South China Sea thoughts?

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Fifteen sailors received minor injuries when the USS Connecticut collided with an object on Saturday while it was operating in waters around the Spratly Sea.

USS Connecticut's nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational, but it is unclear yet what the level of damage on the hull is and if there are any leakages.


The 108 meter long USS Connecticut SSN-22 is the second boat of the three Seawolf Class submarines and is commissioned on 11 December 1998.

 
Last edited:

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member

It is actually pathetic that the Indonesian coastguard and navy did nothing and that the Indonesian government even didn't send protests about the chinese vessel surveying in Indonesia's EEZ.

Anyway the surveillance work seems to be disrupted now.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
The Indonesian government may have sent a protest note which has not been publicly announced. Or it may have used back channel means to voice its displeasure.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
The Indonesian government may have sent a protest note which has not been publicly announced. Or it may have used back channel means to voice its displeasure.
Well....we are now one month further since the chinese start to survey there actively, and they still doing that shamelessly.
So the Indonesian government did send some silence protests and do not dare to do anything else, or they didn't protest at all.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
the Indonesian government did send some silence protests and do not dare to do anything else, or they didn't protest at all.
One bright side on this for Indonesian defense infrastructure, is the push to give more money related to defense or Maritime constabulary duties in Natuna.


That close to USD 900 Mio only for Natuna's water defensive infrastructure. For me the good thing is that money will be half for TNI infrastructure in Natuna and other half for Bakamla/Coast Guard. Around USD 450 Mio can improve their patrolling capabilities including (based on what they used for building 1 110m, and 3 80m OPV), doubling the number of those OPV.

The 'silence' dispute between Indonesia and China is in North Natuna waters. Yes seems TNI-AL and Bakamla only shadowing the activity of those Chinese Coast Guard and research vessels. At same time Indonesia still moving forward on doing exploration on Gas in that water.

This's in my opinion is more matter than just protesting. We know China doesn't care on any protest. Perhaps it's better not to protest as long as Indonesia keep the presence in that water either by continues patrolling and doing commercial exploration of natural gas or oil or even fishing on those waters.

In my opinion it's giving more suitable answers to PRC mentalities, rather than just doing 'protesting' that come only to PRC deaf ears.

We have to thanks China on this. Before this (as example), the Political circles believe typical Corvettes and Light Frigates are enough for TNI-AL for one thing. 50-60m OPV are enough for Bakamla. Chinese continues intrusion for one thing give incentives for Political circles for Investment on more 'proper' defense infrastructure.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Those islands are more useful in pre-conflict times, where pressure can be applied to nations that can't seriously threaten them.
In addition to the strong political message they send but showing that China will do what it needs to, the islands form a vital part of China's contested zone and if long range ASMs are deployed, will play a part in denying the USN the ability to deploy in the area, until such a time when the islands can be neutralised.

My opinion is that in addition to placing pressure on the other smaller, less powerful claimants, the islands are also intended to send a clear message to the U.S. - the islands better enable the PLAN to sustain ops in the area. Being able to have naval ships and docking facilites in the area plays some part in easing Chinese concerns about the vulnerability of the sea lanes which stretch all across to the Middle East, which ships carrying China's oil are dependent on. The Chinese are fully aware that a Tomahawk strike or a blackade will neutalise the islands but in pre conflict times [as you pointed out] they play an extremely vital role.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
The eventual entry into service of the LCSs and up arming the Kedah class will be welcomed by the RMN but it still doesn't change things with regards to Chinese intrusions. Extra assets will be a boost, improving the RMN's ability to monitor and intercept intrusions but the fact remains that the Chinese will still keep coming. This is a major problem faced by various countries.
1. I think it is important for the Malaysian Navy to bring forces to the mix or at least provide over the horizon over watch for the MMEA, in the South China Sea. Other friendly navies don’t want to end up protecting Malaysian MMEA vessels — as we are not in the business of helping Malaysia enforce its sovereign claims (that are disputed by the Chinese). The way around it is for our navy to help your navy (who is guarding your MMEA vessels).

2. The joint force concept means civil agencies front the challenge but the military provide the armed over watch — or at least the is the way Singapore operates. For any intrusion into Singapore waters, the police coast guard, if they can get there first, mount the challenge to our sovereignty with high speed passes. The 8 Littoral Mission Vessels and 4 Sentinel-class Maritime Security and Response Vessels provide armed over watch — which theoretically can be over the horizon with a UAV. All civil responses, including 2 tugs, are coordinated through the navy.

3. With regard to disputes in the South China Sea, what we want is to complicate matters for the PLA(N), who is providing armed over watch for their coast guard vessels, who are in turn there to protect Chinese maritime militia, who are there to ram your vessels from a civil agency. Once the Chinese engages in ramming as a tactic, the MMEA vessel must be prepared that the Chinese will shoot, just as the North Koreans did on 15 June 1999 and on 29 June 2002. South Korean patrol boat PKM-357 (Chamsuri-class vessel) succumbed to damage and sank in the 2002 battle — with 6 killed and 18 wounded — when it was hosting the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

4. If Malaysia relies on the MMEA alone, then the country is not able to protect its EEZ from PLA(N) intrusion — without armed over watch, it is simple for the Chinese in just a simple escalation of force step, change the sea situation picture in 15 minutes or less.
(a) Given that the Malaysian Navy is over matched by any PLA(N) task force the Chinese choose to send — working with other like minded navies via joint patrols, cross decking, bilateral and multilateral exercises — will reduce the likelihood of escalation by the Chinese.​
(b) Even the dreamy TNI AL are waking up to the reality that they can’t go it along to meet a PLA(N) task group intent on enforcing their 9-dash line claim. Which means Malaysian or Indonesian EEZ claims are just disputed claims for the PLA(N). Both Malaysia and Indonesia need to understand that the PLA(N) does not respect your navy’s capabilities. They are however concerned with international ramifications, if they attack your navy in close proximity to an international naval exercise or in the presence of another navy that can verify the armed act of hostility.​

5. Exercise Bersama Gold 2021 is a Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) tri-service exercise involving assets and personnel from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom — with the participation of 2600 personnel, 10 ships, one submarine, six maritime helicopters, three maritime patrol aircraft, 25 fighter aircraft, two support aircraft, and a G550 CAEW for command and control. As part of Bersama Gold 2021, a flypast and naval vessel display will be livestreamed on the Ministry of Defence's social media platforms on 18 October at 1200hrs (Singapore Time). The Naval vessel display will feature Australia's HMAS Canberra, Malaysia's KD Lekiu, New Zealand's HMNZS Aotearoa, Singapore's RSS Steadfast, and the United Kingdom's HMS Diamond.

6. The Bersama Gold 2021 exercise is an enlarged biennial Bersama Shield exercise but was renamed to Gold to reflect the 50th anniversary of the FPDA. The exercise is held mostly in the South China Sea between the coasts of Malaysia and Singapore, where participating nations will conduct anti-air and anti-submarine exercises, gunnery firings and maneuvering drills. Air forces from the FPDA member-nations will perform air defense exercises over the airspace of West Malaysia and support the maritime component in anti-submarine exercises; and this also marked the first field exercise for the FPDA since 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic reducing drills to command post exercises held virtually.

7. According to Euan Graham, the FPDA is the Cinderella of Southeast Asian defence engagements. Often overlooked as an anachronism, including in member countries, the FPDA’s understated value is well understood by officials and military professionals on the inside. The limited visibility of the FPDA within member countries is not a problem for as long as the political will exists to maintain it. Three significant issues that weigh on the FPDA’s long-term survival.

One, the biggest risk in this regard is that Malaysia’s commitment to the FPDA wanes because of a lack of political support, due in part to ignorance of the arrangements.​
Two, Malaysia and New Zealand have fallen so far behind Australia, the UK and Singapore that the FPDA is now a two-tier grouping in capability terms. Ostensibly, the FPDA is an even partnership across the five signatories. But militarily it is in danger of becoming the ‘3+2’ defence arrangements.​
Three, potential for enlargement periodically surfaces as a question for the FPDA. There is zero appetite for this from the two Southeast Asian members, who fear it will dilute the foundational commitment to defending Malaysia and Singapore. This conservatism competes in tension with the desirability of cross-bracing the FPDA to other countries and structures in the region.​
 
Last edited:

Bob53

Active Member
In addition to the strong political message they send but showing that China will do what it needs to, the islands form a vital part of China's contested zone and if long range ASMs are deployed, will play a part in denying the USN the ability to deploy in the area, until such a time when the islands can be neutralised.

My opinion is that in addition to placing pressure on the other smaller, less powerful claimants, the islands are also intended to send a clear message to the U.S. - the islands better enable the PLAN to sustain ops in the area. Being able to have naval ships and docking facilites in the area plays some part in easing Chinese concerns about the vulnerability of the sea lanes which stretch all across to the Middle East, which ships carrying China's oil are dependent on. The Chinese are fully aware that a Tomahawk strike or a blackade will neutalise the islands but in pre conflict times [as you pointed out] they play an extremely vital role.
Why do you need to go to the Western Pacific to conduct an Ocean blockade on China? Wouldn't the bulk of cargoes... particularly oil be tagged with a destination and could be stopped as it left or before it left the gulf region? Why do it under their Anti Access umbrella? China is surrounded by mostly American allies. Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the Phillipines. It really would not be too hard to narrow down who a cargo in that region is intended for unless they want to start offloading in Cambodia or Vietnam.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Why do you need to go to the Western Pacific to conduct an Ocean blockade on China? Wouldn't the bulk of cargoes... particularly oil be tagged with a destination and could be stopped as it left or before it left the gulf region? Why do it under their Anti Access umbrella? China is surrounded by mostly American allies. Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the Phillipines. It really would not be too hard to narrow down who a cargo in that region is intended for unless they want to start offloading in Cambodia or Vietnam.
It's not just a matter of stopping the shipping which in any case would either A. Require the entire world to work with or B. Base a naval ship off of every port in the world but also the PLAN.

Blockades achieve two things, stops supplies going in and the enemy fleet getting out.

Even ignoring the Chinese fleet and trying to stop Chinese trade from the source realistically how hard would it be for ship A. To say it's sailing to northern Vietnam and just duck across into china, not very especially if said ship is Chinese owned and crewed.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
The plan is for the MMEA, to be the main agency in safeguarding Malaysia's EEZ against intrusions by foreign non military assets but with the RMN always in the background to assist if required. On the importance placed in the South China Sea, note the great efforts the RMN has made in steadily developing a shore support infrastructure at Sepanggar to cater to both surface ships and subs. On top of that certain steps taken have significantly the SA available to commanders in Sabah. It goes without saying that a lot more remains to be done.

The government is acutely aware that the underesourced RMN would be unable to contain things should China increase the tempo or frequency of its intrusions, yet there is no expectation that external help will be available if things turn hot, nor is there any expectation that others might be in the "business" of helping safeguard MMEA ships. From what I have been told various offers have been received from certain foreign countries to provide certain types of assistance but due to political reasons were politely declined. Malaysia also fully understands and is under no illusion that if China wanted to play rough, the RMN would not present a huge problem to the PLAN, often plays games with even the USN and JMSDF. "Respect" only goes so far, the RMN could have its budget increased by a factor of 10 but the PLAN would still go head to head against it if required.

On the FPDA both the political and military are highly aware of its significance and fully understand the role it plays. This has not changed in decades. Despite Malaysia's status as a non aligned country, it still plays host to a pernanent Aussie presence at Butterworth, an important point to take note of. There is a realisation that the FPDA is not and never will be a panacea or that Malaysia can't have unlimited faith in it but that it plays a very vital role in the larger scheme of things - same goes with the country extensive and deep rooted bilateral defence ties with Australia and the U.S. which Malaysia downplays to an extent. There is no sign of interest in the FPDA waning or any signs that Malaysia is realigning itself in any way [I've touched on this before].

Unsuprising that Malaysia [I won't comment on New Zealand] has fallen behind in capability compared to its FPDA partners, not only do Malaysian polticians have a reluctance to spend more than what's felt to be absolutety needed [the focus has traditionally been on national development, healthcare and education], plus the fact that other FPDA nembers comprises of Britain a NATO nuclear armed member which has various global obligations and has to maintain certain capabilties in line with being the U S's closest partner, Australia a U.S. treaty linked ally which takes certain possible threats extremely seriously and needs to operate alongside the
U.S. and Singapore a small island nation with no strategic depth, has access to international sea lanes which have to past through choke points which on paper can be easily disrupted and is surrounded by much larger neighbours with much larger populations, with which it has had issues with in the past - on top of that is the rapidly changing and fluid geo poltical environment. After decades of being used to being the unchallenged hegemon, now there is China.

The FPDA is indeed a Two Tier grouping but I would argue that it always has been and so is NATO, with respect to the varying capabilties offered by its various members. So was the Warsaw Pact and SEATO. In the case of the FPDA this may be less of an issue as it's a non binding grouping, there being slight differences to what individual members can offer or contribute. Lest we forget, the FPDA was aimed at 2 primary purposes - to deter or disuade Indonesia from another round of hostilities after the Confrontation and to serve as a platform for Malaysian/Singapore defence cooperation after the Brit withdrawal from the region.

Historical factors [including the role the MAF has long played in society] determines why the majority of Malaysians are united on the need not to overly spend on defence. Whether the country eventually reaches a point where it regrets its indifference towards defence remains to be seen - if it happens it will have nobody to blame.

The challenge for the MAF is to have some level of [limited] capability to deal with a variety of threats in line with the country's threat perceptions, whilst only actually being able to focus on the threats [state and non state] which are seen as the most likely and those it can realistically deal with, in line with its strenghts limitations. Rightly or wrongly defence planners have traditionally viewed the possibility of a full state on state protracted attritional based and high intensity conflict with an immediate neighbour as extremely unlikely.

.
 
Last edited:

AndrewS

New Member
I don’t think that the SCS island bases pose a strategic problem.
I’m optimistic enough to think that the first targets in any hot war will be those islands, easy to target, vulnerable to damage hard to defend.
They are tactical pawns in the long term CCP thrust into SE Asia causing maximum attention and angst in the grey zone but of no real strategic value.
IMHO naturally.
Unless you conduct an amphibious assault and capture those islands, they can be resupplied with SAMs, radars, surveillance systems and airbase repairs

That will allow Chinese seaborne trade to continue onwards towards ASEAN and intermingle with everyone elses

And will there be spare amphibious forces and Tomahawks for these islands, given that they are secondary to Taiwan?
 
Last edited:

AndrewS

New Member
I'm surprised some of those "island" bases have survived a couple of typhoon seasons. They must be expending considerable effort retaining the sediment that they dredged to form them.
Vietnam tried to build their own reclaimed islands in the South China Seas. CSIS photos show they were destroyed during construction by typhoons

Also remember that China does a huge amount of land reclamation near the Chinese mainland. That builds expertise.
And it's the reason why China had so many sand dredgers available when they wanted to build those islands.
 

aussienscale

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Vietnam tried to build their own reclaimed islands in the South China Seas. CSIS photos show they were destroyed during construction by typhoons

Also remember that China does a huge amount of land reclamation near the Chinese mainland. That builds expertise.
And it's the reason why China had so many sand dredgers available when they wanted to build those islands.
Except China's "expertise" has counted for zero when they are already sinking and having issues !!
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Unless you conduct an amphibious assault and capture those islands, they can be resupplied with SAMs, radars, surveillance systems and airbase repairs

That will allow Chinese seaborne trade to continue onwards towards ASEAN and intermingle with everyone elses

And will there be spare amphibious forces and Tomahawks for these islands, given that they are secondary to Taiwan?
No not in any effective capacity. Your talking trying to replace a potentially destroyed capability during war time outside of China's land based assets to support them. They may have rushed to build them but largely haven't gone much further because they realised that they are too far away to support in wartime.

Vietnam tried to build their own reclaimed islands in the South China Seas. CSIS photos show they were destroyed during construction by typhoons

Also remember that China does a huge amount of land reclamation near the Chinese mainland. That builds expertise.
And it's the reason why China had so many sand dredgers available when they wanted to build those islands.
They do to such an extreme level of skill they are starting to upgrade the islands into submarines ;)
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Unless you conduct an amphibious assault and capture those islands, they can be resupplied with SAMs, radars, surveillance systems and airbase repairs

That will allow Chinese seaborne trade to continue onwards towards ASEAN and intermingle with everyone elses

And will there be spare amphibious forces and Tomahawks for these islands, given that they are secondary to Taiwan?
Those islands don't require an amphibious assault to be neutralised. There are other ways of neutralising them, such as by long range strike.
Vietnam tried to build their own reclaimed islands in the South China Seas. CSIS photos show they were destroyed during construction by typhoons

Also remember that China does a huge amount of land reclamation near the Chinese mainland. That builds expertise.
And it's the reason why China had so many sand dredgers available when they wanted to build those islands.
It takes more than sand dredgers for an island to keep. It shows that you know very little, if anything, about shallow water sediment transport processes especially within to land reclamation.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Unless you conduct an amphibious assault and capture those islands, they can be resupplied with SAMs, radars, surveillance systems and airbase repairs

That will allow Chinese seaborne trade to continue onwards towards ASEAN and intermingle with everyone elses

And will there be spare amphibious forces and Tomahawks for these islands, given that they are secondary to Taiwan?
They can easily be neutralised by a variety of sources.
Landing a force on the island bases is not one of them.
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
This thread is getting a little off topic - the Chinese constructs in the SCS have little to do with the ADF in the present day; and as Assail has implied, little potential impact on the ADF in the future. In any case, such discussion, if it must be had (and it does seem rather profitless), belongs in the SCS, China Geopolitical or ASEAN relevance threads.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Good day folks

As noted by spoz this thread is going off topic and some of the posts appear to be more fan than fact. Back to the ADF please.

alexsa
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
This thread is getting a little off topic - the Chinese constructs in the SCS have little to do with the ADF in the present day; and as Assail has implied, little potential impact on the ADF in the future. In any case, such discussion, if it must be had (and it does seem rather profitless), belongs in the SCS, China Geopolitical or ASEAN relevance threads.
Thanks for highlighting the thread pollution, for Moderator action. All SCS discussions in the ADF thread moved to the SCS thread.
 
Last edited:
Top