World naval powers

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Naval power is part of power projection which is the capacity of a country to deploy and sustain forces outside its territory. In the age of hypersonic missiles, navies are considered vulnerable.[1]

According to a video posted to YouTube by the Wall Street Journal on April 17, 2024, China has over 200 times the United States shipbuilding capacity.[2] The Wall Street Journal claims more than half of the world's shipbuilding came from China alone in 2023. The US accounted for less than 1% of that.

The Wall Street Journal stated that the US Department of Defense reported China had over 370 battle force ships, about 78 more than the US. By 2030, China expects to reach 435 ships while the US fleet is projected to stay the same size or get smaller.[3]

The U.S. Navy is the most powerful navy in the world according to "Western experts"

Below are the most powerful navies in the world:[4][5]

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. Russia
  4. Indonesia
  5. South Korea
  6. India
  7. Japan
  8. France
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Turkey
  11. Italy
  12. Taiwan

US Navy

Propaganda videos on the U.S. Navy having the most powerful navy in the world

Videos: U.S. Navy vs. China's navy wargame scenarios:

China's combat ready hypersonic missiles and U.S. aircraft carriers:


U.S. hypersonic missiles still in developmental phase:

Peoples Republic of China

PLA Navy

The PLA Navy had a 335-ship fleet as of 2019, about 55 percent larger than in 2005. Based on this expansion speed, the PLA Navy fleet is projected to have more than 450 ships and about 110 submarines by 2030.[6]

PLA Maritime Militia

PLA Maritime Militia anchored at Whitsun Reef, March 2021.[7]

The People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM) is a set of mariners and their vessels which are trained, equipped, and organized directly by the PLA’s local military commands. While at sea, these units typically answer to the PLA chain of command, and are certain to do so when activated for missions. While most militiamen have civilian jobs, new units are emerging that appear to employ elite forces full-time as militarized professionals.

Leading elements of China’s Maritime Militia have already played frontline roles in manifold Chinese incidents and skirmishes with foreign mariners throughout the South China Sea. PAFMM forces were directly involved in China’s harassment of USNS Impeccable in 2009, seizure of Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 2012, blockade of Manila’s outpost on Second Thomas Shoal in 2014, and confrontation with Vietnam over oil drilling platform HYSY-981 in 2014.[8]

Professor Andrew Erickson of the US Naval War College said Militia trawlers have been portrayed in Chinese media as armed with machineguns and carrying firearms for their crews. But these are not their primary weapons. “The ships themselves are the main weapon. Far larger and stronger than typical fishing vessels from the Philippines or other South China Sea neighbours, their comparatively robust hull designs — with additional rub strakes welded onto the hull’s steel plating aft of the bow, and — typically — powerful mast-mounted water cannons, make them powerful weapons in most contingencies, capable of aggressively shouldering, ramming, and spraying overmatched civilian or police opponents.”

Once faced with Coast Guard or military opposition, these trawlers can fall back on their fishing guise. “Their supposed civilian status would come to the fore, especially for propaganda purposes,” Professor Erickson writes. “Against the US Navy or other capable foreign forces, they would become … human shields forcing consequential choices for rules of engagement. If China wants to be treated as a responsible power, it has to be honest and open about all three of its Armed Forces at sea — the Navy, Coast Guard, and Maritime Militia — not conceal key vessels as “civilian” fishing boats”.[9]


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