11 August 2011

Tania Branigan & Jason Burke, The Guardian: “China’s First Aircraft Carrier Launches with Pride Amid Regional Tensions”

Tania Branigan and Jason Burke, China’s First Aircraft Carrier Launches with Pride Amid Regional Tensions,” The Guardian, 10 August 2011.

China’s first aircraft carrier has embarked on sea trials, in a potent demonstration of the growing naval power that is creating pride at home – and concern elsewhere in the region.

While China says it will only ever use naval power for defensive purposes, others say it is increasingly aggressive in pursuing its claims. Hours after the trials began, Taiwan pointedly unveiled its most advanced missile, hailing it as “an aircraft carrier killer”. …

The People’s Liberation Army Navy has also expanded its reach substantially in recent years – notably participating in international efforts to tackle Somalian pirates and more recently using a warship to support the evacuation of 35,000 Chinese citizens from Libya.

In an interview published in the China Economic Weekly, Chinese navy Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo said that China planned to build a “very strong battle group” but warned it would be a long and difficult task.

“The construction and functional demands of an aircraft carrier are extremely complex,” he said. …

For the article cited here, see Gabe Collins and Andrew S. Erickson, “Implications of China’s Military Evacuation of Citizens from Libya,” Jamestown China Brief, 11.4 (10 March 2011): 8-10.

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.