Surface Forces: The Great Asian Arms Race


November 22, 2014: There is a naval arms race going on in Asia, and it is estimated to cost over $200 billion in the next twenty years. Over 400 major warships will be built and nearly a thousand smaller patrol and support ships. The major warships will include over a hundred submarines, which seem to be the warship of choice among Asian countries concerned about growing Chinese naval power. The biggest spenders in this arms race are China (naturally, as they started it), South Korea, Japan and Australia. Every nation in the region with any kind of economy is spending on new ships and naval aircraft.

China does not yet have any kind of naval superiority in the region, despite recently putting their first aircraft carrier into service and mass producing modern (similar to the U.S. Burke class) destroyers and conventional subs (similar to the Russian Kilo). China is still having problems with nuclear subs but keeps developing new (and better than the last one) classes of attack (SSN) and ballistic missile carrying (SSBN) nukes. The neighbors can count and see China being a major regional naval power within two decades. Even then, the U.S. Pacific Fleet and American allies (which now include old adversaries like Vietnam) will still be stronger. Despite that, the Asian nations fear China’s growing strength and increasingly forceful claims on neighboring territory.



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