Top Photo: A helicopter of the Chinese naval fleet patrols above the Gulf of Aden on Feb. 25 to ensure ships’ safety from pirates.
Bottom Photo: About 50 suspected pirate vessels approach a ship escorted by the Chinese naval fleet in the Gulf of Aden. The vessels harassed the 31 Chinese and foreign ships that the naval fleet was escorting. They were driven out soon after the fleet dispatched vessels and helicopters.
These photos were sent to Navy Times and accompanied by a blunt question: “Will historians look back at this as the first signs of declining U.S. influence worldwide resulting from the shrinking U.S. Navy?”
The Chinese Navy is getting invaluable experience with their anti-piracy service. The lessons-learned will deepen their blue-water naval capabilities, as well as their ability to coordinate multiple platforms. Hopefully, Navy Intel is monitoring this education process.
It’ll take a lot more than anti-piracy operations to train the Chinese navy to the level the US navy or even other western navies are at.
Also, it costs a lot of money to field a blue-water navy. China needs supercarriers and a reasonable escort force before it can effectively project military power, and that comes at an enormous cost. Hence the US navy is the only navy in the world with 10 aircraft carriers; the US is the only country in the world that can afford it.