Written by Brian Kalman exclusively for SouthFront; Brian Kalman is a management professional in the marine transportation industry. He was an officer in the US Navy for eleven years. He currently resides and works in the Caribbean.
The world has witnessed the rapid growth of a small, but increasingly capable Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Aircraft Carrier program. The Chinese government bought a semi-completed aircraft carrier from Ukraine in 1998, the Kiev Class Varyag, and used the platform to launch its first aircraft carrier in 2012. Named the LiaoningCV-16, the vessel was developed into the nation’s first training platform to test the abilities of China’s first generation of carrier borne naval aviators. With no prior history of such operations, unlike the navies of the United States, Britain or Japan, it was seen by many analysts as extremely ambitious. Many western pundits criticized the PLAN’s aspirations as either impossible to obtain or as a sign of a growing expansionism.
With many naval analysts and strategists pointing to the current obsolescence of the aircraft carrier as a decisive asset in modern naval warfare, the question arises, why is China investing so much effort and treasure in developing a viable aircraft carrier force? Furthermore, how do they plan to employ such a force? China has spent the past two and a half decades developing a fledgling aircraft carrier force, complete with naval crews, flight deck experts, and naval aviators in a move most closely comparable to the Imperial Japanese Navy’s similar, determined course in the 1920s and 1930s. While developing an impressive ballistic missile force, including hundreds of long range anti-ship ballistic missiles, arguably aimed predominantly at defeating U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups, China has also decided to develop an aircraft carrier force of its own. Why?
In order to answer this question, one has to take a deeper look at China’s overall defensive strategy, especially in maritime terms. As detailed in an earlier analysis titled “China’s Maritime Strategic Realignment”, China is increasingly concentrating on securing its maritime lines of communication and supply. The development of the One Belt One Road trade initiative demands that China secure increasingly vital maritime trade lanes that will ensure future prosperity and power, not only for the Middle Kingdom, but for innumerable Chinese trade partners and allies. How can China best secure these long maritime trade lanes and the numerous port facilities and transportation hubs at various points along this new maritime Silk Road? ........Read rest of article: HERE
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Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, Commander, US Naval Forces says Chinese ships ‘couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag’