Sunday, February 17, 2008

HI Superferry: China's military fast catamaran from Australia

I call this one "Chinese Dirty Laundry." Credit to (click on image for detail)

"HellCat" 022 underway. Credit to (click on image for detail)
HI Superferry: China's military fast catamaran from Australia, the fast cat from Hell.
There has been a lot of information come out in the past month on the JHSV. I will publish a survey of that. For now, I just wanted to get this out.
China's equivalent technology military fast catamaran developed by the Australian firm AMD Marine Consulting whose principals have longstanding contacts in Hong Kong. It doesn't appear to have a western name yet, so I am calling it the "HellCat," the Houbei "HellCat" Type 022 wave-piercing catamaran. There is no good intention with this particular vessel. Although, the designs AMD350PB and AMD438YS look more economical, quickly built, and cheaper than any other LCS, JHSV, or fast ferry design I have seen. This is what the Neocon's are worried about:
Australia's role in China's naval expansion
by Sam Roggeveen 2 weeks ago - Sam Roggeveen, formerly a senior analyst with Australia’s intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments. Roggeveen is now with the Lowy Institute security think tank. --

"On 4 December an obscure American naval technology trade journal called Signal published an article on a new generation of missile-armed catamarans (the Type 022; pictured) being built for China’s navy, the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN). The article was all about the tactical employment of these new ships in a Taiwan war scenario, and thrown in almost as an aside was the following:

'The Australian company AMD exports various sizes of catamarans for commercial customers from all parts of the world. From 1993 until 2000, China procured seven AMD catamarans from 16 meters long to 30 meters (100 feet) long for river, seaport or local ferry duties. AMD has a joint venture company, Sea Bus International, located in Guangzhou that refined this catamaran design. After a review of competing designs, the PLAN selected a military patrol boat design based on the AMD 350, which is markedly like the 022 in specifications. AMD is cooperating in the design with China, and French diesels may be the power plant.'"...Read rest of article here.
From the original article and navy analyst who reported this in Dec. 2007:
"Catamarans Glide Through Chinese Waters," Signal Magazine, December 2007 - By James C. Bussert - James C. Bussert is employed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia. --

"China is launching catamaran missile boats in large numbers in what might be a program to replace long-standing conventional missile boats. However, the new missile catamarans are painted in blue and white camouflage colors that are characteristic of the Chinese marines. This raises questions about the boats’ real missions—questions that might be intentionally generated by the paint scheme.
...However, the startup of production for additional 022 hulls in Dalian, Quixin and Jiangnan shipyards in Shanghai, as well as in the Huangpu shipyard in Guangzhou, changed this precept.
...No other nation has missile catamaran boats with marine missions. Western observers may have difficulty understanding a Chinese design if it does not fit their blue water or littoral mission concepts. But the number one objective of the Chinese government is reunification by bringing the renegade island of Taiwan back into the Chinese nation. If this must be done by an invasion, then gunfire support of the amphibious landing is a gap in PLAN capabilities. The ideal U.S. Navy invasion gunfire support platforms were the U.S. Navy 16-inch battleship guns and 8-inch cruiser guns that provided crushing firepower in World War II. Use of the many PLA intermediate-range ballistic missiles located in Fujian province would destroy much of the Taiwan infrastructure, which would be counterproductive. On the other hand, the small missile catamarans need only travel from Fujian province ports to the Taiwan landing sites. Their design may make no sense to Western observers, but it meets China’s most important unique government and PLAN objective. The catamaran-based missiles could be used to support Taiwan amphibious landings."...Read full article here.
On further searching, this Type 022 vessel began to be reported in 2004 and again in 2005. That is probably when the invested parties here found out about it. See the following great blog entry from an Australian National University professor:
"Australian designed missile ships for China"

"The Lowy Institute for International Policy has reported that a new generation of missile-armed catamarans for China’s navy are based on an Australian design by AMD. The US military have previously used several designs adapted from Australian fast ferry designs.

The Lowy report, released on 31 January 2008, is not exactly news, as the use of a wave-piercing catamaran hull design for "boat 2208", was reported in the blog in 2004. and the Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute, July 2005 ("Combat Fleets", by Eric Wertheim). At the time I noted the similar appearance to Australian high-speed catamarans. The wikipedia describes them as the "Houbei class missile boat" and that entry was updated with mention of AMD in April 2007:

'The Houbei class missile boat is the newest class of missile boat in the People's Liberation Army Navy that first appeared in April 2004. The boats incorporate obvious stealthy features and were first built by the Qiuxin Shipbuilding Factory at Shanghai. These wave-piercing catamaran boats numbered from 2208 through 2211 and more are planned and built. The design of the Houbei class was reportedly developed with AMD Marine Consulting, a leading Australian company on catamaran designs for fast ferries.'

Displacement: 220 ton
Length: 43 m
Beam: 12 m
Draft: 1.5 mSpeed: 36 kt
Anti-ship missiles: 8 C-801/802/803
Surface-to-air missiles: 12 MANPAD missiles
Guns: 1 x licensed copy of KBP AO-18 6-barrel 30 mm gun (AK-630) by ZEERI
Propulsion: 2 diesel engines @ 6,865 hp with 4 waterjet propulsors by MARI
Surface search radar: 1 Type 362
Navigational radar: 1Electro-optics: HEOS 300'
From: Houbei class missile boat, Wikipedia, 00:19, 23 December 2007.
The ships are produced by Chinese company, GUMECO, which has built an AMD designed ferry(YS438,170-seat aluminum catamaran passenger vessel).

The USAV Spearhead (TSV-1X): High Speed US Army Transport Ship was built by the Incat, in Tasmania and is a modified high speed ferry. The HSV-2 Swift is a similar ship from Incat, used by the US Navy, modified with a helicopter flight deck and armament. The Western Australian company Austal. is building a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) trimaran for the US Navy in conjunction with General Dynamics.

Apart from their high speed, the Australian designed passenger ferries have a low draft and large deck area. The low draft allows them to unload cargo and vehicles rapidly in unimproved ports or to landing craft. The large deck area provided potential for use with helicopters."...

posted by Tom Worthington at 7:54 AM on February 01, 2008 at:
Also see article and pictures at:
Additional articles of good coverage on this:
Aloha, Brad


leetepley said...

I checked out some of the links on “Hi Superferry: China’s JHSV fast ferry”. The fast ferry is called the “ Type 022 fast Attack Craft” and was designed by an Australian company called AMD but was built in China. The first one was launched in 2004. Over 30 of them have been built so far. Their purpose is to launch stealth missiles. The type 22 is a lot smaller than the Hawaii Superferry. I think it is not in the JHSV category.

MauiBrad said...

Yeah, this is a little smaller, but the same technology. I did notice what looks like two missle launchers toward the rear, one on each side. I guess that's what they are. Well then, this Chinese version is a real aggressive, offensive vessel. Aloha, Brad

MauiBrad said...

I'm calling it the "HellCat" Type 022.

By an Australian firm, AMD, selling this technology to the Chinese seems to have made this technology that much more necessary for the U.S. government to buy from one of the Australian JV subsidiaries, that is unless as a matter of policy Congress and DoD award the construction contract to Bath Iron Works/Rolls-Royce instead. Aloha, Brad

MauiBrad said...

I would also say, DoD is way behind on this now. The Chinese will have 30+ of these ships operational within a couple/three years. Meanwhile the involved entities here in the U.S. waste time on unrealistic commercial ventures to try and prove less effective designs for the JHSV and the LCS equivalent to the Chinese "HellCat" 022 has gone nowhere. Watch out, Taiwan. Aloha, Brad

MauiBrad said...

The following report on the budget request by the Navy. They are wasting time on overly expensive, and unproven designs and commercial ventures.

Meanwhile there will be 30+ "HellCat" 022's fast catamarans in the waters between China and Taiwan in the next year or two.

"Fewer ships in Navy’s budget request"
February 20, 2008
"The Navy plans to purchase seven ships in fiscal 2009 — four fewer than originally intended due to “technical problems” with the Littoral Combat Ship program.
The service plans to spend $14.1 billion of its $149.3 billion topline budget request for fiscal 2009, which begins Oct. 1, on new vessels.
Vice Adm. Stephen Stanley, director of force structure, resources and assessment on the Joint Staff, told reporters at a Feb. 4 Pentagon briefing that the LCS is “an example of a program we weren’t able to get as far as we wanted to” in terms of procurement for fiscal 2009.
Due to “technology that wasn’t ready,” Stanley explained that it would not be “prudent to request six [LCS] ships.” Right now, two LCS sea frames are under construction, one by Lockheed Martin and another by General Dynamics. The hulls are different designs, and both have been plagued by cost growth and design difficulties.
Rear Adm. Stan Bozin, director of the Navy’s budget office, said the Navy’s way ahead with LCS will be determined by the results of sea trials this summer.
“We will know a lot more this summer,” Bozin said. “How we will proceed has not been determined.”
Funding for a single LCS was provided by Congress in the fiscal 2008 budget, but the admiral said a contract for that ship is not likely until “the end of [fiscal] 2008 or the beginning of [fiscal] 2009.”
It remains unclear whether the Navy will purchase both the Lockheed and the GD ship designs or pursue another option.
“We have two ships in [fiscal] 2009, and how we will go forward with that will depend entirely on what we find out in the sea trials with LCS 1 and LCS 2,” he said.
Navy is still committed to purchasing 55 LCS hulls as part of the 313-ship plan, Bozin said. However, “a lot depends” on how the initial ships perform in tests this year, he said.
Cost issues with LCS are “not totally resolved,” Bozin said. Congress has set a cost cap on the sea frames at $460 million apiece. Nonetheless, Bozin said the Navy remains confident it can meet the requirements.
In the next four budgets, the Navy plans to buy another 16 LCS sea frames, purchasing three each in fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011, four in fiscal 2012 and six in fiscal 2013.
Further, the Navy wants to buy one Virginia-class submarine, one DDG 1000 destroyer, one Joint High Speed Vessel and two T-AKE auxiliary vessels in fiscal 2009."...

Aloha, Brad

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