According to DOD, China could build several aircraft carriers in the next 15 years. China may ultimately produce five ships—for a total of six carriers—for the PLA Navy.
The third through sixth Chinese carriers are likely to be flat deck ships, like U.S. aircraft carriers, that utilize steam or magnetic catapults and would enable the PLA Navy to employ aircraft armed with heavier munitions intended for maritime strike or land attack missions.
The third carrier is the Type 002 carrier. It is in development and is slated to complete in 2020 or 2021, will be a 70,000-ton aircraft carrier with catapults designed to launch heavier aircraft.
The Type 003 aircraft carrier could be a true supercarrier, with nuclear power and a 90,000-ton displacement. It is expected around 2030.
Starting this year China will start using a new class of destroyer, the LUYANG III. These ships are engineered with vertically-launched, long-range anti-ship cruise missiles. The new destroyer will carry an extended-range variant of the HHQ-9 surface-to-air missile.
China has plans to grow its navy to 351 ships by 2020 as the Chinese continue to develop their military’s ability to strike global targets.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission is now reviewing expert proposals to provide a one-time unclassified report on China’s development of advanced weapons.
The Request for Proposals seeks unclassified, open-source assessments of specific Chinese weapons systems and areas of ongoing technological inquiry. Some detailed priority areas include:
1. Maneuverable re-entry vehicles, including hypersonic glide and supersonic combustion ramjet engine-powered vehicles;
2. Directed energy weapons, to include high power radiofrequency weapons, high energy lasers, and particle beam weapons, with effects ranging from satellite jamming to target damage;
3. Electromagnetic railguns;
4. Direct-ascent, co-orbital, and other anti-satellite weapons in addition to counterspace electronic warfare capabilities; and
5. Unmanned and artificial intelligence-equipped weapons.