In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency, an expert pointed out that as the Navy and Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) improved, America’s supremacy over the Western Pacific would be affected, according to sputniknews.cn on February 12.
China will receive more type-052D guided-missile frigates in 2016. And the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has officially confirmed the plan to build aircraft carriers on its own. In addition, China signed a contract with Russia in the autumn of 2015, intending to import 24 Su-35 fighters.
Michael Klare, a Professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, pointed out that America did not lose its supremacy over the Western Pacific until recently. “The U.S. military sets bases and has allied forces in Japan, the ROK, the Philippines, Australia and Singapore. The strengths of the U.S. Navy and Air Force provide guarantee for America in those countries,” said Klare.
As Chinese Navy and Air Force improve, America’s supremacy over the Western Pacific will be affected, according to Klare. “Those countries will decide whether to continue cooperating with America, stay close to China, or remain neutral,” added Klare.
It is obvious that the Chinese military is improving, according to David Shlapak, a policy analyst from American policy think tank RAND Corporation.
“China has the weapon system (referred to as ‘A2AD’ by the Pentagon), ballistic missile, cruise missile and modern air defense system as advanced as those in other powerful nations,” said Shlapak.
Shlapak pointed out that the Chinese military is stronger now than it was 20 or 10 years ago in every respect.
The weaknesses of the Chinese military lie in combat readiness, joint operations, logistics and lack of combat experience, according to Shlapak.
Additionally, the Chinese Air Force ranked No. 3, following America and Russia, according to the ranking of world air forces published by Flight International at the end of 2015.
America, Russia and China own 13,717, 3,547 and 2,942 military aircraft respectively, according to Flight International.
China has seen an increase of 80 military aircraft in 2015. It now has more than 1,500 military airplanes and more than 800 military helicopters, including the state-of-the-art Z-19 helicopter, as reported in Flight International.