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  1. Note, apparently there's a limit to how much images you can post, so I just had to link some of them to actually be able to post this. So, continuing with the trend of adding threads about sections of the PLA, Including the PLAGF land vehicles and weapon systems, and one I'm working on regarding Infantry based weapons and systems, I'd like to continue this trend and talk about the PLAN and the Marines, a bit about the past, and the present and what to expect in the future, so here we go. (Side note, yes, expect a thread about the PLAAF and Airborne eventually.) Currently, China has the second largest navy in the world behind only the USN by tonnage and first by sheer number of major combatants, However, due in large part to old doctrines and military planning that has shifted in the favor of the PLAN very recently, their older ships have always left something to be desired (particularly, funding), but in the past 20-25 years or so, the PLAN and their Marines are currently undergoing a pretty massive modernization program to make sure they're the undisputed dominant naval power in the East and Southeast Asian region and to watch/guards the quite extensive coastline China has aswell as disputed assets and any civilians who venture into them against potential unprovoked attacks. And from what we're seeing so far, from what's been finished to future constructions and plans that have got the go ahead, It certainly appears that the PLAN will most certainly be a force to be reckoned with. So, lets take a look at some of their latest vessels shall we? the military of China from 25-35 years ago to today has been completely night and day on modernization and its actually quite fast how fast they're catching up despite the problems that have plagued the nation for some time, but the Navy is, in my and many experts opinions, probably the fastest improving, so, without further ado, lets dig in. Starting off primarily with surface fleet warships for now, one thing you'll note (as will I, as you'll see) is that a big theme with their new surface vessels is a high focus on stealthy designs, wither it be from radar, thermal sources, or acoustic signature, It's something designs strive to reduce, and also on highly or fully modular designs. ------------------- Stealthy fast missile/patrol boats; The Type 022 Houbei class So, as you probably guessed from the description, these are designed to be sort of fast, stealthy hit and run or patrol craft with a triple hull oddly enough (rather strange to me for a vessel this size.) First introduced in 2004, these were designed to fulfill the role of something that could watch the coastal areas of important sections or do fast strikes on larger fleets, overwhelming them with the sheer amount of missiles that a small group could very quickly fire off, there's also different loadouts for other missions such as some with AA missiles instead of Anti ship missiles or even one with 2 cruise missiles that can target both sea and land targets, the Catamaran design provides increased stability at high speeds, particularly in choppy or rough weather, and one nifty feature that allows it to connect to certain types of aircraft that can effectively lock on targets for it at long range. For self defense or attacking small craft it also features a 6 barreled, 30x165mm Gatling CIWS that can protect against missiles and aircraft within range. as of the latest data, there's currently 83 vessels in this class active. and 105 Missile boats active total including older designs mostly on reserve or used for training and short patrols. Specifications Weight - 220 tonnes Length - 140 feet/42.7 meters Beam - 40 feet/12.2 meters Draught - 5 feet/1.5 meters Number of decks - 1 Top speed - 37 knots Propulsion - x2 Diesel engines rated at 6,850 hp powering 4 waterjet engines. Crew - 12 (A high level of automation keeps the crew small) Range - Unknown at the moment. Sensor package - x1 Type 362 surface radar, x1 navigational radar, HEOS 300 electro optics package. Armament - 1x AO-18 30x165mm 6 barreled Gatling cannon/CIWS, firing at ~5000 RPM x2 missile pods that can be loaded with various types of missiles depending on the task at hand, including: (Note, while it can, for the most part fire older versions of said munitions, I'm listing the latest for showing modernization/redundancy's sake.) x8 C-803/YingJi-83 (or YJ-83 abbreviated) medium-long range anti ship missiles. x8 C-803/C-805 land attack variant. x2 HN-2/HN-3 "Hongniao" long range cruise missiles. (Nuclear capable) x2 FLS-1 Launchers with x12 QW-3 or QW-4 MANPAD missiles each. ------------------- Stealth dual configuration Corvette; The Type 056 /Type 056A (Special ASW variant) (Type 056A variant) For those of you not really aware of naval designations, in modern terms, a Corvette usually refers a vessel class thats the smallest size for a "full size" warship, usually being smaller then a Frigate but bigger then things like patrol craft, cutters, gun boats, missile boats, etc. This doesn't apply 100% of the time but is generally (key word) the accepted term for the most part. Now that that little bit is out of the way, time to talk about this. Basically, for quite some time, China wanted a large-ish modern patrol vessel to replace the aging and rather underwhelming Type 037 Gun/Missile fast attack craft, mainly one that could help fill the hole in China's somewhat lacking Submarine detection network and also improve the living conditons on board the ship for longer patrols and featuring a highly modular design. And, although it took a bit of time, they finally got their answer in the form of the Type 056 Stealth Corvettes first launched in 2013. interestingly, these are the first PLAN vessels to "officially" be classified as a Corvette which is why I wanted to give a bit on context earlier. Anyway, these are sort of like the Type 022 in the coastal patrol role, the main difference of course being that theyre much larger, likely have more range, and are going to be a key part of bringing China's submarine defense network to much higher standards and can do tasks such as search and rescue. Infact, as mentioned earlier, some of the vessels are specifically built in a dedicated sub hunter/ASW role in a variant known as the Type 056A (which takes advantage of the ships fully modular design), which is a configuration being built concurrently with the standard 056 variants. One interesting note is that they've been retrofitted with upgrades to their stealth capability quite rapidly and efficiently, these retrofits include, but are not limited to: suppression systems for the infrared signature of the chimney, the exhaust pipe being covered to reduce it's signature, modifications to the bulwark of the bow to reduce it's radar signature, and later on, forther modifcations to the superstructure to to reduce radar cross section including replacing the sharper edges on the with slanted angles on the fire control platform aswell as giving more slanted angles to the chimney, these design modifications can be seen in further detail here. And of course, as mentioned, the Type 056A, which features a redesigned stern to accompany a very extensive and powerful, variable depth sonar array and a towed sonar array, which gives it both active and passive sonar capability. Anyway, these are a big example of a big improvement over it's predecessor and showing just how seriously the PLAN is taking their full modernization campaign. Currently there's 43 planned for the first batch, and at least 20 (likely more however) for the second order, 23 of these are complete, 5 of which being the 056A configurations, with 7 more of varied configs currently under construction. Specifications Weight - 1,450-1500 tonnes combat loaded. Length - 292 feet/89 meters Beam - 38 feet/11.6 meters Draft - 13 feet/4 meters Speed - 28 Knots Propulsion - x2 CODAD Diesel engines, 7000 horsepower each, x2 propeller shafts. Range - 3,500 nautical miles at cruising speed of 18 knots Crew - 60 Sensors and Countermeasures - SR64 model Air and Surface search and tracking/targeting radar, TR47 model gun fire control radar, Type 754 helicopter control and approach radar, active and passive variable depth sonar systems (Type 056A configuration), x2 Jammers and Decoy launchers, model IR-17 optronics, and a SITN240 SATCOM communication system. Helipad - x1, usually used for Naval Z-9 mutirole transport/utility/recon/ASW helicopter capable of carrying a light anti ship missile load or magnetic anomaly detection equipment and light homing torpedoes or ASW rockets/missiles when in ASW mode. Armament - x1 H/PJ-26 76mm main gun on the bow deck. capable of firing various guided projectiles x2 Double pods for C-803/YingJi-83 medium-long range anti ship missiles amidship, pods pointing opposite directions. x1 HQ-10 short range surface to air missile launcher with 8 missiles, modified to act with limited CIWS capability x2 H/PJ-17 30x165mm dual mode auto/manual remote weapon stations amidship, used as defense against threats such as small craft, helicopters at close range, and mines close to the surface (with special ammunition) rate of fire is estimated to be around 600 rounds per minute. x2 Triple 324mm acoustic seeking torpedoes on each side amidship, likely Yu-7 model or an update of it. Various mounts for GPMGs or HMGs for close range defense. ------------------- Stealth Multi-Mission Frigate: Type 054A/Type 054B Computer Render. So, Frigates in the modern navy really are the jack of all trades ships as far as surface warships go, with battleships extinct and cruisers extinct in the wild so to say. Well, the Ticonderoga class of the USN is the only class of vessel classified as a Cruiser, but to be honest they really don't do much a contemporary US Destroyer can't, and are completely outclassed by the Zumwalt class Destroyers coming and are facing likely early retirement anyway so, the cruiser classification is really kind of pointless on them. However, point being, aside from aircraft carriers, Destroyers really are the heaviest surface combat ships in today's world, so, this is where I mean that Frigates are sort of jack of all trade class ships these days, They can be second fiddle escort ships in a fleet while generally being better sub hunters, they can still fight other vessels or provide shore bombardment, just not as good as destroyers, they can do things like coastal patrol, watching troubled areas of ocean, ASW, or do search and rescue, but something like a Corvette can do it cheaper and with less manpower, but they still have their place. Ok, now that that's out of the way, lets talk about the Type 054 A and B, Basically, the Type 054A was developed to deliver a badly needed replacement for the aging Type 053 and it's derivatives, It's currently the most common variant as only 2 standard Type 054 models were made and the more advanced B variant is currently about to have the second vessel in it's class completed very soon, the main differences of the B variant is the increased size, which allows for more armament and electronics to be fitted along with more crew space, various methods to increase survivability, a slightly stealthier profile (the Type 054 in general is a very stealthy design, so it was hard to improve on alot), an all electric propulsion system to decrease noise, and better ASW capabilities to add yet another tool to China's much needed submarine defense network as mentioned above with the Type 056. (Note that, while It does feature some very potent ASW tools of it's own, It's still mostly designed for AAW, jack of all trades etc etc.) Currently, China has an estimated 46 Frigates in service, of that number, 2 are Type 054s, 16 are Type 054As, and 1 is a Type 054B with a 2nd very close to completion. At least 22 more Type 054A/B Variants are planned in this batch, though its not known how many of the originally planned A variants will be built as Bs when layed down instead. There's also been rumors of a Type 057 class follow on floating around for some time, with supposed construction beginning in early 2015, take it with a grain of salt though, I've heard nothing 100% solid on it. Specifications (Reminder, the Type 54B is a very newly completed design, so unless noted otherwise, the specs are for the Type 054A/A+) Weight - 4000 tonnes combat loaded (Type 054A), 5000 tonnes combat loaded (Type 054B) Length - 440 Feet/134 Meters Beam - 52 feet/ 16 Meters Crew - 165 Range - 8025 nautical miles at 18 knots Speed - 28 Knots Propulsion - x4 CODAD Shaanxi brand diesel engines producing 7600 hp each (Type 054A) IEP rated at 20 MW (Type 054B) x2 propeller shafts Sensors, Countermeasures and Electronics - Type 382 3D air/surface search radar capable of tracking 40+ targets in real time from over 120 km away, MR-36A surface search radar, x2 Racal RM-1290 navigation radars operating in I-band, SNTI-240 SATCOM, AKD5000S Ku band backup SATCOM, HN-900 Data link system, Type 344 Mineral-ME "Band Stand" for ship-ship missile control, over the horizon radar and target acquisition and target designation, x4 Type 345 2 channel radar to guide multiple SAMs at once, TR47C CIWS fire control, Type 347G main gun fire-control radar, MGK-335 medium frequency active/passive sonar system integrating Bull Horn active and Whale Tongue passive hull-mounted, search and attack sonar, x2 18-tube decoy/chaff rocket launchers, Type 922-1 radar warning receiver and HZ-100 Electronic Counter Measures and Electronic signals intelligence, Kashtan-3 missile jamming system. Helipad - x1, usually used for Naval Z-9 mutirole transport/utility/recon/ASW helicopter capable of carrying a light anti ship missile load or magnetic anomaly detection equipment and light homing torpedoes or ASW rockets/missiles when in ASW mode. (Yep, I copy pasted from the Type 056A) It can also launch 2 medium sized boats at a time and recover from the stern of the ship. Armament - x1 PJ-26 76mm dual purpose main gun on the bow deck. capable of firing various guided projectiles. x2 Type 730 7 barreled 30x165mm Gatling Cannon CIWS, 4,500-6,000 rounds per minute. X2 FL3000N missile based CIWS/Short ranged SAM, 24 missile capacity (added on 054B) x2 Quad pod C-803 anti ship missiles amidship facing opposite directions. (Missiles replaced with longer range, faster C-805 variant in 054B, likely to be retrofitted to A variants.) x1 32 capacity vertical launch system with HHQ-16D long range surface to air missiles, or CY-3 60km range anti submarine missiles. x2 Triple 324mm torpedo tubes loaded with Yu-7 acoustic seeking torpedoes, 1 on each side. x2 6 pod 240mm Type 87 Anti Submarine rockets. Various GPMG and HMG mounts for close range defense. ------------------- Steath (see a patten yet?) Workhorse of the surface fleet: Type 052D Guided Missile Destroyer. (Note, This is supposed to be the Changsha, or pennant number 173, It undergoing sea trials at the time of this photo so it didn't have it painted on the hull.) So, along with the rest of the Type 052 family, the recently introduced D variant is designed to be the backbone of the surface warfare fleet, and the main surface defenders of a future carrier fleet (as I'll post about later, the PLAN has ambitions greater then a mere 1 Carrier), these ship classes are what truly show that the PLAN is very serious about defending itself against any perceived invasion, controlling it's interests and being the real dominant seapower in Asia for the long forseeable future, so, here we go, lets talk about it. Possibly the most notable feature of 052D is that it uses an AESA radar system similar in function to the US AEGIS system that can potentially detect certain 5th generation Stealth aircraft, and a data link system far more advanced then those used on previous vessels that may set the standard for whats installed or retrofitted onto other ships, aside from that, it still has more mundane features, like the ability to launch and recover 2 medium sized boats at the same time from the stern like the Type 054A/B, Currently, China has 24 active destroyers, If we go by the number of Type 052 variants alone, then 2 are Type 052As (note that the A actually is the base variant in this case, sometimes It's merely referred to as "Type 052"), 2 are Type 052Bs, 6 are Type 052Cs, and 2 are Type 052Ds, 3 other D variants have been completed but haven't been commissioned yet, and at least 7 more D variants are planned. Much like rumors of the Type 057 Frigate, there's also rumors of a complimenting Type 055 Destroyer to go with it but, once again, take it with a grain of salt, I'm getting sleepy so, unfortunately for now, going to try and cut this short. ------------------- Specifications Weight - 7,500 tonnes combat loaded Length - 512 feet/156 meters Beam - 60 feet/18 meters Draught - 21 feet/6.5 meters Crew - 280 Speed - 30+ knots Range - 5,000 Nautical miles at 18 knots Propulsion - x2 QC-280 Gas turbine engines (37,550 horsepower each) and x2 MTU 20V 956TB92 Diesel engines (8,050 horsepower each) in a CODOG configuration, Sensors, Electronics, and Countermeasures - Type IR-17 Optronics, 4x Type 346A active phased array radar, 1x Type 364 air search radar, 1x Type 366 radar, 1x Type 517HA VHF search radar, 1x Type 760 navigation radar, 1x Type 349 fire control radar, 1x Type 754 helicopter control and approach radar, 1x MGK-335MS-E hull sonar, 1x towed array sonar (TAS), 1x variable depth sonar (VDS), JSIDLS (Joint Service Integrated Data Link System), SITN240 SATCOM system, HZ-100 Electronic Counter Measures and Electronic signals intelligence, Kashtan-3 missile jamming system, and 4x Type 726-4 decoy launchers (18 rockets each). Helipad - x1, usually used for Naval Z-9 mutirole transport/utility/recon/ASW helicopter capable of carrying a light anti ship missile load or magnetic anomaly detection equipment and light homing torpedoes or ASW rockets/missiles when in ASW mode. (Yep, I copy pasted from the Type 054B) It can also launch 2 medium sized boats at a time and recover from the stern of the ship. Armament - x1 bow mounted H/PJ-38 130mm Dual Purpose gun with a massive variety of rounds including guided shells, missiles, and sub caliber rounds. (Type 210 100mm gun on older Type 052 variants.) x2 32 Capacity vertical launch systems, 1 fore and 1 aft, carrying assortment of HHQ-9B long range surface to air missiles, YJ-18A mach 3 anti ship missiles, (oddly enough, this has an EMP warhead variant), CY-2 or CY-5 anti submarine missiles, or some munitions small enough to be quad packed into 1 pod. x1 24 FL3000N missile based CIWS/short range Surface to air missile launcher. x1 Type 730 7 barreled 30x165mm Gatling cannon CIWS/Short range air defense, 4,500-6000 rounds per minute. X2 H/PJ-17 30x165mm dual mode auto/manual remote weapon stations amidship, used as defense against threats such as small craft, helicopters at close range, and mines close to the surface (with special ammunition) rate of fire is estimated to be around 600 rounds per minute. x2 Triple 324mm torpedo mounts with 1 on each side, loaded with Yu-7 acoustic seeking torpedoes. Various GPMG and HMG mounts for close range threats. ------------------- The next updates in line will likely be about the PLAN's submarine force, more indepth views of weapon systems used, and the Marines. Be sure to check my other topics covering the other branches of the PLA. Regarding Infantry, small arms, and infantry support weapons. Regarding land based vehicles, armor, and weapon systems. Regarding the PLAAF Aircraft and weapon systems, helicopters, and the Airborne.