Chinese to commission 36 cutters in three years

While the Coast Guard will perhaps soon be commissioning four 353 ton Webber Class Fast Response Cutters a year, and has been averaging one large cutter every two years, it looks like the Chinese Maritime Surveillance Administration (CMS) will have commissioned 36 new cutters from 2010 to 2012 including seven 1500 ton class, fifteen 1000 ton class and fourteen 600 ton class “to better protect China’s maritime interests.” This is a huge, rapid expansion of their assets. (Also the tonnage ratings the Chinese provide tend to be light displacement, so they understate their size.)

This is only one of several Chinese agencies that do Coast Guard type task. Other agencies are also building ships. These agencies use relatively few air assets, and these ships are less sophisticated. But as Stalin was reported to say, quantity has a quality all its own.

To put this in perspective, China’s recognized EEZ is 877,019 km2 . They claim approximately 3,000,000 km2 additional, disputed by other nations, or about 3,877,019 km2 in total. The US EEZ is 11,351,000 km2 so even considering all their claimed EEZ, it is only a slightly more than a third the size of our own.

13 thoughts on “Chinese to commission 36 cutters in three years

  1. Not to be an alarmist, but they are also modernizing their navy at break-neck speed. PLAN’s 134-mtr/4,oooT Jiangkai-II 054A FFG’s production alone has been ramped up. 3 units were commissioned last year, another two had been this year with another two before the year ends. They are expecting all 18 units to be operational by early 2015. This does not include their new Aegis DDG, LPD, 056 Corvette plus those FACs.

  2. China is now the industrial equivalent of the USA in the 1940’s!

    Back in WWII, Fore River Shipyard Fore River and the Hingham facility in Quincy, MA set a world’s record for the building of a carrier by completing the Hancock, an “Essex”class carrier in just 14 months and 15 days. The best time for the completion of a heavy cruiser was 20 months and 15 days. The record for a light cruiser was 16 months and 15 days. In addition, 2 LST’s were built in just 30 days and 5 LST’s were delivered in a span of just 50 hours. Lastly, Hingham shipyard was able to deliver a DE in just 23 working days from keel laying to launch. There were also eighteen American shipyards that built 2,751 Liberty ships between 1941 and 1945, easily the largest number of ships produced to a single design! Quite an accomplishment.

    It is my oppinion that China will numerically surpass our naval fleet in 15 years, but doubt they will have surpassed our technological advantage. However, lets be clear, the Chinese are pursuing superiority, in keeping with the Communist tradition of Stalin, who reportedly once said “Quantity has a quality all its own”when commenting on Russian tank production. And it is sadly ironic that Stalin also said “When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope” !

    The U.S. Coast Guard fleet has been in steady decline since the mid 70’s when I joined, and no one is going to throw us a rope since the US is too busy trying to keep its head above (the debt level) I mean water, to do anthing about it.

  3. “US is too busy trying to keep its head above (the debt level) I mean water”

    Lyrics from an SGU episode by THEORY OF A DEADMAN:

    “Try to keep your head above water
    Has never been harder
    When it feels hopeless
    You’re gonna get through this
    Head above water, gotta fight from going under
    Even when it feels useless to wish
    You’re gonna get through this”

    If you’ve got your head above water don’t forget to breath.

      • That being said, the Coast Guard has, at least, a decent tradition of naming cutter classes after something over than the first ship in the class – the WEBBER is just the most recent example.

        418′ WMSL: Legend class (lead ship: USCGC BERTHOLF)
        378′ WHEC: Secretary/Hero class (lead ship: USCGC HAMILTON)
        270′ WMEC: Famous class (lead ship: USCGC BEAR)
        110′ WPB: Island class (lead ship: USCGC FARALLON)
        87′ WPB: Marine Protector class (lead ship: USCGC BARRACUDA)

        Other examples include the Cape and Point classes of patrol boats, the Bay class ice breaking tugs, the Polar class icebreakers, Keeper class coastal buoy tenders, and the Treasury/Secretary class cutters (327′).

  4. I’ve heard the WHEC’s called the HAMILTON class a few times, the 210’s called the RELIANCE class, and the Navy kept trying to call the WMSL’s the BERTHOLF class when they were ramping up for the WAESCHE testing. It was really funny to watch the crew of WAESCHE get frustrated.

    I’m fine if we want to continue down that road but for the love of God, please start naming the first of class with the understanding that people will call it the”____” class. The BEAR class, the BARRACUDA class, and the BERTHOLF class don’t really roll of the tongue like the PERRY, TICON, or BURKE classes. It’s like naming a child, don’t give them a name that will be easy to pick on in school.

    So the story I heard with the 378’s was that we shifted the names mid stream because we changed departments and no longer wanted to name cutters as treasury secretaries.

    Second to last thought, it says something about how cheesy CGC names get when the Navy builds 87’s for the CG but decide that names like HALIBUT and SEA OTTER aren’t really very intimidating. I didn’t know there was a fish/bird named SEA DOG.

    Last thing, I heard today through the rumor mill that the puzzle palace has decided to kill any additional options on the 144’s and start missioninzing the surplus C-27’s. It’s got its own thread weighing the benefits but it sounds like its happening. Can anyone confirm?

    • All of the names of the four WPBs built at Navy expense (Sea Fox, Sea Dog, Sea Dragon, Sea Devil) share names with WWII submarines(SS-402, SS-401, SS-194, and SS-400). Sea Devil and Sea Dragon, also shared names with nuclear submarines (SSN-664 and SSN-584).

  5. Pingback: Scarborough Fair | Center for International Maritime Security

  6. Pingback: Parallel Rocks | Center for International Maritime Security

  7. Pingback: New Chinese Cutters–How Many?–Sorry, I’ve Lost Count | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

Leave a Reply to Mark Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s