Thursday, January 01, 2009

China Confirms Carrier Build

Asahi reports:

China will begin construction of the country's first domestically produced aircraft carriers in Shanghai next year, with an eye to completing two mid-sized carriers by 2015, military and shipbuilding sources said.

Beijing is also expected to complete work on a never-finished former Soviet aircraft carrier moored in the northeastern port of Dalian, to provide training for carrier-based pilots and crew.

The two 50,000- to 60,000-ton carriers will rely on conventional propulsion systems, not nuclear power. They will be assigned to the People's Liberation Army Navy south sea fleet, tasked with patrolling the South China Sea, sources said.
The peaceful rise continues....

UPDATE: SCMP reports FOUR carriers by 2020, and says:

The expert said China still had to solve many technical issues such as synchronising different on-board combat systems. The first Chinese carrier would feature new radar, weapons and communications systems, he said. Some are indigenous designs and others would be imported, chiefly from Russia and Ukraine.

Making the different systems work together, though, would be a challenging task.

"As soon as we can get through all these difficulties, we can build as many as we want, because China's capabilities of shipbuilding and copying other countries' technologies are very efficient today," he said. China would not be overambitious and aim for super-aircraft carriers like America's, because the PLA had no intention of becoming a global force like the United States or Russian navies.

"We plan to build four battle groups simply because we need an all-weather navy force to safeguard our energy routes on the high seas as well as to protect our territorial waters in the South China Sea," the source said. Each group would spend three months a year in harbour, on average, for maintenance and repair.

They would be assigned to the PLA's fleets in the South China and East China seas.

"Our territorial waters in the South China sea".... whoever thinks Taiwan is "the last piece of the puzzle" is deluding themselves. It is merely the first step to a larger expansion.


Anonymous said...

Wachman is dead on. Read "Why Taiwan?" Taiwan will be China's most important military base.

Anonymous said...

No no no Mr. Chamberlain... we are simply producing masses of modern weapons to stimulate the economy. You have nothing to fear.

Richard said...

A move that likely signals that China sees Taiwan as a non-issue by 2015. They've already got Taiwan within military reach along their coast, so why the need for carriers? Obviously they''re trying to extend their reach into the whole world, and they cannot do that without first having Taiwan.

Add in today's news of Hu's "olive branch" to Taiwan, things definitely do not bode well at all for Taiwan. Do the 50-60% of the Taiwanese people who support 'status quo,' truly believe this is still status quo?

Dixteel said...

It's very likely that China sees Taiwan as a non-issue by 2015, especially when Ma also seems to still act with confidence and move closer and closer to China with speed of light, even when the public opinions seem to turn against him and indicate he might not even get re-elected.

On the other hand, it's difficult to say China is so confident that it won't have any "contingency plan." And they give the carrier a provocative name that indicates great hostility against Taiwan. It's not hard to imagine they also want to prepare for alternative option, the invasion of Taiwan, at the same time.

Some might think that carriers are useless in terms of invading Taiwan and they might be right. But I can think of 2 possible advantages carriers offer on an invasion against Taiwan:
1. Mobility of strike force: easier access and shorter range on attack runs against east coast, where several Taiwanese military complexes resides. I imagine ballistic missiles would have harder time finding their target on the east coast due to Taiwan's central mountain range. With carriers, they might be able to initiate a rapid, precise and repeated 2nd wave of bombing attack.
2. Flexibility: if the US decide to intervene, carriers offer more options against the US carrier battle groups which might already be stationed near Taiwan strait when the situation gets hot, and the US air force stationed at Guam, which are most likely the first US force to offer some sort of response to China's action. China already has substantial submarine forces and some destroyers, but a few carriers won't hurt and might help them against the US intervention.
3. Psychological? China always says "peace" at the same time they build up their forces...I guess it's always easier to rub someone if you have a gun in hand, doesn't matter if the gun is real or fake.

The US PACCOM doesn't seem to worry too much about the Chinese carriers construction, but I am sure they are taking the new scenario into account. I wonder what would be Taiwanese military counter measure to the carriers, though.

Dixteel said...

Well...looks like Taiwan did drill for a possible aircraft carrier attack back in April 2007:

"Taiwan would launch a counter-attack by firing missiles from its warships and F-16 warplanes at the Chinese aircraft carrier." I guess those are the possible counter measures...

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to all and thanks, Michael, for continuing to post on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Waht is your point? What is the big deal? Are only Americans allowed to have Carriers? Are only Americans allowed to start two preemptive wars and still pretend to be a "peaceful" super power?

Since China with Carriers in theory don't add more military threats to Taiwan, this post of yours goes to show that whatever you are advocating is only for American interests, not Taiwan's best interest. You are full of anti-China sentiment, because of your American interests and strange fear of China, not because you really care about Taiwan. People like you advocate for Taiwan's independence so that Taiwan can remain America's bitch or Japan's bitch doing your biddings.

Taiwanese are mostly of Chinese decendents. Whether Taiwan eventually becomes an independent country or not, Taiwan will always be closer to China in blood and by our common cultural heritage. Just like Americans' closest ally is still the Brits more than 200 years AFTER it became independent from the British Empire. Let's just say blood is thicker than water.

You can take your independent dream and move to Gaza or the West Bank. Those poeple REALLY REALLY demand to have their own country NOW.

Michael Turton said...

Trolls like you are hilarious. Thanks for the entertainment, man.