Posted 10 января 2022,, 09:01

Published 10 января 2022,, 09:01

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

China creates an aircraft carrier fleet to ensure dominance in the world's oceans

China creates an aircraft carrier fleet to ensure dominance in the world's oceans

10 января 2022, 09:01
China is rapidly modernizing and strengthening the naval forces of the People's Liberation Army. Beijing plans to acquire four aircraft carriers this year. In general, over the past decade, Chinese shipbuilders have launched more than a hundred warships, which exceeds the pace of construction of the US Navy.

Alexander Sychev

China currently has two aircraft carriers. The aircraft carrier "Liaoning", built on the basis of the Soviet cruiser "Varyag", which the Chinese bought from us in 1998. It has been in service since 2012. It is supposed to be used mainly as a training ship, which does not exclude its intended use. During her service, for example, the Liaoning crossed the Taiwan Strait three times, demonstrating to Taipei the growing naval power of mainland China, and paid a visit to Hong Kong. Even if today it is a part of the PRC, albeit with special administrative rights, the military-political meaning of the signal to the outside world is obvious.

The second aircraft carrier, which is now undergoing sea trials, has not yet received a name. Its tail number is CV-17. This Type 002 ship was designed by Chinese shipbuilders and built in just two years. It is similar to the Liaoning, but has a number of enhancements, including active scanning array (AESA) radar and a large, non-catapult-equipped landing deck. It will carry 28 to 36 J-15 fighters on board. More than Liaoning.

The third ship is being built at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, and the fourth in Dalian. These two aircraft carriers belong to a new class, designated Type 003. They are built using modern modular technology. The modules, each weighing hundreds of tons, are assembled on land and then lifted and installed on a ship docked in dry dock. Major American and British warships, including aircraft carriers such as the USS Gerald R. Ford and HMS Queen Elizabeth, were assembled in this way.

Very little is known about the Type 003. A catapult will be installed on the new aircraft carrier, which will allow launching aircraft with a large supply of fuel and full armament. China has reportedly carried out numerous tests of its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which can launch not only jet aircraft, but also turboprop early warning and control aircraft, as well as transports and unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The dimensions and displacement of Type 003 aircraft carriers are not yet known. They will probably be slightly larger than the Type 002, with a more powerful air wing and overall combat potential, suggests a columnist for The National Interest. - But, hardly, they will be able to compare with the American aircraft carriers.

At the same time, Chinese designers are working on the fourth class of aircraft carriers, according to the American magazine The Popular Science, with a displacement of 90 to one hundred thousand tons. “It will have Electromagnetic Launch System (EMALS) catapults. It is possible that the J-15 air wing based on it, or even the J-31 stealth fighters, will be even larger. In addition, KJ-600 early warning and control aircraft, anti-submarine warfare helicopters and stealth drones will take off from it. The likelihood of equipping these aircraft carriers with nuclear power plants is also not excluded. Such characteristics will make them equal to American aircraft carriers.

As for aviation, while the People's Liberation Army of China has only 24 multi-role sea-based J-15 fighters. An intermediate solution to the shortage problem could be the J-17, an improved version of the J-15. It is roughly comparable to the American F / A-18E / F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler. And in the future, Chinese aircraft carriers will adopt the multi-role Chengdu J-20 and J-31 / FC-31, China's new fifth-generation fighters.

China's close attention to aircraft carriers is to some extent explained by the country's history. Aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked mainland China in the 1930s during the invasion of Manchuria. US aircraft carriers supported the Kuomintang at the end of the Chinese Civil War and carried out airstrikes against Chinese volunteers who fought in the Korean War in the 1950s. In 1996, during the Third Taiwan Crisis, the United States deployed an aircraft carrier battle group near Taiwan and made a lasting impression on Beijing. And today, American aircraft carrier formations are frequent guests in the Pacific Ocean zones, which Beijing considers to be its sphere of interests.

So far, Beijing plans to create six aircraft carrier groups, which should demonstrate not only the power of the Chinese navy and deter the United States and Japan from encroaching on Chinese interests in the immediate vicinity of the country's coast. Chinese leaders are looking a little further. They stubbornly push China to the position of a world power, which is supported by the economic power of the PRC, which may and already has legitimate interests in other regions remote from the country. That is why, in addition to building aircraft carriers, the Chinese leadership plans to create up to 10 bases for its aircraft carrier fleet around the world.

“No matter how far-reaching plans Beijing is building, today we can confidently say that the aircraft carrier fleet of the PRC is a fast-growing force that is turning into a powerful and flexible instrument of influence”, - admits The National Interest.