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China’s vast fleet is tipping the balance against the US in the Pacific.

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China’s vast fleet is tipping the balance in the Pacific

The Chinese navy, which is growing faster than any other major fleet, now controls the seas off its coast. Once dominant, the United States and its allies sail warily in these waters. A former U.S. naval officer says China's advances have caught America napping.

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Sources: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)


Sources: Federation of American Scientists (FAS); U.S. Navy; United States Forces Japan; United States Forces Korea; U.S Department of Defense; Marine Regions, Flanders Marine Institute; Natural Earth


Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)


A fleet of Chinese vessels escorts the aircraft carrier Liaoning, a refurbished former Soviet-era vessel, in the South China Sea in March last year. Planet Labs/Handout via REUTERS

Aircraft carriers

The U.S. fleet of nuclear powered aircraft carriers are the backbone of America's naval power. China's navy is in the early stages of building and deploying an effective carrier force, with one carrier deployed and a second soon to come.


Amphibious assault ships

These vessels, in reality smaller aircraft carriers with fighters and helicopters, allow the United States to deploy marines with their heavy equipment and support them with air power.


Missile submarines

The role of these big, nuclear-powered submarines is to patrol undetected in the ocean depths. They can launch nuclear attacks with their ballistic missiles. The U.S. has converted four of these vessels so they can fire conventionally armed cruise missiles against land targets.


Attack submarines

These versatile vessels are designed to attack surface ships and other submarines with torpedoes or missiles. The entire U.S. fleet is nuclear powered while most of China's rapidly expanding force is made up of smaller, stealthy diesel-electric submarines.



China is poised to begin commissioning the first four of its Type 055 cruisers, powerful surface warships that will boost its fleet. The first of these vessels has completed most of its sea trials.



These are fast and maneuverable warships that perform multiple roles including escorting aircraft carriers, surface warfare, air and missile defense and anti-submarine warfare. China is expanding its fleet.



China has a monopoly on this class of smaller, versatile warship that can be used for escorting other ships, air defense and anti-submarine warfare. Chinese shipyards are launching these ships at a rapid rate.



China has an expanding fleet of these smaller, missile-armed warships designed for operations closer to the mainland coast. The U.S. Navy's fleet of littoral combat ships is designed to perform a similar role.


Fast attack craft

These small, fast vessels are each armed with multiple potent anti-ship missiles. They are designed to operate in coastal waters where they could swarm adversaries and launch waves of missiles.



Edited by GKABS
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The Soviet Navy was huge and had an impressive submarine force. But it was never a "blue water" Navy. Coastal defense is a limited capability compared to controlling the sea lanes and power projection. China has a long way to go and numbers of vessels isn't the whole story. It is also the ability to operate them over extended time frames far away from home port. The Chinese may be able to improve it, but the Russian aircraft carriers have been less than impressive to date. When the Chinese are able to perform ASW well enough to prevent US Navy submarines from operating in their waters or within torpedo range of their ships, they might be useful. In the mean time, China doesn't have anything that can't be sunk overnight.

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all well and good if all the sailors and soldiers of the OPFOR are at the very least trained to a sort of acceptable level, however, most Chinese/Korean/ whatever although there are indeed a lot of them, are mainly poorly trained conscripts, and yes i know weight of numbers etc. etc etc. however, they are not very good, also their Officers, are for the most part short service conscripts too, with pretty much zero practical knowledge or experience, even the regulars are by Western standards, mediocre, their kit isn't the best either, yes its serviceable for the most part, but in no way comparable to anything the West can bring to bear.

Are they scary ? yes, of course they are ( they have weight of numbers if nothing else.) but for the most part they aren't very well trained, or equipped, dont forget most of what we see that makes us gulp, is for propaganda purposes, and does not accurately represent the actual fighting capability of the Chinese, yes there are a hell of a lot of them, and they have in the past proven to be hard fighters, they certainly gave the Japanese a run for their money !! But since Korea in the 50's not many Chinese troops  ( and I count the Navy and Air Forces in this ) have had much real combat or tactical experience. Yeah they have a lot of surface ships, but the US Submarine Fleet could eat them alive, and dont forget it wouldn't just be the US, up against them, there woul;d be other NATO forces involved should this rather unfortunate situation occur, not that I think it will to be honest, the Chinese at the end of the day are  far from stupid, why fight a physical war which you stand good chance of losing, or maybe just being badly mauled, when you can win by economic means !! 

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State sponsored propaganda by Winnie the Pooh. I think we're happy he thinks the game is still really expensive floating hardware.

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China may have a vast new navy...but...they havent the War experience the US fleet has...in conventional warfare I think the US fleet would seriously kick chinas ass...

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