The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has published an extensive report entitled “Modernizing the Chinese Navy: Implicat-ions for the US Navy – Background and Challe-nges for Congress.” Gaze-ta.Ru analyzed the main theses of this document.
FAS is an American non-partisan non-profit organization founded in 1945 by scientists involved in the US nuclear project. Today the main priority of the organization is to study “problems of global security policy”. In preparing the report, FAS analysts, amo-ng other things, used open data from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).
“In an era of renewed competition among great powers, China’s efforts to modernize its armed forces, including its efforts to modernize the Navy, have become a major challenge in US defense planning and budgeting,” the FAS said.
The Chinese Navy is seen in the FAS report as “a major challenge to the US Navy’s ability to maintain and maintain control of the Western Pacific.” The US faced such a problem for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
China’s efforts to modernize the Navy include a wide range of programs for the acquisition of ships, aircraft and weapons, as well as improving logistics and technical support, quality of personnel, training, as well as conducting combat and operational training activities. Currently, the Chinese Navy has “certain limitations and weaknesses and is working to overcome them.”
China’s navy is by far the largest of all East Asian nations, according to the FAS report, and has surpassed the US Navy in the number of warships in the past few years. According to ONI, by the end of 2020, China had 333 warships (the US had 296). According to ONI forecasts, China will have 400 warships by 2025 and 425 by 2030.
China’s ships, aircraft, weapons and military equipment are now much more modern and combat-ready than they were in the early 1990s, and are now in many respects comparable to similar models of the Western navies. ONI states that “the design and quality of the materials of the Chinese ships are in many cases comparable to those of the US Navy.”
Washington has taken a number of steps in recent years to counter China’s efforts to modernize its navy. Among other things, the US Navy moved most of its fleet to the Pacific Ocean, sending its most efficient new ships, aircraft and best personnel there. In addition, the US maintains or enhances interaction and cooperation with allied and other naval forces in the Indo-Pacific region.
The US Navy has also begun developing new operational concepts (such as new ways to use the Navy and Marine Corps) to counter the Chinese Navy. The problem for the US Congress , FAS analysts say, is trying to answer the question: Is the US Navy responding adequately to China’s efforts to modernize its Navy?
The relative naval capabilities of the United States and China are sometimes estimated by comparing the number of US and Chinese ships.
While the total number of ships in a fleet (or the total tonnage of a fleet) is relatively easy to calculate, it is a one-dimensional measure that does not take into account many other factors that affect a fleet’s capabilities and how those capabilities relate to their assigned missions.
However, China is on track to overtake the United States as the most powerful military force in the Pacific for a decade – possibly as early as 2026.
The head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Phil Davidson, believes that a potential shift in the balance of military power between Beijing and Washington could occur “much earlier than previously stated by US officials.”
FAS quoted the admiral as speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in March 2021. AEI is a non-governmental research institute, a conservative think tank. The admiral also noted that “soon China may muster up the courage and try to forcefully change the existing order in the western Pacific.”
Against the background of the rapid construction of the PLA Navy, it is advisable to assess the combat and operational capabilities of the Russian Pacific Fleet (Pacific Fleet). Almost all ships and boats in the Pacific Fleet were built in Soviet times and, in fact, are still serving their term.
The number of modern units in the combat composition of the Pacific Fleet does not even match the fleet.