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PLAN Estimated Organization, circa 2002

Until 2007, their was much discrepancy on the PLAN's organizational structure. When the DIA released the 2007 report on China's Navy, new information was released. The document laid out three different tiers of command within each fleet, and who was subordinate to each tier. The document listed all of the PLAN's flotillas and which fleet they are subordinate to. The report was very detailed about the specific types of the flotillas in PLAN. However, it did not provide the specific ships that were assigned to each flotilla. Previously people had speculated that the Chinese had many more tiers of command, others composed an organizational structure chart based on piecing information together using various sources.

One western account [SOURCE], based on Chinese accounts, suggested in 1999 that the naval forces are organised into:

  • naval ship flotillas (zongdui);
  • naval ship brigades (zhidui);
  • naval ship group (dadui);
  • naval ship squadron (zhongdui);
  • naval ship division (fendui); and
  • naval ship unit (xiaodui).

These translations are not standard [term zongdui is generally translated as column, etc] and this account suggests a rather greater hierarchy than found by other sources.

RAND reported the Fleets were organized into flotilla and squadrons, with each flotilla "organized into squadrons of the same ship-type. Under this system, a squadron is composed entirely, for instance, of Luda-class destroyers, or Jiangwei-class guided-missile frigates (FFG), or Ming-class submarines (SS), and so on. These flotilla commanders report directly to the fleet commander; the flotilla commanders for small craft such as small patrol boat, harbor, and support vessels report to the local naval base commander." [SOURCE]

People's Liberation Army Navy

Commander, PLAN
North Sea Fleet East Sea Fleet South Sea Fleet
Naval AF, NSF Naval AF, ESF Naval AF, SSF
U/I NAF DIV 4 NAF DIV 8 NAF DIV
U/I NAF DIV 6 NAF DIV 9 NAF DIV
U/I NAF DIV
U/I Destroyer Flotilla 3 Destroyer Flotilla U/I Destroyer Flotilla
U/I Destroyer Flotilla 6 Destroyer Flotilla U/I Destroyer Flotilla (Poss)
U/I Destroyer Flotilla (Poss) 8 Destroyer Flotilla U/I Destroyer Flotilla (Poss)
1 Submarine Flotilla 22 Submarine Flotilla 32 Submarine Flotilla
2 Submarine Flotilla 42 Submarine Flotilla
12 Submarine Flotilla
62 Submarine Flotilla
U/I Amphibious Flotilla (Poss) U/I Amphibious Flotilla U/I Amphibious Flotilla (Poss)
U/I Amphibious Flotilla (Poss) U/I Amphibious Flotilla (Poss)
U/I Patrol Boat Flotilla U/I Patrol Boat Flotilla U/I Patrol Boat Flotilla
U/I Patrol Boat Flotilla 11 Patrol Boat Flotilla
1 Marine BDE
2 Marine BDE



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