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Chinese Aircraft Carriers: Updates & Discussions

Discussion in 'China & Asia Pacific' started by Hembo, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Hembo

    Hembo OLD MOD STAR MEMBER

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    China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch
    Officials suggest refurbished former Soviet vessel will operate in disputed waters including Taiwan Straits

    Jonathan Watts in Beijing
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 8 June 2011 11.47 BST


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    The rusty-looking Varyag aircraft carrier sold by the Ukraine to China passes through the Bosphorus near Istanbul in 2001 en route to Dalian where it has been refurbished to join the Chinese naval fleet. China initially claimed it was going to be a floating casino. Photograph: Kerim Okten/EPA

    China has moved a step closer to launching its first aircraft carrier with senior generals in the People's Liberation Army finally confirming one of the world's worst kept military secrets.

    Officers from the general staff acknowledged the existance of a carrier, which one of them described as a "symbol of a great nation", amid reports that it could set sail within weeks.

    The vessel in question is a defunct Soviet-era carrier formerly named the Varyag that was bought in 1998 from Ukraine by a Hong Kong company on the pretext that it would be used as a floating casino off the shores of Macau.

    Instead it has been upgraded at China's Dalian naval shipyard with combat sensors and defensive weapons and painted in the colours of the People's Liberation Army. For several years foreigners have been kept out of the area of Dalian where the work has taken place. But the existence of a 67,500 tonne vessel is not easily concealed and in recent months photographs have appeared in state-run media.

    Chen Bingde, the chief of China's military general staff, has gone a step further in an interview published in the Hong Kong Commercial Daily (translated link), saying the 300m long carrier "is being built but has not been completed".

    His assistant chief, Qi Jianguo, suggested the vessel was both a status symbol and a long-overdue strengthening of China's naval defence. "All of the great nations in the world own aircraft carriers – they are symbols of a great nation," Qi was quoted as saying. "It would have been better for us if we acted sooner in understanding the oceans and mapping out our blue-water capabilities earlier."

    Referring to areas where territorial waters are disputed, he said that China faced "heavy pressure" in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea and the Taiwan Straits. But the carrier would never sail into the waters of other nations.

    No further details have emerged, leaving military experts to speculate whether the revamped hulk will indeed mark a significant projection of Chinese military power as a "blue water" force or the revamped hulk will hold only symbolic value, lacking the technology and operational experience to challenge the US navy.

    The commander of US Pacific forces, Admiral Robert Willard, told the Senate in April that he was not concerned about the carrier's military impact but expected it would make a big impression on public opinion. "I think the change in perception by the region will be significant," he said.

    In the past year the Chinese military has surprised many foreign observers with the speed of its weapons development – notably the test flight of a J-20 stealth fighter and a "carrier-killer" missile.

    China has yet to announce whether the carrier will be renamed. One report suggests it will be called Shi Lang, after a Ming dynasty admiral who conquered Taiwan – further fuelling unease about its impact on regional stability.
     
  2. Mr.Ryu

    Mr.Ryu Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    Best of luck china :tup: but we have our defense in place and our operation in AC will give us the edge and IAC is looking good.
     
  3. Kronus

    Kronus Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    Is this news the same or is it different?

    A top Chinese military official has confirmed that Beijing is building an aircraft carrier, marking the first acknowledgement of the ship's existence from China's secretive armed forces.

    In an exclusive interview published Tuesday, the Hong Kong Commercial Daily quoted Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, as saying the 300 metre (990-foot) refurbished Soviet carrier "is being built, but it has not been completed".

    He declined to elaborate although there has been wide speculation that the vessel was nearly finished after the ship, then called the Varyag, was reportedly purchased in 1998.

    It is currently based in the northeast port city of Dalian.

    The ship, which an expert on China's military has said would be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously-built ship, was originally built for the Soviet navy. Construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    The Hong Kong paper quoted anonymous sources as saying the carrier will be launched by the end of June at the earliest.

    Qi Jianguo, assistant to the chief of the PLA's general staff, told the newspaper that the carrier would not enter other nations' territories, in accordance with Beijing's defensive military strategy.

    "All of the great nations in the world own aircraft carriers -- they are symbols of a great nation," he was quoted as saying.

    But China is involved in a number of simmering marine territorial disputes.

    China has claimed mineral rights around the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and argued that foreign navies cannot sail through the area without Beijing's permission.

    In September, Japan and China clashed over the disputed Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, located in the East China Sea.

    In April, Admiral Robert Willard, head of US Pacific Command, said China's navy had adopted a less aggressive stance in the Pacific after protests from Washington and other nations in the region.

    The PLA -- the largest army in the world -- is hugely secretive about its defence programmes, which benefit from a big military budget boosted by the nation's runaway economic growth.
     
  4. simplystupid

    simplystupid Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    i think it is first aircraft carrier in Chinese Navy.......... What i liked is.. instead of buying final thing like India..... They are building it.. albeit not from scratch. There is vision in there...unlike Indian Strategy which is confused.
     
  5. d14gtc

    d14gtc Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    Heading Resembles as if Thier is som other AC than Varyag on the secretive docs building.... but perhaps before its arrival in china it was no more secretive than its now.

    Yeah Assumptions are made as it ll be either a floating casino or being used as future training craft...only such statements made is secretive as how its being used.

    But now its more or less very clear that we can find this huge ship floating within few months from now...... Sure its an added punch an a huge experience unlike india regarding its makeover.
     
  6. simplystupid

    simplystupid Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    Yeah reports suggests they have plans for three or four more...
     
  7. Kronus

    Kronus Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    In the last few months, the new Chinese aircraft carrier, the Shi Lang (formerly Varyag) has apparently had all of its weapons installed. The government has also officially admitted that the Shi Lang actually exists. Meanwhile, numerous unofficial photos have appeared showing the two main weapon systems that have been installed. Along each side of the ship are, first (near the bow, or front of the vessel) an 18 cell launcher for FL-3000N anti-missile missiles. Aft (rear of the ship), there is another FL-3000N. Right behind that is an AK-1030 automatic cannon. This gives the Shi Lang four FL-3000N and two AK-1030 systems. There may also be four more gun or missile systems amidships (in the middle), two on each side. But no one has gotten a clear photo of these yet. These might be the smaller AK-630.
    The AK-1030 is an upgraded (to ten barrels) model of the older AK-730 (seven barrel) and AK-630 (six barrel), close-in anti-missile automatic cannon. All fire 30mm shells at incoming anti-ship missiles. The FL-3000N is similar to the American RAM anti-missile missile system, except that they come in a 24 missile and 18 missile launchers and are less accurate.

    FL-3000N was only introduced three years ago, and uses smaller missiles than RAM. The FL-3000N missiles have a max range of nine kilometers (about half that for very fast incoming missiles). The 120mm, two meter long missiles use a similar guidance system to RAM, but are not as agile in flight.

    Missiles are increasingly preferred over cannon for short range anti-missile defense. Thus over the last decade, the U.S. Navy Phalanx 20mm autocannon anti-missile system has been more frequently replaced by SeaRAM. What's interesting about this is that SeaRAM is basically the Phalanx system, with the 20mm gun replaced with a box of eleven RAM (RIM-116 "Rolling Air Frame") missiles. The Phalanx was developed in the 1970s, and entered service in 1977 (about the same time as the original Russian AK-630).

    RAM was developed in the 1980s, and didn't enter service until 1993. RAM has a longer range (7.5 kilometers) than the Phalanx (2-3 kilometers) and was originally designed to be aimed using the ship's fire control systems. Phalanx, on the other hand, has its own radar and fire control system and, once turned on, will automatically fire at any incoming missiles. The latest AK-630/730/1030 operate the same way. This is necessary, as some anti-ship missiles travel at over a 500 meters a second. With SeaRAM, you've got a little more time, and can knock down the incoming missile farther from the ship. This is important, because it was feared that a large, very fast anti-ship missile (which the Russians prefer, and sell to foreigners), even when shot up by Phalanx, might still end up having parts of it slam into the target ship. Since SeaRAM has eleven missiles ready to fire, it can also engage several targets at once, something the Phalanx could not do. The ten barrel Type 1030 is more powerful than Phalanx, with its 30mm shells having a range of four or more kilometers.

    The RAM missiles are 127mm in diameter, three meters (9.3 feet) long and weigh 73.6 kg (162 pounds) each. The terminal guidance system is heat seeking. Basically, it uses the rocket motor and warhead from the Sidewinder air-to-air missile, and the guidance system from the Stinger shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile. SeaRAM missiles cost about $450,000 each, which is probably at least 50 percent more than the FL-3000N missiles. SeaRAM is meant to provide protection for combat support ships that normally have no defenses, or at least no combat radars and fire control system. The new LCS will use the SeaRAM as well.

    The Shi Lang/Varyag is one of the Kuznetsov class carriers that Russia began building in the 1980s. Originally the Kuznetsovs were to be 90,000 ton, nuclear powered ships, similar to American carriers (complete with steam catapults). Instead, because of the high cost, and the complexity of modern (American style) carriers, the Russians were forced to scale back their plans, and ended up with 65,000 ton (full load) ships that lacked steam catapults, and used a ski jump type flight deck instead. Nuclear power was dropped, but the Kuznetsov class was still a formidable design. The 323 meter (thousand foot) long ship normally carries a dozen navalized Su-27s (called Su-33s), 14 Ka-27PL anti-submarine helicopters, two electronic warfare helicopters and two search and rescue helicopters. But the ship was meant to regularly carry 36 Su-33s and sixteen helicopters. The ship carries 2,500 tons of aviation fuel, allowing it to generate 500-1,000 aircraft and helicopter sorties. Crew size is 2,500 (or 3,000 with a full aircraft load.) Only two ships of this class exist; the original Kuznetsov, which is in Russian service, and the Varyag.

    Like most modern carriers, the only weapons carried are anti-missile systems like AK-1030 and FL-3000N, plus some heavy machine-guns (which are often kept inside the ship, and mounted outside only when needed.) However, Russian practice was been to sometimes install long range anti-ship missiles as well. China may also do this with Shi Lang.
     
  8. Star Wars

    Star Wars Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    Another 2-3 years before the Carrier comes under complete induction, prolly by that time we will have both Vikramaditya and IAC 1 unducted. I wonder if chinese are building any other carriers...

    Which aircraft and howmany of them will Shi land be carrying, I heard 20 of them.....
     
  9. Hembo

    Hembo OLD MOD STAR MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    Varyag name -- and military significance -- still debated
    2011/07/12 16:38:53

    Taipei, July 12 (CNA) The Varyag, an aircraft carrier the People's Liberation Army acquired from Ukraine, could not be launched on July 1, the founding anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, because its auxiliary propulsion unit was not ready in time.

    The ship's initial sea trial has been rescheduled for August, but before then the Varyag has to be christened. And the PLA Navy has a tough choice.

    PLA hawks want China's first aircraft carrier to be named "Shih Lang," a turncoat admiral who defeated Koxinga's fleet off the Pescadores and conquered Taiwan for the Manchu Qing emperor in 1683.

    Doves hope to name the remodeled carrier after Shen Pao-chen, an imperial commissioner who led a modernized infantry division to southern Taiwan in 1874 to confront a Japanese invasion army mopping up resistance from indigenous fighters.

    The Japanese were on a punitive expedition to avenge the killing of fishermen from Miyakojima in the Okinawa archipelago, which had been annexed by Japan as a prefecture only a couple of years before.

    After Japan evacuated its occupying army, Shen returned to Beijing, having strengthened Taiwan's defense, and he became memorialized for the creation of the new province of Taiwan for Qing China. Taiwan was made a province in 1885.

    No decision has been made yet, but the Varyag, which still could be given another surprise name, is attracting the attention and concern of all of the People's Republic of China's neighbors, plus the United States.

    No wonder. China is beefing up its blue water fleet.

    But it is just a show, according to a retired Taiwanese admiral well versed in naval strategy.

    "The Varyag may be just a symbol of sea power the PLA Navy wishes to project,"says retired Vice Admiral Lan Ling-li, a former navy deputy chief of staff.

    After a successful test run, the aircraft carrier needs at least a year to become fit for commissioning, Lan says, and "it takes a couple of years more to train its fighting squadron pilots."

    Even with its full complement of 50 J-15 fighters aboard, the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier is not a match for any carrier vessel of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, which patrols the Pacific and the South China Sea. Each PLA fighter is armed with PL-13 and L-83K air-to-air missiles.

    J-15 fighters are so heavy that they require the Varyag to have a ski-jump design on its flattop, like the American carrier that launched light bombers for the first U.S. air raid on Tokyo in 1942.

    Admiral Lan admits the Chinese carrier is equipped with relatively sophisticated anti-air and anti-submarine weapons systems, including a four-phase array radar that can detect sea-skimming enemy aircraft.

    It also has a three-dimensional air search radar system, Sky Hawk last ditch missile defense system, three close-in weapon systems (CIWS), a Gattling missile system, a close-in air defense system (CIADS) which resembles the RAM of the U.S. Navy, and 24 sets of SA-N-9 missiles.

    All of which makes observers wonder about the true purpose of the ship.

    "Of course the re-rigged carrier isn't a training aircraft carrier. It's for combat," Lan says.

    For combat, however, it needs an escort flotilla -- in addition to its own defensive capability -- to insure its safety. There will be 18 anti-submarine helicopters and an early warning patrol craft aboard. The flotilla will have 054 or 054A missile escort ships, which are still under construction.

    A couple of conventional submarines will also accompany the aircraft carrier, which will be assigned to the PLA Navy's South Sea Fleet. Because of the shallow waters near the continental shelf, no nuclear submarines will be assigned.

    "For all intents and purposes, the Varyag will just try to show the flag in the South China Sea," Lan predicts. The PLA's potential enemy, though no match for the Varyag, is Vietnam, which is planning to purchase two conventional Russian submarines.

    The possibility that the Chinese carrier will show up in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea cannot be ruled out, "but it's highly unlikely to be used to attack Taiwan,"Lan asserts.

    China has more than enough cruise missiles deployed along its southeastern sea coast, all targeting Taiwan. In addition, there are land-based warplanes to give air support if the PLA decides to attack Taiwan. An aircraft carrier isn't needed.

    "Just one conventional aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea or the East China Sea won't be a threat to South Korea or Japan, to whose defense the United States is committed,"says the retired admiral.
     
  10. Mike

    Mike Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

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    Now it's left to be seen if it hits the bottom of the harbour when launched! :rolleyes: Didn't someone say that the best way to sink a Chinese carrier is to put it in the water? Well, the suspense is killing me!! :to_pick_ones_nose:
     
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  11. aimarraul

    aimarraul 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

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  12. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

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  13. Star Wars

    Star Wars Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    deleted.....
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  14. kaku

    kaku Major Technical Analyst

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    Re: China admits 'secret' aircraft carrier is nearly ready for launch

    where is chinese AC in this pic. I didn't seeing anything.
     
  15. aimarraul

    aimarraul 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    China refitting aircraft carrier body for research, training

    China refitting aircraft carrier body for research, training

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    Spokesman of China's Defense Ministry Geng Yansheng speaks on a press conference in Beijing, capital of China, July 27, 2011. China's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the country is making use of an imported aircraft carrier body for refitting to be used for scientific research, experiment and training. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

    BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- China's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the country is refitting an imported aircraft carrier body for the purposes of scientific research and training.

    "China is making use of an old aircraft carrier platform for scientific research, experiment and training," said Geng Yansheng, a ministry spokesman, at a regular press conference.

    The project marks the first official confirmation that China is pursuing an aircraft carrier program of its own.

    "The warship is still seaworthy, as it has been docked at sea for some time. The time for its first sea trial will depend on the refitting schedule," said Geng.

    "As an important part of the research and training program, training for aircraft pilots is also in progress," he said.

    The spokesman said that the pursuit of an aircraft carrier program will not change the navy's inshore defense strategy.

    The vessel is an empty aircraft carrier shell purchased from Ukraine. Ukraine disarmed it and removed its engines before selling it to China.

    The craft was originally built by the former Soviet Union, which failed to complete the ship's construction before collapsing in 1991.

    The research and training project embodies the capability of China's defense technology and will promote the modernization of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the spokesman said.

    Geng said the necessity of acquiring an aircraft carrier for China came from the fact that the country has a very long coastline and a large amount of territorial waters.

    The still-unnamed warship is scheduled to receive final adjustments at a shipyard in the port city of Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning Province before embarking on its maiden voyage.

    Video footage and pictures acquired by Xinhua showed construction facilities on the carrier's deck. The ship's rusty hull has been repainted with the navy blue shade used by the PLA.

    The reconstruction of the aircraft carrier is a long-term project and will have a long way to go before the warship can become operational, Geng said.

    "Both overestimation and underestimation of China's future aircraft carrier have been wrong," Geng said.

    Wednesday's official confirmation ended years of speculation, doubt and dreams regarding China's acquirement of an aircraft carrier.

    Once the refitting is completed, the aircraft carrier will make China the last of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to own a carrier.

    The spokesman did not give further details about the carrier. However, Chinese military experts have provided a more detailed picture of the ship and its capabilities.

    The carrier has a displacement of nearly 60,000 metric tons, putting it in the same class as Russia's commissioned carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, said Cao Weidong, a researcher with the PLA Navy's Academic Research Institute.

    It is a conventionally-powered medium-sized carrier that will be equipped with indigenous Chinese engines, ship-borne aircraft, radar and other hardware, Cao said.

    Fixed-wing aircraft on the carrier will use a ski-jump to take off of the vessel, instead of a catapult system, after the refitting is completed, Cao said.


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