Chinese naval ambitions are revealed

On the occasion of the launch of the 19th and 20th Type 052D destroyers, and the sixtieth Type 056 corvette since 2012, several official comments Chinese authorities provide a better understanding of the country's ambitions in terms of the high seas fleet.

Thus, we learn, without this being really a surprise, that the Chinese authorities have no intention of reducing the production effort for new combat buildings in the near future. Thus, it will be necessary to expect in the years to come, the annual delivery of 3 to 4 Type 052D destroyers and Type 055 heavy destroyers, as many frigates including the new Type 054B model should soon be launched, as well as a large building such as LHD[efn_note]Landing Helicopter Dock or Helicopter Carrier Assault Ship[/efn_note], LPD[efn_note]Landing Platform Dock or Assault Ship[/efn_note] and Aircraft Carrier, to name only the large units offshore.

For comparison, the French Navy will have a fleet of 4 anti-aircraft destroyers (Forbin class and Alsace class), 6 anti-submarine destroyers (Aquitaine class), 5 frigates (FDI type), 3 LHD ( Mistral Class) and a nuclear aircraft carrier (Charles de Gaulle Class); the Chinese Navy will therefore receive every 2 years a fleet of surface area comparable to, if not superior to, the French 1st tier fleet.

In addition, several Chinese experts now estimate that each of the 6 Chinese offshore flotillas will be composed of 6 destroyers and 6 frigates, and that each of the 3 fleets will have at least 2 GAN[efn_note]Groupe Aéro Navale[/efn_note], them same composed of an aircraft carrier and its escort.

There is little doubt that the Chinese Navy is now on a trajectory to catch up with, if not surpass, the US Navy in the coming decade. If the number of US Navy aircraft carriers will always exceed that of the PLA[efn_note]People's Liberation Army[/efn_note], the US surface fleet, made up of 80 cruisers and destroyers, and 20 frigates, will be largely surpassed by the Chinese high seas fleet, which in 2030 will field 90 cruisers and destroyers, and 50 to 60 frigates.

Knowing that the Chinese Navy has, given the country's known political ambitions, no interest in deploying massively in the Atlantic, the balance of power in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean will then probably be in favor of China, a first since the Second World War.

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