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China preparing to launch first indigenously built aircraft carrier

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is preparing to launch its first indigenously built – and second – aircraft carrier, with a ceremony marking the ship’s floating off its dry dock.

The PLAN’s current carrier, the Liaoning, is the refurbished Kuznetsov-class carrier Varyag, which China acquired in a partially complete form in the late 1990s via privately-owned Hong Kong-based business. China received the Varyag in 2002 and began completing and fitting the ship from the mid-to-late 2000s.

Although the new carrier retains the Liaoning’s core design elements, such as using a ski-jump for short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR), Chinese news outlets believe that it will carry more aircraft – up to 36 (i.e. by 50% more) by some estimates. Chinese analysts, such as Liang Fang (via Nikkei), believe the cumulative capabilities of the new carrier are “vastly superior” compared to the Liaoning.

The PLAN declared the Liaoning as ‘combat ready’ in November, though analysts (via Defense News) believe the Liaoning and the second carrier will be used for primarily training and acclimation for carrier operations. China is expected to make aircraft carriers a core aspect of its naval strategy, and analysts expect that Beijing will continue building carriers, likely with iterative improvements in terms of design and systems with each successive ship. Catapult-based carriers appear to be on the PLAN’s roadmap.

The Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 and Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-18 are to be the PLAN’s mainstay carrier-borne aircraft. The Z-18 has been built in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and airborne early warning (AEW) variants.

Notes & Comments:

While aircraft carriers are typically seen as global power-projection assets, analysts – such as Vasily Kashin (via Sputnik News) – believe that China’s aircraft carriers will be used to support Beijing’s regional security goals. China’s primary security objective is to safeguard its interests in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Yellow Sea against regional contenders, such as the U.S. China’s aim is to defend its trade, access to natural resources, and build a buffer against perceived U.S. encroachment.

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  • by John Rue
    Posted April 24, 2017 9:39 pm 0Likes

    Aircraft Carriers work as threat to smaller or close to equal countries. To countries who are way more superior and their allies , they are more like sitting duck in any conflict. Chinese know their stuff is inferior so they will make sure they act accordingly.

  • by Stan
    Posted April 24, 2017 9:48 pm 0Likes

    The Chinese are going to be India’s worst nightmare while the Chinese are going to adding new Aircraft carriers every other year the Indians are left with an old refurbished Russian carrier which has turned out to be 3 times more expensive then originally thought and their Mig 29s are not operationally credible this stupid desire for prestige has left India with only a dozen submarines and most of them old and useless and the Indian Ocean soon would be Chinese ocean

  • by MT
    Posted April 25, 2017 6:56 am 0Likes

    1. keep dreaming. India is adding 1 conventional submarine every year and it will have 6 nuclear subs by 2025.1 inducted, 1 to go on trial next year and 2 in fabrication
    2. Chinese aircraft carrier are based on old soviet era ukrainean carriers. Adding them every 2/3 yrs is not going to make them capable
    3. No aircraft carriers cost less than 3/4 bill$ in 2010s. Russian aircraft carrier came with 2.5 bill$ prices which included 36 Mig29 & tech transfer. India is using similar tech to build its own carrier INS viraat which will be launched next year.

    Just imagine that if russian Mig29 is not perfect then there is nothing in chinese inventories which can fly from their carrier as efficiently than Mig29
    Russian tech is only inferior to west but its by far superior to the best chineese technology

    4. Chinese low cost inferior carriers with poor engine and below par speed would be easy poaching kill for Brahmos and K15 carrier killer variant

  • by Zill e Hussnain
    Posted April 25, 2017 2:27 pm 0Likes

    well 10 Indian subs against 60+ Chinese subs? is it not very cute han? if Chinese technology is inferior to Russian to some extent than what about the so called Indian technology? Involvement of politicians, lack of spares, inability of absorb the ToT, serviceability issues, failed missile tests and so on… Secondly the 2.5 billion does not include the cost of Mig29s, right now there is no single weapon system in Indian inventory that is any match to Chinese, lastly China recently inducted J-20 while Indian AMCA only exists on Wikipedia

  • by Zill e Hussnain
    Posted April 25, 2017 3:14 pm 0Likes

    if from “more superior and their allies” you mean ameica and their puppets in the region thn let me remind you that minus america, no single country can stand a chance against China secondly we are not talking about Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia here, the story is about China, thirdly despite being inferior to some extent, the competition is on Chinese turf

  • by MT
    Posted April 25, 2017 4:56 pm 0Likes

    The money of 2.39 bill $ included 16 mig29 and tech transfers which is helping India build ins viraat.

    Han type 94 nuke ssbn is definitely more powered ; bigger and better than arihant classes but Arihant borrow feature from Charlie’s and akula class so it’s signature can never be inferior to type 94
    Their first ssbn was barely 10%enriched and could never become operational.

    Their first naval icbm jl1 was hoax and jl2 is the first true Chinese slbm inducted in 2014

    So it’s not numbers that matter given Chinese best ssbn and diesel subs are too noisy compared to old Russian 80era.

    Indian 6 of p8 can sink a dozen fleet of cheeni submarines in Indian ocean.

    There is no decent Chinese mrsam in likes of barak8/aster which can take down deep diving brahmos gen 3 anti ship missiles with cep of 5meters
    Every countries face missile failure minus some countries who import and paint stuff’s.

    China is definitely ahead of India but it’s not so ahead to win a war without avoiding collaterals damages.
    India inducted local produce bvraam Astra this ye.
    India is pretty much getting it’s own carrier next year while nag atgm with local MWIC IR seeker is next to come; next gen akash 2 aesa Sam; Astra variant qrsam;anti radiation ngram and nirbhay cruise missiles all be operational by end of this decade. Prithvi airdefen and pdv kill vehicles(with iir seekers) tested with Long range swordfish radars of 1000km proved Indian bmd capabilities.
    For Pakistani success is all about
    frame assembly of jf17 and testing them without bvraam and show half combat operational capabilities but for india success criterion is to induction of tejas foc with
    world best bvraam python 5 ; Hobs , 3/4th gen litening pods and cueing capabilities from hmds
    For Indian Navy tejas with higher TFR than jf17(check Thrust’s of rd93 nd ge404 in20 and prospective weight with fuel) is unfit for carrier so it make more sense if you all try to see things with same scale.
    Chinese j planes have killed dozen pilots and nobody knows why pioneer china with 5th gen han tech is buying in 4th gen su35 from Russians.

    India inducted it’s own heavy weight torpedoes ; AWACS aesa radar from embrarer and active sonars last year

    Turbofan for many small programs such as nirbhay and trainer jets are ready. Local bvraam Astra was abducted with inbuilt ku band seekers

    India is among 4 countries with hypersonic scramjets and it’s pretty much in same league as China on missiles and space programs with some 5 yrs lag

    With meager 2bill $drdo budgets as compared to 50/70 bill $ spent by Chinese on defense research ; India is doing very fine as it’s among few countries that can produce wide varieties of stuff’s Right from titanium alloy to some capabilities of turbofans .

    Believe it or not but the gap between China and India is only going to reduce from now. GDP ratio all definitely reduce from 4.5: 1 to 2:1 by 2030 which all push Indian military budget to 200bill $ in 2030 assuming china spending 500bill $ on defense

  • by Stan
    Posted April 25, 2017 5:51 pm 0Likes
  • by Muhammad
    Posted April 26, 2017 8:25 am 0Likes

    Good for china. Develop more .

  • by STAN
    Posted April 26, 2017 8:59 am 0Likes


  • by Zill e Hussnain
    Posted April 26, 2017 1:28 pm 0Likes

    well to be honest we don’t bother to respond to the troll accounts of fan boys but let’s take your comments on rational grounds even thought my single comment cut the number of Mig29s from 36 to 16,
    1 Noisy subs: remember the noisy Cheeni sub which went right under Indian nose and only discovered when it made the announcement on Karachi port? and the discovery of India’s very silent sub near Pakistani waters and subsequent humiliation by the hands of Pakistan Navy?
    2 “Indian 6 of p8” while Indian navy will be discovering and sinking 60+ (10 sub/ 1 P8), entire Chinese air force and Navy will be clapping on this achievement and distribute candies han?
    3 “anti-ship missiles”: well the Land and Sea based HQ series working in a network centric environment are more thn enough to take all the BraHumas missiles in Indian inventory, Yes indeed every country has their fair share of failed tests but some countries are only famous for failed tests even for their operational missiles, While every Chinese missile is a Cheei mal and a dud but when Pakistan imports its/technology, the very same missile becomes accurate because it is imported?
    4 China is definitely ahead of India but it’s not so ahead to win a war without avoiding collaterals damages.(the only truthful thing u said which even applies to Bangladesh and India) 5 Astra, Nag, Astra etc. all exist on fan boy face book pages, Wikipedia and labs, Cheen and Pakistan are already producing better versions from many years, just for reminder, remember Anza MKI which took Mig 27 and Mig 21 during Kargil war? Anza MKIII is in production from many years
    I will not indulge into the debate about JF-17 Thunder as i see it as a ploy to distract the conversation from the topic, i can take u about JF-17 Thunder when we will have an article about JF-17 B

  • by Salman Khan
    Posted April 27, 2017 1:48 am 0Likes

    It is their very best hardwork, and is to be inducted in 2020 lol

  • by Salman Khan
    Posted April 27, 2017 1:59 am 0Likes

    You made the point when mentioning the P8 Poseidons and the fact that China is trying its best to buy a 4th gen Su-35 from Russia to learn something. Zill is on the other side of the seesaw, basically saying that the P8s would be naked in front of the Chinese airforce.

  • by MT
    Posted April 27, 2017 2:56 am 0Likes

    oo yes those unreliable aircrafts would be operating in indian ocean 2000 km far from china.

    Chinese only reliable plane is Su35 and Su27/30 variants. All of their aircraft wont last 4/5 sorties in event of war

  • by MT
    Posted April 27, 2017 2:57 am 0Likes

    1. It is 80% complete and its by far more powerful, bigger than chinese ukrainean rip off
    2. If Mi29 are useless bcoz of some CAG report(more related to spares problem(then what is there in chinese inventories which can fly from carrier

    3. Submarines torpedoes wont take long to acquire. Those active sonar torpedoes from germany,italy are generation ahead of russian stuffs while we all know how good chinese torpedos are

  • by MT
    Posted April 27, 2017 3:07 am 0Likes

    1. the news about chinese submarine went around india atleast 500 nautical miles far from coastline in 2014 is story of past.

    2. in last 2yrs , indian p8 have been catching and forcing chinese subs to go off from indian ocean atleast dozen times. Thanks to US, india have access to signature of entire chinese submarines fleet.

    3. I dont know if those HQ9 can take on low flying vertical diving supersonic cruise missiles. So far as only Aster,Barak8, Russians and american MRSAM can counter brahmos type of cruise missiles with decent precision.

    India produces 100/150 brahmos yearly and it has around 1000brahmos. And no chinese carrier can survive 50 brahmos saturation attack if they ever decide to engage in indian ocean, 2000 Km away from china. Thats why i told you that fighting war in others territory is not so easy. Chinese may be adding big fleet but gaps between india china is only going to reduce as our economy difference reduce from 4:5 to 1 to 2: 1 in next 15 yrs

    4. All of pakistani missiles and cruise missiles are chinese in origin.
    We all know how capable babur, shaheen(df series) are. IF you continue to use same 70 era long march 1 solid rocket engine in Shaheen series 2/3 then dont expect it to be state of art. The R&d labs pakistan operate and the optimal output of patent,research papers will depict true picture of pakistan defence industries

    5. India failed many test of agni, ISRO rockets and it becomes 4th country to successfully flock a hypersonic HSTDV powered by indigenous scramjet engine.
    Even russians are struggling on scramjet program. Indian missile program is maturing. BMD 2layers shield is ready to ward off old typical susbtandard MRBM. The 2 stage PDV was tested in automated mode with latest IIR seeker and delhi/mumbai is undergoing quiet induction by 2020.

    there has been failures with quality/hardware isuses on nirbhay undergoing testing but the entire package from local turofan engine, KU/X band seeker are developed inhouse and it will be used as cheap effective mode in air/sea/submarine/ground mode to carry out saturation attack for range up to 1000 KM

    Well all of those missiles you mention as fan stuffs are into production. Astra got inducted last yr. Nag is to be only inducted once local fabricated MWIC IR seeker is tested for 4+ km range in thar’s sub 55 degree celcius.

    6. PAkistan doesnt produce any decent military technology i.e radar, avionics, missiles,aircraft. Assembly of airframes, integration of babur/raad with chinese engine,radar,navigation/guidance system, flight control sw which were already tested/verified in china/southafrica is no big deal once both these missiles wre tested by chinese, Denel dynamics africa long ago
    Pak has no capability to produce SAM/MANPADS/Torpedos/Radars/home designed missiles whle indian produces them all *torpedos, SAM, MRSAM, Aesa/Pesa radars, awacsc radar, NGRAM anti radiation missiles, BMD)
    irrespective of quality concerns which is norm in developing defence industry from scratch

    Anza and other stuffs are 60/70 era chinese assembled stuffs in pak local unit.

    bringing down a helicopter and mig21 is no big deal. India brought down 200 million pak naval surveillance aircraft with similar manpad

    7. JF17 is 3.5 gen semi operational, low TWR aircraft whose radar & bvr capability is still under question mark. No HOBS, No HMDS, No litening pods. Its engine is sub optimal and its agility performance in airshows with barely empty fuel tanks; show how clumsy the aircraft will behave once its fully laden.

  • by MT
    Posted April 27, 2017 3:42 am 0Likes

    India is quietly testing S3, INS Arindhaman second of the arihant class nuclear SSBN. Its powered by more powerful reactor(approx 90+ MW as compared to 83 MW used in INS Arihant)
    The third arihant class SSBN is undergoing fabrication. Fourth one will follow suit.

    5th/Gen submarine will be powered by sub 100/110 MW engine

  • by GhalibKabir
    Posted April 27, 2017 9:56 pm 0Likes

    @Stan, I cannot ask that you treat others respectfully, but I can and I will set an example by giving you respect.

    1. No one denies China is a naval giant. they have multiple aims and will hence need proportional power projection abilities
    2. If you knew anything about naval tactics, Navies purchase things with purposes in mind. IN aims are in the open, we have been a carrier navy since 1961. the carrier-SSN-SSBN tools as part of newer reach has been on the anvil for a while. No Prestige, only logic.
    3. We are having troubles developing a domestic manufacturing base. However, progress has been the only way it has been. It might be pertinent to note the Xia class SSBNs were barely put to sea due to their noisiness, we can go on and on, but the bottom line China learnt and grew. India I assume is doing so at a more slower pace.
    laughing at us may be nice, but remember ISRO and DRDO were laughed at in the 1970s too. Today amongst all failures, the GSLV, missile program, Pinaka MLRS, ATAGS, our Ships are examples of perseverance. The other option if we go by fellow forumers is ‘give up’.

    PS: If saying China is superior to India and will make Indian Ocean Chinese Ocean helps you sleep well, I am very happy for you. I realize some prejudices run too deep and some hatreds impossible to undo.

    PS 2: Just because Mihir writes in Bloomberg does not make him an authority on naval tactics. he is a self hating human being, sorry to say.

  • by GhalibKabir
    Posted April 28, 2017 1:10 am 0Likes

    @MT, similar to my comment below, I would also kindly request you to make your points using data and logic. for example, instead of saying 29K is automatically better than Chinese J-15s, you could have made the same point as follows,

    1. MiG-29Ks have had had their share of issues, however by investing in dedicated O&M facilities closer to home, India is systematically trying to make the availability rates of the 29K go beyond 60% which does happen to be the MoD plan.

    2. With plans to leverage Indo-Israeli avionics and long range AAMs and surface targeting weaponry, the MiG-29K could emerge a capable platform in the near future. again not an outlandish point given we have been integrating Litening pods and related western avionics on Russian jets for decades now.

    Again for 1 and 2 proof is available. Logical points take time to get through jingoistic views usually, but respectful conversation is critical imho. my apologies if i come across as preachy my friend.

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