China to build two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers
China continues to rise. It will require billions of dollars and a great deal of the country’s military design capacity. China will end up with a much smaller ship than the American super-carriers, with weapons about a generation behind. But this will still put it far ahead of its neighbors — no East Asian country currently has carrier capacity. I wonder how long Japan will continue to sit on the fence and watch?!
The Asahi Shimbun reports: The Chinese military is planning to build two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in 2020 or later as China’s first nuclear flattops, military officials have revealed. China has already announced plans to build two conventional aircraft carriers from this year. However, a nuclear-powered carrier can move around for a long period of time without being refueled. The plan therefore can be noted as a full-blown ocean-going move.According to Chinese military sources, the Chinese military held an internal review meeting in Beijing on Dec. 30, 2008, where a military brass officer explained that China’s naval forces would start on a full scale in 2009 to build aircraft carriers. The military officer revealed that China had already started manufacturing parts for electric control systems and that the Chinese navy would complete two conventional aircraft carriers around 2015. The two carriers will go operational by 2020, and the Chinese navy will go beyond the first line of defense connecting Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Philippines to break away from coastal defense.
In addition, the Chinese navy is also going to build two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers—both of which are 60,000-ton midsized flattops. China is said to have already secured a blueprint of the Ulyanovsk, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that the Soviet Union gave up building. China is believed to use it for its navy to develop its own nuclear flattops.
The Chinese military’s future goal is to secure naval supremacy in the western Pacific waters inside the second line of defense from the Japanese archipelago to Guam Island and Indonesia. After that, the Chinese military will vie with the U.S. naval forces in the Indian Ocean and in the entire Pacific region. A Chinese military official said: “The two conventional aircraft carriers we’re going to build from this year are just preparatory steps. It will cost a great deal of money to build and operate a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. But given the pace of our country’s economic growth, that won’t be a big obstacle, and we may build more.”
You can find additional information here in this article from the Wall Street Journal.