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Old 01-03-2011, 01:44 PM
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I was just reading about how China is building an aircraft carrier fleet to rival the USA. I'd like to hear from our military/weapons experts and former carrier vets here like PITTSTONTOSARASOTA and Ashville Native etc. about what they think.

A new power on the high seas... China to build its first aircraft carrier as Britain scraps hers | Mail Online
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:17 PM
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Sorry, don't buy what the article says...
The Chinese will launch their first carrier in 2015, a year after Britain’s first new carrier is scheduled to be at sea and, by 2020, China will have a huge carrier fleet
A huge carrier fleet in 9 years? I guess they could have a huge carrier fleet if they continue buying and refurbishing other countries worn out flattops...

The carrier to be completed by 2014/15 will be half the size of our current carriers and conventionally powered.. Their first nuclear carrier will not be built until 2020....

What is to be concerned over? The Chinese build things with technology that's either stolen or copied from other countries so will always be behind in the weapons race. (ok, ok so they invented gunpowder, that was how long ago?)

The Chinese can build numerous ships but the technology and expertise on and in those ships will remain inferior for a few more decades...
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:18 PM
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I think the Chinese are a LONG way away from building anything close to rivaling the U.S. carrier fleet. They have been "working" on a carrier since the 70's and in earnest since the 80's. Over that time they have purchased several designs and retired warships for study. The biggest acqusition to date was the incomplete Soviet carrier Varyag. However, there is a big difference between what we think of as an aircraft carrier and what the Varyag is and what the Chinese are puported to be building.

The Varyag was termed a "heavy aircraft carrying cruiser" that displaced around 50k tons. It was capable of carrying up to 26 fixed wing aircraft and 24 helicopters. It is also not a nuclear ship, being powered by conventional diesel engines. The purpose of the ship was to defend Soviet missile ships and submarines and was primarily designed to conduct anti-submarine warfare and carry anti-ship missiles.

Janes reports that the Varyag is currently being refitted by the Chinese and is expected to become operational sometime in the next couple years. That may be followed up by at least two additional Chinese built copies.

Compare that to the U.S. Navy's "supercarriers" that are nuclear powered, displace twice the tonnage and carry triple the number of planes. If anything the Chinese carriers are really more comparable to an American amphibious assault ship in terms of their aircraft complement and displacement.

The difference is one of force projection. The Chinese carriers as envisioned won't be much more than escort carriers supporting their sub fleet and other surface ships. They are NOT really capable of force projection like the American carriers. As it is the Chinese are still reportedly decades away from being able to build a nuclear powered aircraft carrier that would rival the old Nimitz class.

To put it more into perspective, the Chinese abandoned their first carrier program in the early 90's as Chinese industry was deemed incapable of producing an aircraft carrier. Now 20 years later, they have only reached the ability to reproduce a 1980's era conventional design that is half the size of what America would deem a carrier. It will most likely be another 20-30 years before they will be able to build something similar to what we are currently planning on retiring.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:34 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Wonder if they used lead paint?

Personally, I think future aircraft carriers will be smaller and faster. We have the basics of drone technology well under the belt. If we are going in the correct direction, we should be developing small drone fighters that can pull 10 G turns and have a crew on the ship for offensive and defensive systems. Even bombers may be smaller. This might not happen in the next five years, but if any major conflict arose, you can bet these would be operational fast. Manned planes for fighting have a lot of negatives.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:07 PM
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Some interesting answers here ....... and yeap i know that they are a ways away if ever they catch us however i wonder with all the tech transfer that's been going on over the last decade and also with them trying to either purchase or steal high tech weaponry it does make one ponder about it ....
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:16 PM
Status: "My eyes are rolled back so far I can see my brain." (set 19 days ago)
Location: Here.
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They will destroy us economically long before they are able to militarily.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:17 PM
Location: MO Ozarkian in NE Hoosierana
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Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
They will destroy us economically long before they are able to militarily.
So much truth in that statement, in its self is so true but even much more scary is how few citizens of the US actually realize, care about this very real possibility.

Back to more on-topic: the Chinese Navy has quite a bit of learning and growing IMHO before they're able to match the US's... but nevertheless, they still even at this time can be quite confrontational - as they've been already on occasion - and during these times doing what they do quite well,,, with patience, learning.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:20 PM
Location: Chicago =)
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They can build all the ships they want as long as they don't use it against us
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
They will destroy us economically long before they are able to militarily.
I think people overplay China's economic strength. When it comes down to it, they cannot beat us economically unless they are capable of beating us militarily. Why? Because China is just as dependent on imported resources as we are, actually more so. Without the military muscle to back up their checkbook, they can't guarantee access to those resources. If China was embargoed today, Americans would run out of crap at Wal*Mart, but the lights would go out in China and people would starve in the streets. The country of one billion people can't even produce enough food to feed itself and has no domestic oil and limited coal reserves.

As a nation China has little ability to even project regional power and influence. They can't even control the actions of their erratic ally North Korea that is dependent on them for aid. They have been shaking their fist at Taiwan for decades with no real ability to influence that nation into rejoining the mainland. Beyond that, they have nothing.

However, the biggest impediment to the Chinese being a superpower and thus "defeating us" is the Chinese people themselves. You can have all the economic and political influence, but if you canít keep the country together, as the Soviet experience attests, then that will deftly put to rest any superpower ambitions. The challenges for China include the socio-economic imbalances between the Eastern and Western parts of the country, the challenges of a society growing restless for rule of law and freedom of expression, ongoing corruption in government, off the scale environmental disasters, deadly health scandals, the rise of organised crime and, of course, separatist movements especially in the Western provinces. Roll all of that together as well as the pressure from a new middle class that enjoys their psuedo-American lifestyle and the Chinese will be hard pressed to keep the whole thing together. A couple bumps in the road, might just be enough to see the whole tower come tumbling down.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:40 AM
Location: Londonderry, NH
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I am both amused and pleased that they have fallen into the same "Big Ship Navy" trap that has wasted so much of our wealth with no discernable return unless you count retaining our ability to build very large ships at uncompetitive prices.

I think ALL major capital ships have become more of a burden than a weapon. Given the advances in electronic surveillance and terminal guidance technology there is no place on the World Ocean where large surface ships are safe. The naval doctrine wherein an aircraft carrier can remain offshore out of range of shore based weaponry is over. Any country equipped with short, medium or intercontinental ballistic missiles can install terminal guidance capable of locking onto a surface ship and hitting it on the first try. These missiles do not even need to carry explosives because a direct vertical hit with a ton of rock coming down at Mach 5 can render a carrier useless by destroying the flight and hangar decks or even sinking the ship. There is no longer anywhere within flight range of a land target that is safe for the carrier. The Persian Gulf is a death trap for our Navy.

Except for the emotional need to show that “My appendage is bigger than your appendage” inherent in any competition driven endeavor I do not see why the Chinese are bothering with this dead end weapons system.
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