Eyeing China, Pentagon plans larger and 'more lethal' navy

The Japan Times 

Washington – U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Wednesday an ambitious plan to expand the U.S. Navy with a range of unmanned and autonomous ships, submarines and aircraft to confront the growing maritime challenge from China. The Pentagon chief said a sweeping review of U.S. naval power dubbed "Future Forward" had laid out a "game-changer" plan that would expand the U.S. sea fleet to more than 355 ships, from the current 293. The plan, which requires adding tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. Navy's budget between now and 2045, is aimed at maintaining superiority over Chinese naval forces, seen as the primary threat to the United States. "The future fleet will be more balanced in its ability to deliver lethal effects from the air, from the sea, and from under the sea," Esper said in a speech at the Rand Corp. in California. The expansion will add "more and smaller" surface ships; more submarines; surface and subsurface vessels that are optionally manned, unmanned and autonomous; and a broad range of unmanned carrier-based aircraft.

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