China has the largest navy in the world. And it’s not just getting bigger, but getting better.
“PRC” [People’s Republic of China] It has the largest navy in the world, with a total combat capacity of about 350 ships and submarines, including more than 130 major surface combatants, “the US Department of Defense’s 2020 annual report to Congress on Chinese military power told. “In comparison, the US Navy’s combat force is about 293 ships by 2020.”
By itself, the figure is somewhat misleading: while the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has more warships than the US Navy, the US fleet is ahead in tonnage due to large fleet warships, which include 11 aircraft carriers Are – which weighs 100,000 tons. .
But what happens when Chinese naval quantity is combined with technical quality? This possibility alerts Pentagon planners.
The PLAN is far from its Cold War days, when it was a poor cousin to a large grassroots army. China’s determination to forcibly reorganize Taiwan with the mainland, and its determination to replace the US as a succession of the Western Pacific, gave Beijing an enormous amount of time to improve its naval quality and Was led to spend money.
The report noted that China’s navy “is an increasingly modern and flexible force, which has focused on replacing the platforms of previous generations with limited capabilities in favor of larger, modern multi-role combatants.” “As of 2019, PLAN is made up of modern multi-role platforms, with advanced anti-ship, antiuria and anti-submarine weapons and sensors.”
China’s growing fleet of aircraft carriers has attracted the most attention. The PLAN has an ex-Soviet carrier, a newly commissioned carrier that is the first under construction in China, a third carrier under construction, and plans to build an additional four or more vessels. Equipped with advanced features such as an electromagnetic launch system, a Chinese carrier fleet can provide air cover for a spectacular invasion of Taiwan, or face the US Navy in the first carrier versus carrier battles since World War II.
But there is much more to the Navy than just carriers: Look at American carrier strike groups, and you’ll see that the flats are always surrounded by cruisers and destroyers for aircraft and anti-submarine defense. China is building a new generation of sophisticated, heavily armed cruisers, destroyers and corvettes. For example, in December 2019, China launched the sixth Type 055 Renhai-class cruiser. Renhai makes a large area of potential LACMs as well as anti-ship cruise missiles and anti-aircraft missiles. [land attack cruise missiles] The Pentagon stated that when they become anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs).
This increases the likelihood of the US fleet being overwhelmed by large-scale defenses of anti-ship missiles, including deadly new hypersonic weapons, which travel faster than Mach 5.
Along with Russia’s navy, submarines are a major element of Chinese naval strength. The PLAN is expected to create a more diesel-powered and nuclear-powered attack. China is also one of the few countries to have ICBM-armed nuclear ballistic missile submarines. In addition to its current four Type 094s equipped with 12 JL-12 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), a new “Boomer” submarine is under way. “China’s next generation Type 096 SSBN, which will likely start construction in early 2020, will be a new variant of SLBM reported.” “PLANs are expected to operate Type 094 and Type 096 SSBN concurrently and may have up to eight SSBNs by 2030.”
Particularly interesting is China’s increasing ability to launch land-attack cruise missiles, which the US Navy has demonstrated with its Tomahawk missiles on more than one occasion. This will allow Chinese surface ships and submarines to sail to major targets such as Guam, into the Pacific and beyond.
The Pentagon report states, “In the coming years, PLAN will field its new cruisers and destroyers and possibly LACMs on developmental-type 093B nuclear attack submarines.” “PLAN can also repel its old surface fighters and submarines with ground attack capabilities. In addition to PLAN’s ground-attack capabilities for surface combatants and submarines, the PLA will provide flexible long-range strike options. This will allow the PRC to land targets at risk beyond the Indo-Pacific region. “
In 2019, China launched its first Yusen-class large amphibious assault ship, which is not good news for Taiwan. PLAN is also building a variety of support ships, including oilers, intelligence collection ships, and even China’s first polar icebreaker.
Of course, there is much more in naval power than the number of ships or missiles. The US Navy has over a century of working reliably in distant waters, including carrier flight operations, merchant shipping convoys, and amphibious operations. For all its growing technological sophistication, the Chinese Navy lacks experience in these matters.
But eventually it will gain that experience. Equipped with a vast battlefield and advanced weapons, China’s navy can prove to be formidable enemy.
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