Jeff, do you expect all 20 Flight III Burkes to have been completed and commissioned by the mid 2020s?Yes...even with the Flight IIA tech insert and all of the Flight III ships...at the most which may approach 20, the Burkes will never match the Fletcher class in numbers.
Flight I - 21
Flight II - 07
Flight IIA - 41
FLight IIA restart - 03
Flight IIA Tech insert - 08
(Which makes 52 Flight IIA all together, and 80 Bukres all together before Flight III))
Flight III (Max) - 20
So, we may see 100 Burkes in service...which is very phenomenal.
Ahhh...but in overall capability, they would eat up and destroy all 175 Fletchers, and represent a HUGE capability far in excess of any other destroyer force on earth by themselves.
China may end up in the mid-2020s with:
02 x Type 051C
04 x Sov
02 x Type 052B
06 x Type 052D
24 x Type 052D.
12 Type 055
That's 50 DDGs and would be phenomenal, second only to the US Navy in numbers, and all of them very modern.
But then you have to add 22 Ticos in there and at least 3 Zumwalts (and with a new Presidency, if it the right one, we may see five more of those built)
So the US has 125-130 major combatant of DDG class or more.
Now, if we include FFGs, the Chinese will add a total of:
30 Type 054A/B
In the mid-2020s the US will have probably close to 30 LCS and FF class which are all uparmed. So the overall totals become:
80 major surface combatants for the PLA,
155 major surface combatants for the US Navy.
From my own reading, I've seen that the 7th Flight IIA tech insert Burke (USS John Basilone) is expected to be commissioned in 2022, followed by another Flight IIA tech insert, followed finally by the first Flight III Burke which will probably enter service in 2023-2024?
(edit: USN says the first Flight III Burke will enter service in 2023:
Assuming a 20 ship production run for Flight III Burke, I imagine they will probably finish production and commission all Flight III Burkes near the end of the 2020s, if not the very early 2030s, rather than the mid 2020s. The Tico cruisers would probably begin retirement by that time as well, which would allow the Flight III Burkes to replace them.
Also, regarding the Chinese Navy's frigate fleet, I personally expect a much larger number of frigates than 30 by 2025; considering they've already got 22 054As in service and another three fitting out (and more likely under construction), I can imagine they will reach 28 or so 054As commissioned by 2018, assuming three ships commissioned per year between now and then.
Assuming a new 054B design begins construction in 2019 two years after the last 054A (say, the 28th) is launched which would probably be next year/2017, and assuming that construction and commissioning of 054B occurs at a slightly lower pace than 054A (say, 2 per year instead of 3-4 per year), I can envision about 8 054Bs being in service by 2025, which would make a total frigate fleet of about 36.