China is building more warships than any other country in the world

China is building more warships than any other country in the world

A power is not such without the control of the seas. This recurring axiom has convinced China for some time. In particular, President Xi Jinping, who since taking over the leadership of the People's Republic and the military commission has focused heavily on strengthening and modernizing the army. Starting with its naval fleet. Need even more urgent given the tensions on the Taiwan Strait resulting from the visit of the speaker of the United States House, Nancy Pelosi.

Some images posted on the Weibo microblogging platform in recent days show five large ships under construction in the same dry dock, which analysts say are located at the state-owned Dalian Shipyard in Liaoning province. Precisely the one from which Xi reappeared on August 17, after the two weeks of silence for the Communist Party's armored rally in Beidaihe. Not a casual choice, that of showing up in the city of Jinzhou, since it was from there that Chiang Kai-shek's advance against the Kuomintang in 1948 during the Liaoshen campaign had its impetus.

At least two of the immortalized hulls would appear to correspond to guided missile destroyers. The other three ships are in an earlier stage of construction, but appear to be similar in size and shape to the first two. To understand the speed of Chinese naval development, just look at the numbers. According to research conducted by the Rand Study Center, in 1996 the Chinese surface fleet consisted of 57 destroyers and frigates, but only three of these ships carried short-range surface-to-air missiles. And three-quarters of its approximately 80 attack submarines belonged to the Soviet Romeo class, which entered service in the 1950s.

The 6 scenarios of an invasion of Taiwan by China From the attack on a minor island to the decapitation strike: strategists and experts have long imagined Beijing's moves to take Taipei The numbers of the growth of the fleet Chinese But in recent years, the Chinese Navy has commissioned more warships than any other country in the world. Between 2017 and 2019, China built more military ships than India, Japan, Australia, France and the UK combined. And its Navy has become the largest in the world by number of ships. Of course, it still lags behind its US rival in terms of total displacement and many of its ships need to be modernized. However, the situation is rapidly changing. By contemporary shipbuilding standards, over 70% of the People's Liberation Army fleet was considered "modern" in 2017, compared to less than 50% in 2010. China is also producing larger ships that can accommodate advanced weapons and on-board systems.

Fujian, the third aircraft carrier of the People's Liberation Army and the first with an electromagnetic catapult take-off system, was launched last June. That means more eclectic, faster, more armed aircraft launches - in line with US standards. Displacement of over 80 thousand tons (compared to 60 thousand of the previous models), the Fujian is also equipped with innovative locking systems that allow rapid deceleration on landing. According to Chinese media, she will house an improved version of the J-15 fighter, its electronic warfare variant, the next-generation J-35 stealth and armed drones. She is the first aircraft carrier entirely designed and built in China. Beijing has strongly accelerated the aircraft carrier program: it wants to have at least 6 by 2035, of which 4 are nuclear-powered. Already today only the US, with 11, has more. In the Jiangnan shipyard, work has been done for some time on the construction of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Type 004, larger than the Type 003 to which Fujian belongs: it could power rail guns and laser weapons.

In July 2021 , a team of researchers has developed an underwater drone, equipped with two types of blades designed to spin 3,600 times per minute in the water and capable of maintaining a powerful thrust. During a 90-second test flight, the Chinese drone weighing one and a half kilograms remained intact after diving and emerging from the water seven times. During exercises around Taiwan in early August, destroyer Type 052D Nanjing was filmed facing Taiwanese destroyer Tso Ying east of the island. The Type 052D has a displacement of 7,500 tons and can travel at speeds of 30 nautical miles per hour. It is equipped with an advanced active electron-scanning radar and a 64-cell vertical launch system for surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and antisubmarine missiles.

China has launched its third and most modern aircraft carrier The China has become the second largest world power in the number of aircraft carriers, surpassed only by the United States. In third place the United Kingdom, with two ships of this type, while Russia has only one The military-civil hybrid But in the Chinese naval strategy the means of the coast guard also play a fundamental role. They are the ones who have worked consistently in recent years around the Senkaku / Diaoyu, the disputed islands with Japan. And a recent law extends its ability to maneuver. It is no coincidence that Wang Zhongcai, the chief of the coast guard who presided over operations in the East China Sea, was promoted to commander-in-chief of the navy of the Eastern Theater of the People's Liberation Army. Not to mention the maritime militia, a fundamental tool for the extension of the "gray areas" and a symbol of the military-civil hybrid that makes it difficult to quantify the power of the Chinese fleet. The possible deployment of coast guard and militia boats (including fishermen's ones) is of great concern to Taiwan, with several experts calling for an update of the defense protocols to deal with the different types of boats that could cross the border in the near future. "midline" on the Strait, the imaginary border not recognized but widely respected by Beijing until Pelosi's visit, after which it is violated on a daily basis.

This is a fundamental issue for the future of Chinese ambitions . For this reason Xi Jinping, on whose thought applied to the strengthening of the armed forces a book has just been published, does not seem to have any intention of giving up the presidency of the Central Military Commission. At least for the next five, very delicate, years.

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