The Chinese Navy could still numerically be the world’s largest after ten years with over 420 warships while the U.S. fleet could grow to 355.
Today, the Department of the Navy released the annual 30-year shipbuilding plan according to which the service plans to achieve a 355-strong warships fleet by early 2030s. The plan calls for a larger fleet of both manned and unmanned vessels above, or under the sea by accelerating submarine construction, modernizing aircraft, extending the service life of cruisers, and increasing the number of destroyers.
The 30-year shipbuilding plan is consistent with the National Defense Strategy (NDS) which recognizes China and Russia as near peer threats. The Department has realigned more than $45 billion over the Future Years Defense Program to Navy Shipbuilding and other priorities as described in the Office of Management and Budget’s fiscal framework.
A U.S. DoD 2020 annual report to Congress on Chinese military power released in September had stated: “The People's Republic of China has the largest navy in the world, with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines including over 130 major surface combatants. In comparison, the U.S. Navy’s battle force is approximately 293 ships as of early 2020.”
On December 3, Congress’s think tank, Congressional Research Service or CRS in another report predicted that China would build nearly 70 new warships by 2030, which would push the total number of battle ships to 420. Citing Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), it said at the end of 2020, China will have 360 battle force ships, compared with a projected total of 297 for the U.S. Navy at the end of FY2020. ONI projects that China will have 400 battle force ships by 2025, and 425 by 2030.
It suggested the U.S. Navy to increase planned future size of its fleet, and accelerate programs for developing new military technologies and acquiring new ships, aircraft, unmanned vehicles, and weapons; besides modernizing current equipment.