Now, for me to justify why a Navy has to be good you need to look at the roles a Navy has to play and the types of ships it uses to do this:
Beach invasion, support, ability to launch air attacks during coastal invasions, protection or destruction or cargo ships, ability to control the sea
Amphibs, Battleships, Carriers, Cruisers, Destroyers and Submarines.
(If I missed any out, let me know.)
- Brief read over that, although I think it’s a very bias document.
Beach Invasion, at the present moment China’s lagging behind in its ability to invade on a beach without a decent Amphibious landing craft such as
the LCAC of America (designed by Textron Marine and Land System) or the Russian Zubr. But, with the fact Russia are willing to sell the Zubr ( as they
did to Greece) and the fact China’s pumping money into Hovercraft and the situation with Taiwan, this will be overcome shortly. (I’ve seen a
document saying they’ve ordered some already from Russia, but can’t find it again.)
Support and the ability to protect other ‘valuable’ crafts, from either Air, Sea or Missile attacks. Now, at the moment China’s slightly lagging
behind in this area. But, they’ve got plans to buy more Russian ships and increase their own fleet of Battleships and Carriers - although, at
present their air force is somewhat lacking. (But, I see this changing within 5 to 10years.)
They have also purchased at least 1 Russian Aircraft Carrier and have been having talks with France and Russia about them building several carriers
for the PLAN. This would greatly increase their ability to attack using their air force while at sea, although at the moment this is only a slight
Now, where I think they hold a lot of strength is with their submarine fleet. Although, they’re not yet the leading designers of submarines the new
Type 093 and Type 094, are pushing this advancement forward. With it claimed to be as quiet as leading American submarines and from what I’ve heard
and seen, able to carry ‘shipwrecker missiles’ and within time able to conduct tapping of underwater phone lines, etc, like the new Jimmy Carter
submarine. These newer submarines, will also make it possible to force dominance over shipping lanes and make it awkward for an attack to be launched
upon China - which is their primary role. (If you believe the PLA.)
But, the reason I think China has a good Navy is not because of the ships they have or their Air Force, but is the way in which they conduct research,
outsource, import and then advance and also the fact they seem to meet the deadlines they set, unlike a lot of other Countries. For example, they will
buy a Russian ship, say one of the outdated 1980’s line, go through the good and bad points, buy another more modern one and do the same again -
then outsource somewhere like Russia to build it for them, then once they have it fix any problems they find with the ships and set it to sail.
This process can greatly advance the ships the Chinese get, as they use both outside and internal technology - a lot of which we don’t know much
about. So, personally I see their Navy as good because they are working to advancing it when America, Russia, etc are cutting budgets to their Navy.
This coupled with China’s new found military spending (although not much at present, but it’s growing.) will help them boost their Navy which they
see as central to their armed forces.
- some links worth reading.