Blue-water navy

A blue-water navy is a maritime force capable of operating globally, essentially across the deep waters of open oceans.[1] While definitions of what actually constitutes such a force vary, there is a requirement for the ability to exercise sea control at wide ranges.

The term "blue-water navy" is a maritime geographical term in contrast with "brown-water navy" and "green-water navy".

The Defense Security Service of the United States has defined the blue-water navy as "a maritime force capable of sustained operation across the deep waters of open oceans. A blue-water navy allows a country to project power far from the home country and usually includes one or more aircraft carriers. Smaller blue-water navies are able to dispatch fewer vessels abroad for shorter periods of time."[2]

Rimpac battlegroup 2006
USS Abraham Lincoln leads a formation of ships from eight countries during the RIMPAC exercise in 2006.

Attributes of a blue-water navy

A blue-water navy still remains susceptible to asymmetric threats, example being the USS Cole bombing in October 2000

In public discourse blue-water capability is identified with the operation of iconic capital ships such as battleships/battlecruisers, aircraft carriers, and nuclear submarines. For instance, during the debate in the 1970s whether Australia should replace HMAS Melbourne, a former chief of navy claimed that if Australia did not replace her last aircraft carrier, she "would no longer have a blue-water navy".[3] In the end Australia did not buy a new carrier, but former Parliamentary defence advisor Gary Brown could still claim in 2004 that her navy remained "an effective blue-water force".[3] The Soviet Navy towards the end of the Cold War is another example of a blue-water navy that had minimal carrier aviation, relying instead on submarines, missile-carrying surface ships, and long-range bombers based on land.[4]

A blue-water navy implies force protection from sub-surface, surface and airborne threats and a sustainable logistic reach, allowing a persistent presence at range. A hallmark of a true blue-water navy is the ability to conduct replenishment at sea (RAS),[5] and the commissioning of underway replenishment ships is a strong sign of a navy's blue-water ambitions.[6] While a blue-water navy can project sea control power into another nation's littoral, it remains susceptible to threats from less capable forces (asymmetric warfare). Maintenance and logistics at range have high costs, and there might be a saturation advantage over a deployed force through the use of land-based air or surface-to-surface missile assets, diesel-electric submarines, or asymmetric tactics such as Fast Inshore Attack Craft. An example of this vulnerability was the October 2000 USS Cole bombing in Aden.[7][8]

The term 'blue-water navy' should not be confused with the capability of an individual ship. For example, vessels of a green-water navy can often operate in blue water for short periods of time. A number of nations have extensive maritime assets but lack the capability to maintain the required sustainable logistic reach.[9] Some of them join coalition task groups in blue-water deployments such as anti-piracy patrols off Somalia.


According to a dictionary definition, blue-water capability refers to an oceangoing fleet able to operate on the high seas far from its nation's homeports. Some operate throughout the world.[10]

In their 2012 publication, "Sea Power and the Asia-Pacific", professors Geoffrey Till and Patrick C. Bratton outlined what they termed as "concise criteria" with regard to the definitions of brown, green and blue-water navies. Quote; "...a brown-water navy standing for a navy capable of defending its coastal zones, a green-water navy for a navy competent to operate in regional sea and finally [a] blue-water navy described as a navy with capability to operate across the deep waters."[11] They go on to say that even with such a definition and understanding of naval hierarchy, it is still "ambiguous". For example, while France and the United States may be considered blue-water navies, he states that the "operational capability and geographic reach of both navies are definitely different." [11]

Another definition states that 'brown-water' refers to the littoral areas within 100 nautical miles of the coastline. 'Green-water' begins from 100 nautical miles out to the next major land formation, while 'blue-water' is the ability to project force out to at least 1,500 nautical miles beyond the coast.[12] Traditionally a distinction used to be made between a coastal brown-water navy operating in the littoral zone to 200 nautical miles (or 370 kilometres) and an oceangoing blue-water navy. However, the United States Navy created a new term, green-water navy, to replace the term 'brown-water navy' in US Navy parlance.[13][14] Today, a brown-water navy has become to be known as a predominately riverine force.

Despite the above however, there is no agreed definition of the term.[15]

Classification and naval hierarchy

There have been many attempts by naval scholars and other authorities to classify world navies, including; Michael Morris,[16] British naval historians Eric Grove[16] and Professor Geoffrey Till,[16][17] French strategist Hervé Coutau-Bégarie[16][18] and professors Daniel Todd and Michael Lindberg.[16][19][20] All identify a basic common criteria for gauging the capability of navies, such as; total displacement and number of ships; modernity and power of weapons and systems; logistical and geographic reach with capacity for sustained operations; and the professional qualifications/disposition of sailors.[16]

The table below shows the world naval hierarchy according to the classification system by professors Daniel Todd and Michael Lindberg.[20] Their system originates from 1996[19] and outlines ten ranks, distinguished by capability. Since then it has been used by various other experts to illustrate the subject.[20][21] According to Todd and Lindberg, a "blue-water navy" is one that can project any sort of power beyond its own territorial waters.[20][21] However they used the principle of loss of strength gradient and other criteria to distinguish navies by capability under the four "blue-water" ranks.[20][21] The six ranks of "Non blue-water navies" can be further broken down into "green-water" and "brown-water navies", and according to Todd and Lindberg, these are navies only capable of operating as coastal defence forces, coast guards or riverine forces.[20][21]

Indian Navy flotilla of Western Fleet escort INS Vikramaditya (R33) and INS Viraat (R22) in the Arabian Sea
According to the Todd & Lindberg classification system, five navies are considered to be rank 3 blue-water "multi-regional power projection" navies, capable of operating in multiple regions adjacent its own.[20]
Carriers Cavour (550) - Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and Charles de Gaulle (R91) underway in 2013
Cavour (foreground) operating with Harry S. Truman (middle) and Charles de Gaulle (background) in the Gulf of Oman, 2013
World Naval Hierarchy, according to the Todd & Lindberg classification system (c.2015)[20]
Rank Designation Capabilities Examples
Blue-water 1 Global-reach
power projection
Multiple and sustained power projection missions globally United States
2 Limited global-reach
power projection
At least one major power projection operation globally France, United Kingdom
3 Multi-regional
power projection
Power projection to regions adjacent its own India, Italy, Russia, Spain, Brazil
4 Regional
power projection
Limited range power projection beyond exclusive economic zone (EEZ) China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Germany
Non blue-water 5 Regional offshore
coastal defence
Coastal defence within and slightly beyond EEZ Saudi Arabia, Norway, Israel, Canada
6 Inshore
coastal defence
Coastal defence confined to inner EEZ Oman, Finland, North Korea
7 Regional offshore
Maritime policing within and slightly beyond EEZ Mexico, Ireland
8 Inshore
Maritime policing confined well within EEZ Philippines
9 Inland waterway
Riverine defence of landlocked states Bolivia, Paraguay
10 Token navy
Very basic constabulary if at all Many examples worldwide

Overseas basing

Historically, and to present day, blue-water navies have tended to establish overseas bases to extend the reach of supply lines, provide repair facilities and enhance the "effective striking power" of a fleet beyond the capabilities provided by the nations homeports.[22] Generally, these overseas bases are located within areas where potential conflicts or threats to the nations interests may arise. For example, since World War II the Royal Navy and later the United States Navy have continued to base forces in Bahrain for operations in the Persian Gulf.[22] The military importance and value of overseas basing is primarily dependent on geographical location. A base located at choke points in narrow or enclosed seas can be of high value, especially if positioned near, or within striking distance of an enemy's sea lines of communications.[22] However advanced operating bases (or forward operating bases) can be equally as valuable. Naval Station Pearl Harbor acts as a "gateway" for the US Navy to "operate forward" in the Pacific Ocean.[23]

Examples of blue-water navies

These are examples of navies that have been described by various defense experts or academics as being blue-water navies. Some have successfully used their blue-water capabilities to exercise control on the high seas and from there have projected power into other nations' littoral waters.[24][25] However, there is no agreed upon definition among authorities as to what constitutes a blue-water navy.[15]


Aircraft Carrier Liaoning CV-16
Chinese aircraft carrier, Liaoning

The People's Liberation Army Navy is subject to a variety of assessments regarding its capabilities. Writing for the US Naval Institute, Dr James Mulvenon believes that "the Chinese navy is still primarily a brown and green-water navy", highlighting problems with replenishment and logistics as key shortcomings in PLAN ambitions of becoming a blue-water capable fleet.[26] This line of thinking has also been held by a number of academics throughout the years, including Dr Peter Howarth,[21] Professor Timo Kivimäki,[27] Dr Denny Roy,[28] and Professor Bart Dessein.[29]

China's ambition towards blue-water capability has received much attention, particularly from the United States Congress[30] and Department of Defense,[31] with both acknowledging that China's primary aim is to project power in the First and Second island chains.[31][32] In a 2013 report to Congress, defense experts also assert that over the coming decades, China will gain the capability to project power across the globe – similar to Britain's 1982 Falklands War.[31] In addition, there are those who think China already has a blue-water navy, such as British naval historian and professor, Geoffrey Till,[9] and also, Professor David Shambaugh who believes that the PLAN has transitioned from a green-water navy to that of a "limited" blue-water navy.[33] According to Todd and Lindberg's classification system, the PLAN is a rank four "regional power projection navy".[19][20]

Since 2008 the PLAN has conducted anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden on a continuous basis.[34]


Charles De Gaulle (R91) underway 2009
French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle

The French Navy is recognised as being a blue-water navy by various experts and academics.[A][11][24][25] According to professors Daniel Todd and Michael Lindberg, the French Navy is a rank two "limited global-reach power projection navy".[19][20] However, they also believe the French Navy is on a "downward development trend", and may stand to lose this position in the future.[20]

The navy operates a single nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (Charles de Gaulle) which forms the centrepiece of the Navy's principal expeditionary task group (known as the Aeronaval Group). In addition to this, the navy maintains a secondary Amphibious Group (known as Le Groupe Amphibie) based around the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships. Both these formations are part of the Force d'action navale (or Naval Action Force). The 'Forces sous-marines' operates four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines and six nuclear-powered fleet submarines. France retains a network of overseas naval facilities around the world; from Fort de France in the Caribbean, to Le Port, Réunion in the Indian Ocean, Papeete in the Pacific and in several other parts of the world too, including the Gulf, South Atlantic and the Western Pacific.[35]

The navy's operational duties include the protection of French interests abroad and the security of the nation's many overseas departments and territories, as such the Navy undertakes a number of standing commitments worldwide.[36]


INS Vikramaditya (R33) close shot
Indian aircraft carrier, Vikramaditya

The Indian Navy is unique among Asian navies, due to its long experience in carrier power projection since 1961.[37][38] This, according to Dr George J. Gilboy and Political Scientist Eric Heginbotham, gives the Indian Navy the "leading power projection capability" in the region".[37] The Indian Navy is also the only Asian navy considered to be a rank three "multi-regional power projection navy" per Todd and Lindberg's classification system.[19][20] In his discussion paper for Consultancy Africa Intelligence, Greg Ryan asserts that in recent years, the Indian Navy has emerged as a "global power in the blue water sense".[39]

India initially outlined its intentions of developing blue-water capabilities under the 2007 Maritime Capabilities Perspective Plan,[40][41] with the navy's priority being the projection of "power in India’s area of strategic interest", the Indian Ocean Region.[42][43] Since 2007 the navy has increased its presence in the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa to the Strait of Malacca, and routinely conducts anti-piracy operations and partnership building with other navies in the region.[44][45] It also conducts routine two to three month-long deployments in the South and East China seas as well as the western Mediterranean simultaneously.[46][47] The navy has a listening post in Madagascar.[48]

The navy operates on single carrier task force centered on INS Vikramaditya, after INS Viraat was decommissioned in March 2017; however, a new aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant is currently fitting out and is due to commission around 2020, restoring India's two-carrier capability. The Indian Navy also possesses an amphibious transport dock, INS Jalashwa, and currently operates INS Arihant, an indigenously developed nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, along with leasing one Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia.


Cavour Napoli 2010
Italian aircraft carrier, Cavour

The Italian Navy has been categorised as a "regional blue-water navy" in Liu Huaqing's Memoirs (1994),[49] and as a rank three "multi regional power projection navy" by Professors Daniel Todd and Michael Lindberg in 1996.[50] In the former 1989 publication "The Atlantic Alliance and the Middle East", Joseph I. Coffey asserted that Italy's blue-water capabilities didn't extend beyond the Mediterranean sea.[51] Today the navy possesses two aircraft carriers (Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi) as well as a modern fleet of surface combatants and submarines.[52][53] The Marina Militare routinely deploys to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf as part of multinational anti-piracy missions such as Operation Ocean Shield and Operation Atalanta,[54] and is capable of deploying a carrier battle group in support of NATO or EU operations such as during Operation Enduring Freedom (2001) and EU Navfor Med (European migrant crisis).


Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov
Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov

The Russian Navy (the then Soviet Navy) maintained naval forces able to rival those of the United States, however following the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the fleet experienced a severe decline due to lack of funding.[55] By the late 1990s, there was little tangible evidence of Russian blue-water capability.[55] It wasn't until 2007, under President Vladimir Putin, that "naval ambition broadened in scope and aimed at re-creating a large blue-water navy".[56] Today, the Russian Navy is considered to be a rank 3 "multi-regional power projection navy" by Todd and Lindberg's classification system.[19][20] The Russian Navy has also been described as a blue-water navy by British naval historian, Professor Geoffrey Till.[9]

Analysts have mentioned that as opposed to the focus on submarine operations in the North Atlantic during the Cold War era, Russia's strategic emphasis has shifted towards the Pacific regions where a rising China and the United States "Asia-Pacific Pivot" are potential threats.[57]

Russia maintains a single overseas naval facility in Tartus, Syria, which hosts a Soviet-era naval supply and maintenance facility.[58] The facility provides technical maintenance and logistical support to Russian warships deployed in the Mediterranean.[58] Since 2008, there has been a notable increase in Russian naval activity, primarily in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

United Kingdom

Aerial view of HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) off Scotland on 28 June 2017 (4516752)
Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) (sea trials)

The Royal Navy is considered to be a blue-water navy by a number of experts and academics and will most likely cement its position with new naval ships.[24][25][A][B] A term more often used in the United Kingdom to describe such a force is a navy possessing maritime expeditionary capabilities.[59] According to Todd and Lindberg's classification system, the Royal Navy is a rank two "limited global-reach power projection navy".[19][20]

The navy supports a number of standing commitments worldwide on a continuous basis and maintains an expeditionary task force known as the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) (JEF (M)).[60] The Royal Navy Submarine Service operates four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines and seven nuclear-powered fleet submarines which operate globally.[61] The Royal Fleet Auxiliary maintains a number of ships which support Royal Navy operations at range and augment its amphibious capabilities.[62][63] The United Kingdom maintains five overseas naval facilities,[64][65] including a refuelling station at Sembawang, Singapore in the Far East.[66]

The U.S. Naval War College identifies the Royal Navy's tasks as fighting wars, conducting distant expeditions, maintaining good order at sea and preventing and deterring conflict.[67] As such, the Navy views the retention of its "world-class" high-end disciplines in anti-air and anti-submarine warfare as strategically important.[67] The Royal Navy has shown many examples of its expeditionary capabilities[C] since World War II, such as the Korean War, the 1982 Falklands War, the 1990-91 Gulf War, Sierra Leone, the War in Afghanistan, the 2003 invasion of Iraq,[67] and during the 2011 military intervention in Libya.

United States

USS Nimitz in Victoria Canada 036
United States Navy supercarrier, USS Nimitz

The United States Navy is considered a blue-water navy by experts and academics.[11][24][25] It is distinguished from other power projection navies in that it is considered a global blue-water navy, able to operate in the deep waters of every ocean simultaneously.[9] According to Todd and Lindberg's classification system, the United States Navy is a rank one "global-reach power projection navy", and the only navy to occupy this rank.[19][20]

The USN maintains ten carrier strike groups (centered on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers), of which six are deployed or ready for deployment within 30 days, and two ready for deployment within 90 days under the Fleet Response Plan (FRP). The USN also maintains a continuous deployment of nine expeditionary strike groups that embark a Marine Expeditionary Unit with an Aviation Combat Element on amphibious warfare ships.[68] The US Military Sealift Command is the largest of its kind in the world and is responsible for delivering military transport and ship replenishment around the globe.[69]

The US Navy has shown countless examples of its blue-water combat capabilities and has the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward areas during peacetime, and rapidly respond to regional crises. Some examples of such are World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War.

The US Coast Guard, while not technically a navy, is also a blue-water naval force capable of deploying to waters throughout the world.

From green-water to blue-water

Some green-water navies have ambitions towards the development of blue-water capabilities.[15][70]

While considered to be a green-water navy,[9] the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force is undergoing transition to develop blue-water capabilities.[71][72] It began in 1981 when Prime Minister Zenkō Suzuki put forward a new doctrine requiring the JMSDF to expand its operations by 1,000 miles for defense of the nation's sea lines of communication.[71][72] To respond to the growing blue-water requirements, the JMSDF has been developing impressive capabilities, most notably the creation of destroyer flotillas centered on large helicopter destroyers (such as the Hyūga-class helicopter Carrier) and large AEGIS-equipped destroyers.[73][74] The first Japanese post-WWII overseas naval air facility was established next to Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport; it supports a number of Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.[75]

The Republic of Korea Navy also has ambitions to develop blue-water capabilities.[76][77][78] In 2001, the South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung, announced plans to build a "Strategic Mobile Fleet".[76] The plan includes the construction of up to three Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships, with a ski-jump for the operation of V/STOL jet fighters being considered for the second vessel currently under construction.[79]

The Brazilian Navy is experiencing a "shift in maritime priorities" with ambitions of developing a blue-water navy.[80] While the navy maintains a mix of capabilities enabling it to operate in the wider South Atlantic Ocean, the Brazilian government wishes to be recognized as "the leading maritime power in the Southern Hemisphere" and is seeking to develop a modern naval shipbuilding industry.[80]

See also


A. ^ Professor of International Politics, Adrian Hyde-Price, highlights that in the post-Cold War era both Britain and France have re-focused their attention "towards expeditionary warfare and power projection. Power projection has always been an element of British and French military thinking given their residual overseas interests, but it has now moved centre stage."[81]
B. ^ Royal United Services Institute (Occasional Paper, September 2013): "As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the independent ability to deploy a credible and powerful conventional force that enables access to most of the globe by sea is compelling. This force offers Britain the opportunity to commit political support in emerging crises to deter, prevent, coerce or – if necessary – destroy an aggressor, as envisaged in the UK’s National Security Strategy (NSS)."[82]
C. ^ The Royal Navy does not typically use the term blue-water navy, but rather the term expeditionary. "The Navy is always expeditionary and is able to deal with threats to our nation’s interest at range."[83]


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External links


Bluewater or Blue Water may refer to:

Blue water, the global deep oceans

Bluewater Energy Services, a Dutch company providing offshore production vessels and equipment

Blue Water (missile), British short range nuclear missile of the 1960s

Blue Water (train), an Amtrak line from eastern Michigan to Chicago

Blue-water navy, a navy that can operate in deep waters of open oceans

MV Bluewater, a Panamanian tanker in service 1952-59

Brown-water navy

The term brown-water navy or riverine warfare refers in its broadest sense to any naval force capable of military operations in river or littoral environments, especially those carrying heavy sediment loads from soil runoff or flooding. It originated in the United States Navy during the American Civil War, when it referred to Union forces patrolling the muddy Mississippi River, and has since been used to describe the small gunboats and patrol boats commonly used in rivers, along with the larger "mother ships" that supported them. These mother ships include converted World War II-era LCMs and LSTs, among other vessels.

Brown-water navies are contrasted with seaworthy blue-water navies, which can independently conduct operations in open ocean. Green-water navies are the bridge between brown-water navies and blue-water navies.

Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer

Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class destroyers (Korean: 충무공 이순신급 구축함, Hanja: 忠武公李舜臣級驅逐艦) are multipurpose destroyers of the Republic of Korea Navy. The lead ship of this class, ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sunsin, was launched in May 2002 and commissioned in December 2003. Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyers were the second class of ships to be produced in the Republic of Korea Navy's destroyer mass-production program named Korean Destroyer eXperimental, which paved the way for the navy to become a blue-water navy. Six ships were launched by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in four years.

Command of the sea

Command of the sea (also called control of the sea or sea control) is a naval military concept regarding the strength of a particular navy to a specific naval area it controlled. A navy has command of the sea when it is so strong that its rivals cannot attack it directly. This dominance may apply to its surrounding waters (i.e., the littoral) or may extend far into the oceans, meaning the country has a blue-water navy. It is the naval equivalent of air supremacy.

With command of the sea, a country (or alliance) can ensure that its own military and merchant ships can move around at will, while its rivals are forced either to stay in port or to try to evade it. It also enables free use of amphibious operations that can expand ground-based strategic options. Most famously, the British Royal Navy held command of the sea for long periods from the 18th to the early 20th century, allowing Britain and its allies to trade and to move troops and supplies easily in wartime while its enemies could not (the importance of which is reflected in the famous British patriotic song, "Rule, Britannia!," which contains the exhortation, "Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves," even if this was not the poem's original subject). For example, Britain was able to blockade France during the Napoleonic Wars, the United States during the War of 1812, and Germany during World War I. In the post-World War II period, the United States has had command of the sea.

Few navies can operate as blue-water navies, but "many States are converting green-water navies to blue-water navies and this will increase military use of foreign Exclusive Economic Zones [littoral zone to 200 nautical miles (370 km)] with possible repercussions for the EEZ regime."

Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship

The Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship (Hangul: 독도급 강습상륙함, Hanja: 獨島級強襲上陸艦) is a class of Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) amphibious assault ships operated by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). Designed by Hanjin Heavy Industries, the requirements for the amphibious landing ships were to enhance South Korea's current amphibious operation capability, both in terms of assault and military operations other than war (MOOTW) type operations.

French Navy

The French Navy (French: Marine Nationale, lit. National Navy), informally "La Royale", is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces. Dating back to 1624, the French Navy is one of the world's oldest naval forces. It has participated in conflicts around the globe and played a key part in establishing the French colonial empire.

The French Navy consists of six main branches and various services: the Force d'Action Navale, the Forces Sous-marines (FOST, ESNA), the Maritime Force of Naval Aeronautics, the Fusiliers Marins (including Commandos Marine), the Marins Pompiers, and the Maritime Gendarmerie.

As of June 2014, the French Navy employed a total of 36,776 personnel along with 2,800 civilians. Its reserve element consisted of 4,827 personnel of the Operational Reserve. As a blue-water navy, it operates a wide range of fighting vessels, which include the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, various aeronaval forces, attack submarines and ballistic missile submarines, frigates, patrol boats and support ships.

Green-water navy

Green-water navy is terminology created to describe a naval force that is designed to operate in its nation's littoral zones and has the competency to operate in the open oceans of its surrounding region. It is a relatively new term, and has been created to better distinguish, and add nuance, between two long-standing descriptors: blue-water navy and brown-water navy.

It is a non-doctrinal naval term used in different ways. It originates with the United States Navy, who use it to refer to the portion of their fleet that specializes in offensive operations in coastal waters. Nowadays such ships rely on stealth or speed to avoid destruction by shore batteries or land-based aircraft.

The US Navy has also used the term to refer to the first phase of the expansion of China's navy into a full blue-water navy. Subsequently, other authors have applied it to other national navies that can project power locally, but cannot sustain operations at range without the help of other countries. Such navies typically have amphibious ships and sometimes small aircraft carriers, which can be escorted by destroyers and frigates with some logistical support from tankers and other auxiliaries.

Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyer

The Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyers (Hangul: 광개토대왕급 구축함, Hanja: 廣開土大王級 驅逐艦), often called KD-I class, are destroyers, but are classified by some as frigates, operated by the Republic of Korea Navy. It was the first phase of ROKN's KDX program, in moving the ROK Navy from a coastal defence force to a blue-water navy.

HMCS Fort William (J311)

HMCS Fort William (pennant J311) was a Bangor-class minesweeper that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Entering service in 1942, the minesweeper participated in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort and in the invasion of Normandy. Following the war, the ship was laid up, but was reacquired during the Korean War. Fort William never re-entered service with the Royal Canadian Navy and in 1957, was sold to Turkey. Renamed Bodrum by the Turkish Navy, the ship was discarded in 1971.

HMCS Kenora

HMCS Kenora (pennant J281) was a Bangor-class minesweeper that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Entering service in 1942, the minesweeper took part in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort and in the invasion of Normandy. Following the war, the vessel was laid up until reacquired in 1952 during the Korean War. Never re-entering service with the Royal Canadian Navy, Kenora was sold to the Turkish Navy in 1957. Renamed Bandirma by the Turkish Navy, the vessel was discarded in 1972.

HMCS Mulgrave

HMCS Mulgrave (pennant J313) was a Bangor-class minesweeper that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Entering service in 1942, the minesweeper took part in the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Normandy. While sweeping for naval mines off France in 1944, the vessel hit one. The ship was towed back to port where Mulgrave was declared a constructive total loss. Laid up until the end of the war, the minesweeper was broken up in 1947.

HMCS Thunder (J156)

HMCS Thunder (pennant J156) was a Bangor-class minesweeper constructed for the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. The minesweeper entered service in 1941 and took part in the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Normandy. Following the war Thunder was sold for scrap and broken up.

Italian Navy

The Italian Navy (Italian: Marina Militare, lit. "Military Navy"; abbreviated as MM) is the Navy of the Italian Republic. It is one of the four branches of Italian Armed Forces and was formed in 1946 from what remained of the Regia Marina (Royal Navy) after World War II. As of August 2014, the Italian Navy had a strength of 30,923 active personnel with approximately 184 vessels in service, including minor auxiliary vessels. It is considered a multiregional and a blue-water navy.

Liu Huaqing

Liu Huaqing (Chinese: 刘华清; October 1, 1916 – January 14, 2011) was a general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. He served as third Commander of the PLA Navy from 1982 through 1988, and is considered to have greatly contributed to the modernization of the Chinese Navy.

He had outlined a three-step process by which China would have a navy of global reach by the second half of the 21st century. In step one, from 2000 to 2010, China would develop a naval force that could operate up to the first island chain. In step two, from 2010 to 2020, China's navy would become a regional force capable of projecting force to the second island chain. In step three, to be achieved by 2040, China would possess a blue-water navy with aircraft carriers as its centerpiece. He was a strong advocate of the Chinese aircraft carrier program.

Liu encouraged technological innovation within China that would increase naval capabilities, but he also advocated large foreign purchases. During the 1960s and 1970s, Liu was responsible for naval research and development before heading national military research. He was also the top commander of the troops enforcing martial law to suppress the Tiananmen Square protests in June 3–4, 1989. From 1992 to 1997 Liu was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee. He was the last Standing Committee member of a military background. Since he left the Standing Committee in 1997, no other military leader has sat on the committee.

Mr. Liu remained active through the mid-1990s and appeared in uniform at 2007 commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army in Beijing.

Liu died on January 14, 2011 in Beijing. Liu Huaqing's son, Liu Zhuoming, is a vice admiral of the PLA Navy.

Maritime geography

Maritime geography is often discussed in terms of three loosely defined regions: brown water, green water, and blue water.

Naval history of Korea

The naval history of Korea dates back thousands of years since the prehistoric times when simple fishing ships were used. Military naval history dates back to the Three Kingdoms period and Unified Silla dynasties of Korea in the 7th century. Because of the constant coastal attacks by the Wa Japanese and other barbarian tribes, Korean shipbuilding excelled to counter these threats as a result. During the Unified Silla period, Jang Bogo, a merchant, rose as an admiral and created the first maritime trading within East Asian countries. During the Goryeo dynasty, sturdy wooden ships were built and used to fight pirates. Korean shipbuilding again excelled during the Imjin war, when Admiral Yi defeated the advancing Japanese fleets.

Today, South Korea is the world's largest shipbuilding nation and also the world's builder and exporter of ships. The South Korean Navy is concentrating its efforts to increasing its number, develop new ships, and become a blue-water navy by 2020.


A navy or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields. The strategic offensive role of a navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores (for example, to protect sea-lanes, deter or confront pirates, ferry troops, or attack other navies, ports, or shore installations). The strategic defensive purpose of a navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Naval operations can be broadly divided between riverine and littoral applications (brown-water navy), open-ocean applications (blue-water navy), and something in between (green-water navy), although these distinctions are more about strategic scope than tactical or operational division.

In most nations, the term "naval", as opposed to "navy", is interpreted as encompassing all maritime military forces, e.g., navy, naval infantry/marine corps, and coast guard forces.

Power projection

Power projection (or force projection) is a term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a state to deploy and sustain forces outside its territory.This ability is a crucial element of a state's power in international relations. Any state able to direct its military forces outside its territory might be said to have some level of power projection capability, but the term itself is used most frequently in reference to militaries with a worldwide reach (or at least significantly broader than a state's immediate area). Even states with sizable hard power assets (such as a large standing army) may only be able to exert limited regional influence so long as they lack the means of effectively projecting their power on a global scale. Generally, only a select few states are able to overcome the logistical difficulties inherent in the deployment and direction of a modern, mechanized military force.

While traditional measures of power projection typically focus on hard power assets (tanks, soldiers, aircraft, naval vessels, etc.), the developing theory of soft power notes that power projection does not necessarily have to involve the active use of military forces in combat. Assets for power projection can often serve dual uses, as the deployment of various countries' militaries during the humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake illustrates. The ability of a state to project its forces into an area may serve as an effective diplomatic lever, influencing the decision-making process and acting as a potential deterrent on other states' behavior.

Type 051C destroyer

The Type 051C or Luzhou class destroyer is a long-range air-defence guided missile destroyer built by China in its ongoing effort to create a true blue water navy. The ship uses the hull design of the older Type 051B (Luhai class), but is equipped with the advanced Russian S-300FM air defence missiles systems. Currently, two ships of this class have been launched and deployed by People's Liberation Army Navy North Sea Fleet.

Aircraft carriers
Patrol craft
Fast attack craft
Mine warfare
Command and support


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