U.S PLANS BIG EXPANSION OF NAVY FLEET TO CHALLENGE GROWING CHINESE SEAPOWER
US secretary of defense, Mark Esper, has announced an ambitious plan to expand the US Navy with a range of unmanned and autonomous ships, submarines and aircraft to confront the growing maritime challenge from China.
The Pentagon chief said a sweeping review of US naval power dubbed “Future Forward” had laid out a “game-changer” plan that would expand the US sea fleet to more than 355 ships, from the current 293.
The plan, which requires adding tens of billions of dollars to the US Navy’s budget between now and 2045, is aimed at maintaining superiority over Chinese naval forces, seen as the primary threat to the United States.
“The future fleet will be more balanced in its ability to deliver lethal effects from the air, from the sea, and from under the sea,” Esper said.
The expansion will add “more and smaller” surface ships as well as more submarines, surface and subsurface vessels that are optionally manned, unmanned and autonomous, and a broad range of unmanned carrier-based aircraft.
The plan is for a fleet of ships more able to survive a high-intensity conflict, to project US power and presence, and to deliver precision strikes at very long distances, he said.