People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia

The People's Republic of China's (PRC) Maritime Militia, commonly known in the west as the People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM), is an important paramilitary force that plays a key role in the advancement of Beijing's strategic objectives. The PAFMM operates directly under the direction of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and alongside the China Coast Guard Bureau (CCGB), with a special emphasis placed on carrying out peripheral patrols, forcing the retreat of unwelcome vessels, and gray zone influence operations. Although this organization is not new, it has taken on an increased importance as China seeks to assert its territorial claims in disputed green and blue-water areas.


Structure

The Intelligence Ledger is currently working to develop an understanding of the PAFMM's organization structure. Although it is obvious that the militia is composed mostly of merchant fisherman, the exact composition of its command structure is more difficult to nail down due to recent reforms.


Vessels

The PAFMM utilizes a wide variety of fishing vessels, including several newer and older models. Although The Intelligence Ledger has identified two vessel classes below, there are hundreds of fishing trawlers in service with the PAFMM that were homebuilt and have not been identified with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) reporting names. For further information, we encourage individuals to read Andrew S. Erikson's Modern Chinese Maritime Forces.


FT-16 WAG



Although more than twenty vessels of the class have been built at Guangxin Shipbuilding & Heavy Industry Company, the class's exact specifications have escaped western observers. In Modern Chinese Maritime Forces, Andrew S. Erikson seeks to nail down a few based upon his extensive research:


  • Country: People's Republic of China

  • Entered Service: Unknown

  • Crew: Unknown

  • Deployment Endurance: Unknown

  • Max Speed: 10 Knots

  • Armament: Water Cannon

  • Propulsion: Unknown

  • Length: 60 Meters

  • Draught: Unknown

  • Beam: Unknown

  • Displacement (Full Load): 2,000 Tons


FT-18 WAG



Although more that twenty vessels of this type have been launched, particulars regarding the trawlers specifications and abilities remain unclear. Once again, western sources about this platform are almost non-existent. Andrew S. Erikson's Modern Chinese Maritime Forces offers the best base from which to build upon, although his information about this vessel is limited.


  • Country: People's Republic of China

  • Entered Service: Unknown

  • Crew: Unknown

  • Deployment Endurance: Unknown

  • Max Speed: Unknown

  • Armament: Water Cannon

  • Propulsion: Unknown

  • Length: Unknown

  • Draught: Unknown

  • Beam: Unknown

  • Displacement (Full Load): 2,200 Tons (EST.)


History

The People's Republic of China maintains a large economy, relatively stable authoritarian system, and a modernizing military force. However, it is not yet in a position to successfully compete strategically using traditional tools against adversaries such as Japan, the Russian Federation, or United States of America. Understanding this disadvantage, Beijing seeks to challenge its opponents strength by waging conflicts at the lower end of the conflict spectrum. Long-time subscribers of The Intelligence Ledger may recognize this type of hostility as gray zone conflict.

The PRC has utilized the PAFMM repeatedly in ways that falls under the category of gray zone conflict. In 2009, vessels assigned to the organization harassed the USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23), an Impeccable-class ocean surveillance ship, as it conducted hydrographic surveys of Longpo Naval Base on mainland China.


In 2014, the Maritime Militia interdicted two Philippine resupply missions to the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. The situation grew tense enough that Manila decided to temporarily halt all naval resupply missions to the shoal, choosing to instead drop the bare minimum needed for Philippine Marines to survive by air.


In 2017, nearly 275 Chinese PAFMM vessels appeared near Thitu. Once again, the Philippines were greatly outnumbered. Some of these ships remain in the area today, harassing vessels in sovereign Philippine waters are they see fit.


Recently, PAFMM trawlers have been spotted in the Pacific fishing off the coast of South America, indicating that the organization will increasingly operate far from home to support the PRC's strategic objectives.

Contact Us

Chicago, Il

nwdintelledger@gmail.com
630-345-2140

Social Media

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

© 2019 - THE INTELLIGENCE LEDGER

The views expressed by this service are solely its own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or United States government.