70th Anniversary of the PLA Navy

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and, today, 23 April 2019 is the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy.

PLA Navy, China, Submarine Force (1)
PLA Navy Submarine Force

In recent decades, China has undertaken a series of reforms to modernise its military. It has boosted its submarine force over the last 20 years, building a modern, flexible force that now has more total ships than the US.

The PLA Navy’s submarine force currently numbers 56 subs:

  • Four nuclear-powered missile subs;
  • Five nuclear-powered attack subs; and
  • 47 diesel-powered attack sub.

It is likely grow to between 69 and 78 subs by 2020, according to the Pentagon.

China has built 10 nuclear-powered subs over the past 15 years and its four operational Jin-class missile boats “represent China’s first credible, seabased nuclear deterrent,” according to the US Defense Department’s latest annual report on Chinese military power.

Since the mid-1990s, China has:

  • Built 13 Song-class diesel-electric attack subs;
  • Bought 12 Russian-made Kilo-class subs; and
  • Built 17 Yuan-class diesel-electric, air-independent-powered attack subs (expected to rise to 20 by 2020).


Woody, C. (2018) US submarines are better than China’s ‘by far,’ but in a war that may not matter. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-subs-better-than-chinese-subs-but-it-may-not-matter-in-a-conflict-2018-9?r=US&IR=T. [Accessed: 15 April, 2019].


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