Author: Nighthawk

In a report from the pentagon, it was reported that the Chinese Navy is now the largest naval force. China has been frantically building naval vessels in the last few years.

The Chinese Navy now have around 350 vessels in the fleet, while the US has 293 vessels. However larger does not always mean more powerful or make the strongest navy. 

The difference in size of vessels is something that needs to be considered. Many of the Chinese vessels are frigates and smaller destroyers. Tonnage wise the US Navy is twice the tonnage of the Chinese Navy due to it's 100,000 ton super carriers and its 40,000 ton large amphibious vessels. 

Another thing to remember here as well is the US definition of warship leaves out many of its smaller vessels that may not be part of the blue water fleet.

The US has 10 Super carriers, and 8 Wasp class Amphibious with its America class coming on line as well which are 45,000 tons. Compare that to the Chinese with 2 aircraft carriers which are smaller and less capable, and one LHD While Chine does have plans (that we know of) to build another 2 aircraft carriers, and possibly a 5th, they do not carry the same number of aircraft as the US carrier. And the US will slowly over the next few years be changing for the Super Hornet to the F35 Stealth 5th generation fighter.

The Chinese carrier Shandong Their 2nd carrier can only carry around 32 fighters, and 10-12 helo's compare this the US Ford Class Carrier or a Nimitz class 85–90 fixed wing and helicopters with a mix of fighters, helo's, RADAR & electronic warfare aircraft as well as transport aircraft.

One of the known issues with the Chinese aircraft carrier is the  J-15 fighter is under powered and because it uses a ski-ramp the J-15 is very limited with how much fuel and how much weapons it can carry.

The next part the amphibious  the 8 WASP and the 2 America class LHA's of the USN and depending on the mission the aircraft could be totally different  for example doing a assault onto a beach head she may carry up to 22 NV-22B Osprey, or it could 20 F-35B and 6 Helo's or even be something like 6 F-35B, 12 Osprey, 4 Super Cobra attack helo, 4 Super Stallion and 4 UH-1Y Venom... but as I said depends on the mission. the can land 1600 troops and equipment.  

Compare this to the current 1 Type 075 landing helicopter dock, although as far as we know 3 are planned. Little is known about these vessels there  supposedly comparable to the WASP class but I don't think they will carry any fighters like the F-35B as the Chinese don't have a fighter capable of STOVL But they are working on that with the J-18. (it is just a copy of the F-35b but without all the tech) So my guess would be just the helo's to land troops and a couple a attack helo's for air cover until China get this operational.

When we start looking at the other fighting ships in the fleet and compare them against the US it is a similar story. The Chinese has more frigates smaller vessels that carry less firepower than their bigger destroyer brothers do. The more missiles you can carry the longer you can stay in a fight. That is both Anti Ship (ASM), and Anti Air Missiles (AAM) and the larger cruisers may also carry cruise missiles.

If we look at a US Carrier Strike Group, consisting of the Carrier, its for escorts usually guided missile cruiser for air defense, 2 LAMPS-capable warships focusing on anti-submarine and surface warfare, and 1–2 anti-submarine destroyers or frigates. As well there is usually a attack class submarine prowing close by also protecting the fleet. we could make this a larger group if there is an amphibious operation  happening. This is not even considering the Oilers and supply ships.

While the Chinese can muster a battle group, the vessels protecting the carrier including the nosey Chinese subs and lack of experience are not on par with the US. A US carrier group compared to a Chinese carrier group, the fire power bought to the table a fully leaning to the US. While China has some impressive systems many of them have not been tested in the field compared to the US systems and equipment that have evolved over a long period of time.

There is a thing of quality over quantity or quality vs quantity. I would rather have the quality.

The Chinese vessels are on average smaller and less armed for example the Type 054A Frigate and Type 052D destroyer are in reality outclassed and outgunned by the Arleigh Burke class destroyer from the US. The US currently have 68 of these with another 11 coming. But I will admit that there have been changes over the builds, so the armament etc may differ slightly in different batches.

When we look at the Chinese Type 052D Destroyer at this stage as of 2020 25 Type 052D are planned. However lets look at the armament and compare it to the Arleigh Burke class destroyer from the US.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) transits the Chesapeake Bay on its way back into port. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class RJ Stratchko/Released)

Type 052D

Arleigh Burke

1 x 130 mm gun

1 x 127 mm gun

x1 Type 1130 CIWS

1 or 2 20mm Phalanx CWIS (Depending on batch)

64-cell Mk. 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)

96-cell Mk. 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)

  • HHQ-9 SAM

  • YJ-18 SSM

  • CY-5 ASW

  • BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile

  • RIM-66M Surface-to-Air Missile with an ASuW mode

  • RIM-161 Anti-Ballistic Missile

  • RIM-162 ESSM quad packed configuration (DDG-79 onward)

  • RUM-139 Vertical Launch ASROC

  • RIM-174A Standard ERAM

1 × HQ-10 short-range SAM 24-cell launcher

2 × Mk 141 Harpoon Anti-Ship Missile Launcher (Depending on batch)


2 × Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes:


2 × 25 mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun


Multiple 0.50cal Heavy Machine Guns 

Helicopter Most likely can carry ASW torpedo

Later batches can carry 2 MH-60R Seahawk which can hunt submarines. Carry ASW Torpedo's and ASM's

Over all even with the different variants the Arleigh Burke simply out muscles the Type 052D. The Chinese are building their next destroyer the Type 055 but even still  some say the 055 has more VLS's or launch cells with 112, but is it carrying more missiles remembering that the Evolved Sea Sparrow or ESSM is quad packed and it depends on the role or mission of the destroyer at the time depends what missile load out it will carry.

PLAN Type 052D Destroyer

Next have a quick discussion on sensors,  like Phased Array 3D RADAR's and SONAR, Laser warning and infrared sensors and datalinks to give situational awareness. With the US and we know SPY Radar, AEGIS Combat system and the various other electronic warfare systems etc, they are  proven and mature systems and has been developed over the years through experience. The Chinese systems are a little unknown, but my guess is based on Russian technology and copied by the Chinese. We don't really know to much about their sensors, really just what band the are and the very little bit of propaganda released by the CCP.

The last thing I want to touch on is pure experience as a blue water navy this is where the US Navy simply shines and out class the Chinese, the have been a full on Blue Water Navy since before WWII. Where the Chinese Navy PLAN are only starting to strive to be there. Problem is the bottled in there own back yard of the East and South China sea.

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