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Aircraft Carrier Project

  • MMB-6 : CVA Wu Xiaoguang

  • World Wide Aircraft Carriers

  • The Chinese colloquial abbreviation for aircraft carrier, hangmu, is also used extensively to describe flagship enterprises and other great achievements. China's navy will develop a new generation of warships and aircraft to give it much longer-range capabilities, its commander-in-chief said in comments published Thursday April 16 2009. Admiral Wu Shengli told the state-run China Daily newspaper the Chinese navy wanted to develop hardware such as large combat warships, stealth submarines with abilities to travel further and supersonic cruise aircraft. More accurate long-range missiles, deep-sea torpedoes and a general upgrade of information technology were also in the pipeline, according to Wu.

    "The navy will establish a maritime defense system that corresponds with the need to protect China's maritime security and economic development," Wu said. The English-language China Daily, which the government uses to deliver messages to a foreign audience, printed his comments on its front page and said it had obtained a rare interview with such a high-ranking military figure. It quoted other Chinese military figures as saying that Wu's reference to building large warships referred to highly-publicized plans to build an aircraft carrier, but also other unspecified vessels.

    GlobalTimes, a somewhat more strident government mouthpiece, wrote 25 December 2016 "As Chinas only aircraft carrier fleet now, it should have the ability and courage to sail further. It should not only pass the first island chain, but also sail past the second island chain and go to the waters where Chinese cruise fleets have never been. The Chinese fleet will cruise to the Eastern Pacific sooner or later. When Chinas aircraft carrier fleet appears in offshore areas of the US one day, it will trigger intense thinking about maritime rules.

    "The distant sailing of the Chinese aircraft carrier fleet is not aimed at provoking the US nor at reshaping maritime strategic structure. But if the fleet is able to enter areas where the US has core interests, the situation when the US unilaterally imposes pressure on China will change. China should speed up launching its new aircraft carriers so as to activate their combat. In addition, China needs to think about setting up navy supply points in South America right now."

    China's first domestically-built aircraft carrier launched its sea trial on 13 May 2018, but experts said this was just the beginning. China needs at least six such vessels to build two fleets to deploy in the West Pacific Ocean and Northern Indian Ocean. At least four of these carriers must be nuclear-powered.

    Although China has developed an aircraft carrier very fast, the gap with the US Navy remains huge. The US has 11 aircraft carriers in service and all of them are nuclear-powered large-size (100,000 ton-class) and the next generation nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald G Ford-class is now undergoing sea trials. These war fleets offer the US capability to launch military operations worldwide, but China's defense strategy is different, so Beijing will not try to build so many aircraft carriers, Wang Yunfei, a Beijing-based naval expert and a retired PLA Navy officer, told the Global Times on 15 May 2018.

    Although aircraft carriers are used for overseas military operations, China's effort at developing them doesn't mean it is seeking naval hegemony like the US, Wang said. "The PLA Navy's mission is to safeguard China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests, rather than play 'world police.'"

    China will deploy the aircraft carriers in the regions important to its national interest. Currently, the Western Pacific Ocean and the Northern Indian Ocean are important for the country's national interests, said Senior Colonel Zhang Ye, a research fellow at the PLA Naval Research Institute. Most of China's security concerns emanate from the Western Pacific Ocean, including Taiwan and the South China Sea. The Northern Indian Ocean is significant since China's economic development and energy supply depend on the crucial trade routes that pass through the region.

    In order to deal with the worst-case scenario in the two regions, China at least needs six aircraft carriers, experts said. It needs to maintain effective military presence in the Pacific and Indian oceans and in 10 to 20 years, China will complete this goal. Ideally, four of these carriers will be nuclear-powered, Wang said. "They won't make China more aggressive just improving its capability to defend its interests. It is almost impossible to see a massive naval battle between China and other naval powers in regions far from Chinese territory." In the short run, China is unlikely to use its carriers for a conflict with any country, Zhang said. "They will more likely be used for non-combat purposes such as UN missions for anti-piracy, disaster relief, peacekeeping and evacuation."

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    Page last modified: 25-12-2019 18:43:24 ZULU