Special Report

The Most Common Ships and Submarines in China's Navy

China has risen to a global military and economic power in recent decades, and nowhere is that more evident than in its Navy. The World Directory of Modern Military Warships’ directory reports the People’s Liberation Army Navy totals 417 active warships featuring attack, defense, and support vessels. 

To identify the 34 classes of vessels that make up the ships and submarines of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, 24/7 Wall St. referenced military data site WDMMW’s directory of all active ships in the Chinese navy. The ship and submarine classes are ranked in order of the number of vessels currently in active use by the navy. Any ships on order were excluded, as were smaller patrol vessels, auxiliary/survey ships, replenishment, and historical ceremonial types.  

Submarines and corvettes, a smaller version of a warship class below frigate, make up most of the Chinese navy’s fleet, at 72 and 71 ships, respectively. China also has three aircraft carriers, 49 mine warfare vessels, 44 frigates, and 42 destroyers. For shoreline defense and deterrence, China can launch 127 offshore patrol vessels.  

Currently, the country has nine amphibious assault vessels. WDMMW notes this class of naval ships has been upgraded to include newer vessels for ship-to-shore transport and helicopter operations. Such boats could be a major factor if China invades the island of Taiwan, as has long been rumored. If China invaded Taiwan, would it be the biggest surprise attack in military history?

With a median hull age of 13.1 years, China’s Navy controls a military force consisting of relatively newer vessels. According to WDMMW, the country has produced the equivalent of a Royal Navy fleet each year, all toward its goal of overtaking the U.S. in naval power. (This is the world’s largest navy.)

Click here to see the most common ships and submarines in China’s Navy.

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