China launches domestically built aircraft carrier

NY Times

The Chinese are better at copying technology than creating it. The Chinese Navy currently has a second hand aircraft carrier that was built by the Soviet Union during the final years in the late 1980s. It is not much of a threat because of its age and limited capabilities.

Aircraft carriers can only launch planes designed for carrier use. The Soviet carriers are short and launch the planes using an angled ski deck. There is no catapult, so planes have to use full thrust and not be fully loaded.

The ships are not intended to have the same role as US carriers to project force around the world. They are primarily defensive, with the ability to launch helicopters with anti submarine weapons, and cruise missiles. Protecting an aircraft carrier far from land requires an armada of support ships, and CAP (combat air patrol) to protect the carrier from enemy aircraft, although with more advanced steerable missiles, CAP and submarines may not be enough to defend a carrier.

So China has launched a clone of the Soviet carrier, although it is far from operational – the NY Times source suggests it is three years away from deployment.

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4 Responses to China launches domestically built aircraft carrier

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    One of the guests on John Batchelor pointed out that the China claim over the South China Sea and the Nine Dash line originated with the Nationalist Chinese in 1947 and advocated by our ally Chiang Kai-shek, who fled to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war against Mao in 1949.

    It is worth remembering that when you make strategic alliances, some day your friends might become your adversary. Russia, Iran and Turkey are three examples that come to mind.

  2. briand75 says:

    There is an entire book to be had from our screwing up Iran. When at the Academy, we had foreign exchange students from Iran. This was during the last years of the Shah and I learned a ton about Iran and its inner workings at the time. We did that one to ourselves and fouled it up for the rest of the planet. Yay.

  3. briand75 says:

    And – to the subject of the post – if China gets a large deepwater Navy – the planet will be speaking Mandarin in short order.

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