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Who Rules The Waves? US & Chinese Fleets, By Tonnage

China’s third aircraft carrier recently began its sea trials, and there are reports that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy already has more ships than the United States, just how do these superpower rivals stack up, ton for ton?

This graphic from Chris Dickert, via Visual Capitalist, looks at the Chinese and U.S. navies by tonnage using data from the International Institute for Security Studies.

Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. Navy has over 3.6 million (U.S.) tons of ships in its fleet, more than seven times the size China’s combined fleets of less than half a million tons.
  • While China boasts the largest number of ships, 875 between both the PLA Navy and the Chinese Coast Guard, against the U.S. Navy’s 364, they are generally smaller and less advanced than their U.S. counterparts.
  • The Chinese Coast Guard has received many of the PLA Navy’s older ships, however the vast majority of their ships are patrol and coastal combatants that average 156 tons apiece and aren’t able to sail far from China’s coast.
  • Even as the U.S. Navy edges out the PLA Navy across the board, China does hold a 2:1 edge in tonnage of landing ships and craft, reflecting the Asian superpower’s stated policy goal of reunifying Taiwan with the mainland.


Zero Hedge

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