22 April 2014

Watching China’s Carrier Dream Materialize–Via Music Video!

Great music video compilation and commentary on China’s emerging deck aviation efforts from my Global Junior Scholars Forum on Chinese International Relations (GCIR) colleague Haotian Qi.

***Warning: watching these clips may get some unforgettable images and songs stuck in your head.***

Posted with full credit and permission:

April 23rd is the 65th anniversary of the PLA Navy. AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China) just released two promo videos, both featuring Liaoning (“CV”-16).  The first one is called “Leading the Dream” 《为梦想领跑》.
(It’s interesting that in this song you can find some features of Mongolian music, from the famous inner Mongolian singer 容中尔甲 to the rhythm and melody).
Not surprisingly, some netizens (especially military buffs) are re-editing the videos. One of them replaced the soundtrack with Kenny Loggins’s Danger Zone (in Top Gun) 😀
The videos that Haotian Qi so aptly describes above call to mind the widespread outpouring of Chinese enthusiasm surrounding the J-15 fighters first takeoff and landing from Chinas first aircraft carrier Liaoning in late November 2012. To residents of nations that have long had aircraft carriers and may sometimes take them for granted, the images of Chinese citizens from all ages and walks of life emulating the iconic image of a carrier-deck-based “shooter” dropping to one knee and pointing forward to authorize an aircraft launch might seem like a curious “planking” meme. Much of the AVIC videos music and imagery does not translate well for a Western audience, to whom it can seem hokey and over-the-top. And certainly China is far away from being able to produce a world-beating documentary like the leading-edge Royal Maces of Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5) forward deployed in Atsugi, Japan. But in China, “citizen shooter” snapshots reflect serious enthusiasm for new-found strengths in a country that suffered grievously for lack of sea power a century and more ago. Now–for a Chinese audience, at least–the videos linked above offer a stirring soundtrack for deck aviation development in a country that is well positioned to appreciate its considerable potential. In a world in which military spending has largely stagnated in developed industrialized democracies, citizens enthusiasm counts for a lot–particularly where naval development is concerned.

For links to these images and accompanying analysis, see Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, “China Aircraft Carrier Style! Assessing the First Takeoff and Landing,” China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 27 November 2012.

Further analysis on Chinese aircraft carrier development is available at:
Analysis of possible indigenous carrier construction approaches is offered in Andrew S. Erickson and Gabe Collins, “China Carrier Demo Module Highlights Surging Navy,” The National Interest, 6 August 2013.

For a comprehensive analysis of Chinese deck aviation development, see 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.

For a video presentation, see Andrew S. Erickson, “Chinese Aircraft Carrier Update,” presented in “Session 1: Developments in Aircraft Carriers,” at “Maritime Security Challenges (MSC) 2012” conference, Maritime Forces Pacific, Canadian Navy, Victoria, Canada, 2 October 2012.

For other recent analysis, see Andrew S. Erickson and Gabriel B. Collins, “The Calm Before the Storm: China’s About to Find Out How Hard it is to Run an Aircraft Carrier,” Foreign Policy, 26 September 2012.

Click here for another recent assessment concerning Liaoning that references statements by important PLAN-affiliated experts: Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, “Introducing the ‘Liaoning’: China’s New Aircraft Carrier and What it Means,” China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 25 September 2012.

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

Historical highlights from articles listed below, offered in Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Ministry of National Defense: 1st Aircraft Carrier “Liaoning” Handed Over to PLA Navy,” China Analysis from Original Sources, 25 September 2012.

Explanation of naming in Andrew S. Erickson, “China Will Name its First Aircraft Carrier ex-Varyag “Liaoning”: PRC State Media Portal,” China Analysis from Original Sources, 10 September 2012.

Coverage of the ex-Varyag’s sea trials 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) 43 (9 August 2011).

An early assessment of the larger implications of China’s deck aviation development 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 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) 12 (18 December 2010).

Early assessment of Chinese aircraft carrier options 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.

For analysis on aircraft that may eventually fly off China’s aircraft carrier, 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) 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) 35 (18 May 2011).