refueling aircraft, it does not have the number of tankers, properly equipped combat aircraft, or sufficient training to employ this capability for power projection."






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Wednesday, July 01, 2009


The COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) “Spirit”

The first “China design and build” Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) vehicle carrier launched on June 24, 2009 at Zhoushan shipyard marking a major advance in China’s building capability.


The COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) “Spirit” 中远盛世 has a fully loaded displacement of 14,500 tons, capable of carrying 5000 vehicles with a design speed of 20 knots. Its dimensions are: 182.8 meters in length, 32.2 meters in width and 34 meters high. It has a total of 9 stationary and 3 adjustable decks to accommodate vehicles of different heights. Just like other modern RoRo’s, the COSCO Spirit is fully automated and allows for single-crew-piloting.


COSCO cited the increase in automobile imports as the sole reason to build such a fleet and indeed in January, China surpassed the US as the world’s largest car market. (Here) But the RoRo carrier can press into military service and is generally considered a national security asset according to the August 2006 report “The Role of United States’ Commercial Shipping Industry in Military Sealift” presented by the US DOD due to its capability to load and offload large volumes of vehicles in repetition. US civilian RoRo fleets under the US Transportation Command were credited as a necessary strategic asset during the recent gulf war as cited by the same report.


The RoRo carrier also played an important support role for the Royal Navy during the 1982 Falklands War by ferrying 4000 troops to the remote island battlefield. Today one of the Royal Navy’s auxiliary training ships, the HMS Argus, was also converted to a RoRo carrier.


Additional RoRo carriers will augment the PLA’s transport capabilities especially in situations where large numbers of Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) are needed. At the same time, one must be careful not to view it as an amphibious asset for operations directed at “a run-a-way island,” err, I mean “an investment partner” as RoRo carriers require a secure and undamaged deep seaport in order to offload.


Photos of COSCO "Spirit" with primer gray and a top deck that can accommodate helicopter operations.





It looks similar to the French Navy's amphibious assault ship Mistral (L9013)




Previous RoRo with imported designs are painted red such as the smaller Changjilong which launched in Sept 08, 2008






Other RoRo currently in civilian service








CCTV Reported a military exercise involving Yue Hai Tie 2, a railroad car RoRo, pressed into military service in Hainan Island.