Thursday, April 25, 2013

China to Acquire Bigger Aircraft Carriers

According to the Deputy Chief of Staff of the PLA Navy, Song Xue, China will acquire additional aircraft carriers. These will be larger and carry more aircraft than the Liaoning.

The Liaoning is the former Varyag, the second of the Project 11435 class aircraft carriers. The lead ship of this class is the Admiral Kuznetsov, which is also Russia's only aircraft carrier.

Although they share the same hull design, the Liaoning has been modified according to Chinese needs. Being younger, it is more modern, especially in terms of electronic systems, compared to the much older Admiral Kuznetsov.

The news that China intends to acquire additional aircraft carriers should not come as a surprise to anyone. China has spent decades preparing for the time when it would induct its own aircraft carriers.

Before it acquired several older aircraft carriers, such as the Melbourne and the Kiev class aircraft carriers, while trying to learn from them, such as how they were build, why they were build that way, their flaws and so on.

It has build extensive infrastructure and facilities relating to aircraft carriers, including a dedicated training facility. It has developed the J-15, modeled after the Su-33, and which is specifically designed for naval operations.

All of this cost a lot in terms of time, money and manpower. Resources that could have gone somewhere else. One does not spend all these resources if you only intend to operate a single aircraft carrier.

Rather it is clear that aircraft carriers will take a prominent role in China's Navy. The question is how many aircraft aircraft carriers China intends to build and and what the time schedule is for these future aircraft carriers.

What also remains to be seen, is how China intends to use these aircraft carriers. Carriers are still new to China and will have to develop its own doctrine. Maybe modeled on other countries or come up with something completely new.

Credit original poster, via Chinese Internet

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