Alwaght-The US Navy chief says there is need to increase the country's fleet of warships in order to match opponents such as Russia and China.
"We are getting back into, after decades really, an era of maritime competition,” Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson told reporters at a Singapore naval base used by the US.
“Some of these global powers, China, Russia, they've been growing, China in particular. They're maturing in every dimension of power [and] at some point you turn to the sea to expand and continue to prosper".
Richardson argued the US Navy must catch up other countries that are massively investing in maritime prowess.
"We have to be mindful that that environment is moving forward at a particular pace and if we’re going to remain competitive we’d better pick up that pace and match it at least, if not exceed it,” he said.
Earlier, President Donald Trump announced a massive naval rearmament program aiming at expanding the Navy’s fleet to 350 warships from about 272 now. In the meantime, American naval forces have become more active in areas adjacent to Russia’s and China’s shores.
Responding to emerging challenges, the Russian Navy has launched a program to modernize and enlarge its surface and submarine fleets. Among the top priorities is building several cutting-edge Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines, deemed the backbone of Russia’s strategic deterrent. Russia currently operates four of these submarines and has seven in various stages of construction.
China also recently launched its second aircraft carrier — and its first ever built domestically. In its bid to develop into a naval power, China is keen on modernizing its weaponry and reportedly plans to increase the number of carriers to at least four. Its neighbors are wary of such moves, particularly the increase in carrier fleets that will supposedly be charged with attacking China’s enemies in remote locations.