Foreign media: China to build a super navy of 500 vessels

China Military
Huang Panyue

BEIJING, Feb. 9 (ChinaMil) -- The website of Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) of Britain recently reported that compared with economic prospects, the future of China's military development is clearer and more certain.

The People' Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is working hard for its ambition to have 500 warships, including aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, amphibious ships and the burgeoning frigates and destroyers forces.

Just in the past three weeks, China's latest destroyers and frigates have been commissioned and discussions over its new carrier-based aircraft are heated.

The PLA Navy is going through changes in the strength structure at a fast pace that has never been seen in any navy across the world history.

The report said that in comparison, the US navy remains the No.1 in the world, and their new president Trump pledged during the election campaign to increase the US navy's number of vessels to 350.

"We need to look out for a Chinese navy with 500 vessels," Captain James E. Fanell, former director of Intelligence and Information Operations for the Pacific Fleet, and Scott Cheney-Peters, commander of land operations of the US Naval Reserve, said in their recent article on Wall Street Journal that the US navy needs more warships.

More importantly, it needs more reliable deterrent force to counter China's challenge to the international order on the sea.

Sponsored by the United States Naval Academy, the two of them (Captain James E. Fanell and Scott Cheney-Peters) completed their analysis of the PLA Navy's shipbuilding status last month.

They predicted that by 2030, the Chinese PLA Navy will have more than 430 large surface warships and nearly 100 submarines, achieving a vessel scale and combat force far superior to the US navy in the combat area.

The PLA Navy will maintain a steady speed of military shipbuilding in the next 15 years because Chinese shipbuilding industry is technically capable of building high-end naval vessels, including the capability of complicated design and systematic integration.

The platforms and weapon systems fitted on naval vessels are getting increasingly sophisticated and China has successfully and continuously explored and expanded naval operations. Statements made by Chinese officials proved that they wanted to create and use a modern global navy.

The article on RUSI website also said that China didn't take the sea as a domain to be contested before the 1980s, but adopted a strategy of coastal control at that time.

When Admiral Liu Huaqing was the PLA Navy commander between August 1982 and January 1988, China's view of the sea changed and the mega-design to take the lead in the Pacific Ocean emerged. On that basis, the PLA Navy has grown at a spectacular pace when Admiral Wu Shengli was the navy commander.

The article stated that the simultaneous development of floating nuclear power stations, permanent military base in the South China Sea and the full deployment of the Beidou navigation satellite system are giving China competitive edges on the sea.

It also said that Washington changed the tune toward China after Trump took office, but China responded firmly and resolutely.

The official statements from China displayed confidence, which was partly attributed to the continuous economic growth and partly to its military forces that can quickly change the regional situation.

Both Captain James E. Fanell and Scott Cheney-Peters believed that going forward, the PLA Navy will have multiple carrier battle groups, reliable capability of launching ballistic missiles from submarine and strong surface vessels.



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