- The Pentagon’s annual China Military Report went live this week.
- The report claims the People’s Liberation Army Navy is the largest of the world, but the U.S. Navy is still the largest by weight of ships.
- Still, China continues to crank out an impressive number of warships, and it may only be a matter of time before the PLAN outweighs even the USN.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Defense claims the Chinese Navy, known officially as the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), is the largest in the world. According to the Pentagon, the PLAN has 350 battle force ships, as opposed to the U.S. Navy’s 293 ships. While the U.S. Navy is far larger by tonnage, that advantage could be erased given China’s frantic shipbuilding schedule.
Over the last three decades, the Chinese military has enjoyed double-digit growth in defense spending. The rise of the Chinese economy has allowed the country to spend much more on its armed forces without spending a greater portion of the gross domestic product. In fact, the defense budget has grown by about sixfold in the last six decades, with an emphasis on modernizing combat forces and building out power projection capabilities—particularly the Chinese Navy.