Expert: foreign speculations over China’s aircraft carrier not worthy of attention

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2015-12-08 20:15

BEIJING, December 8 (ChinaMil) -- Recently, mysterious pictures of the third assembly unit of the so-called Chinese-made aircraft carrier are frequently forwarded on the Internet.

Canada’s Kanwa Defense Review, a magazine who always claims to know Chinese military equipment very well, also reported that according to recent satellite images, China's first homemade aircraft carrier will be launched in 2016. Meanwhile, the construction of China’s second homemade aircraft carrier will start soon.

Chinese military expert Li Jie, also a senior researcher with the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, believed that such foreign speculations over China’s aircraft carrier are not worthy of attention.

The pace of China's building of aircraft carrier is determined by its own construction program and the law of construction as well, according to Li.

Will first homemade aircraft carrier be launched in 2016?

The Kanwa Defense Review reported that the new aircraft carrier being built in Dalian City should be launched in the second half of 2016 or beyond. The factory in Dalian will not rush the construction progress as that project is called “quality engineering” in the factory.

The report said that the latest satellite images captured the scene of a large number of oxygen welding equipment and various assembly units at the military dock of Dalian Shipyard.

Li Jie introduced that it usually takes four to five years to build an aircraft carrier so as to ensure the quality. Foreign media's speculations over China's aircraft carrier construction often aim to find basis for the so-called China's Military Threat.

Li stressed that China’s construction of aircraft carriers will progress according to its own plan and laws of the construction of large surface ships. We do not need to care about foreign media's speculations.

Is the construction of second aircraft carrier on the way?

In the meantime, foreign media are also speculating that China’s Jiangnan Shipyard will begin the construction of the second homemade aircraft carrier.

According to media report, the main beam of the 1,600-ton gantry crane of Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co., Ltd. was put in place on November 24. Some analysts believed that the gantry crane’s load is bigger than the one used to build the UK "Queen Elizabeth" aircraft carrier and therefore this gantry crane can be used to build aircraft carriers.

The Kanwa Defense Review also reported that the preparation work for the construction of China’s second homemade aircraft carrier is in progress at Jiangnan Shipyard.

“We can see that a number of technical developments are coming to an end, especially the steam catapult technology.” The report added that close attention should be paid to Jiangnan Shipyard in 2016 to see if the construction of the aircraft carrier will begin or not.

However, a military expert who asked not to be identified said that with the exposure of the engine performance of large amphibious assault ships, China is likely to start the construction of new large amphibious ships and therefore the construction might take place in Jiangnan Shipyard.

That expert also noted that China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning ship, was repaired and renovated in Dalian Shipyard. The following research and trials were also conducted by technical staff of Dalian Shipyard. If the first homemade aircraft carrier is not built in Dalian Shipyard, then the efforts, experience and some of the research results obtained from Liaoning aircraft carrier will likely be wasted.

Besides, the second homemade aircraft carrier shall have some continuity with the first aircraft. In addition, once the first aircraft carrier is launched, the vacated berth is ready for the construction of the second aircraft carrier. From this perspective, even if the construction of a second aircraft carrier is possible, the ship will still be built in Dalian Shipyard.

Li Jie also said that the construction of giant weapon systems such as an aircraft carrier will be held in shipyards with relevant experience of construction where personnel of design, outfitting and sea trials have already mastered a certain amount of experience.

If there is not too many changes in the main system, the future construction of a second aircraft carrier may still take place in the same shipyard. But if the main system will be replaced in the future, it is possible that the construction will happen in other shipyards.

Will the naval taskforce in future be made up of aircraft carrier and amphibious assault ships?

Li Jie said that it is reasonable and necessary that Chinese military fans are concerned about the progress of the construction of amphibious assault ships.

Compared with aircraft carrier, the amphibious assault ship has multiple purposes and will also cause less political sensitivity, meanwhile, the construction cost is low.

Li Jie believed that the development of amphibious assault ship and the development of aircraft carrier can be conducted at the same time.

They can form a naval taskforce to navigate in surrounding waters and can also perform a variety of military missions and humanitarian relief missions independently, she added.

Next page