dilluns, 18 de maig de 2015

With Fourth 'Submarine-Killer' Corvette, China Makes ASW Headway*

By Ankit Panda
May 17, 2015

On May 6, China commissioned its fourth anti-submarine warfare (ASW) optimized Type 056 Jiangdao-class corvette, the Huangshi. The Huangshi will join the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) North Sea Fleet as the most advanced PLAN ASW corvette. Since November 2014, China has commissioned two other Jiangdao-class ASW variants, including the Sanmenxia on November 13, 2014 for the East Sea Fleet and Zhuzhou on November 28, 2014 for the South Sea Fleet. The Diplomat reported on the inaugural Type 056 variant last November.

The 1,500-tonne displacement corvettes mark an important step in the PLAN’s ASW capabilities, an area that several analysts have noted as a weakness for China. The ASW variant Jiangdao-class ships feature four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles for surface warfare, and two triple-tube torpedo launchers, according to a report by IHS Jane’s Navy International. Additionally, the corvette’s flight deck allows for the operation of a single Z-9C helicopter (though limited maintenance facilities constrain the length and complexity of any helicopter operations).

What differentiates the ASW variants from the the 17 Jiangdao-class frigates that precede them is the inclusion of a towed array and variable depth sonar system. The inclusion of these systems indicates a focus on anti-submarine operations. China begin inaugurating its Type 056 Corvettes in 2012, and is building variants of the corvette for export. Early customers include Bangladesh, Thailand, and Nigeria.

As analysts, including The Diplomat‘s Robert Farley, have noted, anti-submarine warfare shot up the list of priorities for the PLAN over the last 24 months. In fact, one of the main tells of the PLAN’s “blue water” ambition is seen in its bid to bolster its ASW capabilities — coastal navies generally invest less into ASW capabilities compared to their expeditionary counterparts, who may find themselves on far-flung missions facing variable threats, including submarines. China’s focus on anti-access/area-denial systems was primarily intended to secure an asymmetric advantage for the PLA over a foe with greater conventional offensive strength (such as the United States).

With its new ASW focus, the PLAN is gearing up to offset threats from non-nuclear attack submarines in the East and South China Seas. Southeast Asia, for example, is currently undergoing what some have called a “proliferation” phase where submarine fleets are growing across the board. Vietnam, a claimant state to the Spratly Islands, is in the process of incorporating Russian diesel-electric improved Kilo-class submarines into its navy, posing a potential threat to China (see: “Vietnam’s China Challenge: Making Asymmetric Deterrence Work“). Submarines are seen as a worthwhile investment for smaller states fearing the prospect of a more assertive Chinese navy and coast guard. In reckoning with a South China Sea that is growing increasingly crowded with Chinese grey- and white-hull vessels, submarines are a stealthy and capable option.

Beyond the Type 056 ASW variant, China’s ASW capabilities are limited to its Y-8 maritime patrol aircraft and underwater acoustic sensors. The latter are primarily restricted to coastal use (though China’s South China Sea construction spree could lead to an expansion of its acoustic sensors into the Spratlys and Paracels, improving its anti-submarine capabilities).

* Article publicat a The Diplomat. La producció en sèrie les corbetes 056A demostren que la Xina és plenament conscient del seu put feble: les capacitats anti-submarines. La US Navy faria bé de plantejar-se d'una vegada per totes tornar a disposar de naus de propulsió convencional, però amb sistemes AIP, si no vol tenir sorpreses desagradables. 

dimecres, 6 de maig de 2015

Nato partners start anti-submarine warfare exercise off Norwegian coast*

Naval forces from approximately ten Nato allies and Sweden have commenced a large-scale anti-submarine warfare exercise off the coast of Norway.
Code-named Dynamic Mongoose, the annual exercise involves four submarines from Germany, Norway, Sweden and the US, alongside 13 surface ships from Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, as well as the UK and the US.
In addition, two research vessels, one Norwegian and one Nato-owned, are participating in the exercise, which focuses on detecting and defending against submarines.
The drill aims to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare skills.
During the two-week exercise, the participating vessels will conduct a variety of anti-submarine warfare operations, ranging from warships against submarine scenarios, submarine against submarine scenarios and aircraft against submarines scenarios.
The submarines will take turns trying to approach and target the ships undetected, simulating an attack.
"It will allow us to exercise our anti-submarine warfare capabilities in a complex and challenging environment."
Standing Nato Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) commander rear admiral Brad Williamson said: "Exercise Dynamic Mongoose is a great training opportunity for SNMG2 ships that will allow us to further integrate with other Nato forces to enhance our interoperability and ability to effectively respond to potential submarine threats to our Nato allies.
"It will allow us to exercise our anti-submarine warfare capabilities in a complex and challenging environment."
Norwegian fleet commander commodore Ole Morten Sandquist said: "The presence of Nato in Norwegian waters will enhance interoperability and will allow Nato to familiarise with Norwegian waters."
As the host nation, Norway is providing support from the Haakonsvern Naval Base and the Sola Air Base, located near Bergen, while France and Germany have also deployed maritime patrol aircraft for the exercise.
Exercise Dynamic Mongoose 2015 is scheduled to conclude on 14 May.

*Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. Sembla que les sorpreses de la darrera tardor han fet que Suècia s'incorpori als exercicis ASW de l'OTAN. Sigui com sigui, a uns i altres els hi interessa no oblidar aquesta tasca cabdal de la guerra naval.

dissabte, 2 de maig de 2015

Chinese and Russian Navies to Conduct First Ever Mediterranean Surface Exercises in May

Joint Sea 2015-I will be the first time the two navies have trained in the Mediterranean and is a sign of deepening military-to-military cooperation between Russia and China.

“The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia and to improve the capabilities of the two navies to deal with maritime threats,” said ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng on Thursday.
“What needs to be stressed is that, the joint exercise is not targeting any third party and not related to the regional situation.”

The exercises were announced in November following a meeting between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan in Beijing.

Following the meeting, Shoigu said U.S. rebalance to the Pacific was a primary concern of both countries.
“We believe that the main goal of pooling our effort is to shape a collective regional security system,” according to the Russian TASS news agency.
“We also expressed concern over U.S. attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the [Asia-Pacific Region].”

China plans to send the Type 54A Jiangkai II frigates Linyi, Weifang and fleet oiler Weishanhu —currently performing merchant convoy duty off of the Gulf of Aden — to the exercise, Geng said.

It’s unclear what assets Russia will send.

“The drilling items in the exercise include maritime defense, maritime replenishment, escort actions, joint operations to safeguard navigation security as well as real weapon firing drill,” he said.

In addition to the Mediterranean exercise, China and Russia committed to a Pacific exercise later in 2015.

Since the forced annexation of Crimea and a souring relationship with the West, Russia has flexed its surface muscle more in the last year sending more ships further afield than it has in decades — including sending the guided missile cruiser Moscow (or Moskva) to conduct live fire drills in the South China Sea.

Likewise, China continues to venture beyond its regional waters conducting anti-piracy missions near Somalia and drilling with the Iranian Navy.

China and Russia began a regular exercise schedule in 2012 and have since drilled in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.

* Notícia publicada al US Naval Institute. Com us avançavem fa uns mesos, els exercicis conjunts de Rússia i la Xina a la Mediterrància tiren endavant. Una recordatori més que els buits estratègics, sempre acaben omplint-se.