China Navy Versus the US Navy Now and Through 2030

China’s Navy now outnumbers the US Navy by 300 ships to 287 ship. The US ships are still much larger and more powerful and about 100 of China’s ships are coastal frigates and corvettes. The frigates and corvettes are really a stronger Coast Guard. China needs a stronger coast guard because of the many ships of Japan, India, and Russia.

The US has 105 aircraft carriers or Destroyers versus 39 for China. The US has 20 large and small aircraft carrier ships versus two for China.

China matches the US in the number of submarines at nearly 80, but about two-thirds are diesel submarines. China now has mostly converted to modern ships and submarines.

China’s main naval advantages are
* they make 36% of the world’s commercial ships. Number two is South Korea at 34% and Japan at 20%
* China is building about ten more naval ships per year than the USA.
* China is building more big ships including aircraft carriers

Commercial Shipping and Commercial Nuclear Dominance by 2030

A significant potential game-changer would be if China furthered developed the ability to mass produce quality commercial ships and combined it with mass-production of small modular nuclear reactors. Small modular reactors would enhance island military bases security by reducing supply chain vulnerability and enable a rapid enhancement of submarines and ships to full nuclear or hybrid nuclear capability.

The US military has a long-term vulnerability if there is a very weak commercial US shipping industry and a very weak commercial US nuclear industry.

Container throughput in China will reach 505 million TEUs by 2030. They will make three super container hub ports will be formed in Shanghai, Qingdao and Hong Kong, and Chinese firms will become global container terminal operators.

In 5-8 years, China should have the largest commercial shipping fleet. They should pass Japan for number two in world shipping in 2021.

World Navies Now

China is vastly inferior to the US ability to project military power around the world. However, China does have fortified islands and a lot of anti-ships missiles. This means that China can be very competitive in any regional conflict scenario around the South China Sea or Taiwan.

The US would still win clearly win any conflict now or even twenty years from now but the cost of victory and the time it would take would be big and escalate to huge.

China’s Navy is getting to a clear number two position. Which is significant to exceed the British (75 hulls), Russian (87 hulls) or Japanese (44 hulls) Navies.

Expected Ships for China’s Navy by 2030

By 2030, China’s Navy will have over 530 ships while the US might have 300-330 ships. The US will increase ships only if they lengthen the lives of older ships and get some additional budget for new shipbuilding and for more naval personnel.

China will build three 4000 ton frigate class ship each year. They will have 24 054Bs launched and up to 20 commissioned by 2030.

By 2030, China will have around forty 7,000 ton destroyers (052C/D/E) in service and about twenty 12,000 ton destroyers (055/A). Additional destroyers will likely be commissioned and bought after 2030.

By 2030, China could have 30-40 new nuclear submarines. They could be launching for three to four per year. China might then have over 100 submarines in the fleet and half could be nuclear.

China should have five to six carriers in service by 2030 and two to three could have size, airplane capacity and electromagnetic launch systems to compete with 11 top notch US aircraft carriers.

China will have beefed up amphibious assault fleet. They could have twelve LPDs (Landing Platform docks) and five to six LHDs (landing helicopter docks) by 2030. This would be significant if they wanted to land troops on Taiwan.

SOURCES – the Diplomat, China Power CSIS
Written By Brian Wang,