China’s Navy Is Outpacing US Shipbuilding Capabilities

It’s widely acknowledged that, over the past few decades, China has made significant investments in strengthening its armed forces. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undergone remarkable development, transforming into the world’s largest military within a relatively short span of time. Equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry and cutting-edge systems, China’s military capabilities have advanced significantly.

In light of these advancements, Beijing’s assertiveness has become increasingly pronounced in the Indo-Pacific region. Last month, a U.S. destroyer encountered an abrupt maneuver by a vessel from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) during its transit through the Taiwan Strait.

Just a few weeks prior, a Chinese fighter jet approached within a mere 400 feet of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft engaged in a patrol of the South China Sea. These events serve as stark reminders of the escalating tensions and heightened maneuvering observed in the region.

In addition to its assertive actions in the Indo-Pacific region, China has frequently engaged in intrusions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, often accompanied by naval operations in the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese government has consistently issued threats, warning of potential invasion if Taiwan does not relinquish its sovereignty to China. These collective actions serve as clear indicators of the increasing confidence displayed by Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party in their nation’s military capabilities.

One of the notable and concerning aspects of China’s military ascent is the remarkable expansion of its maritime fleet. Recent data published by The Warzone, sourced from the Office of U.S. Naval Intelligence, highlights the growing discrepancy between the fleet sizes of the United States and China.

It reveals that China’s shipbuilders possess an astonishing capability, producing surface warships and submarines at a rate over 200 times greater than their American counterparts.

Presently, PLAN stands as the world’s largest naval force, with an impressive fleet of around 340 ships, surpassing the United States’ count of 300 vessels. Projections indicate that this disparity is likely to expand further in the years ahead as China continues to invest and expand its naval capabilities.

Over the past few decades, the U.S. shipbuilding industry has experienced a significant decline, with the retirement of ships outpacing the construction of new vessels. The challenges faced by the Navy in expanding its fleet are multifaceted, stemming from factors such as the absence of a comprehensive long-term vision, inconsistent budgeting practices and shortages in manpower.

Experts in naval affairs caution that the failure to address these issues will perpetuate America’s diminishing position as a dominant maritime power.