#Wargame Wednesday – or – I only get how many counters? USN vs PLAN in 2030

scs-cover-for-web_1
Compass Games

The Diplomat recently published an article looking at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of 2030. As a modern naval wargamer, articles like this are always interesting as it gives a good “order of battle” to build scenarios for games like Harpoon 4 (Admiralty Trilogy Group) or the old Victory Games Fleet-series or best the newer South China Sea (Compass Games, 2017).

The Diplomat predicts that by 2030 the PLAN will have afloat:

  • 16-20 055/A destroyers (12,000 ton category)
  • 36-40 052D/E destroyers (7,000 ton category)
  • 40-50 054A/B frigates (4,000-5,000 ton category)
  • Approximately 60 SSKs
  • Anywhere from 16 or more SSNs (including six to eight existing SSNs)
  • Anywhere from eight or more SSBNs (including four to five existing SSBNs)
  • At least four aircraft carriers (two ski jump, two catapult)
  • At least eight 071 LPDs (25,000 ton category)
  • At least three 075 LHDs (36,000 ton category)
jiangnan_shipyard_10
Type 055 at Jiangnan SY, Oct 2018 (courtesy chinapower.csis.org)

Conveniently, blogger Chuck Hill at Chuck Hill’s CG Blog found the numbers for the US Navy around the same time. Using the US Navy’s “Report to Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year 2019” we get a USN in 2030 with:

  • 11 Carriers
  • 97 Large surface combatants (CG/DDG)
  • 41 Small surface combatants (LCS/FFG)
  • 11 Ballistic missile submarines (SSBN)
  • 45 Nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN)
  • 37 Amphibious assault ships (I think 12 big deck LHA/LHD and 25 LPD/LSD)

Chuck goes on to make a few comparisons, but no matter how you cut it the numbers do not look good for the USN. Like the 1920’s and 1930’s, the USN must sail the world’s oceans and not just the South China Sea. At best we might see half the fleet in the Pacific, and then -at best- have only 2/3 of that available. So, instead of 11 carriers we have maybe six with -at best- four available. Using the same logic for submarines is really discouraging….

All these numbers can be used to create scenarios for your favorite naval wargame. It looks like it might be an interesting match up….


Feature image Type 055 Destroyer from jeffhead.com.

 

One comment

  1. Interesting numbers, thank you for compiling!
    Makes it ever more important to strengthen existing alliances and build new ones. Japan’s or, say, Vietnam’s navy can take (limited) duties, and even more importantly, their bases can offset China’s positional advantage.
    And allies in other parts can reduce US commitment there, allowing the US to focus on the Pacific.

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