2016 Report on the State of the PLAN

Note: For all photos in the report, refer to This Flickr Album for high resolution images of teach.


Type 056 Corvette/Light Frigate:
The PLAN has continued to rapidly produce these approximately 1,500 ton corvettes at four separate yards. Since 2013, thirty-one of these vessels have been launched and twenty-five have been commissioned. Five new vessels were commissioned this year, including the first of the ASW centric variety which has more powerful and varied ASW sensors. As stated, these vessels are being produced in four separate yards and they are meant to replace the large number of Type 037, old technology sub-chasers and corvettes the PLAN has had for coastal duties. These vessels are significantly more capable and represent, in essence, a Chinese Littoral Combatant vessel with very decent anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, along with good self defense against airborne threats.

Six new Type 056 vessele were commissioned in 2015.

Type 054A Multi-role guided missile Frigate:
The PLAN has continued with its long production run of these 4,000 ton guided missile frigates. The first was commissioned in 2008, and there are now twenty-four of them in the water, with five new vessels commissioned in 2015. These frigates are strong multi-role combatants and are one of the modern PLAN's workhorses, having been deployed on all of the anti-piracy missions that the PLAN has conducted in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. They have also been involved with numerous exercises inluding the recent around-the-world voyage of one Type 054A, one Type 052C DDG, and an AOR vessel which visited throughout mainland Europe, England, the United States and returning via the Pacific.

A new, improved Type 054B version is apparently in the works, but not until 32 or 36 of the "A" vessels are produced. These vessels, as much as any other, show the new face of the PLAN. Very well armed, capable, modern vessels, and in numbers, venturing out not only into the Pacific, but around the world.

Five new Type 054A Frigates were commissioned in 2015.

Type 052C Multi-role, guided missile Destroyer:
The Type 052C destroyer were the first truly indegenous and highly capable, modern Chinese multi-role guided missile destroyers. With an advanced active phased array radar, 48 VLS cells for anti-air missiles, strong anti-surface guided missiles, and embarking an ASW helicopter, these vessels represented a significant advancement for the Chinese. Two were built in the early 2000s, and then, later in the decade, production began again and four more were built. The last of these vessels was commissioned in 2015 making a total of six Type 052C destroyers available fo the PLAN.

One new Type 052C, the last, was commissioned in 2015.

Type 052D Multi-role, guided missile Destroyer:
Concurrent with the restart of the Type 052C destroyer production, a newer, upgraded vessel began to be built. This is the Type 052D destroyer which includes several significant upgrades. These include 64 VLS cells of a new, modular variety capable of launching several different types of missiles similar to US Navy vertical launch systems. It also includes a new, more powerful 130mm main gun. It replaces one of the 30mm CIWS guns with a 24 round anti-missile launcher similar to the US Navy RAM launcher, and its phased array radars are sigificantly more powerful with a new, stronger and more sophisticated battle management system. These vessels have been aptly named the sino-AEGIS vessels.

The 2nd and 3rd of these new vessels were commissioned in 2015, with a fourth on sea trials. In addition, five more have been launched, including one from a second yard at Dalian, where it is apparent the PLAN will now build these newer vessels in two yards. At least 18 of these vessels are expected.

Two type 052D destroyers were commissioned in 2015, making three altogether in service. Five more have been launched, and more are building in each of the two yards.

Type 055 Large Multi-role, guided missile Destroyer:
The PLAN has been building a full scale mockup of a new, larger class destroyer at their shore based Wuhan facility. That mockup appears to have been completed in 2015 and it is now rumored that the first ship is being built either at Shanghai or Dalian. This vessel will displace in the 12,000 ton range, will have either 112 or 128 VLS cells, and will be, in essence the Chinese version of the US Navy Ticonderoga guided missile cruiser.

The PLAN is expected to build at least eight to twelve of these vessels, and they, along with the Type 052D vessels, will allow the PLAN to have a very strong anti-air, multi-role escorts for their high value vessels, particularly the carrier force they are building.

It is believed that the first Type 055 destroyer is currently under construction.

Go to 2. Amphibious Assault Developments of the 2016 PLAN Report


Other links of Interest:

World-Wide Aircraft Carriers
AEGIS & AEGIS-Like Vessels of the World
The US Navy in the 21st Century