Saturday, September 03, 2011

Franco-russe's view on PLAN's orbat change and its implication on the escort group for carrier 01

As an expert on the PLA orbat, his view is always welcome.

The changes that will reportedly occur in the East Sea Fleet are to a certain degree linked to the development of the South Sea Fleet: While the total number of PLAN frigate squadrons will be stable at eleven, the ESF is going to lose one squadron (going from five to four), while the SSF will gain one (from four to five).

The ESF will lose a squadron when the 4 Type 053H3 are transferred to 3 Frigate Squadron at Ningde, following the transfer of the second pair of 053H2G to 8 Frigate Squadron at Wusong.

The transformation of 3 Frigate Squadron has already begun, insofar as the first two Type 053H, 515 XIAMEN and 517 NANPING were decommissioned late 2010.

With the transfer of the 053H3, 16 Frigate Squadron of 6 Destroyer Flotilla will lose its ships. The squadron should therefore be available and ready to re-form as the SSF’s second Type 054A squadron in 9 Destroyer Flotilla at Yulin.

If the building programme at Huangpu and Hudong follows the pattern established so far, the timetable for the last seven 054A might look like this:

Hull 10 HD 5 launched 27.04.11, delivery 03.12 as 546 YANCHENG, the second and last for NSF’s 14 Frigate Squadron at Lushun.

Hull 11 HP 6 launched 20.05.11, delivery 04.12 as 550 SIPING for ESF’s 15 Frigate Squadron.

Hull 12 HP 7 launch 02.12, delivery 01.13 as 572 as first for SSF’s “16 Squadron” at Yulin.

Hull 13 HD 6 launch 04.12, delivery 03.13 as 547, the fourth and last for ESF’s 15 Squadron.

Hull 14 HP 8 launch 11.12, delivery 10.13 as 573 for “16 Squadron”

Hull 15 HD 7 launch 04.13, delivery 03.14 as 574 for “16 Squadron”

Hull 16 HD 8 launch 04.14, delivery 03.15 as 575, fourth and last for “16 Squadron”

I do not think that Hudong can speed up their construction cycle, as they still have to complete not only Type 071 Hull 2, now on first sea trials, but also Hulls 3 and 4 in 2012-13. While waiting to see what both will do after Type 054A, Huangpu could usefully build four Type 056 (for Hong Kong).

The new 16 Frigate Squadron will thus start forming at Yulin in late 2013 and be completed early 2015.

The principal mission of the thus constituted 9 Destroyer Flotilla will be the act as the escort group for carrier 01, which I think will be ready to deploy from Dalian to Yulin in 2015.

The air group for the carrier should also be forming in 2015. The J-15 regiment would, I think, logically be 24 Avn Regt at Jialai, now flying J-7EH. As the production run of J-15 will probably not be very long, a second J-15 regiment should be forming soon after, perhaps 25 Avn Regt at Linshui, now with J-8H.
Sanya-Yaxing is well placed to receive the carrier’s helicopter regiment, whether it will have KA-28 or an ASW version of Z-8. The present 7 Ind Avn Regt may possibly relocate to the small helicopter field Zhanjiang-Puzai.

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