12 aircraft carriers, 150 destroyers and frigates, 66 SNA ..: the new plan of the US Navy finally meets the Chinese challenge

As we have already discussed several times, the US Navy's capability planning has been chaotic to say the least over the past 20 years, between reckless spending on certain poorly calibrated programs such as the Zumwalt destroyers and the LCS corvettes, and contradictory arbitrations on the part of the White House and Congress. The challenge was therefore considerable for Admiral Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, to restore order to this planning, while putting the American executive and legislative branches in the same direction, in order to take up what seems good represent the greatest challenge to American naval power in history, the rise of Chinese naval strength. After several trials and a 3-option approach presented a few months ago, the NOC finally presented the long-awaited Navigation Plan 2022, the document which represents the military but also industrial strategy recommended by the General Staff of the US Navy for the next two decades.

The least that can be said is that this document finally takes the full measure of the challenge represented by the rise of China in the military field, and in particular in the naval field, while Beijing now produces 5-6 new destroyers and cruisers every year, 2 to 3 new frigates, as well as an aircraft carrier every 3 years and 1 large amphibious ship every year, and that it is estimated that it is now possible for it to launch a nuclear-powered submarine and 1 to 2 conventionally powered submarines every year. In other words, building on the current momentum, the People's Republic of China will have, by 2035/2040, a naval force composed of 4 to 5 aircraft carriers, 80 destroyers and cruisers, 60 frigates and 20 large amphibious ships, supported by 15 to 20 nuclear attack submarines and around sixty conventional submarines to confront the US 7th Fleet Navy in charge of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. This fleet would then be perfectly sized to carry out an offensive on Taiwan, in particular the implementation of a naval blockade likely to keep the US Navy at a distance. In addition, at the same time, Russia seems determined to increase the production of its own submarines, in particular its SSGN Yassen-M class and its SSK class Lada and Improved Kilo, while supporting an effort to produce an offshore fleet composed of modern frigates and destroyers, but devoid of aircraft carriers.

Artist's impression of the NGAD F/A-XX proposed by Boeing

To respond to this dual threat, and maintain significant maneuvering capabilities in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, Admiral Gilday decided to put the problem straight to the American political decision-makers in the White House and in Congress. According to the document presented, it is indeed necessary for the US Navy to evolve towards an ambitious format capable of meeting the challenges posed by Beijing and Moscow, based on a plan providing for a rise in power over twenty years in order to to recover capacities lost since the end of the Cold War, and even far exceeding the expectations of the 3rd and more ambitious option presented just 3 months ago to Congress. The format of the US Navy would then be based in 2045 on:

  • 12 Columbia-class SSBN Baltic nuclear missile submarines
  • 12 Improved Nimitz and Ford class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers
  • 66 nuclear attack submarines and cruise missile launchers of the Virginia class, the new SSN(x) class and the new class of SSGN intended to replace the 4 Ohio performing this function
  • 96 large surface combatants of the Zumwalt, Burke and new destroyer DDG(x) classes
  • 56 “small” Constellation-class surface combatants
  • 31 large amphibious ships and 18 new light amphibious ships
  • 82 logistics and support ships
  • 150 large robotic autonomous surface ships and submarines
  • 1.300 5th generation F-35C fighters and new NGAD F/A-XX
  • 900 airborne anti-submarine platforms like the P-8A Poseidon and the MH-60R
  • 750 support aircraft and helicopters

The rest of this article is for subscribers only

Full-access articles are available in the “ Free Items“. Subscribers have access to the full Analyses, OSINT and Synthesis articles. Articles in the Archives (more than 2 years old) are reserved for Premium subscribers.

From €6,50 per month – No time commitment.


Related posts

Meta-Defense

FREE OF CHARGE
See