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People's Daily Online

Military expert: China may have 3 aircraft carrier battle groups

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 17:18, January 05, 2017

On the first day of the new year, a fleet headed by aircraft carrier Liaoning held drills in the South China Sea. Around the same time, news was released that the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier, would deploy from San Diego, California to the Western Pacific region.

This news quickly drew attention to the development of aircraft carriers in China and the U.S. In an interview with People's Daily Online, military expert Liang Fang said that although the Chinese aircraft carrier battle group is not comparable with its U.S. counterpart in tonnage or number of aircraft, it nevertheless boasts stamina and a bright future.

According to reports, before entering the South China Sea, the Liaoning aircraft carrier battle group crossed the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and East China Sea, entering the Western Pacific through the Miyako Strait. Photos taken by Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force show that the group includes Type-052D destroyer Changsha, Type-052C destroyer Zhengzhou, Haikou, Type-054A frigate Yantai, Linyi, Type-056 light frigate Zhuzhou and integrated supply ship Gaoyou Lake.

According to media reports, after the war in Iraq, the United States reduced the size of its aircraft carrier battle group.

Liang said that, from the perspective of future development, the U.S. military clearly lacks stamina, and the country's insufficient military spending is proof of that. In addition, frequent problems with U.S. Navy Super Hornet, F-35C and other carrier-borne fighters have seriously hampered the aircraft carriers' combat capability.

In contrast, the Chinese military's combat capability has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. At present, China's second aircraft carrier is under construction. In the near future, the Chinese navy is expected to own a third aircraft carrier battle group, capable of safeguarding territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, said Liang.

Liang noted that China is developing its aircraft carrier technology to defend national interests rather than to seek hegemony.

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