Saturday, December 9, 2017

Chinese Navy Live Fire Exercise

ComNavOps has long argued for much more realistic training and live fire exercises than the Navy currently does.  The U.S. Navy has not listened but the Chinese may have.  From the China Defense Blog comes this description of a Chinese Navy live fire exercise involving 40 ships that sounds much more realistic and challenging than our own. (1)

“According to Chen [Chen Shengqi, staff officer at the staff department of the PLA Navy], the participating vessels were randomly selected from the three fleets of the PLA Navy. They had to continuously fight against multiple targets at ultra-low altitude, judge the air defense effects by themselves, and organize intercept operation again based on the actual situation.

”The assessment yielded concrete results and also revealed some problems of the commanders' judgment on battlefield status and of the sailors' skills in operating weapon and equipment," said Cheng Dewei, deputy director of a bureau of the PLA Navy's staff department.”

Yes, Chinese statements must be viewed with suspicion but the bulk of routine naval and military announcements have proven to be fairly accurate and I accept this at face value with the caveat of language differences which, despite translation, may have different meanings.

The exercise appears to be much less scripted than our own.

If the exercise involved 40 ships and they all fired missiles, the Chinese are launching many more missiles than we are! 

The Chinese appear to be training harder and better than we are.


(1)China Defense Blog, “PLAN conducts a 40-warship drill near North Korea”, 8-Dec-2017,


  1. This the same day that RAND released a report that we (U.S.) are getting complacent and may fare poorly in a shooting war with China. Congress, and a majority of the American people, seem to think that mimitary superiority is a birthright instead of something earned by constant vigilance and effort.

    1. The Rand report is both interesting and alarming. I think it would be good to have a thread to discuss it on here. I think it leads naturally to further discussion of CONOPS, fleet structure, training, and readiness, among other relevant topics.

    2. RAND reports are informative but, typically, very easy to misinterpret and misapply. They are often about very specific issues and do not necessarily have widespread applicability. Therefore, I tend to avoid them at least as far as providing a detailed analysis/discussion of them.

      Which specific report are you referring to? I'll look it over and consider a post.


      It really echoes a lot of what you (and others) have said on here. With your comments about CONOPS with regard to the ASW frigate discussion last month, I have really been hoping for a thread to have a broader discussion of strategy and appropriate sea service response to threats.

    4. I'll check it out. Thanks.

      Regarding CONOPS and strategy, the problem is that it's incredibly broad and open-ended unless you have a solid geopolitical strategy to work from. For example, do we want to push China back to a minor power and keep them caged in their own borders because they are inherently evil? Or, do we want to embrace them as a co-world leader with full "rights" and responsibilities? Or, do we want to allow them a regional hegemony but strictly limited to that region? Without that geopolitical guidance, discussing strategy becomes an open-ended discussion with no resolution possible. You can easily imagine that, depending on the geopolitical goals, the resulting military strategy could take many different forms - almost infinite in its possibilities!

      Every time I've opened the blog up to geopolitical discussions, they inevitably break down into arguments between Chinese apologists espousing the brotherhood and good intentions of China versus those who want to wipe out the evil, ungodly hordes. It just becomes a back and forth, "you're wrong" ... no, "you're wrong" and produces little of benefit.

      I'm continuing to ponder how to host such a discussion that would actually be productive.

    5. "I have really been hoping for a thread to have a broader discussion of strategy and appropriate sea service response to threats."

      Perhaps you'd like to take a shot at putting together a guest post?

    6. I could put my ideas down and let others take shots at them, for sure. There are others on here who may be better informed, particularly about certain specifics, but I'd appreciate the opportunity to learn from them.

      As far as China, I see three regional hotspots, each with a wanna-be hegemony--the China Sea with China, the Middle East with Iran, and Eastern Europe with Russia. I think the approach should be to contain each of those within the region, which should be relatively easy at least initially because all three are basically land powers without a huge power projection capability, and then within the region work with allies to maintain a sufficient balance of forces between the two sides. I really don't see us building a force to penetrate Chinese A2/AD, and I don't see them being able to project past the First Island Chain. And I think we can live with that, at least for now.

  2. OT, didn't we talk about swarm drones in some other topic.

    recently found this one

    The Navy's new LOCUST (Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology) launchers fire a swarm of drones that can jam enemy communications, and waste enemy resources by drawing fire. The launchers are capable of tube-launching 31 drones in just 40 seconds. The drones can fly autonomously but can also be controlled manually.

    At just $15,000 a unit, the drones are expendable and can be used in dangerous situations. LOCUS is now in its development and testing phase.

    1. That's an old video. Someone needs to elucidate a useful scenario for small, short range drones.


      The sky is wide open for imagination.

    3. They look to be DJI drones. There I see AI control (e.g. task coordination), drone-to-drone crash avoidance, gps/position tracking, if they are bigger (automatic flying for non-pilot person, or packages, or group of them), can idea of sky-net swarm be transplanted to underwater-net swarm, or get them way high (near space) as backup gps net, or on the ground like a pack of rats-mobile, or embedded (not the mobile part, but the AI-comm) in each soldier within the squad/company like local-area-network-back-seat-reminder (or trucks, tanks..again, the Ai-comm-network). I'm kinda going off tangent here.

  3. Disturbing if true, they seem to be taking their training far more seriously than USN....the fact that they potentially just "grabbed" some ships and threw them together to see how they would fare is a great idea, very realistic and they probably learned a lot and will apply the lessons.

    1. To the best of my ability to verify, I have found the news in this particular blog to be quite accurate, perhaps more so than official U.S. Navy news which is invariably spin, bordering on fraud.

      I've also seen many photos of various land combat training exercises and I'm always struck by the degree of realism compared to U.S. exercises. Chinese exercises always contain explosions, smoke, and rough terrain. In other words a far cry from typical Marine exercises which seem to have no obstacles to overcome, no smoke, no explosions, and AAVs come ashore in perfect neat lines, ideally suited for photo ops.


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