China will have about 415 warships that includes four aircraft carriers and about 100 submarines by 2030, James Fanell the former director of the US Pacific Fleet's intelligence and information said in a two-day conference held by the US Naval War College's China Maritime Studies Institute, DefenseNews reported Sunday.
During the event, which was held to discuss the PLA Navy's shipbuilding progress and challenges, Fanell said that apart from 99 submarines and four aircraft carriers, the 415 warships include 26 corvettes, 73 amphibious ships, three missile craft, and 102 destroyers and frigates.
Another expert in the event, Andrew Erickson said, "Both surface vessels and submarines seem to be largely focused on anti-surface warfare,” he further added, "That doesn't mean they're not working to progress in new directions, but it doesn't seem to have borne as much fruit that we can easily see." he added.
A lot of the anti-ship missiles equipped by the Chinese warships or submarines have ranges far in excess of similar missiles in service with the US Navy. With such a large number of long-range surface-to-surface missiles in hand, the PLA Navy is altering politics and strategies throughout the Asian theater.
"The PLA Navy will continue to expand for the next 15 years," said Fanell. Similarly, most experts and scholars attending the conference admitted that the PLA Navy has devoted more resources to develop new vessels including destroyers, frigates and submarines armed with the capability to hit and destroy enemy warships.
The PLA Navy can certainly increase the number of surge deployments and ballistic missile submarine patrols, along with continued improvements in modular construction, the use of robotics and virtual 3D manufacturing, and a growing preference for indigenous designs of improving quality, Fanell added. More carrier strike groups will also be established, he said.
China's Type 052D guided-missile destroyer may not be as good as the US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, but it is good enough for the PLA Navy since it is fitted with a vertical launch system, the YJ-18 anti-ship missile and an active array radar system, Fanell added.