As China’s naval modernization program has shifted into high gear in recent years, numerous defense analysts, both inside and outside China, have rightly pointed to the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) quite obvious weaknesses in antisubmarine warfare (ASW) as a persistent Achilles’ heel of the evolving force. Although the 2012 introduction of the Type 056 light frigate, which has subsequently been produced at an unusually rapid clip, may represent a significant step toward increasing ASW prowess, there appears to be a long road ahead for Chinese development in this realm. This is made more likely given the profound paucity of operational experience in the PLAN, as well as the apparently long-time neglect of maritime-patrol aircraft and ship-borne helicopters.
Wired for Sound in the 'Near Seas'
China is deploying an ocean-floor surveillance network to strengthen its antisubmarine-warfare capability.
By Lyle Goldstein and Shannon Knight