Who’s No. 1?
Rather than rank Asian navies by tiresome (if essential) bean-counting measures, why not rank them by the standard that truly matters, namely their capacity to execute the missions national leaders entrust to them—and thence to fulfill operational and strategic aims? The seafaring nation that best matches purposes with power, political aspirations with strategy and forces, stands the best chance of achieving its goals. Also crucial is the threat environment, the true arbiter of how much naval power is enough. What better way to assign the title of Asia’s top navy? Herewith, my list of the Top 5 Indo-Pacific navies:
1. South Korean Navy.The American, Chinese, and Japanese fleets garner most of the attention, but Seoul has quietly assembled a navy that fits with South Korea’s modest goals, such as countering North Korean depredations in offshore waters and intercepting missiles Pyongyang may loft the South’s way. The navy boasts a contingent of Aegis destroyers, along with helicopter carriers and other state-of-the-art warships. This panoply of hardware allows the ROK Navy to take part in seaborne ventures alongside the U.S. Navy and other advanced forces. For my money the ROK Navy stands an excellent chance of executing the missions assigned to it.