10 April 2015

China Is Rapidly Adding Coast Guard Ships, U.S. Navy Says

Jane Perlez, “China Is Rapidly Adding Coast Guard Ships, U.S. Navy Says,” New York Times, 10 April 2015.

SINGAPORE — China is rapidly building Coast Guard ships, the vessels that China most commonly uses for patrols in the South China Sea, and in the last three years has increased the number of ships in that category 25 percent, a new report by the United States Navy says. …

The report confirms recent announcements in the Chinese state-run news media that China has deployed the YJ-18, a new generation supersonic antiship cruise missile that could present unprecedented challenges to the air defenses of American and allied ships, said Andrew S. Erickson, an associate professor at the United States Naval War College in Rhode Island.

“Everyone serious about understanding Chinese military capabilities must familiarize themselves with this missile,” Mr. Erickson said.

An article in China Daily said last week that three “cutting-edge nuclear-powered attack submarines” had been manufactured by China and that one of them, referred to as the Type-093G, had a wing-shaped cross section designed to improve speed and mobility and to reduce noise. That submarine carried a vertical launcher capable of delivering China’s latest YJ-18 supersonic antiship cruise missile, the article said.

In the past, China had received antiship cruise missiles from Russia, but now China is making them at home and fielding them in greater numbers, said Lyle J. Goldstein, an associate professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute at the United States Naval War College.

“This missile, and its air-launched cousin, the YJ-12, are major threats to the U.S. Navy,” Mr. Goldstein said. “The major increase in speed makes the missile much harder to intercept.”

For detailed analysis of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence report mentioned here, see:

Andrew Erickson, “How U.S. Navy Intel Sees China’s Maritime Forces,” War on the Rocks, 10 April 2015.

Andrew S. Erickson, Navy Intel Charts Chinese Sea Change: Office of Naval Intelligence Releases First Unclassified PLAN Report in Six Years,” China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国 , 9 April 2015.