Chinese Navy ready to match US fleet

TOPSHOT - China's sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning (R), arrives in Hong Kong waters on July 7, 2017, less than a week after a high-profile visit by president Xi Jinping. China's national defence ministry had said the Liaoning, named after a northeastern Chinese province, was part of a flotilla on a "routine training mission" and would make a port of call in the former British colony. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
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There is “a considerable chance” that the Chinese Navy will have seven aircraft carriers instead of four by 2025 because of defense program being developed,” according to an article in The Diplomat magazine.

The Chinese Navy plans to build three large aircraft carriers in addition to Liaoning, a ship built in the USSR before being bought and adapted by the Chinese. The ships in question are at different stages of development and construction, but Type 001A, the first aircraft carrier produced in China, has already passed the first tests at sea.

Although an addition of four aircraft carriers to the fleet by 2025 is already a daunting prospect for the United States and its Asian allies, it is possible that this number will increase to seven.

With more aircraft carriers, Beijing could equate with US naval forces in waters near China. Washington currently has 20 vessels of this type, 11 of which are super-heavy aircraft carriers and 9 amphibious assault ships.

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In addition to heavy aircraft carriers, the Chinese Navy has also begun construction of three amphibious assault ships – 40,000-ton warships of about the same size as the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle,” The Diplomat said.

“As the US Navy is increasingly dispersed between various fronts and intends to intensify its involvement in the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran, equating itself with the Chinese fleet of seven aircraft carriers … will be a very difficult task,” noted military analyst Abraham Ait in the article published by The Diplomat.

It is worth mentioning that China’s above-mentioned plans to expand its navy should be implemented in just seven years, according to the article. As the Chinese military budget has risen about 7 percent annually, the analyst points out, “the Chinese Navy has room to incorporate more aircraft carriers, both assault ships and larger conventional ships, after 2025.”

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