In 2021, the Chinese naval forces admitted to service 5 Type 052D/DL destroyers and 3 Type 055 cruisers, as well as , while the US Navy, for its part, will not have admitted to service any new destroyer Arleigh Burke. According to current planning, the situation will be similar in 2022, although this year 2 Arleigh Burke destroyers, the USS Franck E. Pertensen Jr and the USS John Basilone, will be admitted to service. In total, over the last 3 years (2019-2021), the Chinese Navy will have received 11 Type 052 D/DL destroyers and 4 Type 055 cruisers for only 3 new destroyers in the US Navy. This situation is far from being anecdotal in the arms race that Beijing and Washington have been engaged in for several years now, with the objective of controlling the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, including in the field of air forces.
So, while speaking at the Government Contracting Pricing Summit, the Assistant Air Force Undersecretary for Procurement, Major General Cameron Holt, estimated that China was now producing its defense equipment 5 to 6 times faster than the United States.. And to add that today, Beijing could only invest $1 where Washington had to invest, for its part, $20 to obtain a similar operational capacity. In conclusion, General Holt, who retired a few days later and in fact had a certain freedom of expression, invited his listeners to wonder about the consequences, but also the origins of such imbalances for the years to come.
The price difference between American military equipment is not, in itself, exceptional news. Thus, a J-10C combat aircraft is offered on the export market at a unit price 2,5 times more attractive than an F-16 Block 70, and a Type 054A frigate is offered for half the price of a frigate European Union of the same tonnage, such as the FDI. However, until recently, the performance and reliability of Chinese military hardware was known to be significantly lower than that of their American or Western counterparts, with lower lifespan, scalability and operational performance. These certainties are now called into question, both in the air and naval fields and even concerning land armaments, while at the same time, the new American programs continue to see their costs grow. Thus, the new light tank that will equip the US Army, the General Dynamics Land System MFP, will have a unit price of around $12 million, equivalent to that of a heavy tank like the Leclerc or the Leopard 2, where its Chinese counterpart, the Type 15 in service, was acquired in its export version for less than $2 million per unit by Bangladesh, including ammunition and spare parts.
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