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Thread: China's Growing Carrier Fleet

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    Default China's Growing Carrier Fleet

    Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    January 19, 2011
    Associated Press
    BEIJING -- China has taken a major step toward commissioning its first aircraft carrier by largely completing the restoration of a derelict ship purchased from Ukraine, a news report said Wednesday.
    The restoration includes all living and working compartments, engines, navigation systems and power-generating equipment, Hong Kong-based Kanwa Asian Defense magazine said. Additional work is still needed on the elevator and flight deck, it said, but it was unclear when the restoration would be completed.
    The U.S. Department of Defense has said it expects the ship to be relaunched at any time as a platform for training pilots -- a major turning point in the military's wide-ranging modernization drive.
    China bought the mothballed carrier in 1998 and towed the engine and rudderless ship to the northeastern port of Dalian for a complete refitting. Work on its internal systems took about four years, Kanwa said.
    The complete restoration was intended to make the ship fully functional and to train technicians who will build China's future homemade carriers, according to the report.
    "This has been a gigantic project and is virtually as complicated as building a brand-new aircraft carrier," Kanwa quoted an unidentified source with the Dalian region's military industry as saying.



    The Varyag is a ski jump-style carrier with a displacement of about 55,000 tons, much smaller than the Japan-based U.S. carrier George Washington, which has a displacement of more than 100,000 tons.
    China's secretive military has not commented on the aircraft carrier beyond vague statements that China will likely have such ships in future.
    China is believed to be purchasing Russian Su-33 carrier-based fighters as well as adapting its own J-11 jets for carrier landings and takeoffs.
    There were no other immediate reports to confirm Kanwa's account.
    Kanwa is widely considered a highly reliable source. Last week, it reported extensively on the inaugural test flight of a prototype radar-evading Chinese stealth fighter.
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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    China Wants to Buy Another Cold War Carrier
    Quote:
    January 7, 2011



    Well, it looks like China just can’t get enough of old Cold War aircraft carriers. A Hong Kong businessman has apparently offered the United Kingdom almost $8 million to buy the ex–HMS Invincible, one of the two carriers Britain sent to take back the Falkland Island’s in 1982.

    The businessman, says that he wants to tow the ship to Zhuhai and turn it into a school that will help foster ties between Britain and China.

    When have we heard something like this before? Oh right, when a group of Hong Kong businessmen bought the ex-Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag in the late 1990s. You know, the the ship that’s being readied for launch by the PLAN next year.

    One of those Hong Kong businessmen — who said they were buying the Varyag to turn it into a casino — allegedly had ties to the Chinese military and six of the company’s board members lived near a major Chinese shipyard in Yantai.

    According to AFP, Lam Kin-Bong, the man who put in the $7.7 million bid for the Invincible at an auction this week, told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that he has no plans to turn the ship over to the PLAN. He apparently owns a chain of Chinese restaurants in Britain.

    The entrepreneur told the Post that he had no plans to use the ship for military purposes, amid US concerns about Beijing’s military build-up.

    “My intentions are purely commercial and have nothing to do with the military,” Lam was quoted as saying.
    He’s even offering to keep the ship in Britain:

    Lam said another option is to berth the vessel in the English city of Liverpool and turn it into “a school to boost the understanding of China and the Chinese in Britain”.
    While British defense officials insist the carrier will be completely gutted before being turned over to anyone, you still have to be wary here.

    Remember, the Varyag, whose keel was laid in 1985, was never even finished by the Soviets and was stripped of much of its gear — right down to the rudders and engines — before being sold to the Chinese in the late 1990s. It’s now set for launch in 2011.

    To be fair, China did buy the ex-Soviet Carriers Kiev and Minsk, which are about five years older than the Invincible, and turned them into genuine tourist attractions.
    Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
    China Has Plans For Five Carriers

    Jan 5, 2011



    China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is assembling the production and basing capacity to make its aircraft carrier program one of Asia’s largest military endeavors.

    A plausible near-term projection for China’s aircraft carrier ambitions was revealed in two 2009 articles in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which featured rare access to Chinese military and shipbuilding sources. The sources noted that China would first build two non-nuclear medium-sized carriers similar to the 50,000-ton ex-Soviet/Ukrainian Project 1143.5 carrier Varyag being rebuilt in Dalian Harbor. These carriers would start initial construction in 2009. Beginning in 2020 or soon after, two 60,000-plus-ton nuclear-powered carriers would follow, based on plans for the Soviet-designed but never built Project 1143.7 Ulyanovsk class.

    This would mean a likely fleet of five carriers by the 2020s, including Varyag, which entered a phase of accelerated reconstruction in 2009. Work surrounding this carrier is also serving to create the development and production infrastructure for future carriers. Since mid-2005, Varyag’s reconstruction has been documented by images from Chinese military fans on dozens of web pages.

    In April 2009, Varyag was moved from its Dalian berth to a nearby drydock. Surrounding the drydock are large ship-component construction hangars, from which the next carriers may emerge. By April 2010, the ship was berthed outside the drydock. Since the move the hull has undergone degaussing, likely in preparation for the now-visible outfitting of a new naval electronics suite. This suite will include four arrays for Chinese-developed naval phased-array radar and new rotating-array radar. Emplacements for the electronic warfare suite are visible.

    A “Sinicized” model of a Varyag-like carrier, built in 2003 by students at Harbin Technology Institute, which does carrier development work, indicated it would carry a heavy fixed armament of YJ-63 long-range antiship cruise missiles, vertically launched medium-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and Type 730 30-mm. close-in weapon systems (CIWS). Last November, however, Internet imagery indicated it might carry a lighter weapons suite. It will be the lead platform for the short-range FL-3000N SAM, similar to Raytheon’s SeaRAM, though it carries 24 missiles. The imagery shows that Varyag will carry four FL-3000N launchers and at least two Type-730 30-mm. CIWS.

    Varyag’s air wing is becoming visible. Chinese Internet sources reported that the first flight of the Shenyang Aircraft Corp.’s copy of the Sukhoi Su-33 was in August 2009, and by early 2010 Internet imagery and a video confirmed Shenyang had copied the Su-33. Since 2005 Russian sourceshave insisted to this writer that China could not copy the Su-33, as it was a radical modification of the Su-27SK design. By 2009, these sources anticipated China would purchase an upgraded Su-33 as it developed its own version with a Chinese-designed WS-10A turbofan. In 2010, an Asian source said the PLA might not be pleased with its Su-33 copy, and would consider buying the Sukhoi-built version.

    Since 2005, negotiations have been held up over Russia’s insistence that China buy a profitable number, around 40.

    It is now expected that Shenyang will perfect its Su-33 copy, which will feature the latest Chinese-designed active phased-array radar, and new 5th-generation air-to-air missiles and long-range antiship missiles, such as an air-launched version of the YJ-63, with a range of 600-plus km. (373 mi.). Varyag may start its service with a multirole fighter more capable in some respects than the Boeing F/A-18E/F.

    In 2010, Internet images appeared of a new airborne early-warning and control radar array of the size needed for a carrier aircraft. This followed a 2005 partial image of a turboprop-powered AEW&C. In October 2009, Internet images emerged of possibly retractable AEW&C radar on a Chinese Z-8 helicopter, which may form part of the initial air wing.

    The PLA is also building escort ships for its carrier fleet. In the autumn of 2009 it appeared that two Chinese shipyards were building two new destroyer classes, but their configurations and equipment are not apparent. The PLA is expected to build up to 18 modern Type-065A air-defense frigates. Two new Type-093 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) have been built, and a more capable Type-095 SSN is expected.

    When it enters service around 2015, the Varyag and its sisters, plus escorts, may be located at a recently constructed naval base near Sanya on Hainan Island.

    FYJS Internet Photo

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    This is but one knife in a house of daggers they are acquiring militarily to face any who oppose them.

    What's amazing is our military leaders are some how still puzzled as to what all this build up really means in the near future.

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    I suspect they are somewhat less puzzled about this, Vector than the President's administration is.

    Remember the Left doesn't believe in "violence" and war. They believe in peace and keeping your mouth shut. See if you don't poke the dog with the stick he won't bite you and will ignore you.

    That's the ostrich-head-in-the-sand thing you know.. it only works for Liberals though. When the dog bites no matter what, then they get all pissed off.

    (Palin, Limbaugh, you, me, they yell about that shit).
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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    China Restores Soviet Aircraft Carrier: Expert

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
    Published: 19 Jan 2011 08:21

    BEIJING - China has nearly finished restoring an old Soviet aircraft carrier bought in 1998, which will be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously built ship, an expert said Jan. 19.

    The Varyag, a Kuznetsov-class carrier, was originally built for the Soviet navy, but construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Its immense armored hull, with no engine, electrics or propeller, was bought by China in 1998 and towed from Ukraine's Black Sea coast to China.

    "They have fixed the inside at 100 percent," said Andrei Chang, head of the Kanwa Information Centre, which monitors China's military.

    According to Chang, the renovation process has included fixing the boilers, electricity, electronic systems, living quarters and engines. The hull and deck of the ship have also been refurbished, other experts have said.

    China has never officially announced it was renovating the 990-foot long aircraft carrier.

    The carrier, currently based in the northeast port of Dalian, could make its first sea trip "very soon," Chang told AFP, adding the refurbishment of the ship had taken place "at unexpected speed."

    But he said the ship's radars still needed work, and the fighter planes that will train on the carrier are still being tested.

    The refurbished ship will be used as a model for China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier, which, unlike the Varyag, will be nuclear-powered. Construction on this ship could start soon, he said.

    The modernization of China's army has caused concern abroad.

    Last week, the Chinese military sent its first stealth fighter - the J-20 - into the skies, just as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Beijing to patch up frayed defense ties.

    Around the same time, Adm. Mike Mullen, head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that China's new weapons program, including the J-20, appeared to be directed against the United States.

    The PLA - the largest army in the world - is hugely secretive about its defense programs, which benefit from a big military budget boosted by the nation's runaway economic growth.

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    BRIC is more than just about trade.

    This article was posted over 18 months ago...why all the rush to train pilots...and just to our south?


    PLAN Officers to Train on Brazilian Aircraft Carrier


    Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 12
    June 12, 2009 10:14 AM Age: 2 yrs

    Category: China Brief, In a Fortnight, Military/Security, China and the Asia-Pacific, Latin America
    By: Russell Hsiao


    NAe Sao Paulo


    In a May 9 interview with Brazilian defense, strategy and intelligence news website Defasanet, Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim stated that Brazil and China had reached an agreement to train personnel from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Brazil.

    In the interview (available in Portuguese), Jobim announced that the two sides reached a training agreement to stage PLAN officers aboard the NAe Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier (Defesanet, May 13). There has been no reported official confirmation from the Chinese government concerning this agreement, however, on May 19 the official Xinhua News Agency released a news report in its Spanish portal (no equivalent has been found in the news agency’s Chinese or English portal), which cites remarks that Jobim made to the media about the nature of the plan in question.

    The Xinhua report cited Jobim as saying that the agreement was reached in April during Navy Admiral Carlos Soares de Moura Neto’s official visit to Qingdao to attend the PLAN’s 60th Anniversary Naval Review (Xinhua News Agency [Spanish], May 20).

    The defense minister noted that the Chinese wanted aircraft carriers for power projection, and that he hopes naval cooperation between Brazil and China can serve as the gateway for defense cooperation in other areas (Defesanet, May 13, Xinhua News Agency [Spanish], May 20).

    Jobim is planning a visit to China in September or October, which analysts say is likely to finalize the training agreement.

    Although the details of this alleged agreement are still unknown, given the chronic lack of funding for the NAe Sao Paulo within Brazil’s national budget, some observers speculate that a part of the deal may involve the Chinese paying for some of the restoration of the aircraft carrier in return for some real on-deck operational experience for its carrier officers.

    An article that appeared in a Chinese naval university’s website, “Why did China Choose Brazil to Train it Carrier Pilots?” referenced an unspecified source as saying that the Chinese will provide technical support to Brazil for constructing its nuclear submarines (Haijun.xaut.edu.cn, June 1).

    Western and Chinese analysts believe that at a minimum this agreement will allow the Chinese access to Brazilian naval aviation expertise in addition to the carrier itself. In any event, training of PLAN officers on NAe Sao Paulo would accelerate the development of Chinese capacity in naval aviation, which has been a major weakness in China’s efforts to operationalize an aircraft carrier.

    There are currently nine navies with aircraft carriers in active service, and the United States, France, Russia and Brazil are the only four naval forces that have operational aircraft carriers capable of launching and recovering conventional aircraft. Reports that appeared in the Chinese press in the past have suggested that the PLAN is planning to employ the CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery) launch and recovery system for its carriers.

    This may explain why Chinese leaders have selected the NAe Sao Paulo as the operational carrier for training its future star carrier officers.

    Moreover, France is restricted from participating in any technical training that may lead to a possible transfer of sensitive technology to China due to the current EU embargo on China.

    On the other hand, Russian—and the British navy, which will launch its Queen Elizabeth class carriers from 2014 to 2018—operates STOVL (Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing) system, thus Brazil appears to be the only viable candidate for the PLAN if they intend to adopt the CATOBAR system. In addition, China's turn to Brazil may be the result of the standstill in Sino-Russian defense cooperation, Russia recently suspended negotiations to sell China—its number one client—the Su-33 fighter jet due to allegations that the Chinese are illegally copying the Su-27SK and other Russian military hardware and technology (Defense News, May 4; Haijun.xaut.edu.cn, June 1).

    Files:cb_009_12.pdf

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    Chinese aircraft carrier may be near completion

    Edward Wong, The New York Times, Updated: April 08, 2011 09:44 IST



    Beijing: The Chinese state news agency has posted photographs of an aircraft carrier under reconstruction that appears to show the warship near completion. Captions with the photos said that the work would end soon and that the carrier was expected to sail later this year.

    The photos of the carrier, the Varyag, which China bought from Ukraine in 1998, appeared Wednesday on the Web site of Xinhua, the state news agency.

    It was the first time that Xinhua had given visual evidence of the carrier project, which is widely seen as a linchpin of China's military modernization and naval ambitions. The country's efforts have raised fears among foreign governments that China will use a more robust military for expansionist purposes or to press for regional dominance.

    Xinhua cited a military analysis magazine based in Canada, Kanwa Asian Defense Review, as saying that the ship would be ready to sail this year. The fact that Xinhua used that information in a photo caption appeared to be an official endorsement of that view.

    Xinhua's headline with the photos said: "Huge warship on the verge of setting out, fulfilling China's 70-year aircraft carrier dreams." One caption said: "A few days ago, domestic online military forums consecutively published photographs of the Varyag aircraft carrier being reconstructed at China's Dalian shipyard. From the pictures, we can see that this project is entering its final stage." The caption noted that construction on the ship's bridge was almost done, with the exception of a radar system.

    The online sites it referred to are discussion forums used by Chinese military enthusiasts.

    Andrei Chang, the founder of the Canadian magazine and a Hong Kong resident, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the photographs published by Xinhua showed the carrier at a much more advanced stage of reconstruction than he had expected.

    He said that his magazine had received photos of the carrier taken in February, but that those photographs did not show any paint on the ship's upper structure, while the ones published by Xinhua did.

    "The speed is very, very amazing," Mr. Chang said. "It's surprised me."

    The day before Xinhua posted the photos, another Chinese news organization, Global Times, a populist newspaper that is not considered an official Communist Party mouthpiece, ran the same photos. The images appeared first on military forums starting on Monday.

    On Thursday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman was asked about the carrier photos at a regularly scheduled news conference in Beijing. "Please refer to the relevant authorities for details," said the spokesman, Hong Lei. "I would like to emphasize that China follows a peaceful path of development."

    In January, photographs emerged on Chinese military forums of the J-20 stealth fighter, which has been under construction in Sichuan Province.

    The appearance of the photos came just days before Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited China. Military officials tested the fighter while Mr. Gates was in Beijing, which led to a puzzling and awkward diplomatic moment between Mr. Gates and President Hu Jintao.

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    China's navy to assert might with bigger flags

    China's navy is to fly bigger and brighter flags on its ships in an attempt to assert its might on the ocean, the People's Liberation Army has decided.


    The design will remain the same, but the new flags will be bigger and less drab than the old ones Photo: ALAMY


    By Peter Foster, Beijing 6:30AM BST 20 May 2011 Follow Peter Foster on Twitter

    The decision to institute a fleet-wide flag upgrade comes amid reports that the PLA Navy is preparing to conduct sea trials of its first aircraft carrier, which is expected to be put into service as early as the end of this year.

    Although the design will remain the same, the new flags will be bigger and less drab than the old ones, according to a report in the People's Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese armed forces.

    "The size and configuration of the current naval ensign was regulated and released into use in the 1950s and is not commensurate with the tonnage of new-generation vessels and the Navy's increasing engagement with the state's foreign affairs," the paper reported.

    The PLA has not released the percentage increase in size of the flags, saying only that it would now meet "international standards".

    The design – a red flag atop blue and white naval stripes, with a yellow star, denoting the Communist Party, and the Chinese characters for "eight" and "one", commemorating the PLA's founding on August 1 1927 – will remain unchanged.

    Related Articles


    China is currently spending billions of dollars upgrading its armed forces, including the creation of a blue-water navy that can protect China's global interests which have grown rapidly as China goes overseas to secure raw materials for its economic miracle.

    Analysts say that China has plans to build up to five aircraft carriers flotillas – three conventional and two nuclear-powered – by 2020, with some reports saying that preparations to build China's first indigenous carrier have already begun in Shanghai's Changxingdao shipyard.

    China is currently refurbishing a 66,000 ton Soviet-era Kuznetsov class carrier, the Varyag, which it bought from Ukraine and will re-christen the Shi Lang, after a 17th century Chinese general who conquered what is now Taiwan in 1861.

    Officially, China will not comment on its carrier program. Last month the PLA held its first ever regular press conference, but when asked about the Varyag, the spokesman said he had "no information" on the ship.

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    China's navy is to fly bigger and brighter flags on its ships in an attempt to assert its might on the ocean, the People's Liberation Army has decided.


    Because Americans have bigger penises....

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    The Ten Barreled CIWS of China’s Aircraft Carrier
    May 20, 2011



    Here’s some serious Friday gun-porn for you. It’s a close up picture of the ten-barreled Gatling gun Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) installed on China’s nearly complete aircraft carrier Shi Lang (ex-Soviet Varyag). To put things in perspective the U.S. Navy’s Phalanx CIWS gun has only six barrels.

    The new gun is based on China’s older, seven-barreled, Type 730 system capable of firing 5,800 rounds per minute.

    Keep in mind that this isn’t the only point-defense system being installed on the Shi Lang. A couple of weeks ago we published pictures of the ship outfitted with what appears to be at least one Rolling Airframe Missile launcher (it also looks like there’s one covered by a tarp in the lower right of the picture below). These missile-based air defense weapon many think is more effective than the Gatling guns which have limited range and stopping power. These modern air defenses combined with a new phased array radar will apparently be copied by the Russian’s who say Shi Lang’s old sister ship the Admiral Kuznetzov when it is modernized in the coming years.


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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    ANALYSIS: China’s new aircraft carrier changes strategic map

    RISING THREAT:While it may be years before China’s aircraft carrier provides any real threat, it joins the J-15 fighter jet in ratcheting up the risks for US forces in the region

    By J. Michael Cole / Staff Reporter


    A Chinese J-15 Flying Shark is seen in this undated photo on a Chinese Web site. Once it is operational, China’s aircraft carrier is expected to carry this aircraft.

    Photo: Lo Tien-pin, Taipei Times


    Reports last month that China’s first aircraft carrier could embark on its maiden voyage sometime this year, added to speculation that the Chinese navy’s first -carrier-based aircraft could be operational by 2015, point to the high likelihood that Taiwan’s security dilemma is about to become even more complex. That said, Taipei and the region need not panic just yet, analysts say.

    After nearly nine years of refurbishing work at a port in Dalian, Chinese military enthusiasts and media say that the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) first aircraft carrier — acquired from Ukraine in 1998 — could set sail as early as this summer.

    Although the Varyag, which reports claim will be renamed “Shi Lang,” after a Qing Dynasty admiral, has been officially advertised as a training platform, analysts say that it could also serve combat purposes.

    The Varyag still lacks some of its more high-tech features, such as phased array radars and surface-to-air missiles, and those features are unlikely to be fully installed when the carrier sets out on its first journey.

    Questions also remain about the engine that will be used to propel it, as the hull acquired in 1998 reportedly did not come with an engine or, if it did, it had been deliberately damaged as the result of foreign political pressure on Kiev.

    PLAN pilots also have very little experience with the hazardous takeoffs and landings on an aircraft carrier, and those aircraft — such as the Russian-made Sukhoi-33 and China’s J-15 Flying Shark, which unconfirmed reports claim is nearing completion — have yet to prove their combat effectiveness. All of this means that the Varyag is unlikely to serve as an actual combat platform for a few years.

    However, that time will come and unless Taiwan, regional powers and the region’s sole guarantor of security, the US, react accordingly, when that time does come, it has the potential to be a game changer.
    When asked by the Taipei Times to comment on what the back-to-back announcements meant for regional security, James Holmes, associate professor of strategy at the US Naval War College, said that the news was expected.

    “We’ve known the ship is coming for some time now, so it makes sense they’d be working on an air wing. If the J-15 is indeed fully ready to go by 2015, that will probably coincide with when the ship is fully ready to go,” he said on Wednesday.

    Holmes also said there was no need for alarm just yet.

    “Having put an old ship — a ship that, unlike the foreign-built, never operational Varyag, was built by my country and had operated successfully at sea — I feel pretty safe in saying it will be a while before the Varyag is fully ready for service,” he said.

    “Going out on sea trials is the beginning of the road, not the end,” Holmes said. “Getting all of the ship’s systems in working condition is quite another and that leaves aside the perils of launching and recovering aircraft at sea.”
    Toshi Yoshihara, also of the US Naval War College, believes the immediate strategic impact of a Chinese aircraft carrier will be minimal, because the PLAN will need to build a much larger fleet of surface combatants to form the US equivalent of a carrier strike group.

    “The Chinese still seem to be engaging in a fleet experimentation process, figuring out what would work best for them,” he said. “The dribs and drabs of multiple ship types that characterize the current fleet won’t really cut it for -serious war-fighting purposes. They still need to settle on a satisfactory ship design, which they seem to be nearing, and proceed with serial production.”

    “Then, putting a flotilla together centered around the carrier and integrating the pieces into an organic combat unit will be the next challenge. This will take time,” Yoshihara said, adding that potential PLAN losses and the attendant public relations setbacks as pilots experiment with carrier-based operations would likely compel Beijing to call for a go-slow approach to minimize risks.

    Holmes, who recently co--authored a book on the PLAN with Yoshihara, said the assessment that the Varyag would predominantly be used for training purposes appeared to be correct.

    Regarding the impact of the Varyag on Taiwan’s security, Holmes said a carrier would certainly impose a new threat axis on Taipei and compel it to think about defending its eastern seas and skies, as well as around the western periphery, a direction it did not have to worry about previously.
    “However, Taiwan lies within range of so much land-based PLA [People’s Liberation Army] weaponry and aircraft and so many seagoing assets that a single carrier group would make little difference except at the margins,” he said.

    “Over the longer term, as more carriers enter the fleet and PLAN pilots become more proficient, then that might change,” Holmes said.

    According to various reports, in addition to the Varyag, China is believed to be building its own nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, some of which could be deployed around 2020. The PLAN has reportedly shown great interest in smaller carriers, such as the French-built Clemenceau-class.

    PLAN conventional carriers would likely operate mainly in the South China Sea, helping uphold Beijing’s territorial claims there and continuing to refine carrier operations until nuclear-powered carriers enter the fleet, Holmes said.
    “If Beijing goes down that road, nuclear propulsion would liberate the PLAN for operations farther afield, most likely in the Indian Ocean basin, while easing the need for foreign bases somewhat,” he said.

    Reports that China may be developing Landing Helicopter Dock vessels, from which vertical and short takeoff and landing (VSTOL) aircraft could operate, would also add to China’s operational capabilities out at sea. Last month, unconfirmed reports claimed China had flight-tested a J-18 Red Eagle multi-role aircraft with VSTOL capabilities.

    Of course, what makes an aircraft carrier a potent combat platform at sea is predominantly the aircraft it carries. If reports from earlier last week are true that the J-15 is nearing completion, its entry sometime near 2015 could spell trouble not just for Taiwan, but the region as a whole.

    “The big news regarding the J-15 is that when it first deploys, the PLAN’s first aircraft carrier will have a fighter that is competitive-to-superior to the US-made Boeing F/A-18E/F, the expected US Navy workhorse fighter for many years to come,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington and an expert on the Chinese military.

    The J-15 would also be markedly superior to the aircraft in the Taiwanese air force.

    In terms of ordinal performance measures, China’s J-15 and the F/A-18E/F could be about the same, Fisher said. However, when it comes to electronic capabilities — perhaps one of the more important measures in a modern combat environment — the J-15 could soon prove to be uncomfortably competitive, as it will likely also feature an electronically scanned array radar like the latest versions of the F/A-18E/F.

    In Fisher’s assessment, the J-15 would also be uncomfortably competitive in terms of the weapons it carries.

    “The latest version of the PL-12 air-to-air missile now in PLA service, which is basically comparable to the US Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM, employs a dual-mode seeker or the ability to use both active radar and passive seeker guidance,” he said.

    Passive seeking allows a missile to home in on a signal, such as that given by a radar or communications device. Additionally, because it uses less electricity, the missile can achieve greater distance.

    According to Fisher, the US will not deploy a dual-mode seeker equipped AIM-120 until its next version.

    In addition, the PLA could also have a lead in the development of longer-range ramjet powered air-to-air missiles, which may have pushed the US to accelerate work on a similar program, he said.

    “On a plane-versus-plane measurement, the US Navy will not be able to automatically guarantee maritime air superiority once the PLAN works up and deploys its first carrier air wings,” he said.

    Although the US Navy could -argue that it no longer fights in the traditional way and that therefore weighing one F/A-18E/F against one J-15 misrepresents the actual balance of power in the electronic age, sustained efforts by the PLA to target the US Navy’s networks could quickly undermine that superiority, Fisher said.

    If the PLA can defeat electronic support platforms, which is what ostensibly gives the US Navy an edge on the PLAN, “the F/A-18 pilot will be in a lonely fight rather fast,” he said.

    As a guarantor of security for Taiwan and a reassuring source of stability in the Asia-Pacific, the US will have to react proactively to the twin introduction of a Chinese aircraft carrier and PLAN combat aircraft or its credibility and ability to maintain peace in the region will suffer, he said.

    “If the US Navy does not commit to the development of a combat aircraft with all-around superiority to the J-15, it will be conceding to China a level of strategic risk and uncertainty not seen since the air battles of the Korean War,” Fisher said, adding that the consequences of such strategic concessions would include diminished deterrence of Chinese military aggression and new political doubts about the viability of US military alliance guarantees.

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    “We’ve known the ship is coming for some time now, so it makes sense they’d be working on an air wing. If the J-15 is indeed fully ready to go by 2015, that will probably coincide with when the ship is fully ready to go,” he said on Wednesday.
    2015... 2015... man, that date is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO familiar to me for some reason.....
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    Beijing develops aircraft carrier

    • From: The Times
    • June 10, 2011 12:00AM

    A GENERAL in the People's Liberation Army has become the most senior Chinese official to admit that China is developing its own aircraft carrier to enhance its growing military power.

    In an interview with a Hong Kong newspaper, General Chen Bingde, the head of the PLA's General Staff Department, said the carrier, a refurbished Russian vessel, "is being built". He declined to say when it would be ready, but other media reports suggest it will be soon. One of General Chen's aides repeated assurances that the acquisition would not be a threat to others.

    "China will not send the carrier to other countries. This is impossible," Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo told the Hong Kong Commercial Daily. "The Americans do not understand what a harmonious society is, and ask if China wants to conquer the world with such a concept. This is absolutely not the case."

    But his remarks confirm the impression of many Western observers that Beijing's leaders see military power as important for national prestige and as a counter-balance to US naval power in the Pacific.

    "It would have been better for us if we acted sooner in understanding the oceans and mapping out our blue-water capabilities earlier," General Qi said.

    "We are now facing heavy pressure in the oceans. All of the great nations in the world own aircraft carriers: they are symbols of a great nation."

    The website of the People's Daily reported that work on the carrier, bought from Ukraine in 1992 for $US100 million, is nearly finished. It can carry up to 50 aircraft as well as surface-to-air-missiles. The state-run Xinhua News Agency carried a photograph of the carrier with the caption: "Giant ship to make maiden voyage.

    Chinese dream comes true after 70 years."

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    China to build ‘defensive’ aircraft carrier


    REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic
    China has the world's third biggest air force, but no boats to land on...yet


    Matt Gurney Jun 8, 2011 – 10:15 AM ET | Last Updated: Jun 8, 2011 10:20 AM ET

    China has confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in the military world: It is developing its first aircraft carrier, for launch at some unspecified future date. The Chinese carrier was originally built by the Soviet Union, and was mothballed in nearly complete condition when the U.S.S.R. collapsed in 1991. Ukraine inherited the ship and sold it as scrap to a Chinese company for $20-million in 1998.

    There was some discussion of turning it into a floating entertainment and gambling resort, as had been done with other ex-Soviet naval vessels. But the real reason for China’s interest, suspected Western intelligence, was the opportunity to examine and tinker with, at close range, a major warship built by an advanced military power. Having apparently figured out the basics over the last 13 years, China is now converting the ship into a functional aircraft carrier.

    That’s not really a surprise. As the Chinese officer confirming the announcement said plainly, possession of carrier vessels is a sign of great power status, and China is more status-conscious than most nations, placing high priority on prestige projects (its manned space program and epic Beijing Olympics being other recent examples). Besides, with regional rival India soon to have two carriers, China needed to get cracking. So that explains the why. But not necessarily the what: Once China has a carrier, what will it do with it?

    China has seemingly already ruled out the primary military purpose of an aircraft carrier: Attack. After the announcement was made, a Chinese military officer told reporters the ship would be used defensively, and would not deploy to other nations. But that’s the point of a carrier — it allows a country to project military power far from its home bases as a way of asserting national will in parts of the world unreachable to the main bulk of the nation’s armed forces. If China has already ruled out using its carrier in an offensive capacity, or even retaining the right to do so, other than prestige, the vessel will serve little purpose.
    This is especially true when one considers that aircraft carriers make lousy defensive weapons. They’re big, slow, easy to spot on radar or with drones, and vulnerable to attack by submarines, drones or long-range aircraft. Everywhere an American carrier goes, it is surrounded by its own fleet of escorts, many of which carry the advanced AEGIS anti-missile system, designed to track and destroy incoming missiles. The sole purpose of these billion-dollar ships is to protect the vulnerable carriers. Other escort ships screen for enemy surface warships and submarines (though not always successfully, as China ironically made clear several years ago by surfacing one of its submarines alongside an American carrier, much to the surprise of the Americans).

    In a major fleet battle, it would be a lot easier to isolate and cripple a carrier than it would be to use that carrier to defend a fixed position. The enemy wouldn’t need to sink the carrier, just smash it up enough that it would be unable to launch and land aircraft. Once that’s accomplished, rather than a powerful defensive weapon, the carrier would become a helpless liability in need of protection, rather than offering it.

    Chinese officers have suggested that the vessel might be used essentially as a training ship, a school at sea that teaches the navy and its pilots how to effectively operate a carrier, something the Americans have a seven-decade head start in. If so, that’s a good investment — the Chinese acquired the ship for a song and can build up a core of expertise and experience with it. But such training only serves a purpose if yet more carriers follow, or else what’s the point?

    China may well be telling the truth when it promises not to deploy its first carrier abroad on offensive operations. It’s the ones they build afterwards that might prove worrisome.

    National Post
    mgurney@nationalpost.com

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    Photos: China's first ever aircraft carrier


    NEXT »




    Today a Chinese military official confirmed what everybody has known for at least a few months - if not years - already: China is nearing completion on its first aircraft carrier.

    Much has been said already on the implications of the newest addition to China's navy. The ship itself is a refurbished Ukranian vessel formerly called the Varyag. It was purchased by a company in Hong Kong in 1998 under the auspices of making it into a floating casino, of all things. Rumors are the Chinese have renamed the ship Shi Yang after an admiral famous for conquering Taiwan. Not exactly a name that eases regional nerves...

    Opinions about the ship range from dismissal of its military impact to fear mongering over China's rapid military rise. Many simply acknowledge that China has a long way to go with its naval technology, and that this is but the first and necessary step towards making a carrier of their own. Others fear the implications for regional security and volatile sea disputes, which have flared up in recent months.

    Says James Fallows in response to the carrier (and in light of this Wired article):
    Yes, the PLA Navy is about to launch its very first aircraft carrier. It will hit the seas some 90 years after the U.S. launched its first aircraft carrier -- the USS Langley, which was commissioned in 1922. As anyone in any navy will tell you, simply having a ship is only the beginning to effective carrier operations.
    The carrier is expected to begin trials as early as this summer.

    Or if you believe this gnarly video clip circulating widely on the Chinese net, it already has: http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/edjTKyZGpYM/

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    China’s fortress on water

    Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times
    Beijing, June 18, 2011

    First Published: 22:32 IST(18/6/2011)
    Last Updated: 00:44 IST(19/6/2011)



    The grey hull of China’s first aircraft carrier loomed in plain sight of camera-toting warship fans and residents of northeast Dalian long before the military gave the first confirmation this month of its worst-kept 67,500-tonne secret. “There, hang kong mujian (aircraft carrier),” said a man in olive shirt peering from a third-floor glass door of the Ikea mall in Dalian, at the red cranes sticking out of China’s strategic shipyard. “The carrier view is better from the other window,’’ he advised this reporter on gawking from the store’s bedding section at the 990-feet-long evidence of China’s naval ambitions for its dispute-ridden maritime backyard to the Indian and Pacific oceans.

    By some estimates, the carrier — once camouflaged as a future floating casino — will be refitted by July for trials in southern Sanya. A concrete carrier model has also popped up in central Wuhan.



    The Shi Lang, the Soviet-era Varyag now reportedly renamed after a Qing dynasty conquerer of Taiwan, is also visible from the elevated roads of this Hyderabad-sized metropolis home to massive hi-tech zones with outsourcing ambitions.

    Beijing’s government advisers on oceanic strategy say one carrier is not enough.

    “Outsiders should get accustomed to China’s rise,’’ South Asia strategist Hu Shisheng at the state-run China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told HT. Hu estimated that China needs minimum nine carriers including three in operation, and over a dozen in future.

    “As a global power, we should be able to give a security guarantee to our neighbours,’’ he said, listing North Korea, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar which has a coastline only along the Indian Ocean.

    “The Chinese acquisition of a few aircraft carriers would be the realisation of dreams to operate in the Pacific and Indian ocean,’’ said strategist Mohan Malik at the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii. “It will also enable China to provide security to North Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, Iran and others.”

    This warship will first be deployed only for trials and training. But China’s rising naval assertiveness in disputed waters since the last two years is already making its rivals like Japan, Vietnam and Philippines warily edge closer to the US.

    PLA official Qi Jianguo recently said that China needs an aircraft carrier as a status symbol comparable to permanent members of the UN Security Council and to face the “complex maritime problems’’ in the southern and eastern sea and Taiwan straits. China is also testing a J-20 stealth fighter jet, and some reports estimate that a carrier-killer ballistic missile is in the works.

    This week, as maritime disputes with Vietnam hit a shrill note, China’s largest 3,000-tonne civilian maritime patrol ship set sail into the South China Sea and Singapore to inspect foreign vessels and ‘protect sovereignty’.

    The state media revealed that China will expand its maritime surveillance fleet to 520 ships and 15,000 personnel by 2020, up from 260 ships and 9,000 personnel today.

    China insists that its military modernisation is for defensive purposes and that its carrier will not enter others’ territorial waters. However, strategist Li Bin at Tsinghua University recently told the nationalist Global Times that it’s ‘hard to say that the aircraft carrier will never go to territories outside China’.

    For now, experts say that China’s ambition does not match its reality and capability. “For a decade or so, Beijing will not have more than two aircraft carriers and that won’t be enough for 24/7 global coverage,’’ said Malik.

    “Needless to say, China's drive to build a large ocean-going naval fleet will lead to the emergence of a like-minded coalition of maritime powers to counter the Chinese navy.”

    China’s PLA chief recently admitted being 20 years behind the US military. “I feel very sad after visiting the US because I feel and know how poor our equipments are and how underdeveloped we remain,’’ general Chen Bingde was quoted saying on a visit to Washington.

    Several Chinese residents told HT that their nationalistic pride in the warship rising in Dalian’s skyline is not aimed at India but at their historic rival Japan. Though India has a disputed border with China, locals said they consider India less threatening in comparison to Japan.

    Dalian and its Port Arthur have a history of Japanese occupation (1905-45). More recently, old maritime disputes with Japan have sparked markedly aggressive reactions from China.

    “India is a friendly country,’’ said a taxi driver who pointed out the carrier’s location. “But these days India is getting so friendly with Japan, heh?’’

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    China Sends a Message: First Aircraft Carrier Readies for Sea Trials July 1

    ByJohn Galt
    June 22, 2011Posted in: Geopolitics
    By John Galt
    June 22, 2011


    The dispute in the South China Sea with China involving several nations is about escalate one more notch as the PLA announced the first sea tests for the former Soviet aircraft carrier, the Varyag. The refurbishment is complete and training exercises are expected to start on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1st which is a sharp message being sent to its neighbors in the region.

    While there appears to be some calming of the situation with joint naval patrols being held with Vietnam, a scathing editorial in a Chinese newspaper(via the Tapei Times) said the following:
    “If Vietnam wishes to create a war in the South China Sea, China will resolutely keep them company,” the Global Times said. “China has the absolute might to crush the naval fleets sent from Vietnam. China will show no mercy to its rival due to ‘global impact’ concerns.”
    Thus the timing of this sailing and the perceived threats from the Philippines and US naval exercises in the region only add to the existing tensions. The timing of this sailing is unfortunate for the West with all of the attention being focused on the financial crisis and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The next ratcheting up of Sino-American relations will not be when they begin construction of their own aircraft carrier constructed from the keel up, but when they elect to take this vessel around the Pacific on a “goodwill” tour. I am sure that an American port will be included to foster “friendly” relations between America and its central banker, the People’s Republic of China.



    Tags: CHINA, CHINESE AIRCRAFT CARRIER, PLA, SOUTH CHINA SEA, VIETNAM

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    China's deception by the boatload

    Editor's Note: Brahma Chellaney is Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research and is the author of Asian Juggernaut and the forthcoming Water: Asia’s New Battlefield. For more from Chellaney, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

    By Brahma Chellaney

    NEW DELHI – China’s announcement that its first aircraft carrier is ready to set sail as early as the end of this month has refocused attention on the country’s naval ambitions. So, too, has the Pakistani defense minister’s disclosure that his country recently asked China to start building a naval base at its strategically positioned port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea.

    Both revelations underscore China’s preference for strategic subterfuge.

    After it bought the 67,500-ton, Soviet-era Varyag carrier – still little more than a hull when the Soviet Union collapsed – China repeatedly denied that it had any intention to refit it for naval deployment. For example, Zhang Guangqin, Deputy Director of the Chinese State Commission for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense, said in 2005 that the Varyag was not being modified for military use. However, work to refit the carrier had already begun in Dalian, China’s main shipyard.

    In order to deflect attention from the real plan, the state-run media reported plans to turn the Varyag into a “floating casino” near Macau. And, to lend credence to that claim, the two smaller Soviet-era aircraft carriers that were purchased with the Varyag in 1998-2000 were developed into floating museums.

    The first official acknowledgement that China was turning the Varyag into a fully refurbished, deployable aircraft carrier came this month, just when it was almost ready to set sail. And the acknowledgement came from General Chen Bingde, the chief of the People’s Liberation Army, in an interview with Global Times, the Communist Party’s hawkish mouthpiece.

    Subterfuge is also apparent in China’s plans at Gwadar, where a Chinese-built but still-underused commercial port opened in 2007. From the time construction of the port began, Gwadar was widely seen as representing China’s first strategic foothold in the Arabian Sea, as part of its strategy to assemble a “string of pearls” along the Indian Ocean rim. It was known that Gwadar, which overlooks Gulf shipping lanes and is near the Iran border, would eventually double as a naval base. Yet, all along, China continued to insist that Gwadar’s only role was commercial.

    Not surprisingly, then, Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar’s public comments about a naval base at Gwadar deeply embarrassed China’s government. At the end of a recent visit to Beijing with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Mukhtar reported that the Chinese government was more than happy to oblige whatever requests for assistance the Pakistani side made, including reaching an agreement to take over operation of the Gwadar port after the existing contract with a Singaporean government company expires. China also made a gift to Pakistan of 50 JF-17 fighter jets.

    More importantly, Mukhtar disclosed that Pakistan had asked China to begin building the naval base. “We would be…grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base is…constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan,” he announced in a statement. He later told a British newspaper in an interview: “We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar.”

    After Pakistan revealed the plans for a naval base, China responded with equivocation, saying that “this issue was not touched upon” during the visit. Given China’s proclivity for strategic stealth, even its work on the Gwadar port was launched quietly.

    Moreover, China does not wish to deepen the concerns that it aroused in Asia last year by openly discarding Deng Xiaoping’s dictum, tao guang yang hui (“conceal ambitions and hide claws”). On a host of issues, including its territorial claims in the South China Sea and against Japan and India, China spent 2010 staking out a more muscular position.

    On these issues, too, the gap between Chinese officials’ words and actions is revealing. For example, China persisted with its unannounced rare-earth embargo against Japan for seven weeks while continuing to claim in public that no export restrictions had been imposed. Like its denials last year about deploying Chinese troops in Pakistani-held Kashmir to build strategic projects, China has demonstrated a troubling propensity to obscure the truth.

    The Global Times, however, has not been shy about advertising China’s interest in establishing naval bases overseas. In a recent editorial, “China Needs Overseas Bases for Global Role,” the newspaper urged the outside world to “understand China’s need to set up overseas military bases.”

    The insurrection against Pakistani rule in the mineral-rich southern province of Baluchistan may impede China’s plan to turn Gwadar into an energy transshipment hub to transport Gulf and African oil to western China by pipeline. But the insurgency is no barrier to China’s use of Gwadar to project power in the Middle East and East Africa, and against peninsula India. Indeed, to get into the Great Power maritime game, China needs Gwadar to redress its main weakness – the absence of a naval anchor in the Indian Ocean region, where it plans to have an important military presence.

    What was touted as a floating casino is now being launched as the floating centerpiece of China’s growing naval prowess. In fact, with a second and larger aircraft carrier currently under construction, it may not be long before China displays its naval capabilities by dispatching a carrier battle group to the Indian Ocean – if not basing one at Gwadar.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Brahma Chellaney. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.

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  19. #19
    Super Moderator and PHILanthropist Extraordinaire Phil Fiord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    Rick.

    2015 is a year full of things.

    A quick googling of "events of 2015" will yield that, of course. I suspect 2015 is in a ringing memory mode from several points, including Titor claims of that date range. False or not, the date will ring.

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    Default Re: Report: Chinese Carrier Almost Finished

    No, long before Titor Phil, the Chinese specifically stated they "would be at war with America" by 2015.

    I can't find the references any more, but back in the days of Anomalies, I posted that stuff in the original "China Threat" thread. There was a CIA document that quoted some general there who said this stuff.
    Libertatem Prius!


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