Cutaway, highlighting the weapons, of the Chinese Type 052D Luyang III class destroyer. Its technical quality (complete with 64 VLS and new AESA radar) may be creeping up on the US Arleigh Burke class destroyer. (Cutaway courtesy Global Military Review)
---Following this week's articles Liaoning carrier group 1 and 2.
REGIONAL CARRIER ARMS RACE?
In China fairly rapidly constructing carriers I’d say China does not wish other northeast Asian nations to have the only carriers in the Pacific. Those countries include:
- old possession South Korea (Dokdo class).
China may be concerned those carriers may become more potent once, or if, F-35Bs (that do not need ship modifications for ski-jumps or catapults) are eventually embarked on those carriers.
KQN's positive and informative comments of 3 January 2017 aided me in writing about Liaoning's late December 2016 surface escorts, particularly the Type 052D.
- 2 x Type 052C Luyang II-class ( Zhengzhou (from the East Sea Fleet) and Haikou (South Sea Fleet) air warfare detroyers
- 1 x Type 052D “Luyang III-class” ( Changsha (South Sea Fleet)), air warfare destroyer KQN advised “China's surface fleet spear for AA/AD is truly carried by the 12+ type 052D destroyers and in the future supplemented with Type 055.”
[Note the Type 055 may turn out weighing 10,000 tons (like the US Arleigh Burke class. destroyer). The US DoD is already exaggerating that the Type 055 will be a Guided-missile Cruiser (CG) (see Chine Military Power 2016 edition here (PDF around 5 MB) page 26).]
It may be that the Type 052D already has the capabilities of the US Arleigh Burke class. Type 052D carries 64 VLS launchers similar to the US Mk41. The technology route CJ-10 cruise missile (whose technology route may come from the Russian Kh-55 , Russian Klub/Club or US Tomahawk.
“Besides Type 052D is equipped with the naval SAM version of the vaunted Russian S-300PMU (HQ-9). Already there are more type 052Ds than Japan has AEGIS destroyers. It looks like China is on track to build 2-3 Types 052D each year.”
- 2 x Type 054A multi role (anti-air/ASW/anti-surface craft/land attack capacity two Jiangkai II-class ( Yantai (North Sea Fleet) and Linyi (North Sea Fleet)) frigates (“4” for frigate?), listed as being from the PLAN’s North Sea Fleet
- 1 x Type 056A Jiangdao class ASW corvette, and
- 1 x Type 903A replenishment ship. This gives Liaoning a well-rounded protective screen of China's most modern anti-air and anti-submarine escorts.
Note the destroyers and frigates came from all three Fleets (North, East and South). This may suggest:
- the carriers group's sea trials are assessed by the PLAN HQ as being at a very early stage, hence all ships don't need to come from the North Sea Fleet.
- HQ wants to give all Fleets exposure to the Liaoning, and
- PLAN HQ may intend that all three Fleets will eventually have a carrier on strength.
I’ll expand the descriptions of the Type 052Cs, 055s, 054As, 052Bs, 054As and 903As next week. Also there is the contentious issue of the YJ-18’s range.