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China has ambitious plans to upgrade naval fleet: U.S. report
Central News Agency
2014-02-07 11:37 PM
Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) The Chinese navy has ambitious plans over the next 15 years to upgrade its fleet of surface ships as well as weapons systems, a U.S. Navy report said. U.S.-based Business Insider said the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) found that China has evolved from a littoral force to one that is capable of meeting a wide range of missions and is "increasingly capable of striking targets hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland." According to the ONI's report, China has 77 surface ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 amphibious ships and about 85 missile-equipped small ships. China laid down, launched or commissioned a similar number of ships in 2013, the report said, adding that a similar number is planned for 2014. The U.S. navy report said that in the 1990s, China's ships and submarines were "essentially single-mission platforms and poorly equipped to operate beyond the support of land-based defenses." But China's newest destroyer, the Luyang III, is equipped with a sophisticated phased array radar system that gives it "over-the-horizon targeting technology," according to Business Insider, citing the naval intelligence report. The report also voiced concerns about the speed at which China's submarine force is growing, including the introduction of the Jin-class ballistic nuclear submarine to perform deterrent patrols this year. The submarine "would mark China's first credible at-sea-second-strike nuclear capability," the report said.

Overall, the Navy's intelligence leadership believes that 85 percent of the Chinese naval fleet will be deemed "modern" by the U.S. by 2020, Business Insider cited the report as saying. (By Charles Kang and Lilian Wu)

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