China has largest naval force
|Objavljeno: 05.03.2021 / 20:01|
|Autor: SEEbiz / CNN|
|BEIJING - In 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping donned military fatigues and boarded a People's Liberation Army Navy destroyer in the South China Sea.|
Spread out before him that April day was the largest flotilla China had ever put to sea at one time, 48 ships, dozens of fighter jets, more than 10,000 military personnel.
For Xi, the country's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, the day was a way point to a grand ambition -- a force that would show China's greatness and power across the world's seven oceans.
"The task of building a powerful navy has never been as urgent as it is today," Xi said that day.
China was already in the midst of a shipbuilding spree like few the world has ever seen. In 2015, Xi undertook a sweeping project to turn the PLA into a world-class fighting force, the peer of the United States military. He had ordered investments in shipyards and technology that continue at pace today.
By at least one measurement, Xi's plan has worked. At some point between 2015 and today, China has assembled the world's largest naval force. And now it's working to make it formidable far from its shores.
In 2015, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) had 255 battle force ships in its fleet, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).
"China's navy battle force has more than tripled in size in only two decades," read a December report by the leaders of the US Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
"Already commanding the world's largest naval force, the People's Republic of China is building modern surface combatants, submarines, aircraft carriers, fighter jets, amphibious assault ships, ballistic nuclear missile submarines, large coast guard cutters, and polar icebreakers at alarming speed."
Some of those will be the equal or better of anything the US or other naval powers can put in the water.
"The PLAN is not receiving junk from China's shipbuilding industry but rather increasingly sophisticated, capable vessels," Andrew Erickson, a professor at the US Naval War College's China Maritime Studies Institute, wrote in a February paper.
Those include ships like the Type 055 destroyer -- which some analysts say betters the US Ticonderoga-class cruisers for firepower -- and amphibious assault ships that could put thousands of Chinese troops near foreign shores.
The US Navy still fields more tonnage -- bigger and heavier armed ships like guided-missile destroyers and cruisers -- than China. Those ships give the US a significant edge in cruise missile launch capability.
The US has more than 9,000 vertical launch missile cells on its surface ships to China's 1,000 or so, according to Nick Childs, a defense analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
You can't have the world's largest navy if you can't build a lot of ships. China gives itself that ability by being the world's largest commercial shipbuilder.
|Tagovi: China navy, Xi Jinping, US Office of Naval Intelligence, Chinese army, US Navy, Peoples Liberation Army Navy|
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