Explosive Expansion of China Coast Guard

Informationdissemination has a post on China’s shipbuilding program for cutters for their recently consolidated Coast Guard. The build rate is amazing.

…36 cutters of 1500 ton, 1000 ton and 600 ton class were built for various provincial flotilla of CMS. Much of the building and launching activities happened in 2013 and 2014.

…2 12,000 ton cutters…, 4 5000 ton cutters…, 4 4000 ton cutters…and 10 more 3000 ton cutters…

…all the newer large cutters for various arms of the consolidated Coast Guard are installed with naval gun.

Of the 2 smaller agencies that consolidated, HaiGuan (Chinese customs) had an order for 3 1500-ton class cutter with electric propulsion and 9 600 ton class cutters.

The new consolidated Coast guard agency have since started new programs. A year ago, they started projects for Type 818 patrol vessels (3000 ton class) and Type 718 cutters (2000 ton class), HP shipyard signed for 4 of the Type 818 and 5 of Type 718.

Reportedly the China Coast Guard already has 80 cutters of 1000 tons or more, twice the number in the USCG and it looks like it is still growing. Two of them will be the largest Offshore Patrol Vessels in the world.

The decision to arm all their larger cutter with Naval guns means they will have many more ships capable of performing Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS). It also means the kind of shoving matches we have seen between China’s ships and those of other nations are potentially more dangerous.

10 thoughts on “Explosive Expansion of China Coast Guard

  1. Steel and air are cheap. And they have no problem manning them.

    The biggest problem I see in a hot war situation is these being used as a goal keepers for missiles. But if they have no effective EW or kinetic defence then the US will still be be able to “out gun” them with missiles. Nor do we know how effective their DC would be in such a situation. Actually I suspect their design won’t be that robust. A 1000 ton cutter is all very well. But if even a small missile strike is enough for a mission kill then it isn’t much of a threat.

    Looks impressive on paper nothing more.

    The USN does need to remedy its growing deficit when it comes to AShM.

    • I see them as being useful to covertly land troops at the very beginning of a conflict. They are routinely all over the South and East China Sea, nothing suspicious. But they could quickly and covertly land troops almost anywhere in the region.

      If we ever go to war with the Chinese, it will be a “target rich environment” and I don’t mean that in a good way.

      • There’s a thought………….

        What about landing troops en masse say for an invasion of Taiwan? Beaching them or even just following on once a port has been captured?


      • I think first they are most likely to try to secure all the potentially habitable islands in the the South and East China Sea. That way they can have a string of unsinkable aircraft carriers to keep US carriers way from Taiwan. They are building their first now.

        One morning we may wake up and find that all those little islets have been seized.

        If we think of the cutters as perhaps attack transports. They all have boats and many will have helicopters. They come in a variety of sizes that can be tailored to the size of garrison they need to land. The 600 ton cutters might carry a squad; the 1,000 ton cutters a platoon, the 2,000 to 5,000 ton ships one or more companies up to a battalion, the 12,000 ton ships might for short periods transport a full regiment.

      • Here is the question. How are the Chinese cutters compared to ours capability wise now and if they were uparmed .

  2. I think what we are seeing in the South China Sea is just warfare by a different means. Through economic clout, presence, and coercion the PRC is staking its claim. It’s kind of lawfare. In this conflict the coast guard ships and civilian vessels are capital ships.

    The US, its allies, and ASEAN have to decide how to deal with it. Starting a shooting war over it wouldn’t help matters or make much sense. We can’t just turn the subs in Guam loose to start sinking chinese flagged ships. What makes sense is some sort of coalition constabulary force. For it to have teeth the US has be a part of it. I would prefer to have the American contribution be primarily USCG. But the whole thing will require a complex diplomatic and military framework that has to be built from the ground up in the region. Just basing 4 LCS in Singapore doesn’t do one damn thing to change the facts on the ground. Presence has to be dramatically boosted and the members of the coalition have to have common set of goals and concepts of operation that they implement.

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