In this episode, Andrew Erickson joins us to discuss China’s recent efforts to modernize its navy and expand its naval fleet. He assesses China’s current naval capabilities relative to other countries and examines the future prospects of China’s naval modernization. He also touches on China’s commercial and military shipbuilding activities in addition to the evolution of China’s aircraft carrier program and its future trajectory.
China’s military budget provides insight into its expanding military capabilities. In terms of gauging relative military strength, defense budgets can be compared between countries and over a set period of time to assess overall trends.
Decades of economic growth coupled with its ongoing military modernization have enabled China to emerge as a major player in the global arms trade. Between 2008 and 2017, China exported some $14.4 billion worth of conventional weapons across the globe, making it the 5th largest arms supplier in the world.
The entry of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, attracts considerable attention from both the press and military observers around the world. It represents China’s global power for some, and a significant step towards a more assertive Chinese navy for others.
5 years after commissioning the Liaoning, China launched its second aircraft carrier – the Type 001A – on April 26, 2017. This ship features some notable enhancements over the Liaoning, and represents an important step in China’s developing aircraft carrier program.
A superpower is distinguished by its power projection abilities. Spurred by economic growth and expanding regional security interests, China has embarked on a large-scale modernization of its military, but it remains unclear if China is yet a global superpower.
China has been steadily developing ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) to complement its nuclear deterrence strategy and safeguard its national security. Despite considerable progress, China still faces a number of hurdles in fielding a credible SSBN force.