Tuesday 24 May 2022 | 00:32 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 24 May 2022 | 00:32 | SYDNEY

That easterly wind is picking up...


Sam Roggeveen


28 July 2011 10:48

This is the most authoritative report I have yet seen that China is constructing aircraft carriers of its own (two of them, apparently). Granted, it's still an anonymous source, but up to now, it's been only internet chatter and rumour. To see Reuters attach its name to a report like this adds credibility.

Don't confuse this news with the other Chinese carrier you've been hearing about, which was purchased in unfinished form from the Ukraine, and has almost completed its refit.

The Reuters report quotes a Chinese military spokesman as saying that the ex-Ukrainian carrier is for training and research only, and in the short term, that's no doubt true — the Chinese have a lot to learn about carrier aviation. But there is no earthly reason to fit a training and research vessel with a comprehensive suite of weapons and sensors designed to defend the ship from aircraft and missile attack, which is just what the Chinese have done. So expect this vessel to have an operational role eventually.

Keep in mind, though, that to get real strategic returns on this investment in aircraft carriers is the work of decades. As of today, China still suffers from many weaknesses and disadvantages as a regional naval power.

Photo by Flickr user barjack.