Six Projects That Will Transform the Chinese Navy—in 2019 and Beyond
The Chinese Navy is rapidly transforming into a more capable and more lethal 21st-century force. The People’s Liberation Army Navy is also developing some new projects in 2019 and beyond that will significantly accelerate that transformation.
1. Aircraft Carriers
In early January, China’s first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier—the Type 002—returned from its fourth round of sea trials. This is China’s second carrier. Since it has now completed around 90 percent of its testing, it is expected to be commissioned into service in April.
The Type 002 is a 65,000 ton vessel with advanced radar systems that can carry 32 aircraft. Once it enters commission, the carrier will significantly enhance China’s ability to project its power in the disputed territory of the South China Sea.
A third Chinese aircraft carrier—the Type 003—is also being built. With a displacement of 80,000 tons, the Type 003 will be considerably larger than China’s first two carriers, and will be the world’s largest non-American warship. It will incorporate an electromagnetic “catapult”-style aircraft launch system, increasing the longevity of the aircraft and facilitating quicker launches. This represents a major improvement over the ski-jump systems of China’s first two carriers. The Type 003 is expected to enter service as early as 2022.
China’s ambition to build a world-class navy with blue-water capability is no secret, and the Type 002 and Type 003 aircraft carriers and two other carriers to enter service by 2030 are major steps toward that goal.
2. The Type 055 Destroyer
The Chinese have had the Type 055 in development since 2014. Last year, the first two were launched from their dry docks in Dalian. They are now advancing through the testing phases and are expected to be transferred to the Navy this year.
China also has six other Type 055s in development, with plans in the works for two more, bringing the total anticipated number to 10.
The Type 055s are guided-missile destroyers, intended mainly to accompany China’s aircraft carriers. Since they are designed with considerable versatility—for long-range air defense and antisurface, anti-air and antisubmarine warfare—analysts expect them to significantly boost China’s naval capacity.
3. Type 054B Frigates
The Chinese Navy has 24 Type 054B frigates currently on order. These are multirole warships with a displacement of 5,000 tons. They can travel at up to 30 knots and have a cruising range of more than 7,000 nautical miles.
The new model is a major upgrade form its predecessor, the Type 054A, mostly due to enhanced antisubmarine warfare capabilities, improved hull shape, increased size and an all-electric propulsion system.
The combination of this electric propulsion system and the Type 054B’s larger size means it can carry more fuel and equipment than its predecessors. That translates into considerably enhanced combat capability.
Reports say the order of these 24 frigates to the Navy will be completed by 2025.
The KJ-600 has been called the “aircraft that could help China’s navy rival America’s.” It is a fixed-wing Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft, and it is being developed for use on China’s aircraft carriers. The KJ-600 crew of six is equipped with a larger Active Electronically Scanned Array radar than its counterparts, enabling it to detect inbound threats earlier. It is expected to enter service in the early 2020s.
China’s development of this particular aircraft reveals a lot about China’s ultimate ambitions. Dr. Collin Koh, a research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, spoke about this in an interview last year with the South China Morning Post. He said, “If China’s carrier group is designed to operate closer to its coast, it would rely on shore-based early warning support. But with the carrier-based aew&c planes, it implies that these carriers are designed for distant sea operations.”
5. Type 075 Landing Helicopter Dock
The Type 075 is a landing helicopter dock that functions as an amphibious assault ship. The vessel has a displacement somewhere between 36,000 and 38,000 tons, which makes it the world’s largest non-U.S. landing helicopter dock by a considerable margin.
The Chinese Navy has ordered three of them, which will complement existing fleets of amphibious transport ships. Each one is able to carry 20 armored vehicles and four helicopters, so they are expected to bring the Chinese Navy capabilities closer to the U.S. Navy’s in terms of capacity to incorporate helicopters into operations. China’s first Type 075 is expected to launch this year and enter into full service sometime in 2020.
6. Fifth Generation Fighter Jets
China is also developing fifth-generation carrier-borne fighter jets.
There are two competing designs in the works, one at Shenyang and the other at Chengdu. The Navy has reportedly not yet chosen which one will be mass-produced. Both models are believed to be ski-jump capable and catapult compatible so that they can be used on the Navy’s two existing aircraft carriers as well as on the more advanced Type 003 and any future carriers.
The prototypes of this fifth-generation, carrier-borne fighter are expected to take their maiden flights within the next five years.
‘Everything Is Headed in the Direction of War’
These advances in the Chinese Navy are happening rapidly and they will significantly help the nation in its goal of asserting control over the South China Sea. That is where the rise of China’s navy takes on importance in terms of Bible prophecy.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written about China’s increasing control over the South China Sea and how it connects to Bible prophecy. In a July 2016 Trumpet article, he wrote:
[T]he American military is retreating, and other great powers are coming in to fill the vacuum. … China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. … Everything is headed in the direction of war.
Mr. Flurry explained that his understanding of China’s rise is based on Bible prophecy. In Deuteronomy 28:52, God warns Israel that if it rejects Him, He will transfer control over the world’s strategic sea gates to its enemies.
Mr. Flurry explained that this is “a prophecy for the modern-day descendants of Israel,” which mainly means America and Britain.
Today we see China taking control of the South China Sea and many of the sea gates that allow access to it. And this is happening in locations that just a few short years ago were under the control of the United States and Britain, which shows that the prophecy in Deuteronomy is in the process of being fulfilled.
The rapidly rising power of the Chinese Navy could now hasten the fulfillment of these prophecies even more.
To better understand the prophetic significance of China’s rise, order a copy of our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.