Monday, August 16, 2010

People's Liberation Army Navy

Active                                             Since September 1950
Country                                         People's Republic of China
250,000 personnel
58 Submarines
77 principal surface combatants
84 Amphibious Warfare Ships
387 Coastal Warfare Vessels
31 Mine Warfare Vessels
370-480 Landing craft
150 Auxiliary/Support vessels

Commanders                               Admiral Wu Shengli
Chinese Civil War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Anti-Piracy in Somalia

People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or PLA Navy)  is the naval branch of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the military of the People's Republic of China. Until the early 1990s, the navy performed a subordinate role. Since then, it has undergone rapid modernisation. It is currently the second largest naval service in the world after the United States Navy. With a personnel strength of over 250,000, the PLAN also includes the 35,000 strong Coastal Defense Force and the 56,000 man Naval infantry/Marines, plus a 56,000 PLAN Aviation naval air arm operating several hundred land-based aircraft and ship-based helicopters.

1950s and 1960s
Through the upheavals of the late 1950s and 1960s the Navy remained relatively undisturbed. Under the leadership of Minister of National Defense Lin Biao, large investments were made in naval construction during the frugal years immediately after the Great Leap Forward. During the Cultural Revolution, a number of top naval commissars and commanders were purged, and naval forces were used to suppress a revolt in Wuhan in July 1967, but the service largely avoided the turmoil affecting the country.

1970s and 1980s

In the 1970s, when approximately 20 percent of the defense budget was allocated to naval forces, the Navy grew dramatically. The conventional submarine force increased from 35 to 100 boats, the number of missile-carrying ships grew from 20 to 200, and the production of larger surface ships, including support ships for oceangoing operations, increased. The Navy also began development of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

PLAN sailors in Qingdao, North Sea FleetHQ on parade with Type-56 carbines.
In the 1980s, under the leadership of Chief Naval Commander Liu Huaqing, the navy developed into a regional naval power, though naval construction continued at a level somewhat below the 1970s rate. 
Examples of the expansion of China's capabilities were the 1980 recovery of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the Western Pacific by a twenty-ship fleet, extended naval operations in the South China Sea in 1984 and 1985, and the visit of two naval ships to three South Asian nations in 1985. In 1982 the navy conducted a successful test of an underwater-launched ballistic missile. The navy also had some success in developing a variety of surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles, improving basic capabilities.

In 1986 the Navy's order of battle included two Xia-class SSBNs armed with twelve CSS-N-3 missiles and three Han-class SSNs armed with six SY-2 cruise missiles. In the late 1980s, major deficiencies reportedly remained in antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, naval electronics and naval aviation capabilities.
The PLA Navy was ranked in 1987 as the third largest navy in the world, although naval personnel had comprised only 12 percent of PLA strength. In 1987 the Navy consisted of the naval headquarters in Beijing; three fleet commands — the North Sea Fleet, based at Qingdao, Shandong; the East Sea Fleet, based at Ningbo; and the South Sea Fleet, based at Zhanjiang, Guangdong — and about 2,000 ships. The 350,000-person Navy included Naval Air Force units of 34,000 men, the Coastal Defense Forces of 38,000, and the Marine Corps of 56,500. Navy Headquarters, which controlled the three fleet commands, was subordinate to the PLA General Staff Department. In 1987, China's 1,500 km coastline was protected by more than 100 diesel-powered Romeo- and Whiskey-class submarines, which could remain at sea only a limited time. Inside this protective ring and within range of shore-based aircraft were destroyers and frigates mounting Styx anti-ship missiles, depth-charge projectors, and guns up to 130 mm. 
A starboard view of the PLANavy Han class nuclear-powered  

Any invader penetrating the destroyer and frigate protection would have been swarmed by almost 900 fast-attack craft. Stormy weather limited the range of these small boats, however, and curtailed air support. Behind the inner ring were Coastal Defense Force personnel operating naval shore batteries of Styx missiles and guns, backed by ground force units deployed in depth.

Into the 21st century

Starboard bow view of a guided-missile destroyer and naval auxiliary vessel seaming together in formation on a calm sea.
PLA Navy ships Qingdao and Taicanduring 2002 world circumnavigation
As the 21st century approached, the PLAN began to transition to an off-shore defensive strategy that entailed more out-of-area operations away from its traditional territorial waters.Between 1989 and 1993, the training ship Zhenghe paid ports visits to Hawaii, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. PLAN vessels visited Vladivostok in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996. PLAN task groups also paid visits to Indonesia in 1995; North Korea in 1997; New Zealand, Australia, and the Philippines in 1998; Malaysia, Tanzania, South Africa, the United States, and Canada in 2000; and India, Pakistan, France, Italy, Germany, Britain, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand in 2001.
In March 1997, the Luhu-class guided missile destroyer Harbin, the Luda-class guided missile destroyer Zhuhai, and the replenishment oiler Nancang began the PLA Navy's first circumnavigation of the Pacific Ocean, a 98-day voyage with port visits to Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the United States, including Pearl Harbor and San Diego.
The Luhu-class guided missile destroyer Qingdao and the replenishment oiler Taicang completed the PLA Navy's first circumnavigation of the world (pictured), a 123-day voyage covering 32,000 nautical miles (59,000 km; 37,000 mi) between 15 May – 23 September 2002. Port visits included Changi, Singapore; Alexandria, Egypt; Aksis, Turkey; Sevastopol, Ukraine; Piraeus, Greece; Lisbon, Portugal; Fortaleza, Brazil; Guayaquil, Ecuador;Callao, Peru; and Papeete in French Polynesia. The PLA naval vessels participated in naval exercises with the French frigates Nivôse and Prairial, as well as exercises with the Peruvian Navy. 
Overall, between 1985 and 2006, PLAN naval vessels visited 18 Asian-Pacific nations, 4 South American nations, 8 European nations, 3 African nations, and 3 North American nations. In 2003, the PLAN conducted its first joint naval exercises during separate visits to Pakistan and India. Bi-lateral naval exercises were also carried out with exercises with the French, British, Australian, Canadian, Philippine, and United States navies.
On 26 December 2008, the PLAN dispatched a task group consisting of the guided missile destroyer Haikou (flagship), the guided missile destroyer Wuhan, and the supply ship Weishanhu to the Gulf of Aden to participating in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. A team of 16 Chinese Special Forces members from its Marine Corps armed with attack helicopters were on board.Since then, China has maintained a three-ship flotilla of two warships and one supply ship in the Gulf of Aden by assigning ships from the South Sea Fleet and/or East Sea Fleet to the Gulf of Aden on a three monthly basis.
PLAN operations has been marred by the 2001 Hainan Island incident, a major submarine accident in 2003, and naval incidents involving the U.S. MSC-operated ocean surveillance ships Victorious and Impeccable during 2009.
Related tags .....


Post a Comment