By Jeff Head - Last Update: Jan 17, 2009
n 2008 the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has continued to concentrate on integrating its new surface combatants into its various fleets, while continuing to introduce new combatants simultaneously...as it did in 2007 In particularly, the PLAN has added more of the new nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines, punctuating the PLAN's continued advance and improvement of its nuclear submarine capability, while continuing to build and add more new diesel electric submarines. In addition, the PLAN has restarted its new guided-missile frigate production and is continuing serial production of the very capable Type 054A frigates. The new Type 071 Landing Platform Dock has completed significant trials and integration and had its pennant number added. More of these modern amphibious assault vessels are expected.
In late 2008, the People's Republic of China officially statetd its intention to build two large, fixed-wing, aircraft carriers during the twenty teens. They will probably be built at the very large and new, Changxing shipyards near Shanghai. This is fueling speculation that the Varyag, continuing to be refitted in the PLAN's Dalian shipyards, will be launched as a trsinging aircraft in the near future.
At the very end of the year, in late December 2008, all of the PLAN planning, logistics, development, and strategy were put to use for when a PLAN task force consisting of two of the People Republic's newest and most capable guided missile destroyers and one of the newer replenishment vessels, was deployed into the Indian Ocean to combat Somali pirates that had confronted and attacked a number of Chinese (and many other nations') commercial shipping in the area. It is the first combat deployment of Chinese Navy vessels outside of its own coastal waters in the China Seas in modern times and will give the PLAN more experience in such foregin, blue water deployments. The current task force is schedule to be rotated with another task force consisting of the same class vessels every three months.