From this writer's perspective, and as a result of conversing with many others and listening to the chatter that is available on the internet, it is clear that the Chinese have a goal of developing at least a six carrier fleet. To begin with this fleet will consist of the carriers they are building incrementally to ultimately attain their goal of having larger, nuclear powered carriers similar to our own.
CV-16 STOBAR, Liaoning launched tested, commissioned, and fully operation. Displacing about 65,000 tons and cabable of carrying 24 strike fighters.
CV-17 STOBAR, Launched, ready to start trials, which is an improved version of the first carrier at about 70,000 tons displacement and capable of carrying about 28 strike fighters.
CV-18 CATOBAR, Conventional Power, building, 80-85,000 tons, capable of carrying 35-40 strike aircraft, probably to be launched in the 2021-2022 time frame
CV-19 CATOBAR, Conventional Power, 80-85,000 tons, capable of carrying 35-40 strike aircraft, probably to be launched in the 2023-2024 time frame
CV-20 CATOBAR, Nuclear powered design complete, with EMALS catapults and nuclear power, about 90,000 ton displacement and capable of 50-60 aircraft. Probably a 2026 launch time frame.
CV-21 COATOBAR, Nuclear powered, awaiting scheduling slot, , with EMALS catapults and nuclear power, about 90,000 ton displacement and capable of 50-60 aircraft. Probably a 2028 launch time frame.
So, right now, the Chinese are rapidly building four classes of modern surface warfare vessels, the Type 052D and Type 055 destoyers and the Type 054A and Type 056 frigates.
Between their destroyers and their larger blue water frigates, the Chinese are going to have a force of over 100 FFGs and DDGs (not including up to 80 of the smaller Type 056 vessels and 75 missile boats) by 2025.
The Type 095 will most probably achieve the US Los Angeles class capabilities, perhaps even the improved version of those vessels, in terms of quietness qnd capabilities overall. Their images of them would certainly make on think so.
But, despite appearances and that depiction, they are still two generations behind current US and UK capabilities. But in numbers they could still be dangerous. As it is right now, they have six operational SSNs, all of which are less capable than the US Navy LA Class boats.
This class has been upgraded with stealth features and an AIP capability. They have 14-16 of those boats (Yuan class), 12-14 Songs, and 12 kilos. All of these 40+ conventional subs can be dangerous in litttoral waters or at any choke point, like narrow straights.
Their intent would to use them to try and build a defensive ring around major operations they undertook in the vicinity of the mainland, or in the south China Sea and try and employ a screen to keep US SSNs out.
More stuff in the review like coastal patrol, expeditionary craft (LDP/LHD) and carrier aircraft but too much to put here.
My own observation from reading review is the PLAN is particular weak in nuclear subs and had been looking for a good enough design to reproduce in numbers like they have with surface fleet. Their conventional sub program is the polar opposite with large numbers of leading edge AIP boats. But they don’t concern us as they are littoral systems.
With rapid ramp up of our own SSN/SSBNs we can catch up in this space while they flail away at developing a quieter nuke boat.
Their surface and carrier fleets are growing too fast to catch up with in our life time. The long lead times makes it impossible unless we began ordering DDG/FFG classes by the dozens and set hard dates for 4 carrier construction starting today.