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Thresholds Of Prc Military Power


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End of the day, they can't test their subs without the US listening in. That has to make polishing them off pretty tough. The US can run its boats across two different sonar ranges off Cali and FLA and get an intricate sound profile from every angle and listen for any imperfections; the PLAN can't do that with the USN also listening in. It must be extremely hard to test and measure new quieting features in that environment.

 

But yes, it does seem that their break neck ship production will only increase. One has to wonder if their economy takes a hit whether that will slow down, given some of the numbers being estimated right now and ignoring their cooked books.

Unless the leadership do something monumentally stupid, the Chinese growth rate will remain relatively high till they reach the productivity frontier - where 'relatively high' is at least twice the US rate.

 

The issue is still in doubt. Their economy is already showing signs of slowing and their debt is even more unsustainable than the US. Unlike the US, most of that debt is domestic, often local, but never the less their are real risks of a huge economic slow down. For that matter the US is likely to experience the same thing in the next year or two, and usually that causes problems for everyone. There is also the issue of population inversion due to the one child policy that will heavily impact their work force in a decade.

 

So IMO the jury is still out on sustained Chinese economic growth.

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End of the day, they can't test their subs without the US listening in. That has to make polishing them off pretty tough. The US can run its boats across two different sonar ranges off Cali and FLA and get an intricate sound profile from every angle and listen for any imperfections; the PLAN can't do that with the USN also listening in. It must be extremely hard to test and measure new quieting features in that environment.

 

But yes, it does seem that their break neck ship production will only increase. One has to wonder if their economy takes a hit whether that will slow down, given some of the numbers being estimated right now and ignoring their cooked books.

Unless the leadership do something monumentally stupid, the Chinese growth rate will remain relatively high till they reach the productivity frontier - where 'relatively high' is at least twice the US rate.

 

The issue is still in doubt. Their economy is already showing signs of slowing and their debt is even more unsustainable than the US. Unlike the US, most of that debt is domestic, often local, but never the less their are real risks of a huge economic slow down. For that matter the US is likely to experience the same thing in the next year or two, and usually that causes problems for everyone. There is also the issue of population inversion due to the one child policy that will heavily impact their work force in a decade.

 

So IMO the jury is still out on sustained Chinese economic growth.

 

China has a largely state owned banking system. If there is a banking/insolvency crisis then that is by choice, as the necessary mechanisms (rate reduction through to debt write-downs and recapitalization of SOE banks by PBOC) are already in place to avoid one - and therefore any such crisis will count as 'monumental stupidity'.

Edited by KV7
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End of the day, they can't test their subs without the US listening in. That has to make polishing them off pretty tough. The US can run its boats across two different sonar ranges off Cali and FLA and get an intricate sound profile from every angle and listen for any imperfections; the PLAN can't do that with the USN also listening in. It must be extremely hard to test and measure new quieting features in that environment.

But yes, it does seem that their break neck ship production will only increase. One has to wonder if their economy takes a hit whether that will slow down, given some of the numbers being estimated right now and ignoring their cooked books.

They can make sure a patch of water can't be entered by US subs and chase "oceanographic" ships away, but quiet sub development is the one area in which they face more challenges and is more expensive to develop adequate capability. Remember they not only contend with US SSNs but also with Japanese and South Korean SSKs, which are top of the line.

ROK sub fleet isn't really that impressive. The Chang Bogo are small and without AIP AFAIK. The Son Wonil are good but only up to 9. Unlikely to be a factor for scenerios beyond the Korean peninsula.

 

Australia has somehow managed to pretty much factor out their own sub card from the equition for 2-3 decades..

 

Diplomacy between the US and China has left Taiwan with no meaningful sub force, even in strict defense.

 

Vietnam is getting 6 improved Kilo subs but China has 10 of those.

 

As for PRC conventional subs, maybe Type 39 is worse than the improved Kilo or maybe its about equal. But what about the Type 39A, 39AG, 39B? Can we still speak from an impression that these are like the old noisy Mings? The 39As are already in high production. At some point, they will replace all the old noisy Mings. And then replacing improvef Kilo and plain Type 39s, making about 40 of 39As. Are the Type 39As good? Would they enable the Type 95s SSNs to roam freely wherever?

 

 

I don't doubt the latest PLA SSKs are pretty much up to scratch but they are only useful close to home, where they can operate below air cover and in shallow water. In deep water or far from air cover, they suffer the same ill as all SSKs, they are pretty much inmobile if they want to be silent (even with AIP) and could be "flushed out" with LFA sonar.

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The PLAN SSK fleet could probably operate at will anywhere inside the first island chain. Crossing out of that area would be a little problematic however, both in terms of time to patrol station and survival rate crossing through monitored choke points under an unfriendly sky.

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They point to the exact opposite conclusion of what is going to happen than what Josh hopes, is the problem with those numbers.

I don't tend to believe economic numbers put forth by the CCP. Their defense budget is routinely low balled and their measurements of debt tends to ignore a lot of shadow banking. As to 'what I want', I don't think a massive economic dislocation will be good for anyone and I suspect it would probably lead to a military conflict with the US or a US ally. So it isn't 'what I want'. I just think their current growth is unsustainable, if only because no other asian nation maintained it historically, and also there is small but real chance that they suffer some sort of economic calamity in the next decade.

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They point to the exact opposite conclusion of what is going to happen than what Josh hopes, is the problem with those numbers.

I don't tend to believe economic numbers put forth by the CCP. Their defense budget is routinely low balled and their measurements of debt tends to ignore a lot of shadow banking. As to 'what I want', I don't think a massive economic dislocation will be good for anyone and I suspect it would probably lead to a military conflict with the US or a US ally. So it isn't 'what I want'. I just think their current growth is unsustainable, if only because no other asian nation maintained it historically, and also there is small but real chance that they suffer some sort of economic calamity in the next decade.

 

The private debt might be understated, but there is no real way to cook the books on public debt, nor is there a good reason as it is not high, and there is near zero chance of sovereign default.

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They point to the exact opposite conclusion of what is going to happen than what Josh hopes, is the problem with those numbers.

I don't tend to believe economic numbers put forth by the CCP. Their defense budget is routinely low balled and their measurements of debt tends to ignore a lot of shadow banking. As to 'what I want', I don't think a massive economic dislocation will be good for anyone and I suspect it would probably lead to a military conflict with the US or a US ally. So it isn't 'what I want'. I just think their current growth is unsustainable, if only because no other asian nation maintained it historically, and also there is small but real chance that they suffer some sort of economic calamity in the next decade.

 

The private debt might be understated, but there is no real way to cook the books on public debt, nor is there a good reason as it is not high, and there is near zero chance of sovereign default.

 

My understanding is that there is very little accounting of local banks and how leveraged they are. I'm not insinuated that PBOC will fail or that the country will have an Argentina like default, just possibly a severe recession that cause them to potentially curtail their defense budget. You saw this in Russia when the price of oil crashed a couple years ago.

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They point to the exact opposite conclusion of what is going to happen than what Josh hopes, is the problem with those numbers.

I don't tend to believe economic numbers put forth by the CCP. Their defense budget is routinely low balled and their measurements of debt tends to ignore a lot of shadow banking. As to 'what I want', I don't think a massive economic dislocation will be good for anyone and I suspect it would probably lead to a military conflict with the US or a US ally. So it isn't 'what I want'. I just think their current growth is unsustainable, if only because no other asian nation maintained it historically, and also there is small but real chance that they suffer some sort of economic calamity in the next decade.

 

The private debt might be understated, but there is no real way to cook the books on public debt, nor is there a good reason as it is not high, and there is near zero chance of sovereign default.

 

My understanding is that there is very little accounting of local banks and how leveraged they are. I'm not insinuated that PBOC will fail or that the country will have an Argentina like default, just possibly a severe recession that cause them to potentially curtail their defense budget. You saw this in Russia when the price of oil crashed a couple years ago.

 

Private debt is a separate issue, and there is a chance of it causing an issue, unlike for sovereign debt.

 

China issues RMB, so it can never run out of RMB, and can cover all liabilities in RMB at will.

 

Even is a mild recession happens, it will only be via choice, as again the levers are there to prevent one.:

 

If private lending stalls, then the government banks can maintain lending

 

If private expenditure stalls, the government can engage in fiscal policy

 

If private firms fail, the government can order the banks to write down their debts

. . .

 

The only downside of a really big stimulus program or debt write down is a potential spike in inflation (though this is hardly a big worry as inflation is low) which might annoy some savers relying on low return deposits etc. but again if you cannot keep some middle class self-funded retirees in line- well that also counts as monumental stupidity.

 

Workers might also panic over inflation but workers should prefer full employment to stable prices and mass unemployment, but again . .

If private firms won't raise wages enough to keep up with inflation, the government can order (vie the existing central wage norm arrangements) wage rises.

 

We may well see a mild recession, but if we do it will be:

 

because the leadership want to let a fair few firms go bust in order to discourage rampant borrowing and for some idiotic reason decided not to sensibly offset this with stimulus

 

because they listened to some neoliberal bullshit about how stimulus is bad and building railways is 'miss-allocating resources' etc. and failed to therefore respond to some external or internal shock

 

because they idiotically decided to start operating their SO banks like private banks, and therefore force them to bankrupt firms by insisting on harsher terms etc.

 

because some other stupid reason

 

The important thing to remember is that China is not Russia and not the USSR - the underlying supply side fundamentals are very strong, so if the leadership wants to see growth continue, all they need to do is keep investment high (which hardly takes much effort as the savings rate is naturally very high), and keep deploying their existing powerful recession fighting mechanism in order to maintain stability.

 

China will face a problem of growth slowdown when it approaches the productivity frontier (and some firms and regions are getting close to it) but by then it will be a massive economy - maybe close to 1/3 of world GDP. I think betting on 'China cannot innovate' to motivate the case for a very sharp or premature slowdown is a pretty bad idea too.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by KV7
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It was not that long ago that people did not have to wonder what kind of intervention it would take to slow down the economic growth activity of China and Chinese because there was no economic growth activity of China and Chinese by any relative measure. A PLAN "fleet" operating with impunity anywhere in the world was unthinkable in the 80s, nevermind the insanity of Chinese carrier task forces or the existence of a consumerist middle class larger than the entire Japanese population.

 

This level of growth, however accurately numerated or not, is thankfully not sustainable, lest the Chinese be testing warp drive by the time Japan and Japanese are able to actually look the world in the eye and call a capital ship a capital ship.

 

The conversation itself is illustrative of an achievement of some kind, unfortunately.

Edited by Nobu
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The worry is that if China and Chinese have been overstating the numbers, and they very well may have been, this implies the existence of more untapped room for economic expansion before the reaching of economic stationarity, not less.

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While I generally disagree with Nobu on almost everything, I will say current Chinese growth is unquestionably unsustainable. The question is what happens next. Even if there isn't a huge debt problem, which I personally thing there is, they have some troubled water to navigate. This isn't to say that some downfall will happen, this is only to note that continued economic growth at the levels previously considered acceptable is unlikely and also their current numbers are not trustworthy. They are trying to make the jump to a domestic consumer economy. There are a lot of economic and political reasons why that jump will be hard for them and despite their wealth, on the books, I do not consider it a forgone conclusion. Your mileage may differ.

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While I generally disagree with Nobu on almost everything, I will say current Chinese growth is unquestionably unsustainable. The question is what happens next. Even if there isn't a huge debt problem, which I personally thing there is, they have some troubled water to navigate. This isn't to say that some downfall will happen, this is only to note that continued economic growth at the levels previously considered acceptable is unlikely and also their current numbers are not trustworthy. They are trying to make the jump to a domestic consumer economy. There are a lot of economic and political reasons why that jump will be hard for them and despite their wealth, on the books, I do not consider it a forgone conclusion. Your mileage may differ.

 

It's sustainable only as far as the rest of the World is willing to make China the factory of the World. Looking at a very specific sector, shipbuilding, you can see how the US and European yards were progressively priced out by the Japanese and the Japanese by the Koreans and these, by the Chinese. At some point it will reach a plateau (if it's not reached already) in which the CCP will try to keep on going by fomenting internal demand. At the end of the day, the strength of an economy is its consumer base and China should be well positioned. What was atypical was its position in the 60-80s due to Mao's madness.

 

Militarily they can go on with the current build-up for some time, but at some point they won't need more destroyers and corvettes and some years down the road obsolescence will rear its head and if they have disbanded their production base they would be in a bad spot. See the Royal Navy of the 30s.

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China has massive internal issues to deal with, terrible pollution, large State industries producing little and sucking up money. A lot of money spent on projects with little return. A growing standard of living and a mobility of capital and people not ever seen before. A large disparity between the haves and the have nots. Not to mention about 25 million surplus males. A potentiel for a large population shift as a die off of the population caused by a gender imbalance, which will ease some problems for government and create new ones as certain areas become unpopulated. I think their colonial adventures is going to expose them to all the problems other colonial powers had to deal with post WWII.

Edited by Colin
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Being able to operate with impunity within the first island chain impresses me, in spite of myself.

 

What worries me is the very distinct possibility that China and Chinese may not care about overextending themselves beyond it.

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  • 3 months later...

What is currently and generally known now (November) about the number of surface fleet vessels in comparison to April 2018. Clicking in the links in that April post will show updated info on the progress of the ships in various stages of status in their respective classes.

 

Aircraft carriers

April: 1 sky jump type in service, 1 sky jump type in sea trials, word of a 3rd in initial fabrication.

November: 1 sky jump type in service, 1 sky jump type in sea trials, likely modules for a 3rd in construction (e.g. here and here).

 

Type 55 destroyers

April: 1 fitting out, 3 under assembly, 2 at making parts, word of two more to start.

November:1 Sea trials, 3 fitting out, 3 at making parts.

 

Type 52D destroyers

April: 6 commissioned, 3 to enter service, 2 at sea trials, 2 fitting out, 5 at making parts.

November: 10 commissioned, 3 sea trials, 2 fitting out, 3 in dock construction, 4 out of dock construction

 

Type 52C destroyers

April: 6 commissioned

November: 6 commissioned

 

Type 54A frigates

April: 26 commissioned, 1 to enter service, 2 outfitting, 1 being made.

November: 28 commissioned, 2 fitting out.

 

Type 56 covettes

April: 38 commissioned, 7 fitting out.

November: 42 commissioned, 10 fitting out.

 

With power projection for the PLAN in mind, worth considering the Type 901 AOE.

In June 2017: 1 sea trials.

November 2018: 1 commissioned, 1 sea trials, 1 being segmented, 1 just starting construction.

 

Segmented probably means cancelled. Articles about the 3rd (likely cancelled) and 4th (just starting construction).

 

 

近日网友发布消息称第三艘大型901航母编队补给舰已在合拢中。901高速补给舰主要为航母编队服务和设计,是我国未来航母部署全球的关键。若按每个航母编队配置一艘901补给舰来算,网友猜测这艘补给舰或是为中国第三艘航母准备。(来源:蓝鲨小队)

 

http://slide.mil.news.sina.com.cn/h/slide_8_203_60471.html#p=1

 

 

 

中国打造航母战斗群:一口气就建造四艘五万吨补给舰

也许有人认为,自从有了拥航母,我军就能走向深蓝大洋,这想法过于简单了,不是有了航母就行的,只算可以抬脚了,能不能走向深蓝大洋是另一个问题,必须拥有强大的护航舰艇,否则没法出门的。还需要大型补给舰,缺了它,或只能在家门口巡航。

有人说;航母实现核动力化,不就可以甩开大型补给舰了吗?可惜现代航母战斗群中有不少护航舰,对补给的需求也不小,且航母本身也需要不少补给品,核动力也只是缺少燃油的需求,给养,弹药等等依然离不开补给舰。别看美国拥有十艘航母,但是大型补给舰的数量也不多,尤其高速补给舰。

  我军自然也明白这一点,在发展航母的同时,也没忘了建造专用的补给舰,2017年时,已服役首舰901型补给舰,这让中国成为世界上第二个可以建造高速补给舰的国家,这个东西可不简单。

为了保证航母战斗群的需求,这类补给舰的吨位都不小,901型达到5万吨级,这样才能一次装载2万吨以上的各类物资及燃油等,这不仅需要大量的补给设备,既要有干货补给系统,还需要燃货补给系统,901型的补给输送能力比903型提高一倍以上。还需要足够的航速,必须能跟上航母战斗群的速度。

  别以为航速这个要求简单,其实最难办,由于它本身就是大家伙,又要高速度,航速在25节以上,而且不是短时间,而是可以长时间保持,这对动力系统的要求极高。舰艇的航速与功率之间的比例不等比例的,由16节提到25节,功率不是增长一倍,901型的动力系统功率应在20万马力左右,这个要求就不低了,几乎与辽宁舰相当。

美军为建造第一代高速补给舰,直接采用已停工的战列舰动力系统,也依然让其成本高昂到美军也喊贵,最终不得不销减了建造计划,故而901型的建造绝对不是简单事,也没人帮我们,此前也只有美国建造过。

  如今我们不仅建造完成了,而且数量也不少,目前已确认第三艘901型的建造,似乎第四艘开工了,如此一来,我军造舰规模上新台阶,已经一口气建造了四艘五万吨补给舰,这样的规模为全球无人可比,美国当年也没有保持如此快的速度。

如此规模的建造,也说明我们的航母战斗群绝对不是一个或二个的问题,也许会是4个以上,一个让期待的答案!(作者署名:浴火)

 

http://mil.news.sina.com.cn/jssd/2018-05-02/doc-ifzyqqip7511155.shtml

Edited by JasonJ
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China has massive internal issues to deal with, terrible pollution, large State industries producing little and sucking up money. A lot of money spent on projects with little return. A growing standard of living and a mobility of capital and people not ever seen before. A large disparity between the haves and the have nots. Not to mention about 25 million surplus males. A potentiel for a large population shift as a die off of the population caused by a gender imbalance, which will ease some problems for government and create new ones as certain areas become unpopulated. I think their colonial adventures is going to expose them to all the problems other colonial powers had to deal with post WWII.

They have a far sighted, non-venal, smart and pragmatic leadership with a clear goal of national development, which is in ideology and in practice put ahead of anyone's desire to get rich. The problems you identify (but overstate) are likely to be and already are being dealt with acceptably.

 

Your data on excess males is perhaps a bit out of date, given that recent statistics have identified a large number of missing females. And even if the estimate is correct, there is no severe demographic implications. And even if there were, the government has the mechanisms at its disposal to rectify them - small payments to poorer families with children is a huge incentive for more children, and China could if needed implement gender based migration. There is a bit of an official push against the racism that would make this sort of solution difficult already - there have been a few instances of positive fluff pieces about Chinese men with African wives etc.

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They have a far sighted, non-venal, smart and pragmatic leadership with a clear goal of national development, which is in ideology and in practice put ahead of anyone's desire to get rich.

 

You are wrong, they dicatorship may want to be non-venal, smart and pragmatic, but to ensure its power it must do the the opposite, like play out various goverment fraction against each other to prevent one grow to strong, install incompetent (but loyal) local leaders to prevent a local leader can grow to strong etc silence all criticism hence louse sight of the real problem. The military promotion (to higher rank) is based one lojalty to the party and not miltary competence.

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They have a far sighted, non-venal, smart and pragmatic leadership with a clear goal of national development, which is in ideology and in practice put ahead of anyone's desire to get rich.

 

You are wrong, they dicatorship may want to be non-venal, smart and pragmatic, but to ensure its power it must do the the opposite, like play out various goverment fraction against each other to prevent one grow to strong, install incompetent (but loyal) local leaders to prevent a local leader can grow to strong etc silence all criticism hence louse sight of the real problem. The military promotion (to higher rank) is based one lojalty to the party and not miltary competence.

 

The military leadership is untested, so they may well be incompetent. But civilian leaders are largely assessed on their merits in respect to centrally defined criteria. This is why provincial governments scramble to promote development within their region, as hitting the expected targets (not just growth, but for example environmental and social targets) is necessary for carer advancement.

 

A similar model cannot really be rolled out in the military sphere - you cannot have a target of 'win 2 small wars a decade' or something like that. You can use Russian type targets like 'have 60% modern tanks in z formations' or something, but very few have the authority to make decisions which can move this, and the utility of the targets have to be assessed by military brass anyway, so the assessment system becomes self referential.

Edited by KV7
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China has massive internal issues to deal with, terrible pollution, large State industries producing little and sucking up money. A lot of money spent on projects with little return. A growing standard of living and a mobility of capital and people not ever seen before. A large disparity between the haves and the have nots. Not to mention about 25 million surplus males. A potentiel for a large population shift as a die off of the population caused by a gender imbalance, which will ease some problems for government and create new ones as certain areas become unpopulated. I think their colonial adventures is going to expose them to all the problems other colonial powers had to deal with post WWII.

They have a far sighted, non-venal, smart and pragmatic leadership with a clear goal of national development, which is in ideology and in practice put ahead of anyone's desire to get rich. The problems you identify (but overstate) are likely to be and already are being dealt with acceptably.

 

Your data on excess males is perhaps a bit out of date, given that recent statistics have identified a large number of missing females. And even if the estimate is correct, there is no severe demographic implications. And even if there were, the government has the mechanisms at its disposal to rectify them - small payments to poorer families with children is a huge incentive for more children, and China could if needed implement gender based migration. There is a bit of an official push against the racism that would make this sort of solution difficult already - there have been a few instances of positive fluff pieces about Chinese men with African wives etc.

 

Using this chart I am guessing approximately 17-19 million males of breeding age and coming into breeding age more than women. Not that I really trust any numbers coming out of China.

 

Population_pyramid_of_China_2015.png​

Edited by Colin
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I believe that the number of females in China is under-enumerated as not everyone aborted female foetuses and not everyone murdered infant girls, It is likely that they simply didn't register their births, particularly away from the cities..

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