Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments > China

China’s Naval Expansion

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--- Quote ---China's Navy Is Adding Some Serious Aircraft Carrier Muscle | The National Interest - June 21, 2019

China's first two flattops probably won’t venture too far from home, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency predicted. "The primary purpose of this first domestic aircraft carrier will be to serve a regional defense mis­sion," the intelligence agency claimed in a January 2019 report. "Beijing probably also will use the carrier to project power throughout the South China Sea and possibly into the Indian Ocean."

But that could change as China’s carrier fleet expands. The Chinese navy could possess as many as six aircraft carriers by the mid-2030s, experts told state media. As many as four could have catapults.
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--- Quote ---Number of PLAN vessels to increase by almost 20% over coming decade, according to US ONI estimates
31 March 2020

China will have a naval fleet of 425 'battleforce' ships and submarines by 2030 - an increase of almost 20% over the next 10 years - according to a US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) report.

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The ONI data for 'battleforce' ships - defined as the types of ships that count toward the quoted size of the US Navy - puts the size of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as of 2020 at 360 vessels, including submarines, and forecasts a rise to 400 in 2025 and 425 in 2030. Using the same measure, the size of the US Navy is currently 297 vessels, with an aspiration to increase to 355.
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Some of almost 50 ships assembled for a PLAN fleet review held in April 2018. Source: Via Xinhua News Agency


--- Quote ---Research papers point to PLAN’s next-generation submarine technologies
09 April 2020

The PLAN's concept of operations for nuclear and conventionally powered attack submarines appears to prioritise anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW) over anti-submarine warfare (ASW), so there is widespread anticipation that the next-generation Type 095 SSN will be fitted with vertical launch tubes for anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and possibly also land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs).

One of the papers that recently emerged had been published in the Ship Science and Technology Journal in April 2017 but other research papers relating to submarine vertical launch systems date back to at least 2005, reflecting that this has been an active area of research for a considerable time.

The capabilities delivered by the US Navy's Virginia-class SSNs, initially configured with 12 individual vertical launch tubes and latterly with two Virginia Payload Tubes capable of supporting the same number of missiles, will have been studied and modelled extensively at the various Chinese naval research institutes and may influence the Type 095 design.
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The PLAN’s next generation of nuclear-powered submarines is likely to incorporate significant technological advances over the systems used by the Type 093-class SSNs, one of which is seen here. Source: Via


--- Quote ---02 September 2020
China now has world's largest navy as Beijing advances towards goal of a ‘world-class' military by 2049, says US DoD
Published on 1 September the report, often referred to as the ‘China Military Power Report’, states that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) now has “a battle force of approximately 350 platforms, including major surface combatants, submarines, ocean-going amphibious ships, mine warfare ships, aircraft carriers, and fleet auxiliaries”, compared with the US Navy’s (USN’s) 293 ships using the same measure.

Although the cut-off date for the Pentagon assessment was the end of 2019 and developments have continued apace through 2020, the 200 page-long report provides an authoritative source of timescales and numbers for a number of significant capabilities.
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Some of almost 50 ships assembled for a PLAN fleet review held in April 2018. The Pentagon said in a 1 September report that the PLAN is now the world’s largest navy. (Via Xinhua News Agency)


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