|PHOTO: U.S. Navy|
"Overall, according to current trends over the next 10 years, China will complete its transformation into an extensive, modern, high-tech naval force with global reach and influence"- Military.com NewsEDITOR'S NOTE: 8/30/2018: Since we published this post and the several linked to within it. Much more has happened than anticipated by the naval analysis cited in this post. China has launched its first operational air craft carrier, a conversion of a Russian Cold War era craft and nearly ready to come out with their own China built air craft carrier, and that's not the last carrier planned. New Ice Breakers have appeared and China is asserting a role in the High Arctic where they do not have a coast line. Only yesterday US Naval officials admitted that Chinese Navy surface vessels are operating in International waters off of our East Coast and acknowledge that China has emerged as an International Blue Water Naval Force. Their newly formed "Coast Guard" designed to enforce their will in the China Seas numbers about 600 "vessels" by that we mean the equivalent of US Coast Guard National Defense Cutters. Medium Endurance Cutters, and Named patrol boats. While we remain the only navy in the world with 10 aircraft carriers these are part of a U.S. Navy of less than 300 ships. "Our National Fleet" (Navy and Coast Guard Fleets total is roughly 365 "ships" including Coast Guard High and Medium Endurance armed cutters , Ice Breakers, Sea Going sand Coastal Buoy Tenders, and named Ocean Patrol Boats). The Chinese fleet combined (navy / coast guard) is roughly 1200 ships. Most are armed, a few are relatively obsolete, but the quality increases daily. But just the numbers are worrisome . The lesson of the BISMARK is that a bunch of cheap warships can gang up on the most sophisticated and sink it, especially if the owner of the cheap warships can afford to lose a few.
Editor's Note: On Thursday February 5, 2014 Military.com News carried the story of an unclassified and published assessment by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) on the progress of the Chinese Navy towards becoming a major blue water global force. The ONI appears to agree with our catfish and other analyst reporting here in the AAB blog that progress is much faster than previously anticipated. We agree but view the ONI's assessment as rather conservative. We would take issue with their ship count. It appears to us that they are counting only real blue water combatant craft, while we have noticed that China not only maintains a large fleet of older littoral zone smaller combatant craft but is modernizing its local waters combat fleet as well. We are not even taking into account the potential combat utility of their new and evolving Coast Guard. The Dragon is solidifying its hold on the China Seas, its exits to the Pacific and base of operations while also building a power projection naval force , and a submarine nuclear missile force. This submarine nuclear missile force is a subject that we have only touched on in the past, the ONI analysis is valuable as a primer on this aspect of the Dragon infestation. Note: 4/10/2015 Since this post first appeared China has joined its its maritime law enforcement and ocean surveillance fleets into a unified "coast guard". That Coast Guard now numbers over 900 vessels over about 500 gross tons and up and is now widely accepted as the world's largest coast guard. Like most coast guards the vessels are either unarmed beyond individual boarding party weapons or very lightly armed except for a very few vessels analogous to the U.S. Coast Guard's "National Security Cutters". China's new super sized coast guard is now operating aggressively to the edge of the 12 mile territorial limits of its coastal neighbors.
If we have been your main source of information on the Dragon infestation in the Pacific so far, we hope you'll read the ONI report which we link you to below (and above). We think it helps confirm that our reporting has not been alarmist or sensationalized. We would then urge you, if you are new to the issue, to read our HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM partial collection of blog posts to get an understanding of why we view the ONI assessment as "conservative", or at least limited in scope to the growth of the Chinese blue water power projection fleet. This particular ONI analysis is lacking an over view of the Dragon's already global reach of "soft" maritime power such as her collection of port and canal management contracts around the globe including management of the Panama Canal, and large merchant marine. We mean nothing critical of ONI's over all effort, little of it is available to the public and they may well have addressed these other Chinese sea power issues elsewhere. We are only pointing out that the report we are linking you to is similar to an "order of battle " analysis and addresses the rise of peer combat platforms, not the totality of the Dragon's aggressive efforts at sea to both take the China Seas as virtual national territory and project power far and wide. There has been little mention of China's publicly avowed goal of "pushing the United States Navy back to Pearl harbor". To really do that China would have to occupy Guam and defeat Japan, along with our Pacific Fleet. If we take them at their word they plan to reduce our Pacific fleet to a remnant in some future campaign. This dragon has to be deterred now. In future postings we'll pick up where Namazu left off (LET'S NOT GET SUN TZUED") on how to deter the Dragon, hopefully with few if any "shots". Below is a lead in and link to the Military.com News article on the ONI analysis.
"Feb 05, 2014 | by Kris Osborn
The Chinese navy has ambitious plans over the next 15 years to rapidly advance its fleet of surface ships and submarines as well as maritime weapons and sensors, according to a U.S. Navy report.
The Office of Naval Intelligence issued an assessment on the Chinese navy as part of testimony to the U.S. China Economic and Security Review. ONI leaders found that China's navy has evolved from a littoral force to one that is capable of meeting a wide range of missions to include being "increasingly capable of striking targets hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland." To read more click here:Military.com News