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The Rise of China’s Navy

PLANS Nanchang underway. By 日本防衛省・統合幕僚監部 – https://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2021/press_pdf/p20210427_01.pdf, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=104490582

A follow up to last week’s post on China’s defense budget…

What is more remarkable than the size of the fleet is the rapidity of the expansion. Only a handful of the warships currently in service were constructed prior to 2000.  Thirty-six of China’s forty destroyers have entered served this century, along with thirty-eight of its forty-three frigates. Although Liaoning (China’s first aircraft carrier) was laid down in the 1990s, she and her sister were both completed in the last decade. By next year, three brand new 40000 ton amphibious assault ships will have entered service; by 2024, the first domestically-designed aircraft carrier will enter service.

Here’s a piece I wrote about the naval balance of power back in 2007. There are some things that hold up, including contempt for the idea that the US Navy was going to dwindle, and ruminations on the importance of allies. But… I definitely did not foresee that China would successfully undertake a crash building program that would make it competitive with the USN by 2021. “The United States Navy will continue to dominate the world’s oceans and littorals for at least the next fifty years” has not aged well…

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