CHINA’s Navy is becoming more powerful as it “continues to develop into a global force”.
The country’s navy are able to project its power beyond the coast, the Pentagon’s annual report revealed. The intelligence experts added China is reaching beyond East Asia. The Pentagon believes China’s first domestically produced aircraft carrier will enter service by the end of the year.
While a third carrier is likely to join the force before 2022.
The report read: “The People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) continues to develop into a global force, gradually extending its operational reach beyond East Asia into a sustained ability to operate at increasingly longer ranges.
“The PLAN’s latest surface and subsurface platforms enable combat operations beyond the reach of China’s land-based defences.
“In particular, China’s aircraft carrier and planned follow-on carriers, once operational, will extend air defence coverage beyond the range of coastal and shipboard missile systems and will enable task group operations at increasingly longer ranges.”
China’s next carriers will reportedly have a catapult system capable of launching fixed-wing aircraft.
The report stated: “These improvements would increase the striking power of a potential carrier battle group when deployed to areas beyond China’s immediate periphery.
“The PLAN continues to build multiple new, large ships that can support force projection operations.
“The PLAN’s ability to perform missions beyond the first island chain is modest but growing as it gains more experience operating in distant waters and acquires larger and more advanced platforms.”