This is a very good summary and syncs with how I view things.
To be fair, I respect Mr. Martyanov’s views and also read his blog regularly. It’s true as well that China’s SSN fleet remains a relative weakness, so even in my opinion he’s certainly correct there to an extent. However, I do think he hugely exaggerates those issues for several reasons.
For one thing, as Anatoly and others have already mentioned, it really doesn’t matter that much around the First Island Chain. Many people also don’t seem to know that China’s has by far the largest MODERN diesel sub fleet in the world. Modern Chinese surface combatants have proper ASW capabilities as well. Modern frigates and corvettes are being introduced in huge numbers. The less known Y-8Q maritime patrol aircraft, China’s answer to P-3 Orion and P-8 Poseidon is finally in active service, too.
This weird notion that “China still won’t have modern nuclear submarines by the year 3000” is just part of the overall “China can’t into (military) tech” meme, which still somehow keeps living on. Martyanov thinks that China is not even close to solving its remaining technological bottlenecks. I, on the other hand, argue that the Chinese are close, and that those issues will have been solved by 2025, or even more likely, a few years earlier.
In this context, I feel it’s important to mention China’s progress in aircraft engines. The “anti-Chinese” narrative here is very similar to the submarine one, but it’s possibly even more clearly false, as China isn’t quite as secretive about that sector, and/or the progress is more difficult to hide, for obvious reason. Many seem to simply think that China has not made major advancements in the field. Some even keep suggesting that the relatively slow progress is somehow indicative of some inherent racial/ideological limitations. But how is that really different from the development of basically most/all other countries and their aerospace sectors? Also several countries have actually successfully developed modern fighters, but without domestic engines to power them.
The meme that all (or almost all) Chinese military aircraft are supposedly equipped with Russian engines isn’t true at all. AFAIK, most, if not all J-series Flankers have Chinese engines (the backbone of China’s fighter fleet, hundreds of modern aircraft) and that the Chinese have already tested domestic engines on the 5th-gen J-20, so in reality China hasn’t been one of those aforementioned countries for some time. Russia remains only modestly ahead of China, maybe only by 5 years. 2025!
I also want to point out once more that China has already introduced improved variants of the Type 093 SSN years ago and that Russia has a single (I think?) post-Soviet SSN (Yasen) in active service. Now, it’s of course true that Russia needs a blue water navy and SLOCs much less than China and that upgraded “Soviet-era” boats remain very capable, but considering the fact that even the US Navy is still mostly equipped with “Soviet-era” boomers, it’s very debatable overall how “shitty” the Type 093 actually even is. Certainly the gap between the upgraded variants vs. both the NEWEST Russian and the US subs shouldn’t be more than “a generation.” Type 093 was China’s equivalent Los Angeles class, and the (soon!) upcoming Type 095 will be China’s answer to Virginia and Seawolf, as well as the Type 052D of Chinese nuclear attack subs. That’s it. This isn’t that complicated.
Your assessment might be even more “ambitious” than mine lol, though I certainly agree with 95% of it and I was going to post something similar (“fake edit”: I guess I did it anyway…).
Some additional points:
Yes, Type 055s are certainly “cruisers” according to the current American definition.
The “last” 4 carriers (by around 2030) will almost certainly be EMALS-equipped supercarriers.
Then there’s the relatively little known Type 075 class “large helicopter carriers,” or LHDs. I haven’t been following its progress recently, and to my surprise (actually, not really at this point) China is apparently building 3 (!! Jesus…) such ships simultaneously, at least according to some sources and English Wikipedia (so might still easily be BS). If true, you can probably add six 40,000 ton Type 075s to the list. And a reminder: only the US Navy is equipped with similarly large LHDs currently.
The current rate of 5 destroyers per year sounds insane, and I think something like 3-4 -> 60-80% of the US Navy by 2030 might be more realistic, though probably still more than enough in most scenarios, considering US “overextension.” That said, I think 5 is actually doable for China, and it would make a lot of sense. And of course China has a very large number of modern frigates and corvettes, whereas the US Navy is very top-heavy, an issue it’s trying to solve with the LCS program.
I can still remember all those not-so-old predictions from informed China watchers, maybe from 5-10 years ago. Back then most expected maybe 30 destroyers by 2030…
Overall it must be concluded that China’s declarations about acquiring a “world class navy by 2050” are basically a joke at this point. But even then the uniformed Western media seemed to take them kind of seriously lol. That combined with some unhealthy dose of wishful thinking. “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.” It still works.