Home » Sea » China Plans to Build 4 Aircraft Carriers

China Plans to Build 4 Aircraft Carriers

by Mike Hoffman on January 22, 2014

LiaoningChinese leaders plan on building four aircraft carriers for its navy, a Chinese official said in comments that have since been removed from a Chinese media site.

Liaoning party chief Wang Min said the Chinese navy had started work on the country’s second aircraft carrier and had plans for four, according to the South China Morning Post. Earlier this year, Chinese officials explained the country’s need for more than two aircraft carriers.

“If China had only one aircraft carrier, it would not conform to China’s status as a world power, nor to the demands imposed by the length of the coastline. Considering China’s ocean environment, two aircraft carriers are not enough to safeguard marine interests. If China has three aircraft carriers, they can maintain a sustained combat capability: maintenance, safeguarding and patrol respectively,” Chinese military expert Du Wenlong told the Chinese state media arm, the People’s Daily.

The Chinese unveiled their first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in 2011. China has since incorporate the carrier into’s overall military strategy. In 2012, the Chinese successfully complete its first landing of a fighter aircraft on the ship when a J-15 landed in November on the Liaoning.

China bought the Liaoning from Ukraine more than a decade ago. China Vessel Construction Industry has since refurbished the Russian vessel.

Work has started on the second aircraft carrier, which the Chinese are building themselves. Min confirmed that construction continues on the carrier in the Dalian shipyard with plans to have it completed by 2020.

It’s unclear when the Chinese could complete construction on the fourth carrier, but a four carrier navy would present quite a power in the global seas. As pointed out by the U.S. Naval Institute, a four carrier navy would allow the Chinese to keep one carrier on patrol at all time.

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{ 129 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance January 22, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Proves the whole doctrine the pentagon has is crap. The Army is pure waste opf money GCV MHS and JLTV isn't needed for America's defense. We need more carriers escort destroyers and a Fleet Defender fighter like the F-14 was to protect the navy and more Hornets to have Harpoon anti ship missiles. The JSF is none of that and has no anti ship weapons in its payload.

If we let the Army get there crap over what the Navy needs like the old Battleship crowd did to carriers in the 30s we can have a Chinese Perl Harbor in a few decades.

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Big-Dean January 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I don't know why your getting thumbs down, perhaps you've upset the Army crowd

But saying the Army is waste of time is a bit much. But it's clear the Army's role in the Pacific would be minimal to none. One doesn't need a crystal ball to see the future here, and the future lays in the western Pacific, not in some massive land campaign.

The core issue with the Pacific is that is a "come as you are" scenario. We have very few bases and most of our assets will be waterborne. Secondly, they few bases we have (Guam, etc) are very vulnerable and they would be taken out in the first hour of a major conflict, so we can't count on them

What we need is more reach, more and better long range strike weapons and platforms. While I love the F-18, it needs longer legs (but future upgrades may be the answer) but a flattop full of F-18's is not the answer for the future, we need to bring back F-14, S-3, and A-6 "like" capabilities

Secondly, we need escort vessels, i.e. Frigates. the FFG can no longer serve that purpose, so a new Frigate is called for, and we need lots of them to protect our supply vessels and troops.

It is clear that China want to own the western Pacific, the are building their fleet like crazy while we are shrinking and replacing real capabilities with Crappy Little Ships that cannot punch their way out of a paper bag.

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tiger January 25, 2014 at 9:43 pm

The Check book is broke & we have too many economic ties to China to even thing of fighting them. They need to employ a billion + in factories. We need them keep the store shelves full. Besides, the real threat is not at sea or in the air. It is in cyberwarfare.

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Jeff M January 28, 2014 at 10:07 am

What you need to understand is what electronic warfare is capable of. The radar on these aircraft can fire a microwave beam so powerful it will literally fry anything its pointed at. F35 is just a flying electronics platform disguised as a conventional fighter aircraft. Hypersonic nuclear cruise missiles are the next generation in strategic warfare, I dont even think conventional warfare matters anymore. ICBMs won’t matter in another decade. China is just gearing up to start playing world police like the US does, they’re becoming “little brother”.

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DEK1957 January 23, 2014 at 5:47 am

I agree with most of the principles LANCE was commenting on.

BUT , I don't know about you all, but I have a serious feeling that our space based weapons platform can hit what ever target they choose, when ever they chose. My understanding from those who know, tell me, that once they are used, they can never be dark again, So they are not showing them off, until the time its needed.

FYI, from the land of OZ, Our secret SUPER secret mini shuttle goes up and stays hidden in the dark for over a year and we all have no idea whats it is really doing, Just like the failed phobos mission, I was told that the mission was hammered by our little mini shuttle and that the phobos mission was in fact a weapon platform. But HEY i guess I read that in a comic book somewhere. So my story is all fantasy ok… : )

So flame away, all you tech heads that do a "fantastic" job of Arm Chair Quarter Backing.. LOL .

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Thomas L. Nielsen January 23, 2014 at 7:23 am

"….i guess I read that in a comic book somewhere."

Yep, that was pretty much my guess as well.

"So my story is all fantasy…"

You don't need to tell us that.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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DEK1957 January 23, 2014 at 7:30 am

thanks for the flaming… just as I thought intellectuals such as you would respond. ROTFLMAO ! THANKS for not disappointing me. You are spot on.

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Thomas L. Nielsen January 23, 2014 at 10:04 am

You're welcome. I do so hate to disappoint people.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

Reader January 23, 2014 at 11:45 am

The F-35C will satisfy the Navy's requirement for a new carrier defense fighter-aircraft.

The F-35 can carry two AShM's: the NSM and in the future, the LRASM.

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Chris January 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Aircraft carriers are just big floating targets, ours and theirs. So your plan to build more seems ill advised.

Also, the nation hasn't done and can't do any meaningful warfighting without boots on the ground. To seize and keep bases in the Pacific we need an Army. The Navy is only meaningful for support after the bases have been seized, presumably by the Army brought to fight by the Air Force. In the era of accurate TBM's amphibious operations are obsolete, vertical envelopment is the thing.

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Big-Dean January 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Hey Chris, I agree with you that "boots" on the ground is the only way to ultimately secure space (please remind the air force of that fact) but the key problem is getting from "here to there." Beside sthe Corp and our Amphips. we have very little sealift and we certainly don't have troop transports a.k.a. WWII style anymore. So how would the Army even get to the game to play? The answer is that can't, so the game will be played without them. But in any future scenario, say the defense of Japan or Taiwan, we will need lot of boots on the ground, the most likely way this is going to happen is with the Navy/Corp "come as you are" team. There are no other asset available. Perhaps some weeks later, in the conflict, we could perhaps grab a bunch of US flagged cruise ships (there are only a few) and transport some troops over or airlift them if we have a friendly airstrip secured. But you have to remember, anything that happens in the Pacific will not be a repeat of the Gulf War where we had lots of friendly ports and airstrips in theater that were secure AND we were given months and months to get everything over there and in place. Don't forget how long it takes to get a single division, with all of their equipment in place. The air force cannot do it, we need lot of ships and lots of time, which we will have neither of.

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Chris January 24, 2014 at 1:06 pm

For a Pacific Island, airborne assault after after thorough preparation by fires is the low-risk way to operate. Not every division in the Army is a heavy division, not every division needs a port. Airborne assault followed by air bridge is the way to go. Then, when all the big, nasty, carrier and amphib-killing missiles are taken out of play the Navy can bring their Marines. Trying a slow,plodding amphibious assault against against a legitimate foe is a good way to maul the hell out of the Marines trying to do it and a significant number of the ships that brought them.

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Edward Cafarella January 24, 2014 at 8:59 am

Using that logic everything is a target so why build anything? At least they're mobile and can project airpower anywhere on the globe without permission from other governments. Try doing that with an air force base. People have cried the demose of the carrier since nuclear weapons were invented but they are STILL the first responding force to every crisis.

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tiger January 25, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Chris they have a Billion plus boots they can fill. Your 10 Division Army can not do jack about that.

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Cavmp January 30, 2014 at 6:48 am

I think we are too one service heavy from many of your posts. I'm an army veteran and I do love my service choice but I see the aspects of all the marines are great at what they do as is all the services. As with any conflict it's about playing chess each piece has a job amphibious landings maybe hard to accomplish for the marines and the army I agree with some of the statements from before I could see a joint operation such as the navy softening up an island the marines hitting the beach and airborne or air assault ops by the army in a supporting/ lead roll the idea would be to cause confusion in the enemy and of course to top it off the airforce providing close air support.

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Stephen N Russell January 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm

probably use Russian designs, since them building a Nimitz class would be way too huge or maybe old Forrestal class type CVs, but smells like WW2 again but Japan had far more carriers then vs now & none as MSDF since 1945.

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lib January 22, 2014 at 9:08 pm

There will be catapults on all new carriers.

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tiger January 25, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Most of the world navies use the Ski jump over the catapult system.

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ronaldo January 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Oh yeah…..the F-14 crowd is still begging for attention. Will it never end ?

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tmb2 January 22, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Is the ship from Russia or Ukraine?

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Sanchos January 23, 2014 at 3:48 am

It was part of the soviet era, so ussr. It was not complete i think due to the collapse of the ussr.

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tmb2 January 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I understand the circumstances of how the Chinese got it, but the article says it was both Russian and Ukrainain. If it started out as a Soviet ship and was left to the Ukrainians after the Cold War that's one thing, but saying it was Russian is not the same thing.

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tiger January 25, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Your being picky. Both had the title papers. Russia built it. Ukraine sold it.

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RRGED January 22, 2014 at 8:29 pm

They are out for blood they can smell the West weakness, don't think we can stand down for this one.

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Ben January 22, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Good old warhawks. Gotta love em.

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tiger January 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm

You need to chill. We are trying to deal with the last 12 years of war.

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Nicky January 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Looks like the chinese will be looking to build their carriers based on the Russian or old Forrestal class CV.

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wwjcinAZ January 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

That's nice. But without a credible submarine force and anti-submarine capability, the Chinese carriers will have a short but exciting life should hostilities ever take place.

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Ben January 22, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Our carriers might not fair much better. We're far too overconfident in our anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

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Chuck Mock January 23, 2014 at 7:39 am

I think that our space based "eyes" will watch what unfolds and will be taken care of by our Agies interceptors and Los Angles class attack sub with Tomahawks. I am an ex-Navy "airdale" but I think a lot of you underestimate what our subs can really do.

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Mambo January 23, 2014 at 9:03 am

The Chinese will not be able to project power and maintain supply line until they build a credible nuclear attack submarine fleet. Right now the US still has a HUGE advantage in that regard. People on here don't understand the abilities our fleet boats possess and their ability to control vast swaths of ocean. The Chinese have a LONG way to go in that regard.

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Talosian January 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Precisely. This move by the Chinese is as much for propaganda purposes as it is for any other reason.

The US armed forces contractors must really be loving all this "sky is falling" talk however.

baileno January 24, 2014 at 9:29 pm

You are presuming that we would still have space based "eyes" several hours into the event. Not necessarily a good assumption.

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Howdie January 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Didn’t a Chinese sub surface in the middle of an American exercise a while back? You’ve got to admire their focus and energy, they’re really going for the title. America used to have that, but now you just bicker with yourselves about abortion, budgets & healthcare.

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Ben January 23, 2014 at 8:37 pm

They did, and everyone likes to make excuses about how it's not relevant.

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Dennis Underwood January 28, 2014 at 9:19 pm

…and truly you believe we didn’t know it was there? Come on dude there is none better than the U.S.Navy…

Musson January 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

Good point. Projecting power is more than just flying aircraft off a flattop. You must field the entire fleet and develope the expertise and readiness to protect your carriers.

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Praetorian January 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm

The Chinese might be going after Russian subs, Lada-class

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20140123000025&cid=1101

Last two paragraphs

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Chuang Shyue Chou January 23, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Very good point there.

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ONTIME January 26, 2014 at 5:53 pm

The red C's are stealing tech info at a amazing rate and I would not take them for granted in a face off….every enemy is worthy until they're defeated….

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majr0d January 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

They are going to need a lot more than four…

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lib January 22, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I'd say about 8-10, not including the current one.

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Guest January 23, 2014 at 11:37 pm

The US is 17 trillion in debt and can no longer afford their massive Military spending.
China is a rising Economic super power. The dye is cast, this will be an Asian century.
By 2050, China will be a military super power. The Countries of Western Europe destroyed themselves in the last Century and the US is playing catch up.

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majr0d January 24, 2014 at 2:58 am

Xi Jinping, why didn't you use your name as opposed to hiding behind "Guest"?

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Guest January 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I didn't know you were an "Expert" on Naval Warfare Major, my bad.

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Guest January 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I didn't know you were an "Expert" on Naval Warfare Major.
Why do Military "Experts"always fight the last War? In the 1920-30s, the Military experts wanted more battleships. Aircraft Carriers "won" the War in the Pacific.

While Aircraft Carriers are still important in protecting power, the Chinese have an anti-ship missile that can hit a moving Aircraft carrier at 900 miles and destroy the ship in the process. (Anti-Ship missile DF-21D) There is no current defense against the DF-21D anti ship missile.

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majr0d January 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Xi, you are the ones adding carriers to your fleet. (We're actually slowing dropping numbers.)

I guess China is "fighting the last war", so much for Chinese Naval Warfare Experts…

Good point on missiles. You do know we have missiles that can do the same at exponentially greater ranges? China will also one day. After you copy our technology.

Ref the DF21D, we didn't have options in 2009 when the Navy said it couldn't stop the DF21D. Things have changed, there are defenses against DF21D's. Multiple actually. They are targetable on land, in flight as well as their spaced base sensors. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/killing-c

We aren't standing still as China threatens its neighbors…

BTW, the DF21 hit a mock up in the desert, that wasn't moving. It has yet to demonstrate a capability to hit a moving target…

Don't believe all your propaganda. Did you notice the B52s that flew through your ADIZ as soon as it was announced?

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Guest January 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I didn't know you were an "Expert" on Naval Warfare Major.

Atlas Major Rod, upgrades are always taking place in missile defense. The Bottom line is this: What Sailor would like to be "in range" of a March 10 anti ship missile? None that I know of.

Americans always have underestimated Asian Military strength. While you
are probably too young to remember Dec of 1941 and Korea 1950, You "might" be old enough to remember the Vietnam. The US was able to recover from the Pearl Harbor attack because of America's Industrial strength in those dark days. That "industrial strength" is slowly disappearing, as you well know Major Rod.

In addition, President Obama is turning the US Military into a politically correct Socialist Club, in order to appeal to the growing number of Democratic Left wing Voters in the US. Hows that working out for You?

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majr0d January 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm

LOL Xi, you're the only one claiming I'm an expert on anything. I just keep tossing monkey wrenches in your propaganda machine :)

Nobody enjoys being in a combat zone. It comes with the job.

America has underestimated many nation's military strength. It's not a racial thing. That's your inferiority complex talking.

I'm actually familiar with WWII Pacific and Korea. The aggressor lost in both of them suffering horrific losses but people seem to be pretty cheap in that part of the world.Crow about industrial strength. Copies of Russian equipment litter a lot of battlefields. When China becomes innovative, I'll start worrying and keep in mind you have to grow or die. You have some rough times on your horizon as your people compare China's freedom with the rest of the world's standards. You might be able to become a big N. Korea though.

Agree on Obama, you have three years to take advantage. Make it count. :)

Guest January 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I didn't know you were an "Expert" on Naval Warfare Major.

I would be remiss Major Rod, if I didn't mention the "mood of the people", involved in any war for a group of obscure Islands in the Pacific. You are aware of course, that the American people are sick of Wars after the endless Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But perhaps your not aware Major Rod, that the people of Okinawa want the US Bases removed from their Island. And it wouldn't be the first time that "locals" had a US Military Base removed. (Think Subic Bay Major Rod)

The Western Pacific is no longer an "American Lake" Major Rod,
50,000 UW mines and 100s of March 10 anti ship missiles say otherwise.

Guest January 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Actually Major Rod, the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 had everything to do with the powerful Soviet Union entering the Pacific war in Aug of 1945.

Marshall Vasilevsky's powerful Soviet Army wing was dealing heavy blows to the Japanese Kwantung Army. The Japanese saw the handwriting on the wall.
The Japanese knew full well, what the Soviet Military had done in Eastern Europe.
They didn't want a repeat.

It's not unusual for western military officers, like yourself, to be "short" on Military History and the "clash of Nations'. As noted, I see from past comments, that you
have very good knowledge of small arms in the US Military. Bone up on your
Military History and then we can "talk".

AN OLD CHINESE PROVERB for You Major Rod – "A rat who gnaws at a cat's tail invites destruction."

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majr0d January 24, 2014 at 7:09 pm

No doubt the Soviet entrance into the Pacific theatre was a factor but to believe it was the decisive one is just revisionism. Chinese history books? The Emperor cited nukes in his speech to the Japanese people not the Soviet intervention.

I have a pretty good history background. I was in charge of a Combined Arms General Staff College history section once… Thanks for the pointer but I think you're failing to appreciate the three fingers pointing back at you when you point at someone (I think that's an American proverb…:)

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Chuang Shyue Chou January 22, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I would think that the Chinese would need to develop a set of naval doctrines with regards to operating aircraft carriers first.

Secondly, the Chinese has not got the experience in building nor designing aircraft carriers. Is this going to be a copy of the unproven Russian carrier? And building four of them? Four more Liaoning carriers? I would venture that this would be a plan that would be three decades in the making.

Creating the necessary naval aviation and all the support structures will take time. The AWACS, the anti-sub assets, and more would need to be built too.

Similarly, creating a carrier group for carriers do not operate in isolation. There would be all the attendant vessels that need to be built and crewed.

This is a vast undertaking. It would be decades before China has four carriers operational at the same time. By then, the Liaoning would be retired in all probability.

Would the Chinese economy still be able to support the building of such carriers then? Would there be the political will to build them then?

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Sanchos January 23, 2014 at 3:50 am

I feel by the time the Chinese have completed building the aircraft carriers, usa would be using drone subs, would possibly have a drone aircraft carrier ect.

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Chuck Mock January 23, 2014 at 7:46 am

It took the United States decades to perfect the use and "doctrines" for modern aircraft carrier. That is some thing that you cannot develop in a couple of years.
That is why we were shadowed by the Soviet Union, they needed to learn how to use their carriers and the easiest way to do that was to watch someone ohe had one.

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Sev January 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm

So whose to say the Chinese can't just imitate our doctrine? Everyone here is thumbs upping posts that try to rationalize the chinese rise in military power. Every analyst and politician and general says theyre 20 years or 30 years behind us and are surprisedd every time China comes out with something to rival ours. Their hypersonic missile is just one example.

They know how to steal data so its not going to take them years to develop comparable tech and doctrines.
2) They are sending their best and brightest to american institutions to learn how to engineer and innovate.. They are leaping ahead of our students today.
3) Once they have military dominance, not just in the pacific but world wide to dominate our diminishing military, they will be far more aggressive. They aren't afraid of the US using nukes. They know we wont. They Aren't afraid to lose men in battle or assets because they have the capacity to rebuild. And when the US dollar falls they, along with Russia and Iran will have the economic dominance over the US.

Amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics, Masters talk economy.

you can't wage war if you don't have an economy to support it. Thats us very soon.

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tmb2 January 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm

It's not enough to copy and paste doctrine. You have to practice it. You have to experience the problems and setbacks for yourself. China and India are working hard on building carrier forces, but to expect them to be as good at it as we are without a decade of work is wishing too much.

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Sev January 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm

They'll practice. What you think they can't hack our military plans too andd practice those? You think they are worried about us intervening in aggressive and provocative naval exercises as they practice this doctrine? They don't need decades to master it. Just like they didn't need decaes to meet technological parity with the US.

Pablo January 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm

The Chinese can't cut and paste modern American doctrine because they do not allow their commanders the same freedom of control as we do. France, England or Italy can copy our current naval doctrine because of the similarities in how western Navies operate.

The Chinese do follow Mahan's strategy very closely though. They designed a 50 year naval improvement plan to take themselves from a coastal defense force to a blue water navy. The last step is the completion of this process is the building and deployment of these Chinese built carriers.

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Auyong Ah Meng January 22, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Even if China try anything…

the US has allies…in South Korea, Japan, vietnam (potentially) etc….the reliable ones…

While the others in the area do their usual flip and flop routine between the US and China…

Please don't discount the above and keep them on-side with the US…

Else headache.

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Hialpha January 23, 2014 at 12:00 am

@Chuang Shyue Chou,

A very well thought out post. Building a carrier is a MAJOR undertaking, and it's not just about catapults and radars and stuff, it's also about fuel tanks, water supply, garbage disposal and food prep etc., that allow 5,000 people to live and work on a carrier. A sustainable, functioning carrier force requires years to mature, and who knows if the Great Chinese contract (read: economic experiment) with their population will prove to last or just be the biggest bubble we've ever seen.

However, the Chinese are great at copying other peoples great ideas and making them work, so who knows what they are capable of.

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blight_ January 23, 2014 at 6:50 am

Their carriers won't be as big as ours. Presumably Liaoning is a starting point.

Alternatively they may treat each of the next carriers as one-offs until they hit a design they like, before commiting to serial production before they have a good grasp of what is optimal.

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Yaronimo January 23, 2014 at 1:18 am

As always people dismiss Chinese efforts offhandedly. Then, a few years down the line there's all this surprise when they pull some next-gen shit out of the bag.

It's a shame but you have to take into consideration that they might have the plans for both the Nimtiz and likely the Ford-class as well.

If there's one thing the Chinese do better than anyone else is steal military and otherwise sensitive information. Not because they are better at it per se. They just don't seem to care about getting caught.

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Atomic Walrus January 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm

It's not about building a ship, it's about learning how to employ it properly. Developing or changing an operational culture isn't an easy thing. Toyota's basically been telling the world about how they design & operate their quality systems – doesn't mean that every other automaker has been able to match it.

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Yaronimo January 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm

100% agree. Which is why they're learning on the cheapie russian convertible so they can train crews / ops in parallel to shipbuilding instead of having to wait to 2020.

I'm guessing here but it wont be too far fetched to assume iterative design between each ship which will allow them to narrow the gap fairly quickly.

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Misanthrophe2 January 24, 2014 at 8:57 am

China doesn't need to steal military secrets from the US. We hand over all our military secrets to Israel and Israel sells them to China at a handsome profit. Why do we give Israel $3+ billion every year, plus billions more in military hardware, plus all of our military secrets, only to have Israel stab us in the back at every turn? BTW, one of those aircraft carriers should be named the "Comrade Sam Walton" since it is being financed from Walmart and Sams Club profits.

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GungleGeorge January 25, 2014 at 9:18 am

You must take account of the almost perfect track record the US has amassed for pulling the rug out from under its allies. The current US government is in the process of setting Israel up for annihilation. Israel, with its perpetual existential threats, must always maximize its survivability options. Claims about the damage it's done to the US are wildly exaggerated, while it's contribution to US defense capability is strategically profound.

JimBobJoe January 23, 2014 at 2:16 am

The USA hasn't much to show for the Bush defense build up.

The Reagan build-up gave America a fantastic military where it really cranked out the numbers. The B-1, the Ticonderoga, LA class SSN's, F-15's, F-16's, the M-1 tank, etc…

Too much of the Bush build-up went into the contractors pockets.

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PolicyWonk January 23, 2014 at 8:44 am

Reagan didn't start two wars, sans: clear political objectives; strategy to win; sufficient resources to get the job done; or, plans to bring the troops home.

One thing Reagan shares in common with Obama: both inherited military's at very low states of readiness (add exhausted ground forces for Obama).

The difference: Reagan inherited a financially solvent nation that was the largest creditor on the planet (we were, however, the largest debtor at the end of 8 years), with a (by far, in comparison) a cooperative congress; Obama inherited the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression; a deeply resentful GOP, the largest government in US history, and a world population believing the US was a larger threat to world peace than IRAN.

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Musson January 23, 2014 at 10:07 am

Too bad Obama doubled down on those two wars while keeping his feet pointed out the door.

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PolicyWonk January 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

Well, he did double down (so to speak) to try to salvage the mess in Afghanistan. And, he tried to get Iraq to allow a residual force of US troops to tide them over (that failed when they balked at granting immunity from the Iraqi legal system for the troops – which Iraq lived to dearly regret).

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bigjet January 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

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rtsy January 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Come on! Bush gave us the largest, most intrusive, spying program ever! Every phone call, text, email, and credit card purchase anywhere in the world is available to our intel.

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Les Bates January 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

The Reagan build-up went the way of the give-away Liberal Society. Bush Sr. started it and Clinton completed it. There wasn't much left to give away when Bush Jr. came into office; and then he had to contend with 9/11, Katrina, etc. The U.S. needs to s— or get off the pot.
Retired Navy

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eric January 23, 2014 at 3:02 am

these carriers will be build on a thick layer of good education, motivation, hard work and competitive minds. when did we have that for the last time? if you are shocked by a 4 carrier chinese navy, i would like to hear you scream when they will be the number one world economy.

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Mark January 23, 2014 at 7:46 am

They haven't "built" one yet. Let's wait till they actually build their first carrier before speculating to much.

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3rivershunter January 23, 2014 at 8:47 am

Will everyone just relax…just look at the flight deck…sweeping upward…when did you last see one of those designs?….1920's Britain's very first proto-type carrier. Uumm that's ninety years ago. Go grap a cup of joe and go back to your morning paper.

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Thomas L. Nielsen January 23, 2014 at 10:12 am

"just look at the flight deck…sweeping upward…when did you last see one of those designs?….1920's Britain's very first proto-type carrier"

Invincible Class. Admiral Kuznetsov. Both a bit more recent than the 1920's.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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blight_ January 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Skijump not murrica…skijump bad.

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3rivershunter January 23, 2014 at 8:49 am

Oh yes, one other thing. They can't launch planes from the flightdeck, it's not equipped to do that. It's nothing more than a parking lot at the moment.

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BeanBagAdmiral January 23, 2014 at 10:21 am

Why does china want to use aircraft carriers as coastal defense assets? Or is that just a line they are feeding us?

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Kiwi January 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Because they are actively seeking to increase the coast they need to defend.

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tmb2 January 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm

They want to exert more influence over that whole region from India to Korea and all the islands in between.

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jaf January 27, 2014 at 6:42 am

They want to defend ALL of the resources available in the areas they are claiming. They are importing 50% of there oil. Mostly from the Mid east. They probably feel its in there interest to take the resources rather then buy them. Remember China has a long history of trying to dominate the areas in Asia.

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blight_ January 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

Perhaps they've subscribed to the belief that carriers are needed to defeat Muslim terrorists.

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Michael_AF_Ret January 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Many valid points have been made about the requirements to successfully deploy a carrier. The baseline is industrial technology and R&D efforts. Both, take huge sums of a Nation's gross annual earnings. With a central government and power concentrated with a party elite, you have global strategy depending on a cultural belief system. The Central Party remains a communist state. Their attempts at capitalism bring back memories of Carnage & JP Morgan following the Civil War. The government could not control either men as they paid low wages and charged high prices for their product. China always reverse engineers their "leaps" in technology. Original thinking is not condoned. Next time you go to Harbor Freight, pick up a tool. compare the workmanship with what you would get from Craftsman or Snap0n. China's anti-satellite program is a copy of America's programs over the years. Four carriers, not super carriers, with copied technology will take decades. A carrier battle group with layers of protection, logistics support, and many friendly ports through out the world. To be more than chess pieces on the seas of Asia will require a political flexibility and spending enormous sums of money. If we don't get another Obama and Liberal Democrats, we can keep in front with a 50 year technology gap.

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Chimp January 24, 2014 at 4:06 am

Craftsman sell good tools, from manfacturers such as Ideal (Colorado Springs, USA), Apex… erm.. China, Techtronics (… erm… China…) and DeWalt (also…. China).

You can source goods from China at almost any specified technology. The crappy Chinese goods in the US are crappy because of the price/quality point specified by the US customer.

As to "Original thinking is not condoned"… that's a direct quote from the Cold War propaganda directed at the Soviets. In my opinion, the reverse is true. There is unfettered "original thinking" going on in China, which has resulted in tainted products and massive corruption.

The two biggest memes (unable to invent and unable to produce good quality) are untrue. Good enough for the MSM, I would say, but a very shakey plank on which to discuss defence issues.

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Michael_AF_Ret January 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

Valid response to goods manufactured in China. Each reference is a product that originated in the US with the technology already perfected. There may be some 'original thinking" happening; such as what if we take this Russian fighter and tweak it a little. I follow the International air shows. I have yet to see a Chinese aircraft that reflects the current level of technology being used by China.
Getting back to the carrier. A US carrier battle group operates within a "sphere" that expands below the surface. Our first carrier, the USS Langley, started out as a coal resupply ship. In the 90 years between then and today, the US Carrier Battle Group has reached a level that no other naval country can match. China's lack of a naval doctrine makes their carriers expensive way of saying – Look we have carriers, too; you better watch out. We will have a better idea of what their technology level really is when the first "all Chinese" carrier has been completed. We, also, need to see other ship-types being built. One ship built every 5 to 6 years isn't a commitment to a true Naval Doctrine.

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Guest January 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

President Obama increased defense spending over the Bush administration. In fact, he proposed higher levels of spending than a mostly Republican Congress funded. Us Lefty Pinko Democrats love the U.S. just as much as any conservatives, and that old slur is pretty tired and worn out. I think about the last war actually won by a Republican president was the Civil War. Democratic presidents won WWI and WWII and now another Democrat is trying to clean up the mess that a Republican left in Iraq and Afghanistan. It wasn't GW that sent U.S. forces into Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden, was it?

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blight_ January 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm

The parties changed; the New England Republicans became Democrats, the southern Democrats became Republicans. Labels are just loaded words meant to fuzzy our thought processes.

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greg January 29, 2014 at 7:33 am

You lost all credibility with me with your Obabama liberal demcrat crack. Bias in one area reflects a bias in everything.

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Michael_AF_Ret January 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I should have simply said that the current government, both parties together, can't get a budget passed. Proposing an increase and getting it in Washington today is not possible. There have to be changes. One change is "talking" and another is "compromise". Now, it is fact that Obama has said he will not "compromise" and in order to talk you have to be in your office. Obama's has developed a habit of having his office staff taking the meetings. Then he can just say "no" or ask for more information. Those are the only two decisions he ever has to make. It's appropriate if you are busy with the Nation's business; but, it isn't appropriate when you are off to a fund raiser and making a speech. Especially, when that speech is tailored to an Obama-loving audience. Nothing meaningful has ever come from dinner speeches. Tell me if I'm wrong.

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CV Hopper January 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm

The entire Chinese military buildup can be blamed totally on the American consumers buying of Chinese merchandise.

Bottom line: US funded.

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Ray January 31, 2014 at 4:27 am

So true. Not only have we built China with US dollars, we have given them the ability and technology to produce all those products. The US produces virtually nothing compared to WWII capability. We shipped Russia more locomotives, train cars and rails than exist today in the US. Not to mention ships, tanks, bombers and fighter planes. If we called in the Lend Lease amount and converted to todays worthless dollars, we could pay off the national debt. We also built every muslim nation with our oil money. Not only that but the staggering amounts of money going to rebuild Japan, Germany and Europe. The Chinese and Russians have ALL of our technology. China builds virtually all the electronics components that are in every computer on earth, whether or not they are US brands. We are simply falling rapidly and waiting to land, without a chute, onto third world status. The anti American, anti God, racist, pro communist, pro muslim regime that nobody voted for but somehow got elected has done everything possible to weaken the country militarily, monetarily, morally and mentally. The Chinese are a small threat compared to the democrats.

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pessimusbasterd January 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Anybody can build something and put it on show case. The real test is going to be can they maintain it? Can the operate it under extreme conditions, can they recover from a casualty, fire in engineering spaces or flight decks, can they recover a damaged aircraft or any of the other numerous things that can go wrong at sea on a carrier. I am not suggesting they can't or will not be able too, however all the media is saying..is they built one. Neat. what can they do with it?

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ITC Gee January 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm

It looks Russian. I don't expect this thing to last.

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Mason January 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Yeah, because Russian stuff doesn't work well… sort of like that AK-47 thingy.

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superraptor January 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

the ultimate plan will be 40 carriers, just wait and see, and we will be down to 5 carriers at best. There is a cold war in the making and we refuse to increase our defense budget. We are playing to loose and GOP defense hawks are active participants in that

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JEMcKellar January 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm

The carriers' real purpose is to establish Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea, with the air assets to patrol and control the airspace and establish some sort of presence over a large area of empty sea. Escorts, or traditional WW2 fast-carrier tactics and doctrine are completely beside the point, this is really a 21st century version of 19th century gunboat diplomacy (or rather 15th century, from the Chinese perspective).

It might also have the side effect of sparking an East Asian arms race, or the pointed lack of one. South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam will all have to decide whether to strengthen their military and their ties to the USN, or back down and work with the Chinese.

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Bob January 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I disagree about its importance in the South China Sea (SCS). They can force project with land based aircraft in the SCS, what they can't do is protect their oil supply lines from the Middle East. While carries could be used in the SCS, to threaten Japan or Taiwan, the carriers "real" purpose is to display to the world that China is a major power and must be respected. Their belief in the greatness of the Middle Kingdom encourages them to make decisions for national morale purposes that may not be the best financial decisions in the long run. The goal of every decision made by China is to keep its current leadership in control, all decisions are decided with that endstate in mind.

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JEMcKellar January 23, 2014 at 8:40 pm

How about their interests in Africa, and Pakistan/India? Making the Indian Ocean into a Chinese lake seems a tall order to me, though you may be right. Central Asian pipelines, or the Afghan-Iran link, may pre-empt any need to secure the Middle East sealanes.

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Bob January 24, 2014 at 11:31 am

The "String of Pearls" has given some indication of Chinese intentions to project into the Indian Ocean. The pipelines are a great way to remove the threat of naval embargo of oil from the Middle East into China, but then you have to depend on the national stability of those nations to ensure the safety of the pipeline and some of those nations are about as stable as a 7 year old with ADHD on a sugar high. Do I think China can project enough force in the Indian Ocean to make it their's? Probably not, but they can attempt to influence Indian naval strategy, and particular its growing partnership with the US Navy.

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blight_ January 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

The safety of the PRC is probably dependent on finding oil in the west, and perhaps using hydraulic fracturing to maximize production.

Alternatively, the PRC uses its lead as cheapest solar panel producer on the planet, deploys wind and solar in the windy, arid western deserts and provides some degree of base-level production far from American-accessible coasts (and perhaps if sited in the Tarim basin?)

John January 23, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Great, I love it when land powers make major financial commitments to their Navy. Especially since China has so many potential opponents who are within relatively short range of the likely operating areas for these carriers. And once they start into force projection far beyond their borders, they lose the support of the large land based air force. RAND did a good study on land based anti-ship missiles last year for those of you who are interested.

My question is how long before the US start working on a joint venture with Japan and South Korea for a land based anti-ship missile? With sales later to Taiwan and a few other nations as well later on.

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Bronco46 January 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm

The Chinese won't be much of a threat for at least 30 years, if then. You'd think this was a Russian build up. There's no mention of nuclear propulsion; without that they would need a fleet of sustainment ships that few countries, even with long nautical histories can't afford.
Small carriers like the one bought from the Ukraine will not be that formidable; since they won't be able to carry many modern aircraft. There are so many factors involved in fielding carriers of the quality and quantity of the US, planners will have a long time to work on defenses.

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Godzilla February 1, 2014 at 12:07 am

They have nuclear submarines and are presently the country in the world building the highest number of civilian nuclear reactors. They licensed every single nuclear reactor type they could find and thus have the capability to produce them in China. These include Canadian, French/German, and US designs. Do you think they don't have the ability to manufacture a nuclear reactor for an aircraft carrier? I doubt it.

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rtsy January 24, 2014 at 8:58 am

Am I the only one who thinks this might be a good thing? A China fully capable of patrolling it's home waters might not be so touchy about the declining American Military presence abroad.

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justathought January 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

China is only what the US has done, build up it's military to protect it's interest around the world. It will be the same as with Russia….a cold war. Lets face facts no major powers really want to go to war, there is to much at stake and neither side really wins. How would a war benefit either country. Chinas military does the same thing for them as it does for us, and that is it keeps people employed.
Nobody really wants to go to war, that is unless it's some little middle eastern county, that only has AKs and rocket launchers.

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Willie January 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

All the talk and all the worrying?
I feel sorry for the chinese navy men! 1 carrier or 20 carriers, they have to work on a boat stamped "Made in China" out of low grade metals and substandard materials!

Now if the got carriers stamped "Made in USA" I would worry.

Also a carrier or any offense or defense is only as good as the experience of their training! Until its battle tested and still around to brag I wouldnt worry too much.

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Michael_AF_Ret January 24, 2014 at 1:28 pm

A Guest replied to a portion of my earlier content concerning Obama and the Liberal Democrats. He/she went on to spout the Democratic Kool Aid party line. Suffice it to say, I saw it coming. My answer is "Chicago". I was raised in Northern Indiana and all my relatives were Democrats. However, the Democrats of Indiana would have nothing to do with Chicago Democrats. Daley Sr was major. Really, he was the Governor of Illinois despite there being a warm body in Springfield. He went on to say the Obamacare is going to work – not likely. And, everything else is Bush's fault. Neither example puts Obama in a good light. His speeches have no real content as they are nearly all adjectives. Obama had to get Reid to pass the ACA by suspending Congressional rules. So, everyone that voted for ACA violated the Constitution. The transfer of 700+ billions from Medicare violated the law. So, we have a bunch of felons in our highest offices.
Oh, by the way, China's "aircraft-carrier" is a scare tactic. The Pacific Theater during WW2 still lingers in the Asian mind. They have no use for a deep ocean navy. So, as another comment noted: Let them spend themselves into the poor house.

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Barry January 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Why don't we just start building new aircraft carriers for the Chinese? There's something with a high premium that can be MADE IN THE USA. We could also sell them some of our old ones. Hell, we ought to sell them any plane or weapons platform they want. They're super expensive, so we'll make beaucoup moolah, and we don't have to worry about the "weapons" being used on us … we know they don't work!

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Jay Needham January 25, 2014 at 7:01 pm

If you all would look at where the crap you buy at Wal-Mart and cell phones computers etc. You will find most are made in china, our greed for cheep labor and lower prices have fueled the Chinese economic explosion that is allowing them to create a huge military build up. If you want to hurt china where it hurts boycott American companies and other that are manufacturing in China. Hit the Chinese in the wallet and you will hit the Chinese where it hurts.

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john January 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

keep in mind everyone never under estimate your enemy.remember pearl harbor.china could surprise the whole world.always be on alert.

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CJHFl January 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm

China wanting 4 carriers doesn't surprise me, what does is that they would begin construction of a new one without having any experience in carrier operations. Their one operational carrier is a revamped Soviet ship that Russia didn't want. To simplify the logic after you buy your first house or car you quickly grasp all the things you would do differently when moving on to #2 or 3.

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blight_ January 27, 2014 at 7:14 am

I still think the plan is to build four carriers of different type. The Liaoning will be rapidly downgraded as more carriers go in.

An independent stab at designing a ski-jump aircraft will be viewed with interest. And if the next aircraft carrier is steam CATOBAR then we'll know the plan is to launch and recover fairly large, heavy naval aviation aircraft, which should be viewed with caution.

In parallel, the development of carrier-launchable aircraft beyond an obligatory light aircraft and helicopters will be interesting. An AEW or AWACS along with a refueling aircraft? An ALCM and an Anti-ship missile to go with them? Hmm.

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Chimp January 28, 2014 at 2:30 am

There is evidence that one of the next two ships will use an EMALS type system.

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blight_ January 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I'm sure they'll try; and they will be prudent to go ahead and do catapult and EMALS in parallel.

It will be /nice/ if they can skip catapult, but like with us and the Fords, the priority is getting something to train their pilots on. Maybe they'll build a steam catapult in an airfield to train the naval aviators, then do transition training if they can get EMALS into their carrier aviation. It would certainly be cheaper than trying to design a carrier for steam and then refit for EMALS.

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Godzilla February 1, 2014 at 12:09 am

The Chinese got Maglev train technology from the Germans. It is used in the Shangai airport maglev line. From what I heard much of the know-how can be applied to electromagnetic launch systems.

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hibeam January 26, 2014 at 11:20 pm

It looks like the Chinese Carriers can easily be countered with red tug boats.

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steven moravek January 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

China is just making jobs…absolutely no threat here.

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Redmanrt January 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

A better investment for those who would like to build a Chinese empire would be to dump the calligraphy and adopt the Latin alphabet.

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drew January 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm

I seem to recall a Chinese sub popping up in the middle of a Carrier group not so long ago. Didnt get pinged once. The tools one has are only as good as the guys operating them

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Lyle January 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm

China is going to put it's self into a hole. Made in China carrirer, what a joke. The one they have now is a former USSR ship. It burns bunker oil, take away it's support resupply ships, and they are DEAD IN THE WATER!

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Godzilla February 1, 2014 at 12:15 am

The Chinese have built quite large ships from scratch including fleet resupply vessels and amphibious troop deployment vessels. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_071_amphibious_

20000 long tons displacement. So its bigger than the Japanese Hyuga class 'helicopter destroyers'.

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Vincent Metzger January 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Question is whether we relate to China as friend or foe. In reality our economies are linked and 2 billion Chinese are not going to be less than our equals. If the USA relates to China as a brother nation of major status, we could build those aircraft carriers and be partners with the emerging super power. There is no cause for this combative attitude. China is winning world class by diplomatic seduction not warfare. The US on the other hand is spending $trillion$ intimidating and destroying countries to literally steal their resources only to be evicted as beligerant bullies and China comes in, builds roads and dams and gets the resources on the cheap. Wake up! America. We are a nation of hillbillies trying to run the world by forced ingnorance. We need to partner up with China, Brazil, India and let them help police the world. I want to enjoy life not hover in combative fear to make the industrial military complex rich. Yes, I spent two years in Asia during the Viet Nam era and studied Asian history in grad school. I know what I'm talking about. Do you?

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TeXan January 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm

can we sell them plans for a electric plane launcher??

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val January 30, 2014 at 9:37 am

Yeah, plans for 4, thinking about 14… Do not underestimate their resources, they are spreading like "disease" all over the world…. Technology taking huge steps from China

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blight_ January 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm

The rabid hate of intellectuals; it's almost Maoist.

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majr0d January 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm

I never called myself an expert (2nd time). Having a challenge with your translation software?

Uh, reference the Pacific you might want to check current events.

The Philippines is asking for us to come back as well as an increased demand from our Japanese ally in response to your nation's adventurism…

:) Put on a helmet before one of those monkey wrenches I'm tossing hits you in the head. Then again, it might knock some sense into you.

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