25 April 2012

How Effective Will China’s Carrier-Based Fighters Be?

John Reed, How Effective Will China’s Carrier-Based Fighters Be? DefenseTech, 25 April 2012.

Today, we’re bringing you excerpt from an analysis of what the J-15 will mean for China’s neighbors written last summer by DT’s go to China guru Andrew Erickson.

Basically, the J-15… will be a useful tool for China to project power in its neighborhood and possibly intimidate neighbors with less sophisticated militaries but the jets won’t be the key to major carrier operations around the world. At the end of the day, China is going to have to develop bigger carriers capable of launching a variety of heavy aircraft using catapults instead of smaller carriers that can only launch fighters using a skip jump ramp if it wants to conduct truly effective carrier operations.

Here’s Erickson’s take: …

For full text of the analysis cited here, 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 (8 June 2011).

For related analysis on 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 further background on Chinese aircraft carrier development, see also:

Overall analysis is offered in Andrew S. Erickson, Abraham M. Denmark, and Gabriel Collins, “Beijing’s ‘Starter Carrier’ and Future Steps: Alternatives and Implications,” Naval War College Review, 65.1 (Winter 2012): 14-54.

Coverage of the ex-Varyag’s sea trials is offered in Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, “China Realizes Carrier Dream,” The Diplomat, 10 August 2011.

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

An early assessment of the larger implications of China’s deck aviation development is offered in 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.

Relevant defense industrial factors are discussed in 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).

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