Both Russia and China revealed their very high-level military plans for 2016. Russia’s story is more complicated (https://www.rt.com/news/327608-russia-national-security-strategy/), so we will start with China. Their plan for a second aircraft carrier may come as a surprise, but it’s really within expectation (http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/31/asia/china-new-aircraft-carrier/). A marine-variant of DF-ZF is still in research phase, not to be ready for deployment until at least 2020 or even 2025. A mid-sized aircraft carrier is on the other hand rather easy to build within 2 years. If a war is to take place today on Taiwan Strait, South China Sea or East China Sea, China will need those carriers to counter US Navy. It won’t be very effective, but better little than nothing. Anything still in research phase will have to wait. However, if you look at how fast they roll out J-11, J-20 and J-31 given the technology gap they must overcome in terms of engines and avionics, you know navy is not the priority of China when it comes to their military future. DF-ZF is too fast for anything that requires aim-time to intercept it, so a laser gun may be the only hope. Even then, the aerodynamics of DF-ZF can be revisited such that even if it gets chopped in half, it will still be able to make two holes instead of one. The explosive power that comes with it kinetic energy will not be reduced by much. Air force will rule with high stealth and high speed. The age of Elves has come. Don’t worry. US Air Force is not weak at all. I am pretty sure that if they really want to, they can come up with something rather quickly, too.
Global warming has increased forest fires in Siberia, but it also means that Russia will eventually have many warm water ports, possibly in 50-100 years. Their pursuit of navy is a little early, but their design and implementation of naval vehicles shows a good understanding of proper naval warfare. Range is everything, all about cruise missiles beyond the combat radius of naval air force. US is developing carrier-capable bombers to increase range as well, but you ought to remember one thing: missiles will almost have a higher range on one-way trips. The problem with navy is that, once everyone can achieve global coverage, army and air force alike, range will no longer be an advantage. Global coverage is the coffin of surface navy.
Both submarines and aircraft cost money, so Russia really has to fix its economy. Russia really needs a strong service sector to drive up its domestic consumption. People are too busy making money. When it comes to spending, they want turn-key solutions, be it a car or a complete bathroom/kitchen remodeling. Spending is highly impulsive. You don’t want to force your customers to think. They see it. They want it. They get it. It means you need lots of dealers and general contractors, designers and architects, those who tailor products to their customers’ needs. You have to make it really easy to spend, or people won’t spend. What if they don’t have enough money? Finance. You make sure that they have money to spend. This is why finance and service are the future of Russia. Russia has to be completely westernized and modernized on these two fronts, or that’s about it for them. When Ukraine was trying to join EU at all costs in 2014, what was their primary appeal? Clean apartments. Both renovation and maintenance belong to the service sector. Finance and service bring manufacturers to their consumers, hence driving up demand and GDP growth.
It’s always easier to be a follower, because you have seen it working in the West, a path proven and true, no risk at all. What are you waiting for?