According to military analysts, there are two classes of ships that will help shape the most powerful Navy: aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines.
The world’s most powerful navies in 2030 partly reflect the broader world context. A number of countries are currently investing heavily in maintaining the current world order, and they choose naval power as a tool to accomplish that end. Meanwhile, a number of emerging nations are also building up navies, with the intention of changing that order.
The eastward shift of naval power will continue into 2030, primarily as defense budgets in Europe decline, while economies in Asia grow. Although most of the most powerful navies of the Cold War were concentrated in Europe, by 2030 both China and India will make the list. Japan and Korea must also be mentioned for possessing modern forces.
According to military analysts, there are two classes of ships that will help shape the most powerful Navy: aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines. The carriers reflect the need to maintain the ability to project power globally, or to a single region. Ballistic missile submarines reflect the growth and diversity of a country’s nuclear power. These two classes of ships will shape the naval power in the early to mid-21st century.
The United States, once the dominant naval power in the world in 1945, will continue to dominate the seas for the next 85 years. By 2030, the US Navy will be in the middle of its 30-year shipbuilding plan, and has already built three Ford-class carriers to begin replacing the Nimitz-class carriers. Their number of amphibious ships is likely to be higher than the current number, and the first to replace the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines could enter service in 2031.
In terms of surface ships, all three Zumwalt-class destroyers will be commissioned – if the program is fully funded – and the US Navy is expected to build 33 more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The next generation version of the Coastal Combat Ship (LCS) will go into production in 2030.
Under current plans, the Navy will hit its target of 300 ships between 2019 and 2034, but after that period the number of surface ships will begin to decrease. Under these plans, the budget for shipbuilding is higher than average, while the government also needs funds to fund other forces, such as the Air Force, and domestic programs. So while America’s maritime predominance may not end anytime soon, the period beyond 2030 will be crucial to them.
The Royal Navy in 2030 will be the most streamlined yet most powerful force in its history. The combination of two new aircraft carriers and a fleet of ballistic missile submarines will put Britain in the top five most powerful navies.
Britain’s surface ship fleet, which currently has 19 destroyers, will be reduced to about six Type 45 guided-missile destroyers and eight “Global Combat Ships” (GCS). The number of nuclear powered submarines will remain at 7.
The Royal Navy is responsible for nuclear deterrence and currently operates four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, each equipped with 16 Trident D-5 missile launchers. The Vanguard class is slated to be replaced by the Successor class ships starting in 2028.
The British Navy’s ability to coordinate forces at sea will rely on the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. Two conventionally powered aircraft carriers, Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, will each displace 65,000 tons when fully loaded and can carry 50 aircraft. The aircraft on board include F-35B, Wildcat, Chinook, and Apache helicopters. The two ships will also be used as amphibious transport ships, with the capacity to carry 900 soldiers or marines.
China’s Navy (PLAN) to 2030 will continue to be consolidated on the broken foundation in 2016. Currently, China possesses four large ships with formidable power: Type guided missile destroyers 052D, Type 054A frigate, Type 055 destroyer and Type 071 amphibious ship. All four of these ships have begun to enter large-scale production and will become the mainstay of the PLAN by 2030.
According to experts’ forecasts, by 2030, the PLAN will own 99 submarines, 4 aircraft carriers, 102 destroyers and frigates, 26 Corvettes, 73 amphibious ships and 111 missile ships, for a total of 415 ships. , while the US Navy owned about 309 ships in the same year. This would put China in a strong position in terms of naval power, thanks to the largest number of ships in the world.
But can China achieve 415 ships as forecast? To reach this number, they need to build twice the number of submarines per year than they currently are, accelerate the construction of new destroyers to replace the old ones, and sharply increase the number of amphibious ships. They also need to ship two new aircraft carriers, in addition to the two already in service or under construction. This goal is also close to a large increase in the defense budget, while Beijing is trying to “brake the brakes” on the defense budget.
Other types of ships currently under construction to form China’s fleet by 2030 include the Type 055 destroyer and the Type 001A aircraft carrier. A new type of ballistic missile submarine to augment and eventually replace the Type-094, or Jin-class, is also very likely. The Type-094 submarine is too noisy to operate underwater and is not a good choice for armed with Chinese nuclear warheads.
The Indian Navy can be ranked 2nd in Asia. India has recently begun pouring huge resources into strengthening its navy, and by 2030 could become one of the top five navies.
By 2030, India will have the second largest aircraft carrier fleet in the world. If all goes according to plan, the country will have three aircraft carriers: Vikramaditya, Vikrant, and Vishal, with a total of 110-120 aircraft that they can carry.
Indian Navy will have more than 5 ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) by 2030 four Arihant class and one Chakra 3 from Russia. While S5 SSBN status is unknown.
India will also have at least nine destroyers, including three Kolkata-class, two Delhi-class and four Visakhapatnam-class guided-missile destroyers. However, the number of Indian ships needs to increase much if they want to protect the three aircraft carriers well.
About two-thirds of the destroyers in the Indian Navy’s fleet are modern enough to serve until 2030, especially the Shivalik and Talwar classes, but they will have to increase the total number of destroyers – especially if Pakistan is serious about deploying nuclear weapons on submarines.
India is in the process of erecting a sea-based pillar of its nuclear trio, relying on its first ballistic missile submarine, the Arihant, which is expected to enter full service soon. India plans to build three Arihants and create a submarine fleet of six.
The combination of falling oil prices and Western sanctions will make the Russian economy difficult for the foreseeable future. After achieving annual growth of 6%, Russia is now in a recession. As a result, the plan to replace 90% of Russian military equipment, including warships and naval equipment, has been delayed.
By 2030, Russia’s position on the ranking of naval powers will be maintained, thanks in part to its fleet of ballistic missile submarines. Eight Borei-class submarines, each carrying 20 Bulava missiles, will enter service, forming the second largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines in the world after US Navy.
The rest of the Russian Navy is very unpredictable, as the number of surface combat ships and submarines is dwindling. But there’s still a glimmer of hope: Moscow already has big plans for its navy, and if it finds the funding to fund those projects, the game could change.
Project 23000E, or Shtorm, of Russia aims to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a length of 330 meters, displacement of about 100,000 tons, enough to compete with Ford-class aircraft carriers. Powered by nuclear power, the carrier will carry 100 aircraft, including a naval version of the PAK-FA 5th generation fighter.
There is also the Lider-class nuclear-powered destroyer project. With a tonnage of 17,500 tons and a length of 200 meters, the Lider class is more like a cruiser than a destroyer. It will be armed with 60 anti-ship cruise missiles, 128 anti-aircraft missiles, and 16 anti-ship guided missiles. Construction of the first one started in 2019, and 12 are expected to be in service by 2025, an ambitious plan.