Friday, January 19, 2018

PLAN's sealift capacity in a North Korean crisis -- remember those 2 barracks ships?

It is reasonable to conclude that together those two barracks ships (88 and 89) could house and transport up to 5000 troops (2x2500) in time of a North Korean crisis across the Yellow Sea .  Converting them from the current naval aviation personal support configuration to pure troop transport is fairly straightforward.  In that light, any PLAN  sealift capacity calculus should include them as a part.  This important sealift capability seems to has been been overlooked by PLA watchers outside of China.

Furthermore -- considering they can accommodate around 2500 troops each with the endurance of 30 days at sea,  together with cruise ship like amenities, it is also reasonable to conclude that the pair could sea-tran "else where", say east of China's coast.  Assuming there is a good working port to support them, of course. 







China's 2nd barracks ship appears in Dalian

Source: China Military Online
Editor: Huang Panyue

Time: 2018-01-16

BEIJING, Jan. 16 (ChinaMil) -- China's 2nd homegrown barracks ship has arrived in Dalian city of northeastern China's Liaoning Province to meet with China's 2nd aircraft carrier, according to recent reports.

As a unique type of warship in the aircraft carrier vessels battle groups (CVBG) of the PLA Navy, the ship has very advanced living support facilities including plastic runway, basketball court, gym, arena, Internet cafe and supermarket.

The ship is mainly used for accommodation for crew members, pilots, aviation crews and engineering and technical personnel during sea trial periods. It is a military quasi-luxury cruise ship.

The performance of the new barracks ship is similar to that of ship XuXiake (Hull 88), a China's first homegrown barracks ship commissioned in 2011.

XuXiake ship is about 219 meters long, 28 meters wide and has a draft of 8 meters with full loaded displacement of nearly 30,000 tons and maximum speed of 17 knots (1 knot equals to 1 nautical mile/hr), and its maximum range is 8,000 nautical miles.

In addition, XuXiake ship is equipped with two 57 mm twin-barreled naval guns, two 30 mm twin-barreled naval guns and two rockets launcher systems. The helicopter platform of the ship can carry one Z-8 medium transport helicopter.

The new barracks ship is designed to support 2,500 people for 30 days at sea before needing resupply.

It's known to all that its many global bases have helped the U.S. to have the most powerful aircraft carrier force in the world. The U.S. aircraft carriers can have supplies from the bases and the crews can also have rest periods on land during far sea training or combat.

China lacks overseas support bases and therefore constructing barracks ships is one of the solutions. Although a barracks ship cannot completely replace overseas base, it can reduce the aircraft carrier's requirements for land bases.

The combat effectiveness and cost-effectiveness ratio of the entire aircraft carrier battle groups can be enhanced through a combination of barracks ship and land base rotation. After all, the maintenance cost of an overseas base is far greater than that of a barracks ship.

The barracks ship can also be deployed as a training ship when necessary. XuXiake ship is equipped with a large number of simulators similar to those in Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning. The sea trial data of the aircraft carrier Liaoning can be transmitted to various devices on the barracks ship through data links for trainees to carry out simultaneous simulation.

According to reports, XuXiake ship will undergo renovation as soon as the new barracks ship is commissioned. The new barracks ship will follow China's 2nd aircraft carrier to carry out sea trials and form rapid combat capability.





Saturday, September 09, 2017


Winterfell’s defense

Winter is here. In addition to cold political rhetoric, the world also witnessed the power of Little-phat Night King’s fully operational Intercontinental Ballistic Dragon (ICBD).  It is now up to the PLA to mount a possible offensive defense.

In the following weeks,  this blog will start posting more Northern China (especially on the Northern Theater Command) centric updates.   Hopefully it will feature insight into the military options available to the King in Beijing.   One thing's for certain, the PLA can expect no Lannister army marching shoulder-to-shoulder with them -- Cersei tweets loud-and big but all she ever wanted is to build a wall facing the south (too late, no?).  Joking aside, the 28,500 strong Lannister army can’t mount a “boots on the ground” across the DMZ without completing an prolonged air campaign first. 





A note to the King in Beijing, A Lannister always pays his debts.  It stands at $1.15 trillion in Aug 2017 and counting. 

RRU -- the King in Beijing can count on 2 brigades of PLAN Marine (the third brigade is far from battle-ready), up to 9 airborne brigades and dozens of SpOs units.  Given China's advanced transportation networks coupled with their high-readiness rate,  majority of those RRU could reach the Yalu River delta area within 10 days.  This rapid troop movement capacity has been demonstrated during rescue phase of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake 9 years ago.  An assessment of PLA's response to the 2008 earthquake is here.   However, RRU are essentially light infantry units -- albeit well-trained -- with limited light direct and in-direct armor and fire support.  They also lack heavy artillery and engineering assets to overcome fortified defensive positions and mountainous terrain dotted across the entire area-of-operations.  They should know, they were there during the 1950s. 

Furthermore, unlike their Western counterparts, close tactical air support is still an luxury item few units have access to. Therefore, those RRU will not advance without support from local "heavies".   But if they do, they will be "all in".










Monday, November 20, 2017


More Chinese STUFT (Ships Taken Up From Trade) related news

China's cross-strait railway ferry conducts military flatcar transportation
Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-20 16:54:27|Editor: Xiang Bo


http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/20/c_136766293.htm


BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's cross-strait Yuehai Railway ferry has conducted a flatcar military transport, boosting the military's rapid maneuver capabilities, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) flagship newspaper reported Monday.

With the railway capable of carrying out such operations, the time needed for military delivery from Guangdong to Hainan across the Qiongzhou Strait will be cut by nearly ten hours compared with previous means of having to transfer to shipping, the PLA Daily said.

Railway flatcar transportation via ferry, the first of its kind on the Yuehai Railway, was successfully carried out on Friday, marking a leap in the railway's capabilities in military transportation, the newspaper report quoted sources with the Central Military Commission's logistical support department as saying.

Yuehai Railway, which connects the island province of Hainan with Guangdong on the mainland covering a distance of 22.5 kilometers, came into service in 2003. It has been tasked with military transportation since 2006.

However, the service had not been used for flatcar or permitted overweight or oversize transportation, and related military missions had to rely on shipping, leaving the transportation volume and efficiency of the railway underdeveloped, the report said.

Authorities with the CMC started to research the railway carrying out such missions in 2015 and conducted analysis and tests, it said.

The opening of flatcar transportation is expected to further enable military transportation to and from Hainan through the rail, it said.



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.


In 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."






Previous blog entry:



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.











Saturday, November 19, 2016


Photos of the day "Life Style" 89

A second "barracks ship" is now launched in Guangzhou supporting the expected CV-17 carrier battle group (similar to her sister ship 88), acting as a training sea or moonlighting as a flashpoint evacuation ship








Friday, October 01, 2010


PLAN's Life Style 88

“Assertive” has officially overtaken the word “harmony” as the most abused word in the China punditry circles. However, in light recent incidents, the PLAN has been less assertive in establishing an overseas naval base (Japan, on the other hand, has one in Djibouti).

To address crew fatigue from the long term Gulf of Aden deployment (and around Okinawa), the PLAN has launched the “Life Style 88” crew support ship. In addition to medical facilities, this luxury ocean liner will likely include the latest in Swiss Spa treatments for tired sailors. As is known, one cannot be successful in naval combat with dry facial skin!

Photos of the day: Second batch of J-16, serial numbers 0214 and 0220

The serial number 2020 is indicating that the second production batch out of Shanyang will have at least 20 birds.




Serial number 0003 belonging to pre-production run (note the big red 1603 on the noise)


0102 of the 1st batch




Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Photos of the day: 6 new J-16 spotted at Shanyang.




Wednesday, May 02, 2012


No typo, J-16 is the Chinese Strike Flanker, Su30 MK2

http://rusnavy.com/news/othernavies/index.php?ELEMENT_ID=13692


China demonstrated fighter J16 to the press at aircraft factory Shenyang Aircraft Co; it is a copy of Russian Su-30MK2, reports Hong Kong military magazine Kanwa referring to a Chinese authoritative military source.

This airplane is a copy of Russian fighter Su-30MK2, the batch of them was sold to China early in 2000's, reports Interfax citing the source.

According to the magazine, Chinese Navy is quite satisfied with performance characteristics of Su-30MK2 fighter. The military asked the Shenyang aircraft factory to copy that fighter with antiship capabilities adapted for Chinese-made missiles. Basically, the fuselage remained the same as J11BS airplane has, said the source.

The magazine reports that the first batch of 24 fighters J16 had been already constructed.

Since early 2010, Chinese Navy began to receive the first batch of domestically-designed multirole all-weather fighters J10A which significantly increased technological level of Chinese Navy, reports Kanwa.

The Chinese military source told to the magazine that "national air force has not received 'cloned' Su-30MK2 yet. Normally, Chinese Navy gets new fighters first. For example, two-seat fighter bomber JH7 joined Air Force only after commissioning into the Navy".




Saturday, February 22, 2014


Photos of the day: J-16 1612