26 April 2017

China’s Naval Power Gets Big Boost with Launch of First Home-Grown Aircraft Carrier

Ryan Pickrell, China’s Naval Power Gets Big Boost with Launch of First Home-Grown Aircraft Carrier,” Daily Caller, 26 April 2017.

China’s carriers are no match for U.S. carriers, but they offer China the kind of power projection capabilities that its neighbors in Asia lack. It is a symbol of power. …

“China’s shipbuilding industry is poised to make the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) the world’s second largest navy by 2020,” argues Dr. Andrew Erickson, a renowned China expert with detailed knowledge of China’s naval developments, told the Diplomat. “If current trends continue — a combat fleet that in overall order of battle is quantitatively and even perhaps qualitatively on a par with that of the [U.S. Navy] by 2030.”

Chinese military experts see a big future for China’s aircraft carrier development program.

Chinese military expert Cao Weidong explained that China needs multiple large-scale operational platforms to mitigate those threats, stressing that China needs more than one or two carriers. The Chinese navy is moving towards nuclear-powered aircraft carriers with bigger tonnage and improved combat capabilities, Cao told CCTV.

Yin Zhuo, another Chinese military expert, said that China needs carrier battle formations in both the South China Sea and East China Sea, where China is involved in territorial disputes with multiple claimant states. …

It is unclear if China will pursue this kind of development plan, but China has indicated that it wants to build a much more robust naval force to protect its expanding interests. In addition to carriers, China has also been constructing new destroyers, cruisers, and supply ships.