- Nov 4, 2011
- Reaction score
China has 'best warship in the world' and they're building them so fast US can't keep upChina appears to be powering ahead of the US in the production of warships, with some experts now suggesting a change in the law so foreign yards can produce naval hardware for America
By Steve Houghton
- 05:01, 4 JUN 2023
A naval build-up is looming between China and the US
China appears to be steaming ahead of the US in the production of state-of-the-art battleships with the country's naval strength growing rapidly.
It follows fears about Beijing's intentions in the South China Sea and around Taiwan, which the nation claims as its own, with the head of the US Navy recently cautioning that US shipyards were unable to keep pace.
CNN has cited experts who claim that China can build three warships in the time it takes the US to build one, and comes as US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin this weekend joined military figures from across the region at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
The Pentagon estimates China’s navy to have around 340 warships, while the US has fewer than 300, and believes the Chinese fleet will grow to 400 in the next two years, while the US fleet will take until 2045 to reach 350.
Wore worringly for defence chiefs, some of the Chinese vessels look likely to have greater firepower than some of their US counterparts, with the Type 055 destroyer said to be bigger than other craft in its class.
Experts say that Washington may have to turn to allies in South Korea and Japan, who are building some of the most advanced ships available, to close the gap and ramp-up production, particularly in terms of cost.
Buying ships from these countries, or even building US-designed vessels in their shipyards, could be a cost-effective way of closing the military gap with China, they say.
Blake Herzinger, a researcher at the United States Studies Cenre in Australia said their warships are “certainly a match" for the Chinese, while Japan’s warship designers “are among the world’s best”, said Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center in Hawaii.
However, US law presently prevents its Navy from buying foreign-built ships, or from building its own vessls in foreign countries due to security concerns and wanting to protect America’s shipbuilding industry.
Schuster, Herzinger and others are among a growing number of experts who say it may be time for a change of course, with China's Type 055 being matched by South Korea's Sejong the Great-class destroyers. - named after a Korean ruler who died in 1450 - which offer more firepower and come in at about $925million (£743million) each.
CNN reported that with this one ship, the South Korean Navy can cope with multiple situations – anti-aircraft, anti-ship, anti-submarine, anti-surface - and defend from ballistic missiles,” the country’s Defense Media Agency says.
Retired South Korean Admiral Duk-ki Kim is quoted as saying: “China is focusing on quantity and price competitiveness rather than the quality of its vessels."
China appears to be powering ahead of the US in the production of warships, with some experts now suggesting a change in the law so foreign yards can produce naval hardware for America