Will China Fly Magic Dragons Over Cuba?

The huge question is what will China use this for? Aircraft carriers are not defensive. They are for the projection of power. My thought?


As China emerges as a superpower, the errors of the Trump era seem to be preparing the way for China to replace the US as the world cop.

This is very much a departure from long-standing policies under Mao and Deng that said China’s military power should focus on internal affairs or limited to neighboring territories.

Aircraft carriers do not fit that mold.  The US, with its eleven carriers, sees each carrier as the nidus of a fleet that dominates the seas.  US carrier groups control the airspace of much of the world.super

Military observers expect the commissioning soon of China’s first home-built aircraft carrier, prosaically named the Type 001A for now.  The as yet unnamed mistress of the seas, is intended at first to to fly the  Chengdu J-15  fighter jet  The J-15 is an unimpressice Chinese ripoff ofRissia’s SU-33. Liuke the SU-33, The J-15 is too heavy to operate efficiently from carriers, has problems with its flight control systems, which has led to several crashes.  Russia own (an its last) Aircarfat Carrier can no fly the SU-33.  The comparison is not America’s state of the art F-35 but The US tavy’s F-18 workhorse and that now old airplane weighs 14.5 tons while the J-15 is estimated to weigh 17.5 tons.

The more impressive carrier plane wouold be China’s hme built new Chengdu J-20 fighter jet.  Also known as Mighty Dragon, the J-20 is a  a single-seat, twinjet, all-weather, stealth fifthgeneration fighter aircraft rivals America’s F35.  Like the ship, the J-20 is the first to be domestically built, including new technology engines intended to rival engines built in the US, England and Russia.

The Type 001A is a lot smaller than an American supercarrier.  On its own, the Type 001A can not  carry enugh panes to rival any of Americas carrier led battle groups. But, that may not be China’s intent.  Arial photos of the new shipyard created to build Type 001A show what appears to a facility  for producing the smaller carries in quantity.   Impressively, Chinese state-owned CCTV said “It took only 26 months to build and launch the Type 001A, which is China’s first domestically developed aircraft carrier, almost half of the time for a foreign aircraft carrier of similar type to finish construction”. Hu Wenming, chairman of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation and head of China’s aircraft carrier program, said “China now has a mature development and construction team, and the average age of team members is only 36,” he said. “Whatever type of aircraft carrier our country wants to develop in the future, we can make it on our own,”

The plan may be more like toe ideas of Jimmy Carter who rpoprosed rebuidling them US Navy arounf smaller task forces intstead of battole gropups designed only for massive air wars.  The Type 001A is a Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL), or “ski-jump” carrier, with a sharply inclined bow for abbreviated takeoffs by aircraft that will then land vertically like a helicopter. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth-class uses the same approach: with the British flattops displacing about 65,000 tons and carrying about thirty-six F-35B STOVL aircraft, they’re equivalent to the Chinese carriers. Both classes are smaller and less capable than the American giants. The Navy/Marine version of the F-35 is alos desined for short take offs.
The United States, accustomed to projecting power and prestige around the globe, relies on huge carriers that can sail to remote locations and launch a relatively large number of aircraft—a sixty-plane U.S. Navy carrier air wing is equivalent to about three or four U.S. Air Force squadrons.  China’s Type 001A will probably operate in the South China Sea or other more deined and confined waters .  Near to the Chinese mainland, a Chinese carrier could operate more on tisown without a fleet ofr service ships and. submanrinmes and destroyers as in an American battle group.

But, operations in the near abroad may  be only for the relatively near term.  A small carrier group off shore of Cuba or Yemen might be a lot more effective then an America version of the Spanish Armada.


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