Postcard from Chinese Navy

It's been interesting watching the build-up of the Chinese navy in recent years.

They are clearly intending to compete with the US Navy, initially in the South China Sea, and probably the Pacific in years to come. They bought a partially completed aircraft carrier from Russia in 1998 and it entered service in the PLAN in 2012. Based on the experience gained outfitting it, China committed to building 2 more derived from the Liaoning design.

The first of these, the Type 001A should enter service in 2019, and is expected to have more advanced technology compared against Liaoning , which is now used as a training vessel. Following the Type 001A will be at least 2 more classes, each an advance on the previous one.

Of course a carrier on it's own isn't much use, it needs aircraft, and those are coming. The Type 001A will have J-15 aircaft as well as a complement of helicopters, 30-40 in total. Althou Chinese media have suggested that the J-15 can't actually take off from the Type 001A with a full weapons and fuel load. Future vessels will likely host more advanced aircraft such as the J-20 or J-31, and may even use an electromagnetic catapult to launch them, something the US has abandoned and is no longer developing.

Although the presence of Chinese aircraft carriers is a tremendous boost for a country look for recognition as a major power, none of the ships or current designs are capable of challenging modern ships like the USS Enterprise.

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