China Assembles First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Resembling Soviet Varyag

 

 In this undated photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, China's aircraft carrier Liaoning berths in a port of China. China formally entered its first aircraft carrier into service on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012

 

   China has assembled its first domestically-designed aircraft carrier built solely out of indigenous components, the latest major achievement in Beijing’s large-scale efforts to upgrade its military. Currently known as the Type 001A, the warship bears resemblance to the Admiral Kuznetsov-class multirole aircraft carrier Varyag.

   On Thursday, Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Wu Qian said that the hull of the vessel was fully assembled, confirming what some defense analysts had asserted for weeks. The spokesperson also said that the design of the ship has been finalized, adding that workers have already begun installing equipment on board.

    No additional information relating to the Type 001A has been made public.

    The new warship is the second of its class in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy. It is in fact a slightly modified Chinese-built version of the Admiral Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Varyag, which Beijing purchased in 1998. The Soviet-made vessel, later renamed Liaoning, was completely rebuilt and refitted to serve for training purposes. It was commissioned in September 2012.

   The Type 001A is expected to be faster than the Liaoning. Its weapons and electronic equipment are said to need less time to come online, the Global Times reported, citing defense analyst Cao Weidong.

   China unveiled that it was building its own aircraft carrier late last year, with the Chinese Defense Ministry making the announcement on December 31, 2015. Chinese defense officials have not disclosed when the aircraft carrier is expected to be fully assembled and enter sea trials.

    “The design and construction of the second aircraft carrier, having drawn on experience from the tests and training on the first one, will be better in many ways,” Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Yang Yujun said last year.

   The Type 001A is currently stationed at the shipyard of the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC), located in the Liaoning province.

   The new aircraft carrier, like China’s other modern naval weapons, is largely seen as part of Beijing’s attempt to boost its maritime power at a time of increased tensions with Washington over the South China Sea.

China Readies First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier and a Fleet of Destroyers

Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises for a test in the sea (File photo)

 

As tensions continue to mount over disputed territories of the South China Sea, Beijing’s Navy is undergoing a renaissance of enhanced capability that may soon rival the maritime might of the West.

Last Thursday, an Airbus Defense and Space satellite captured footage of extensive production activity on China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships at Dalian Shipyard, leaving Western defense analysts scrambling to assess Beijing’s growing naval capabilities. The footage included the assembly of the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, the Type 001A CV, and the production of Type 052D guided-missile destroyers (DDGs).

The images reveal that the assembly of the Type 001A CV is nearly complete, following the addition of the bow section and other exterior hull components. Additionally, analysts speculate that the hull is complete, as two component fabrication areas adjacent to the dry dock are clear of materials.

The only major component of the Type 001A CV not yet completed appears to be the superstructure, but “the presence of superstructure modules suggests installation could occur in the near term,” according to analysts with IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.

The Type 001A will be the first aircraft carrier designed by the Chinese and the second ship of its type in the PLAN fleet, indicating to defense analysts that Beijing has crossed a major threshold in its ability to project aerospace and naval power throughout the region, potentially contesting a longstanding United States defense hegemony in the Pacific.

In addition to the anticipated completion of the Type 001A CV, work on three Type 052D Luyang guided-missile destroyers, known as the “Carrier Killer” or “China’s Aegis,” is ongoing. The addition of the destroyers will further enable China to project its influence, in the wake of an unfavorable South China Sea ruling against Beijing by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. The recent ruling, refuted by Beijing, has isolated the country from an increasingly unfriendly international community, led by a push from the Obama Administration.

The ruling is based on a court case brought by the Philippines, reportedly at the behest of the White House, and calls for China to stand down from its claims over the South China Sea waters and islands. Beijing faces mounting pressure from Western leaders, as well as regional rivals, including Japan and Australia.

It was reported this weekend that at least 11 “Carrier Killer” guided-missile destroyers were to be dispatched to the South China Sea working in tandem with a Liaoning aircraft carrier while creating an A2/AD (anti-access/area denial) presence in the region.

Over 40% of the world’s shipborne trade transits through valuable South China Sea waters, which also host one of the planet’s largest deep-water oil and natural gas deposits.

Most Expensive US Aircraft Carrier Won’t Succeed in Combat

People pose for photos in front of Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford during the christening of the ship in November 2013.

After spending $12.9 billion to construct the USS Gerald R. Ford, the Pentagon has serious concerns about the aircraft carrier’s combat readiness.

According to an internal US Defense Department memo obtained by Bloomberg, the USS Gerald R Ford, the Navy’s newest, most expensive warship, may have trouble with its runway systems, as well as with its defense capabilities and munitions movement.

“These four systems affect major areas of flight operations,” Michael Gilmore, DoD director of operational test and evaluation, wrote to Frank Kendall and Sean Stackley, weapons buyers for the Pentagon and the Navy.

“Unless these issues are resolved, which would likely require redesigning, they will significantly limit the CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations,” he wrote, using the Ford fleet-class name for the new vessel.

Of particular concern is the ship’s arresting gear, used to catch landing aircraft, which is “unlikely to support high-intensity flight operations” and “is well below expectations and well below what is needed to succeed in combat.”

Tests show that the arresting gear could only be used 25 times consecutively before failing.

The ship’s launch system is better, but far from ideal. While the system should be able to perform 4,166 takeoffs before critical failures, tests show the USS Gerald Ford’s can only conduct 400 before requiring significant maintenance.

“Based on current reliability estimates, the CVN-78 is unlikely to conduct high-intensity flight operations at the outset of war,” Gilmore wrote.

The warship’s radar systems are also a concern. The effectiveness of the dual-band radar, used for both self-defense and air-traffic control, “is unknown,” according to Gilmore.

The ship has already seen a number of delays. Christened in 2013, it was originally scheduled to be delivered to the US Navy in September 2014. Last week, the Navy announced that delivery wouldn’t be made until the end of this year.

“During the ongoing testing of developmental systems, first-of-class issues are continue to be resolved,” reads a statement given to Bloomberg. “The current estimated delivery date is in November 2016. If additional issues arise during the remaining shipboard testing, that date may need to be revised.”

India Constructs Special Dock to Build High-Capacity Aircraft Carriers

Tugboats guide the indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant as it leaves the Cochin Shipyard Limited's dock after its launch in Kochi on August 12, 2013

 

The new dock will not only serve a military purpose, but will also play an important role in fulfilling India’s energy requirements.

NEW DELHI           India is constructing a special dock for high-capacity aircraft carriers at the existing premises of Cochin Shipyard Limited. According to official sources, the new dry dock will cost an estimated $270 million.

“The objective is to augment the shipbuilding/ship repair capacity essentially required to tap the market potential by building specialized and technologically advanced large vessels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels, higher-capacity domestic aircraft carriers, jackup rigs, drill ships, large dredgers and larger vessels, as well as by repairing offshore platforms,” read an official statement.

Indian Navy Captain Gurpreet S. Khurana, Executive Director of the National Maritime Foundation told Sputnik, “Notwithstanding the Russian offer to India to jointly develop a 100,000 metric ton nuclear aircraft carrier, in my view, India is unlikely to plan for such a large carrier in the foreseeable future. In my considered opinion, we would be building a 60,000-70,000 ton aircraft carrier.”India is planning to produce its domestic aircraft carrier Vishal, which is being designed to be between 60,000 and 70,000 tons. Current shipyards were considered based on their capacity for handling the construction of such a large carrier. Meanwhile, India’s first domestically-made aircraft carrier has been under construction at Cochin shipyard since 2009. Currently, India operates two conventional aircraft carriers; INS Vikramaditya & INS Viraat. The INS Viraat will be decommissioned from the Navy soon.

“India needs three carriers because at any given time one carrier is being refit or undergoing repair; at least two carriers should be available to resolve issues during unforeseen emergencies…this dry dock is very important strategically, especially during a warlike situation, when our naval ships may need immediate urgent repair,” says Khurana.

India is also targeting the repair of offshore platforms and larger vessels. Captain Khurana stated that this would create lot of economic dividends for India and that the shipbuilding industry would get a boost. Cochin is very close to the international shipping lane which passes south of Sri Lanka. Cochin has tremendous potential for servicing foreign ships, which may also seek to get repaired and refitted at the proposed dock.Captain Khurana explains another strategic value of the proposed dry dock. “We also may be building some LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) carriers. LNG also has strategic needs. We have no LNG carrier and the energy demand of the country is growing like anything. So it is always good for strategic reasons, in case there will be war tomorrow, to have our own LNG carrier rather than using foreign ships for carrying strategic cargo.”

India imports 14.6 million tons of LNG per year. India’s demand for LNG is reportedly growing at rate of more than 40% annually. The Indian government is pushing hard to get a maximum amount of cheaper LNG available in the global market.

Russia’s Giant Aircraft Carrier to Join Anti-ISIL Operations in Syria

Russia’s Giant Aircraft Carrier to Join Anti-ISIL Operations in Syria
Russia's Giant Aircraft Carrier to Join Anti-ISIL Operations in Syria

“The Russian navy will dispatch the aircraft carrier to Syrian waters in autumn. Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier will be deployed to Eastern Mediterranean Sea between the months of October 2016 and January 2017,” a Russian diplomat was quoted by media sources as saying.

“Chief Staff of the Russian Army has prepared a plan based on which the aircraft carrier’s crew will exercise the processes of the fighter jets’ take off from the their landing on the carrier,” the diplomat said, adding, “The bombers on the board of aircraft carrier will cooperated with those in Humeimim airbase in Syrian coasts.”

“The carrier will be deployed to the nearest distance to Syrian lands to have enough fuel for long-distance combat flight over the country,” the sources further added.

“The carrier is projected to host at least 15 Sukhoi-33, Sukhoi-27 and Mig-29 and 10 choppers of K52, K27 and K31 in Syrian mission,” the source went on to say.

Reports said on Sunday that a huge cargo vessel of Russia, carrying a large volume of arms, ammunition and other advanced types of military equipment for the Syrian Armed Forces, entered waters of Mediterranean Sea.

The huge Russian vessel of Grigori Bobidovich, which left the port city of Novorossiysk in Russia a couple of days ago, passed Bosphorus strait and entered the Mediterranean sea waters en route to Syria.

The Russian vessel’s final destination is Syria’s Tartous port, the main logistic center of the Russian Navy in Mediterranean sea, to unload its cargo and deliver them to the Syrian armed forces.

In last two week, at least four huge cargo vessels of Russia have left Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, carrying military consignments for the Russian fighter jets and Syrian army.

Media reports said on Thursday that the Russian warship, BSF Saratov, sailed through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles in the Black Sea and entered the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Syria al-Aan, the Turkish websites have released some photos of the warship sailing through the Bosphorus strait.

They reported that Saratov left Novorossiysk port in the Black sea towards Tartous port in Syria.

They also claimed that the warship was carrying a big cargo which has been covered.

This was the sixth voyage of Saratov warship in the current year.

Russian warships and naval vessels, often two at a time, have been seen passing through the Straits en route to Syria from Russia’s Northern Black Sea ports with increasing frequency this year.

Most of the military supplies, weapons, ammunition, and equipment that Russia supplies to the Syrian government are shipped from ports on the Black Sea, primarily Sevastopol and Sochi, through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, to the two Syrian ports, Tartous and Lattakia.

Why Russia May Not Need Hmeymim Base to Continue Crushing Daesh in Syria

In this file photo from 2004, the Russian Navy's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier is seen in the Barents Sea, Russia

 

Russia has withdrawn the bulk of its forces from Syria and agreed with Washington a ceasefire in the country. However, Moscow would have to return its aircraft to the Syrian battlefield since Washington continues to supply arms to terrorist groups, an article on the foreign affairs analysis website Voltaire Network read.

Russia may reconfigure its aerial task force and deploy the country’s only aircraft carrier The Admiral Kuznetsov to the Syrian coast, the author suggested. The deployment may take place in July.

Starting February 27, Russia pulled out 46 aircraft of its task force from Syria, including Su-24, Su-25, Su-30, and Su-34 jets. They were deployed to the Hmeymim airbase.”At the same time, Washington has continued to ship advanced weapons to terrorists in Syria. As a result, after Palmyra was liberated the Syrian Army could not continue its advance on Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor,” military expert Valentin Vasilescu wrote.

Within a month the Syrian Air Force lost three jet fighters. They were shot down by terrorists from the ground. Currently, the Air Force cannot provide enough support for the Syrian Army. Moreover, Russian airstrikes have been limited since President Vladimir Putin ordered a withdrawal from Syria.

“The only solution to help continue the anti-terrorist offensive would be to deploy Russia’s The Admiral Kuznetsov to the Syrian coast,” he wrote.

Earlier, this possible scenario was voiced by French political analyst Alain Rodier.

“In fact, Vladimir Putin doesn’t seem to be ready to leave Syria without a Russian military presence. Rumors are going around that in summer Russia may send its only aircraft carrier – the Admiral Kuznetsov – to Syria. Putin may replace the airbase with an aircraft carrier,” Rodier told Atlantico.

Currently, the air-wing of the Russian aircraft includes Su-33 and MiG-29K/KUB jet fighters. Last year, Russian pilots underwent special training in Crimea, learning to take off and land on the deck of an aircraft.

The Su-33 and MiG-29K jets are designed to taking air supremacy. This is why the deployment of the Admiral Kuznetsov to Syria would allow control over the Syrian airspace to be strengthened and aerial surveillance capacities to be increased.Despite the fact that Su-33 and MiG-29K jets can carry the same amount of ammunition as Su-24 and Su-34 bombers, in the context of a ceasefire they would be still effective in combat. An additional group of jet fighters would increase control over the airspace and improve aerial reconnaissance missions.

In addition to aircraft and helicopters, the Admiral Kuznetsov carries a number of different weapons, including air defense systems, Granit anti-ship missiles, artillery guns, and anti-submarine bombs.

“The Russian aircraft carrier would be sufficient to continue the fight against terrorists in Syria, with the same efficiency as one of the 11 US aircraft carriers,” Vasilescu wrote.

 

Last But Not Least: China’s 2nd Aircraft Carrier Will Be More Sophisticated

In this undated photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, China's aircraft carrier Liaoning berths in a port of China. China formally entered its first aircraft carrier into service on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012

 

China is building a second aircraft carrier; its enhanced design will allow the vessel to carry more fighter jets as well as an early warning patrol aircraft, an anti-submarine warplane and several helicopters, according to a spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Navy.

The Chinese Navy currently has one operational aircraft carrier but is building another, which will be larger and equipped with J-15 fighter jets, among other aircraft, Yin Zhuo, chairman of the consulting committee of the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy, was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.His statement came a few months after the Chinese Defense Ministry officially announced that work on the construction of a second aircraft carrier had begun in the port of Dalian.

Earlier, there had been reports in the media that China was building a second aircraft carrier, but these weren’t officially confirmed by the authorities.

According to Yin Zhuo, the new carrier will have a more sophisticated design that will enable it to carry more weapons, fighters and fuel, thereby enhancing its sea endurance and ability to conduct combat operations.

In addition, the carrier will be equipped with an early warning patrol plane, an anti-submarine aircraft and helicopters designed for evacuation-related purposes.

China’s sole aircraft carrier is the Liaoning, a 55,000-ton vessel which was launched in Soviet Ukraine in 1988. First known as the Riga and later the Varyag, the unfinished cruiser was refitted in China before entering service in September 2012.The ship was renamed after the Chinese province of Liaoning, where the docks of the port city of Dalian are located.

The first sea trials of the Liaoning took place in August 2011, and in November 2012 it was announced that a J-15 fighter jet had successfully landed on the deck of the ship.