US media: China's aircraft carrier has made excellent progress

China Military
Yao Jianing

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (ChinaMil) -- The American website Business Insider published an article titled China's second aircraft carrier may be custom made to counter the US in the South China Sea on February 3, which said that China has made excellent progress in developing its second aircraft carrier, and Chinese state-run media says it could start patrolling the South China Sea by 2019.

South China Morning Post reported that this aircraft carrier is "taking shape", according to the report.

“It will be used to tackle the complicated situations in the South China Sea,” said Chinese media, according to the report.

It is reported that deploying aircraft carrier of specific purposes in in the South China Sea will help China fortify its territorial claim, the report said.

China's second carrier, likely to be named "Shangdong" after a Chinese province, will resemble the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, which itself is a refurbished Soviet model, according to the report.

China's carriers, like Russia's sole carrier the Admiral Kuznetzov, feature a ski-slope design. US models, on the other hand, use catapults, or devices that forcefully launch the planes off the ship.

Ski-slope style carriers can't launch the heavy bomb-and-fuel-laden planes that US carriers can, so their efficacy and range are severely limited, according to the report.

Taylor Mavin, a graduate student majoring in international affairs at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), pointed out that the smaller-size aircraft carrier designed by the Soviet Union were mainly intended for coastal defense instead of maritime power projection.

He said that "Since a major confrontation between NATO and Warsaw Pact would most likely take place in Europe, during the later Cold War Soviet planners focused on protecting the heavily defended 'bastions' shielding their ballistic missile submarines and not seaborne power projection ".

China's navy has undergone rapid modernization in the last few years with particular emphasis on fielding submarines. So while a Chinese carrier couldn't travel to say, Libya, and project power like a US carrier could, it might just be custom made for the South China Sea, according to the report.

Don't expect the largest country in the world in terms of population to build only two aircraft carriers. American weekly Defense News recently reported that according to satellite images, China is developing catapult, which may be installed on one of its new aircraft carriers.

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