China threatens to ‘fight America to the end’ as Pentagon vows to supersize navy to 530 WARSHIPS to take on Beijing

BEIJING has vowed to "fight America to the end" amid revelations the US Navy is looking to supersize its mighty battle fleet.

The war talk came as China held military drills in all four of its coastal seas as the US held attack-drone target training in the Pacific.

In a sign of growing tensions, the Air Force Magazine published an image of US troops with a Reaper drone flying over a map of China on their arm patches.

Beijing’s state media quickly labelled it “an extremely arrogant provocation”.

The state-run Global Times has now warned any drone attack on China would amount to “a real war… that destroys peace”.

“To China, that is an invasion and an aggression of war,” read its editorial.

“Our only option is to strike hard at the aggressors and teach them a lesson they will never forget.

"If Washington wants to try its luck, the Chinese military and Chinese people will surely rise to the challenge and fight to the end.”

The verbal blast from Beijing came as new documents show the Pentagon is looking at expanding its Navy amid the growing threat from its rival superpower and heightened tensions in the South China Sea.

America's battle fleet could grow to around 530 ships – an increase of more than 50 per cent over the fleet’s current fighting force. 

The Future Naval Force Study (FNFS) looks at how the US Navy could expand its fleet over the next 25 years.

Early documents obtained by Defense News show one option is to invest billions of dollars building hundreds more battleships.

Although the US Navy currently has 490 vessels in its fleet – not all are classed as actual warships.

And at the moment it lags behind China when it comes to the number of frigates, corvettes (fast attack craft)and submarines.

However, now it is reported the Pentagon is looking to grow the battle fleet from the current 293 up to a possible 534.

It's reported any future fleet would most likely include more small surface combatants, unmanned ships and submarines.

The numbers all come from an April draft of inputs to the FNFS conducted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper just last week hinted that he was looking to strengthen US military presence on the seas.

He said: “In short, it will be a balanced force of over 350 ships – both manned and unmanned – and will be built in a relevant time frame and budget-informed manner.

“One of the ways you get [to a larger fleet] quickly is moving toward lightly manned [ships], which over time can be unmanned.

“We can go with lightly manned ships, get them out there. You can build them so they’re optionally manned and then, depending on the scenario or the technology, at some point in time they can go unmanned.”

Supporting documents for the FNFS talk of  suggested fleets of anywhere from 480 to 534 battle ships.

China has prioritised updating its naval fleet over the past 12 months as part of £220 billion military spending programme.

It's reported it now boasts around 20 modern destroyers and in four to five years that number is expected to double.

Earlier, we reported how satellite images show China’s third and biggest aircraft carrier beginning to take shape.

China already has two aircraft carriers that are based on aging designs dating from the era of the Soviet Union, both weighing 60,000 tons.

But the new ship is expected to be a 80,000 ton ‘supercarrier’ more resembling those in service with the US Navy and fitted with modern technology.

And at the beginning of the month we told how Beijinghas unleashed a fleet of new destroyers which has the power to wipe out US warships in the South China Sea.

Military experts say the news proves the superpower's naval development has entered a "crucial new stage" amid mounting tensions in the disputed waters.

The unveiling of the Type 055 and Type 052D destroyers came just days after the decommissioning of multiple outdated Type 051 destroyers.

And weeks after US aircraft carriers sailed through the South China Sea after Washington accused Beijing of a "campaign of bullying" in the region.

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan travelled with their strike groups into the sea in mid July in a major show of strength to China.

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