China’s Navy is already the largest in the world with approx 350 ships and submarines, including over 130 major surface combatants. It is expected to have five aircraft carriers afloat by 2030 and is rapidly expanding its fleet of destroyers.
It has developed long-range precision cruise and ballistic missiles, early warning radars and air defense systems to allow it to dominate airspace far into the Pacific, as China wasted no time boosting its military arsenal and capabilities. It recently unveiled hyper-sonic weapons designed to also take on US carrier groups.
China has more than doubled its official defense budget over the last decade to 1.355 trillion yuan (£152 billion) for 2021. And analysts estimate it spends far more on defense than it reports publicly.
How the PLA would actually perform in combat is the “million-dollar question,” said Oriana Skylar Mastro, an expert in Chinese security policy at Stanford University and think tank American Enterprise Institute.
It is projecting power around the world with an increasingly assertive economic, political and diplomatic stance. There are growing concerns over China’s cyber warfare capabilities, as well as its ambitions in space.
Many analysts believe the $1 trillion Belt and Road initiative, China’s flagship international infrastructure investment program, could translate to global military leverage like in Ethiopia now, where they are building a big dam on the Blue Nile River.
Russia lacks China’s enormous economic clout. But it too has been diligently investing in its military capabilities since the early 2000’s.
This year, two-thirds of the Russian military budget, which at £44.1 billion is slightly lower than that of the UK, will be spent on purchasing and modernizing military gear.
Russia has doubled its military capabilities in the past eight years in the face of a growing threat from NATO. The military alignment is estimated to have no more than 10,000 troops near the Russian border.
And while Britain is cutting its armored force to just 148 tanks as it bets heavily on cyber and automation, Russia has not neglected conventional firepower.
Russians believe that tanks win wars, and now they’re ready for a big tank battle while they have been training and demonstrating their capability to swiftly mobilize hundred thousands of men and large amounts of equipment.
Russia now boasts the world’s largest tank fleet, with over 15,000 tanks in its armory. With 900,000 troops, the world’s fourth largest number of active military personnel, it would have an overwhelming numerical advantage in an all-European war.
Russia is also growing its military footprint abroad. Besides expanding air and naval bases in Syria, it is believed to have deployed deniable mercenaries to conflict zones including Libya and the Central African Republic.
And at the end of last year, it announced a deal with Sudan to establish Russia’s first naval base near the Arab Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The Telegraph / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2021.