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THE RISING SEA DRAGON IN ASIA - 2011 UPDATE
By Jeff Head - Last Update: February 1, 2012




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(Click on any image for a larger picture)

The year of 2010 has seen the PLAN ramp up its shipbuilding again significantly. New units of the Type 054A FFG Guided missiles Frigate, the Jiangkai II Class with radar reducing signatures, VLS missiles and helo capabilities. New units of the Type 052C DDG Guided missile Desroyer, the Lanzhou Class with VLS, Phased Array Radar (PAR), and an AEGIS style battle management system. New units of the Type 093 SSN, Nuclear attack Submarine, the Shang Class, with improved reactors, sensors, and weapons suite. New units of the SSK Independent Air Propulsion diesel/electric attack submarine, the Yuan Class, which are very quiet and dangerous in litoral waters. A second Type 071 LPD, Landing Platform Dock, the Kunlunshan Class, which is similar in size, function and basic configuration to the US San Antonio Class LPD, with a well deck, large helo platform and hanger, and strong self defense. Significant progress on the former Varyag Carrier, the Shi Lang, which is now in final outfitting stages with itts sensor and weapons suite being installed as this is written.

Ongoing exercises of the many new units the PLAN has introduced into its fleets continues to improve their performance and ability to operaate cohesively with their new technology, particularly as surface action groups and task forces. This will continue at an increased tempo once their new carrier is launched and introduced into the fleet.

In addition, right at the end of the year, the PLAAF rolled out for taxi tests its first prototype stealth fighter, the J-20. This was sooner than most analysts had expected and intorduces the Chinese into the fifth generation stealth fighter areana.

These developments represent continued and significant progress by the PLAN in establishing itself as a blue water presence, capable of extending itself far from its coasts, out to and beyond the 2nd island chain. They have continued to demonstrate their ability to do this and sustain strong surface action task forces in the international effort to control the piracy off the Somali coast, maintaining warships and replenishment ships in the area over long periods of time.


CONTINUED SERIAL PRODUCTION OF THE STRONG GUIDED MISSILE FRIGATE, THE JIANGKAI II CLASS



More guided missile frigates coming off serial production lines in both HP and HD shipyards. The PLAN is approaching a dozen of these new frigates.


Continued exercises of the growing fleet of modern guided missile frigates.


RESUMPTION OF SERIAL PRODUCTION OF THE LANZHOU CLASS DDG, THE PLAN AEGIS-LIKE DDG





Another Type 052C new DDG has already been launched with another close to being complete, and two more in line behind them. This will make six of the very capable 052C class..


A SECOND, NEW LPD OF THE KUNLUNSHAN CLASS LAUNCHED




The PLAN built and launched a econd LPD of the Class in 2010...


Continued exercises of LPDs are continuing as the PLAN integrates this strong amphibious assault class into its fleets


MORE JUAN CLASS DIESEL/ELECTRIC SUBS & SHANG CLASS NUCLEAR ATTACK SUBS



The PLAN continues to build and launch more SSK, Yuan Class Air-Independent propulsion diesel/electric submarines.



The PLAN also continues to build and luanch more of the new, Type 093 SSN nuclear attack submarines .


THE PLAN IS FINALIZING WEAPONS AND SENSOR FITTING ON ITS NEW CARRIER, THE SHILANG (Former Varyag)





Final weapons and sensor fittting is being completed on the former Varyag, the Shilang
Apparently FL-300N and Type 730 CIWS will be fitted, with the sensors to control them.
For more info see the Varyag Transformation Page on this site.


THE PLAAF ROLLS OUT ITS FIRST STEALTH FIGHTER, THE J-20

Outside of naval operations, but potentially impacting them should a carrier derivitive be developed, the PLAAF rolled out its first fifth generation stealth fighter prototype, the J-20, for taxi tests at the end of the year (2010). The aircraft appears to combine the characteristsics of the front end of the United States F-22 Raptor (which is the only fifth generation stealth fighter actually in full production with over 100 having been produced), with the tail end portion of the prototype T-50 (two of which jave been produced) being built by Russia and India.





The PLAAF 1st Prototype Stealth Fighter, the J-20, in Taxi tests


On January 11th, the PLAAF conducted a test flight of the new fighter. As there has been a lot of speculation and comparison, here are a set of images comparing the USAF F-22 Raptor (which has been produced in numbers of about 180 to date), with the PLAAF J-20:

USAF F-22 RAPTOR

PLAAF J-20 STEALTH FIGHTER

Finally, in addition, as stated in last year's update of 2010, the PLAN continues to build all of the support aircraft and structres necessary to project their growing naval forces. They are keeping in line with their own stated purposes of extending their power and ability to protect their interests out well beyond their coatsal waters, out to and beyond the second Island chain in the western Pacific. As one of their leaders lately stated, “In the coming five years, our military will push forward preparations for military conflict in every strategic direction,” said Liang Guanglie in an interview published by several state-backed newspapers in China. “We may.be living in peaceful times, but we can never forget war, never send the horses south or put the bayonets and guns away,” Liang added. The PLAN is developing its systems and support systems in line with these sentiments.


PLAN BUILDING MORE NEW ALCM CARRYING BADGER AIRCRAFT




More long-range crusie carrying badger aircraft being introduced to the PLAN.


THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC CONTINUES TO GROW ITS OVERALL AWACS AND ELINT CAPABILITY



More full-sized, very capable PLAAF AWACS Aircraft airwings are being added.




AWACS and ELINT Aircraft appearing at more airbases throughout China.


THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC CONTINUES TO GROW ITS OVERALL 4TH GENERATION FIGHTER & ATTACK AIRCRAFT



More J10 Fighter/Bomber airwings oufitted and placed in service




More S-27, SU-30, and J11 Fighter/Bomber airwings oufitted and placed in service



The PLAAF continues to grow its JH-7, long-range attack aircraft capability.


Once again, by way of reference, it must be emphasized that measuring now over the least 13 years, in general numbers, the PLAN has grown their major combatan fleet at a rate of over 115%. In that same period, the US Navy has seen a net loss at an overall rate of over a negative 14%, which is slower than last year and on the upswing, but still a net decline. The US Navy continueed in 2010 to turn around its negative attrition rate, adding more guided missile destroyers, guided missile frigates, Virginia class nuclear attack submarines, and San Antonio class landing ship docks overcoming its decommissioning rate. This trend is expected to continue and accellerate marginally over each of the next several years.

Clearly the overall trend shows that the PLAN continues to rapidly close the gap between itself and the US Navy, and particualrly when focusing on the Western Pacific, which is where the PLAN is concentrated. This is a trend that continues to be worthy of serious contemplation for future US Navy and other western nation's planning and acquisition schedules.


LINKS OF INTEREST
Note: Jeff Head has maintained the Rising Sea Dragon site for years at his cost. Now donations help offset hosting & bandwidth costs for continued operations.
Jeff Head is an engineering consultant with many years experience in the power, defense, and computer industries. He currently works for the federal government helping maintain and protect regional infrastructure. He is a member of the U.S. Naval Institute, and is also the author of a self-published and best-selling series of military techno-thrillers called the Dragon's Fury that projects a fictional third world war arising out of current events. You can learn more about that series by clicking on the pictures of the novel covers below:


THE DRAGON'S FURY SERIES

Copyright © 2005-2012 by Jeff Head




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