11 August 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Chris Buckley, Reuters: “China Launches First Aircraft Carrier on Maiden Sea Trial”

Chris Buckley, China Launches First Aircraft Carrier on Maiden Sea Trial,” Reuters, 10 August 2011.

China launched its first aircraft carrier for a maiden run on Wednesday, a step likely to boost patriotic pride at home and jitters abroad about Beijing’s naval ambitions. …

Retired Chinese navy Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo told state-run television that his country intended to build an air carrier group, but the task would be long and difficult.

“As for forming a carrier group, I think that will take at least ten years,” he told a Chinese television broadcast on the carrier launch. …

Before the launch, a Pentagon spokesman played down the likelihood of any immediate leaps from China’s carrier program. U.S. experts on the Chinese navy agreed.

“A newly-wed couple wants a ‘starter home’, a new great power wants a ‘starter carrier’,” Andrew Erickson of the U.S. Naval War College and Gabriel Collins, a security analyst, wrote in a note about the carrier launch (www.andrewerickson.com).

“China’s ‘starter carrier’ is of very limited military utility, and will primarily serve to confer prestige on a rising great power, to help the military master basic procedures, and to project a bit of power,” they wrote. …

For the latest on the ex-Varyag’s sea trials, see Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, “China Realizes Carrier Dream,” The Diplomat, 10 August 2011.

For the longer analysis on which that post is based, see Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “China’s ‘Starter Carrier’ Goes to Sea,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 43 (9 August 2011).

For an assessment of the larger implications of China’s deck aviation development, see Abraham M. Denmark, Andrew S. Erickson, and Gabriel Collins, “Should We Be Afraid of China’s New Aircraft Carrier? Not yet.,” Foreign Policy, 27 June 2011.

For operational aspects of China’s first carrier-capable aircraft, see Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “Flying Shark” Gaining Altitude: How might new J-15 strike fighter improve China’s maritime air warfare ability?,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 38 (7 June 2011).

For drivers and constraints concerning Chinese deck aviation, see Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “The ‘Flying Shark’ Prepares to Roam the Seas: Strategic pros and cons of China’s aircraft carrier program,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 35 (18 May 2011).

For relevant defense industrial factors, see Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “LNG Carriers to Aircraft Carriers? Assessing the potential for crossover between civilian and military shipbuilding in China,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 12 (18 December 2010).

For an early assessment of Chinese aircraft carrier options, see Andrew S. Erickson and Andrew R. Wilson, “China’s Aircraft Carrier Dilemma,” Naval War College Review, 59. 4 (Autumn 2006): 13-45.