I'm making a new thread about China's comprehensive capabilities. The other thread will continue to have updates and such, but for this thread, I'm curious about just estimations of the necessary power it would theoretical take to challenge and hold the equal or marginal advantage over the US. Experience, amount of training, quality of maintenance, etc., are certainly valid factors, but since these factors are difficult to determine, just a discussion on the quantity and quality of weapons and equipment would be sufficient. Those other factors like training can be factored in freely elsewhere.
The PLA Navy and PLA Air Force are the branches of most interest. But the PLA Army Rocket Force is a factor as well. One other factor will be bases.
Also for simplification, I think it might be helpful to just compare the US and the PRC and leave out any allies. In this comparison, if at any giving threshold the balance of power is near equal or leans in PRC's favor, then all the more important allies become. This factor can be just assumed to fit in after figuring how the PRC and the US stack up against each other.
Finally, I mentioned threshold. Threshold in both geographic range and threshold in number of certain items. The threshold would be the point where the PRC as at parity or conceivable edges above the US.
Regarding geography, naturally, the closer to the PRC coastline, the closer to the threshold of the PRC will be to having the advantage over the US. The next geographical stage would be various strategic theaters not too far from China's coastline, namely the South China Sea, the waters around Taiwan, the waters around the Senkaku islands and Okinawa, and the waters around the Korean peninsula. The third stage would be all the regions more or less combined, thus the whole water area within the 1st island chain. Then finally two more separate geographical stages; the Indian Ocean on one side, and the waters within the second island chain on the other end. In short:
2. SCS, Taiwan, Senkaku and Okinawa, Korean Peninsula (perhaps a 2.5)
3. The whole interior of the 1st island chain.
4. Indian Ocean (Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea as well)
5. Second island chain in the western Pacific.
Next is the threshold in the quantity and quality of weapons and equipment. The puzzling thing about procuremnt regarding the PLAN and the PLAAF is that they seldom seem to indicate what their end goal is. The US on the other hand makes pretty clear about its 355 ships which has minimum of 12 carriers, and other outlined numerals for subs, destroyers, etc. On the PRC side, even Chinese friendly forums have little idea as to how many warships and military aircraft China actually plans on procuring. So there is a transparency issue.
So various stages of quantity can be drawn up, and then I am curious as which points can be considered to give the PRC the edge in a giving geographical stage.
So for example, a first stage for the PLAN could be 2 ski jump carriers, 13 Type 52D destroyers, 4 Type 55 destroyers, 25 Type 54A frigates, and any other subs, and other destroyers like their Type 52Cs, etc.
The next stage would be supposing that they make more Type 52D destroyers and more Type 55 destroyers, along with their catapult carriers. So say maybe 4 carriers (2 ski jump, 2 catapult), 19 Type 52D destroyers, 8 Type 55 destroyers.
And so on. Well the quantity and quality threshold doesn't have to be made up into stages like the geography one, but I'm just wondering what it will take for the PRC to achieve marginal advantage at each of the geographical stages.
Edited by JasonJ, 30 June 2017 - 0908 AM.