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China’s First Domestic Aircraft Carrier Almost Certainly Under Construction  

An April image of a ship that is almost certainly China's first domestic aircraft carrier at the Dalian shipyard in northern China obtained on the Chinese language Internet.

An April image of a ship that is almost certainly China’s first domestic aircraft carrier at the Dalian shipyard in northern China obtained on the Chinese language Internet.

China has quietly begun construction on its first domestic aircraft carrier in the same northern Chinese shipyard that refurbished the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s current Soviet-era carrier, USNI News has learned.

Several sources confirmed to USNI News that an unknown shipbuilding project — first noticed publically by Jane’s in late February — is almost without a doubt the bones of the PLAN’s first domestically-built carrier.

Sources pointed USNI News to an April photograph that emerged on the Chinese language Internet of a ship under construction at the Dalian yard believed to be the super structure of the PLAN’s second carrier.

Further late September satellite photographs published by Jane’s last week show a ship that corresponds to the dimensions of the refurbished Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Liaoning — a ship with a beam of about 115 feet and a length of 886 feet.

Jane’s stopped short of a definitive determination that the mystery ship at Dalian was a new carrier — the Type 001A — but did compare the construction methodology of the ship to Soviet-era builds on the original Kuznetsov in the 1980s.

The interest to what is in the Dalian dry dock — once the home for Liaoning’s refit after China purchased the carrier — has been a hot topic of conversation for international naval watchers.

One, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Chris Carlson, told USNI News given how quickly the Dalian yard builds commercial ships the timing of construction pointed toward a military platform.

“We’re talking eight months from March when they say the initial sections began going up,” he said on Wednesday.
“If it was commercial ship it would be done already.”

Carlson said the Jane’s photographs indicate the ship is being built without a well deck which would likely rule out a big deck amphibious warship.

“The logical explanation is that it’s a carrier,” he said.

China’s Four Carrier Navy

China's carrier Liaoning, PLAN Photo

China’s carrier Liaoning, PLAN Photo

China’s intent to start its own domestic carrier program has been hinted at in official documents and scattered state-controlled press reports but the central government and the PLAN have been far from explicit in expressing a complete carrier vision.

If the construction of the first domestic carrier has commenced it confirms the rough outline naval analysts have constructed around the effort.

“For the past several years, analysts have believed that China plans for a force of around four full-sized aircraft carriers — including the active Liaoning,” Eric Wertheim author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World told USNI News on Wednesday..
“If the hull now under construction does in fact turn out to be a new Chinese aircraft carrier being built at Dalian shipyard, it confirms the PLAN’s commitment to carrier based naval aviation and illustrates their growing desire for more power projection capabilities.”

The first public inkling China was set on creating a a domestically-built carrier fleet emerged about five years ago as a minor footnote to a voluminous 2010 Ocean Development Report.

“In 2009, China put forward an idea and plan for building aircraft carriers. These indicate China has entered the historical era of building a maritime superpower,” read a translation of the report.

The buried reference came two years before China commissioned Liaoning.

In early 2014 a hastily deleted report in Chinese state-controlled media quoted a regional official saying the PLAN had their sights set on four carriers.

Four carriers would mimic the U.S. legacy deployment model for carriers —one carrier deployed for three in training or maintenance. It wouldn’t be the first time China has operated like the U.S. The PLAN has borrowed several other carrier tropes from the West down to dressing Liaoning’s flight deck sailors in the same corresponding bright colors as the U.S. Navy.

While the ship in the Dalian dry dock is — with infinitesimal doubt — the Type 001A domestic carrier, several questions remain as to what features the new carrier will bring.

Liaoning has been an effective tool for Chinese blue-water navy aspirational messaging but it’s less effective as an actual warship. The combination of the skip-jump configuration of the carrier’s flight deck and the reportedly underpowered engines of the Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark fighter have led to assumptions that the J-15s would only be able to launch from Liaoning with a limited lethal payload — if any weapons at all.

China would be able to mitigate some of the J-15 weight issues with a catapult- assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) system on its future carriers, however its unclear is China has the technical wherewithal to include the scheme on its ships or if the Kuznetsov design could be modified to accommodate a CATOBAR system.

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Categories: Budget Industry, Foreign Forces, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

  • 2IDSGT

    Just a thought… what if China’s decided to go SMALLER than Liaoning for its carrier fleet? Rumors of a STOVL fighter-jet program continue to persist, and China’s successful investment in destroying US carriers may have soured them on the large ships in general.

    • bucherm

      Couple things:

      Until we actually see a STOVL aircraft flying, it doesn’t exist.

      Second, they wouldn’t have invested in a more conventional carrier aircraft(the J-15) if they were gonna go with a STOVL carrier…and STOVL carriers are for second/third rate powers. China does not see itself as that.

      Third: What “successful investment in destroying US carriers”? The DF-21? The one that hasn’t been tested against a moving target, or in anything like wartime conditions? That investment?

      • Bret Zeller

        Missiles are always a hit or miss subject. For years, Western military analysts doubted the many Russian/Soviet S-### launchers and radar systems, as very few have ever been used in combat against real powers. Then with the entry of several Warsaw pact nations into NATO, they were able to use them during training exercises, and found out that the antiquated export-edition, Russian junk could easily lock onto modern NATO fighters. I shudder to think of the S-300, 400, 500 and current shoulder fired Igla and Verba MANPADS could do against NATO aircraft.

        As far as China, their missile investments will either be a total flop, or render carriers garbage. We won’t know till they try to use them. But I’m glad I won’t be standing on the first ship fired upon.

        • bucherm

          Right, but my point is that, to be frank, what we do know about the DF-21 doesn’t indicate it’s the ultra cool “carrier killer” people are making it out to be.

          It hasn’t been tested against a moving target or in anything like wartime conditions(the escorts of the carrier trying to shoot it down). It requires either large stationary OTH systems to guide it in or satellites….either of which we can deal with. There aren’t known to be more than a few dozen TELs for the missiles. The threat isn’t anywhere near what people like War Nerd or the commentators on the China Internet say it is.

          I’m not saying it should be written off as a threat, because it shouldn’t. But the DF-21 circlejerk is strong, like the
          Jeune École of the late 19th/early 20th century. Historically, “cheap” solutions against capital ships end up sucking, and sucking bad. The navies that have large capital ships tend to have the funds to defeat “cheap” systems. Yeah, you might sink a Austro-Hungarian battleship that’s off by itself, but you wouldn’t a RN or German battleship. Same with the DF-21 and American carriers.

          • Ctrot

            I still have great doubts about DF-21. Unless using a high yield nuclear warhead it’s going to be very difficult to hit a moving carrier with a reentry vehicle moving at Mach 10+. What sort of targeting sensor can look in the direction of travel and maintain LOS with the CVN while moving through the atmosphere at that speed? It’s like mounting a targeting radar / ISR sensor on the bottom side of the heat shield of an Apollo CM during reentry! Plus nothing moving that fast will be able to maneuver enough to alter it’s point of impact by any great amount, that’s just physics.

            The Chinese also have the problem of locating a CVN prior to launch. We know where their satellites are, a wise precaution if such an attack was even suspected to be imminent would be to start zigzagging randomly as soon as any Chinese targeting satellite passes over; ruining any targeting info it may have gathered.

            DF-21 sounds good on paper until you start thinking about the immense technological problems presented by the physics of moving any mass at such speeds and trying to hit a moving, maneuvering target.

          • RIF

            Let’s start with what we know about China’s ASAT capabilities today. And we know quite a bit. Because there are few, if any, secrets in space. Amateurs around the world track most, if not all, of the classified US military satellites from their backyards, posting their positions on the internet. NORAD,is capable of tracking objects as small as four inches across. In fact, NORAD’s measurements of the debris caused by China’s January 2007 test were posted on the web. In the case of the Chinese test, the orbital tracks of that debris can be used to reveal the capabilities and limitations of China’s ASAT weapon by reconstructing the collision — much like forensic scientists reconstruct a crime scene. By backtracking the debris to the point where they all converge, we can determine the two most important aspects of the Chinese ASAT: how China destroyed that satellite, and just how capable its satellite-killer really is.

            The interception was almost head on at a combined speed of almost 18,000 miles per hour. The pieces of debris wound up with the greatest speeds—much higher than the original satellite.

            This means that China accomplished the most sophisticated of space maneuvers: a hit-to-kill interception, the equivalent of hitting a bullet with a bullet.

            This is equivalent to what the US is trying to develop in its national missile defense system

            and is much more sophisticated than the ASAT the Soviet Union was working in the 1980s: little more than a space mine that slowly snuck up on its target and detonated near by.

            We also know that the ASAT was highly maneuverable. Yes, the target satellite’s orbit was known well ahead of the interception. However, that does not mean that the satellite’s position was known well enough that the ASAT did not need to steer itself to hit the target. In fact, it is very likely that the interceptor needed to maneuver at high speeds, perhaps as much as six times the acceleration of gravity, to hit its target.

            The orbital speed of the target satellite, which is determined by its altitude, also provides us with significant insight into the interceptor’s capability. The closing speed of the interception, which is a combination of the target satellite’s orbital speed and the speed of the interceptor, determines how much time is available to make final adjustments. For instance, just one second before the collision on January 11th, the interceptor and target were five miles apart. During that one second, the interceptor had to make any final adjustments to its trajectory to hit a target smaller than six feet across. Any decrease in the closing speed makes the attack that much easier. Since orbital speeds decrease with increasing altitudes, the Chinese interceptor would find it considerably easier to hit a target in higher orbit.

            www dot wired dot com/2008/01/inside-the-chin/

          • Ctrot

            Maneuvering in space to intercept a satellite which is traveling in a known and predictable orbit is a completely different thing from maneuvering in the atmosphere at plasma generating speeds to hit a ship moving in an unpredictable manner.

          • Martin Andrew

            No drag in space, the plot was known, and no countermeasures were employed. Oh and it was their second attempt. Try again this time in your own words.

          • RIF

            Lol…. like your boastful words mean much… American who keep losing their wars

            I’d rather use third party sources to show how behind the times you are…

            Because I can tell you are a blowhard who wouldn’t accept new facts from me or anythird party sources anyways

            This Week at War: An Arms Race America Can’t Win..

            On the other hand, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) forecasts that China’s navy will own 106 major warships in 2020, up from 86 in 2009. Seventy-two of these are expected to be attack submarines, compared to 29 for the United States in the Pacific in 2020, under the 60 percent allocation assumption. For the two decades beyond 2020, the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan projects no increase in the number of major warships. China’s long-range shipbuilding plans are unknown; however, its defense budget has increased at an 11.8 percent compound annual rate, after inflation, between 2000 and 2012, with no indications of any changes to that trend.

            Of course, counting ships does not tell the whole story. Even more critical are the missions assigned to these ships and the conditions under which they will fight. In a hypothetical conflict between the United States and China for control of the South and East China Seas, the continental power would enjoy substantial structural advantages over U.S. forces.

            China, for instance, would be able to use its land-based air power, located at many dispersed and hardened bases, against naval targets. The ONI forecasts China’s inventory of maritime strike aircraft rising from 145 in 2009 to 348 by 2020. U.S. land-based air power in the Western Pacific operates from just a few bases, which are vulnerable to missile attack from China (the Cold War-era Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty prevents the United States from developing theater-based surface-to-surface missiles with ranges sufficient to put Chinese bases at risk). A comparison of ship counts similarly does not include China’s land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, fired from mobile truck launchers. Nor does it account for China’s fleet of coastal patrol boats, also armed with anti-ship cruise missiles.

            The Air-Sea Battle concept began as an effort to improve staff coordination and planning between the Navy and the Air Force in an effort to address the structural disadvantages these forces would have when going up against a well-armed continental power like China. The concept is about creating operational synergies between the services. An example of this synergy occurred in last year’s campaign against Libya, when U.S. Navy cruise missiles destroyed Libya’s air defense system, clearing the way for the U.S. Air Force to operate freely over the country.

            But Air-Sea Battle still faces enormous challenges in overcoming the “home court” advantage a continental power enjoys deploying its missile forces from hidden, dispersed, and hardened sites. In addition, the United States faces a steep “marginal cost” problem with an opponent like China; additional defenses for U.S. ships are more expensive than additional Chinese missiles. And China can acquire hundreds or even thousands of missiles for the cost of one major U.S. warship.

            Given these structural weaknesses, Air-Sea Battle’s success will rely not on endlessly parrying the enemy’s missiles, but striking deeply at the adversary’s command posts, communications networks, reconnaissance systems, and basing hubs in order to prevent missiles from being launched in the first place. Such strikes would mean attacks on space systems, computer networks, and infrastructure, with implications for the broader civilian economy and society. Some critics of Air-Sea Battle reason that raising the stakes in this manner would make terminating a conflict much more difficult and would escalate the conflict into domains — such as space and cyber — that are particular vulnerabilities for the United States.

            The United States won’t be able to win an arms race against China and currently has no plans to do so. Nor can the Pentagon count on superior military technology; China already has impressive scientific and engineering capabilities, which are only getting better. Instead, U.S. policymakers need to discover enduring strategic advantages that don’t require keeping a qualitative or quantitative lead in weapons. Geography may be one such benefit

          • RIF

            DECKER & TRIPLETT: Israel beware: China arms Hezbollah
            Beijing weapons proliferation benefits Iran and Islamic terrorist groups

            By Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II – The Washington Times – Thursday, November 17, 2011

            It doesn’t take a lot to exacerbate the broiling political crisis in the Middle East, and Beijing’s international arm sales pour fuel on the Muslim-Jewish fire. During the Second Lebanon War, a Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile struck Israel’s INS Hanit off the Lebanon coast. Four Israeli sailors were killed in the incident – Yoni Hershkovitz from Haifa, Shai Atias from Rishon Letzion, Tal Amgar from Ashdod and Dov Shtienshos from Carmiel. The oldest was 37, the youngest just 19. All of them had families.

            The casualties could have been much worse. The majority of the Hanit’s 80 crew members were sitting down to a “Sabbath eve dinner, an error of complacency that ironically in retrospect ended up saving lives.” Most of the crew was in the ship’s mess, a central location away from the spot where the missile struck.

            There could have been a more direct hit on the vessel. The Hanit is a corvette (called a Saar 5 class ship by the Israeli navy), which is substantially smaller than an American frigate or destroyer. It’s about 1,200 tons loaded, built at the Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi. The Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile is a sea-skimmer, an advanced conventional weapon – not a ballistic missile – and carried a 400-pound time-delayed semi-armor-piercing high-explosive warhead that blew up near the fan tail of the ship. As it was, the explosion caused substantial damage, engulfing the aft section in flames and caving in the ship’s helicopter pad. But the Hanit didn’t sink. If the Chinese missile had struck amidships where most of the ship’s company was eating, or had impacted at the water line, many more crewmembers would have been killed or permanently injured, and it’s unlikely the ship would have survived.

            Fortuitously for the Hanit, a second C-802 fired at the same time flew over the ship, zeroed in on a small freighter 40 miles away, and sank it. A ship the size of the Hanit could never have taken two missile hits.

            Illustration: Bowing to Beijing
            Illustration: Bowing to Beijing more >
            There was never any doubt about who fired the missiles. The chief of the terrorist organization Hezbollah announced the attack first, declaring, “You wanted all-out war – and that is what you will get! You have no idea who you are dealing with!” Israeli officials believe Hezbollah may have had its hand on the lanyard, but Iranian specialists manned the firing batteries, and Lebanon’s military radars provided the guidance for the missile.

            The Israeli Board of Inquiry determined that the Hanit suffered no technical malfunctions prior to the attack. Rather, it attributed the ship’s vulnerability to negligence by the commander and other crewmembers. Apparently, the sailors had such little apprehension of danger that a junior officer turned off the ship’s defensive systems, rendering the Hanit effectively blind to the threat. The ship’s captain lost his command and other officers were disciplined.

            The Chinese missile attack on the Hanit came about primarily due to intelligence failures, but it highlighted a tragic blindness in the Israeli military: It simply refused to believe that Chinese authorities would put a dangerous missile system of this magnitude in the hands of a nonstate actor. At the Board of Inquiry, the Israeli navy commander explained that the prospect of Chinese advanced conventional missiles in the hands of Hezbollah seemed “unrealistic and imaginary.”

          • RIF

            The Real Military Threat from China: Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles | The …

            Jan 22, 2015 – It is a sure bet that China has stealth cruise missiles. ….. are currently being used as strategic distractions; China’s real and decisive target is the …

            China’s New Hypersonic Missile Can Scream Past US Air Defenses

            China’s stepping up its bid for ballistic missile superiority, having just … Does it really make sense to whine about not being the superior power? … to wipe out all the bases of the countries they have used as a scapegoats in propaganda to their …

          • RIF

            They managed to take out a satellite in space in 2007 we know that was moving way faster than an aircraft carrier

          • TomD

            A satellite which was in a predicted orbit and which could not maneuver. Not a valid comparison.

          • bucherm

            So something that wasn’t a DF-21 took out a satellite that was in a predictable orbit, couldn’t maneuver, and couldn’t defend itself?

            How is that relevant to a DF-21 attacking a carrier group?

          • RIF

            Your right it’s harder to take out a ship travelling at 18 knots than a satellite in space travelling thousands of miles per hour

            We also know that the ASAT was highly maneuverable. Yes, the target satellite’s orbit was known well ahead of the interception. However, that does not mean that the satellite’s position was known well enough that the ASAT did not need to steer itself to hit the target. In fact, it is very likely that the interceptor needed to maneuver at high speeds, perhaps as much as six times the acceleration of gravity, to hit its target.

            The orbital speed of the target satellite, which is determined by its altitude, also provides us with significant insight into the interceptor’s capability. The closing speed of the interception, which is a combination of the target satellite’s orbital speed and the speed of the interceptor, determines how much time is available to make final adjustments. For instance, just one second before the collision on January 11th, the interceptor and target were five miles apart. During that one second, the interceptor had to make any final adjustments to its trajectory to hit a target smaller than six feet across.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I concur on the issues facing use of the DF-21D, either you have to aim it from outside the atmoshere or slow down to maneuver/gaine track (at which point you’re vulnerable to intercept).
            That said the PLAN/PLAAF have a large arsenal of regular old ASCMs, so of high (and proven) capability, now tracking and getting into launch position vs at CBGs layers air & sub defense is still a very hard mission to pull off (just as it was in the 80s).
            Ultimately I believe the DF-21D and the sub/air launch ASCMs aren’t intended to stop the USN, only slow the time to intervention and/or deter US intervetion entirely. That would allow the PLAN to use it’s carriers to punish any other regional power (besides Japan anyway).
            Ultimatly the real job the the DF-21D & PLAN CVs isn’t to take on the USN, but to intimidate neighbors like Taiwan, Vietnam, The Phillipines, Indonesia, etc into accomodating PRC territorial or policy demands.

          • A Chinese

            Russia does not have DF-21D or a navy to fight the US navy head on, but it is sending war planes to Syria to bomb USA backed anti-Assad forces. If Russia’s action in Syria can be any guidance, China does not need DF-21D to slow or deter US intervention before it can intimidate Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

          • Martin Andrew

            Cheebi Xiaojie Ni fungpi.

          • Joe Huang

            You should study your Chinese a little better. There’s no “fung” in pinyin. I think you mean to say, “ni fangpi”, i.e., “you’re farting”. I have no idea what you’re trying to say with “Miss Cheebi”. If you want to insult or impress, you’ve got to make sense first!

          • Martin Andrew

            LULZ You now perfectly well what I said. Would you like some soft cheese with that whine? One doubts you could handle anything tough like Gouda. Don’t forget to roll over and kiss your mother good night like a spoiled little emperor.

  • So it has a carrier or carriers. So scared?

    • Ctrot

      Scared? No idiot, this is what we call having a discussion.

    • dan

      Seriously, who care’s. The United States has a couple also, we have more tourist carriers, kind of funny, don’t you think.

      • Secundius

        @ dan.

        Last time I checked, Cruise Ship’s are of Foreign Registry, NOT American Registry…

        • dan

          Without sounding like I know cause oviously don’t, what would the SS United States be under?

    • Martin Andrew

      Ni fungpi

  • dickbanana


    • WCOG

      They intend to use them to extend their imperial reach in Africa and Southeast Asia against technologically unsophisticated opponents, the same way we do. These ships would never leave port in the event of a conflict with the USA and Japan…probably ours wouldn’t either.

    • John B. Morgen

      I could say the same thing about all warships, including our warships because our warships are NOT being designed properly by NOT having enough CIWS to defend themselves against missile barrages. Our major warships, including supply ships need a lot more CIWS (guns) in order to survive the next naval war. The Falklands War should have taught everyone a valuable lesson about fighting in modern naval war, and that is, all warships need good electronic systems, but also still need more guns. We learned that lesson while flying over Vietnam during the Vietnam War, our fighters still need guns besides being armed with missiles. Thank goodness for the F-8s, A-4s, F-4Es and the F-105Ds.

      • Hugh

        Ships will need to operate as integrated task forces, with Links, and layered defences such as long and short range missiles, guns including CIWS but preferably of heavier calliber, jammers and decoys. Even then, leakers could get through in a swarm attack.

        • John B. Morgen

          Although I agree but our warships are still weak in the CIWS category; it’s the number of guns that will bring down the SSMs/ASMs.

    • Martin Andrew

      Appropriate name

  • TDog

    Is there the possibility that China, lacking even steam catapult technology, might get its feet wet so to speak with a helicopter destroyer ala the Izumo class Japan just launched? China tends to be more methodical and cautious in their approach to fielding new designs, so perhaps this isn’t a full-blown carrier. A “helicopter destroyer” would give their shipyards more experience in constructing large vessels while further enhancing the PLA Navy’s fleet patrol/amphibious operations capabilities.

    • Ctrot

      Lack of catapult technology is not a problem as China is already operating a “ski-ramp” carrier and they are probably building the same type.

      • Secundius

        @ Ctrot.

        STILL A PROBLEM. Without a Tanker to Refuel From, it’s LIMITED to what it can Carry and Range…

        • Ctrot

          True, but range and payload was not what “TDog” was concerned with. China is not, in all probability, building a “helicopter destroyer” type carrier ala the Japanese Izumo because that is not what they have experience working with, a ski jump CV is.

    • John B. Morgen

      Steam catapult technology is going to be a thing of the past because of the ski-jump. Do we really need catapults?

      • Hugh

        Catapults and arrestors allow more capable planes and more weight of armaments to be deployed at greater ranges without need for in-flight refuelling.

        • John B. Morgen

          Not always, for very longer ranges our carrier aircraft that fully loaded with ordnance are not fulled to total capacity before being launch. After being catapulted the striking aircraft would then meet up with a tanker aircraft for final fueling, before heading towards the target from afar.

    • John B. Morgen

      Don’t be surprised to learn that the Chinese have been watching and studying every movie or film about Western aircraft carriers; including “Top Gun or Flat Top.”

    • Martin Andrew

      The plan is to put an electromagnetic catapult on the angled flight deck and incorporate a ski-jump as well.

  • Hugh

    HMAS MELBOURNE was commissioned in the UK in 1955. She had the latest angled deck, steam catapult and arrester wires. She was towed away to China for premature scrapping in 1984. Years later it was found that the ship had not been scrapped then, but had been examined in detail by the PLA-N. They thus have the basic layout as well as the technology still in use for a conventional carrier. Don’t underestimate the Chinese, remember, we were surprised by the quality of the Japanese navy in 1941.

    • Joey__Blow

      The Jappanse navy was taught by the British, who supplied their early ships. We knew they were good because they beat the Russians. We were surprised by the size of their ships because Japan violated the Naval treaties restrictng ship sizes.

      • TomD

        We were surprised by many things: the agility of the Zero, the range of the Long Lance torpedo and the skill of its operators are just two examples. Yes, there were downsides to their technology (such as aircraft survivability) and their doctrine – perhaps by the end we were also surprised by what they failed to do – but they proved to be smart and capable.

        • Secundius

          @ TomD.

          Even though the Japanese use 7075 series Aluminum (Invented by Japanese in 1934) in Manufacturing the “Zero”. The Zero, had a “Fatal Design Flaw” in is Construction. Allied planes, Fuselage was mated to “Wing Root”. Japanese Zero, Wing’s were Bolted Directly to the Fuselage. Turn the Plane to Hard in AND Direction, Torque Stresses would Shear the Bolt’s to the Fuselage, and the Wing’s would Literally Fly-Off…

      • John B. Morgen

        The United States built very few warships for the Imperial Japanese Navy, just like the other European nation-states did during late 1890’s and early 1900’s.

        • Joey__Blow

          The United States did supply a few, including Japan’s first subs. But the British were the mother of the IJN. The last ship they supplied was the Kongo in 1913, but they supplied the bulk of the ships for the Russo Japan war.

          Wiki “The new fleet consisted of:[48]

          6 battleships (all British-built)
          8 armored cruisers (4 British-, 2 Italian-, 1 German-built Yakumo, and 1 French-built Azuma)
          9 cruisers (5 Japanese, 2 British and 2 U.S.-built)
          24 destroyers (16 British- and 8 Japanese-built)
          63 torpedo boats (26 German-, 10 British-, 17 French-, and 10 Japanese-built)
          Large warship with smoke rising from the smokestack.
          Mikasa, among the most powerful battleships of her time, in 1905.
          One of these battleships, Mikasa, among the most powerful warships afloat when completed,[49] was ordered from the Vickers shipyard in the United Kingdom at the end of 1898, for delivery to Japan in 1902. Commercial shipbuilding in Japan was exhibited by construction of the twin screw steamer Aki-Maru, built for Nippon Yusen Kaisha by the Mitsubishi Dockyard & Engine Works, Nagasaki. The Imperial Japanese cruiser Chitose was built at the Union Iron Works in San Francisco, California.”

          • John B. Morgen

            The battlecruiser/battleship Kongo class is considered to be the best foreign import for the Imperial Japanese Navy. This class had an affect on all future British battlecruiser designs; especially, the HMS Tiger.

          • Joey__Blow

            OK I was commenting re High’s comment.. “Don’t underestimate the Chinese, remember, we were surprised by the quality of the Japanese navy in 1941.”

            and I don’t think we were surprised by the quality.. we were surprised by the attack certainly, but we new the IJN was good..

            what do you think? did we underestimate the navy? we had a racist view of Japs in general as near sighted and stupid, but I am pretty sure the Navy/Army didn’t really believe that.

          • Secundius

            @ Joey__Blow.

            The reason the Japanese Ship’s APPEARED to be Better Built, is because they used “Vickers Steel” in their Ship’s Construction. While the Americans used “Homogenized Steel” in their Ship’s Construction…

          • John B. Morgen

            The United States Navy knew nothing about the Japanese 24 inch torpedoes, and the fact, the Japanese could reload their torpedo tubes in short order. The Japanese were masters at night tactics, without using radar, however, the Japanese had a habit of not following through their missions; especially, when they are winning; they withdraw when victory was close at hand. This happen in 1941, 1942 and 1944. The problem was with the Japanese leadership within their navy.

            Yes, we had a racist view about the Japanese because some of the American combat manuals were written with a racist slant, and even the British felt the same way, just because the Imperial Japanese Navy had defeated the Imperial Russian Navy in 1905, it didn’t really changed the Western misconceptions about the Japanese. Mainly because the the Imperial Russian Navy was considered to be third or fourth rate navy, among the Western-European powers.

          • Joey__Blow

            We were more surprised that they attacked us rather than immediately luring us into a battle west of the Philippines. And of course we were surprised how our magnetic detonators on our topeedos failed to work. Yes the quality of the long Lance was better than expected, but we knew their optics were better.

            The main failure of the IJN was that their plans were way too complicated, and yes, they failed in the clutch. Also they failed to rotate pilots into training roles, or to setup a program to train enough.

          • John B. Morgen

            Many of our top leaders couldn’t come to their senses that Pear Harbor was a possible target because they felt the Imperial Japanese Navy couldn’t mount such a naval operation; and yet the Japanese had the means to defeat us during the Solomon Campaigns in 1942 but chose not to. The Japanese were too cautious, and that is what defeated them.

          • Martin Andrew

            The Japanese never followed through with their missions. Easy comment in hindsight considering the death blows their navy had received around Guadalcanal with no replacements in sight. The largest aircraft carrier at sea in the Pacific from December 1942 to March 1943 was the HMS Victorious on loan to the US Navy. There was only one other serviceable US fleet carrier in the Pacific and the Japanese had none, Both navies had fought themselves to standstill.

          • John B. Morgen

            That’s incorrect because the USS Saratoga (CV-3) was the largest Allied carrier in the Pacific, and she was operating along side with the HMS Victorious as part of a joint carrier task force. As for the Japanese, they did NOT commit their naval reserves into the Solomon Campaign, if they had, then we would have been defeated.

          • Joey__Blow

            But the IJN did commit reserves into the Solomons.

            “The plan to accomplish this, called Operation MO, involved several major units of Japan’s Combined Fleet, including two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion fleet”

            The problem, as you pointed out, is that after the battle, they could have just proceeded with most of their missions despite any loses. The US would not have been able to stop them. We would have been slaughtered on Guadalcanal, also at Midway, and at Leyete.

            But instead they turned and ran.

          • John B. Morgen

            The Imperial Japanese Navy held back three battleship classes that could have affected the night actions around “Iron Bottom.” For example, if the Japanese had deployed the Yamato and Nagato class battleships, they would have defeated us during the night actions around Sovo Island and Guadalcanal. We had nothing to go up against the Yamato and her sister. Again, the Japanese did NOT commit their reserves during the Solomon Campaign. Night actions were very critical of winning the Soiomon Campaign, more so than the carrier action.

          • Joey__Blow

            Look at Mikawa failing to attack the transport in the first battle of savo island. Look at Abe turning back after he had defeated his opponent in the second. these are failures of command not resources.

            Yamato class bb are not the best choice for confined waters such as the slot. The IJN did commit reserves, but, typically, in small squadrons at a time. Two older BB, two CA plus CL. And the commander would split his forces and maneuver.

            They were never going to send the whole fleet.

          • John B. Morgen

            So be clear I’m responding to your rebuttal in three points;
            although, I might agree with you on some points but I will disagree on some other points as well.

            Although Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, commander
            of Eighth Japanese Fleet launched several series of raids against the Allied naval forces. Yes, his first raid was on 7th August 1942. On 9th August, Admiral Mikawa force of 5 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers and 1 destroyer engaged the Allied naval forces around Savo Island, which the Japanese inflected heavy loses upon the Allies by sinking 4 heavy cruisers, and damaging 1 cruiser and 1 destroyer. Yet Admiral Mikawa made the most [stupendous command decision] that could have ended the American campaign in the Solomon’s, by withdrawing his squadron too soon from reaching his main objective: sink enemy transports. I agreed it was a very poor but profound decision, but a decision that saved many American lives. Admiral Mikawa claimed Allied aircraft was his main reason for withdrawing, if that was the case then he should have ordered fighter protection over the area, so he could have carryout his objective. However,
            there could be another reason for the admiral’s poor decision, he was saving face.

            The Japanese did not used up their reserves for
            the Solomon Campaign because the Yamato was assigned to the campaign, along with her sister the Musashi, which both of them were never deployed. Both
            battleships would have affected the outcome against the Allies. Therefore I disagreed with your position that the Japanese had used up their reserves.

            Another issue for the Japanese failure of defeating the Allies was with their faulty strategy. . Japan’s folly was with Admiral Yamamoto’s indecision to concentrate his naval forces, or failure to “ commit sufficient forces in sufficient time.” (David C. Evens & Mark R. Peattie, Kaigun,
            Naval Institute Press, 1997, pp 490-491.)

            You made a claim that the waters were too “confined
            waters such as the slot” for deploying the battleship Yamato. This claim is quite outlandish. For one, the waters are quite large and room enough to deploy
            many large warships. Both sides operated and deployed battleships in several night actions, and both sides never had any problems about maneuvering around Savo
            Island or inside the Iron Bottom Sound area. Such examples, battleships Hiei, Kirishima, Kongo, Haruna; South Dakota and Washington. Again, I disagreed with
            your position.

            I apologized for this belated response, I just returned home from being away on TDY (government business). I’m just catching up with my emails.

          • Joey__Blow

            Good to see your response. We agree on many points, but I did not claim the “Japanese had used up their reserves.” I meant only to say they used SOME reserves, and quite a bit. Agree that they withheld some, only prudent.

            Re committing the BB Yamato, it never fired its guns until Leyete Gulf, in another failure of nerve by a ijn commander. The musashi was sunk there, in the narrow straight. There was some concern about putting large ships at risk, in a non strategic (I.e. sinking the US Navy) battle.

            And the US commander debated on whether it was a good idea to put BBs in the sound..
            “All that was left for Halsey’s use were two fast, new, battleships, USS South Dakota and USS Washington. Naval War College doctrine forbade the use of battleships in a tightly confined space such as Ironbottom Sound, just north of Guadalcanal, but Halsey knew that wars were won at sea, not in a textbook. He ordered the dreadnoughts committed.”

            In a good call by aa man who made many impulsive ,risky decisions.

          • John B. Morgen

            I agree that Admiral Halsey made the correct but prudent decision to deployed our fast battleships in the Solomon Campaign. As for the Naval War College (NWC), they only deal with theories, and they have no concept about sea topography, or what is considered to be “narrow seas.” The NWC or everyone should studied the Battle of Narvik (1940), where the Royal Navy sent the battleship Warspite, with destroyers up the Vestfjord to destroyed the remaining German destroyers. The comparisons between and what happen at the Battle of Narvik and the Solomon Campaign are many light years apart. In sum, the Battle of Narvik was fought in “narrow sea,” and the Solomon Campaign was fought in a much wider opened sea. The people at the NWC do not really know what they are really talking about. Again, Admiral Halsey was correct by sending in our fast battleships that saved many more American lives at Henderson Field on 13 November 1942.
            As for the Japanese, Admiral Yamamoto failed to understand the concept of using “combined naval forces,” and that is, battleships are still useful for surface actions; especially, at night. Although, he understood about the importance of the aircraft carrier, but he dismissed the importance of the battleship; both are team members.

          • Joey__Blow

            I always thought it possible that they could have seized Midway even after their losses. Using the battleships for air defense. We were low on planes at that point.

            Of course they never could have held it so it didn’t make much sense from the beginning…

            It general, the IJN made plans with too many moving parts that could not support each leg of the battle. Then, often, at the moment the part which actually worked was coming to a critical point, no one wanted to make a decision and the chance slipped through their fingers..

          • John B. Morgen

            I agree, and I too have thought about the Imperial Japanese Navy’s performance during the early parts of the Pacific War. I found, as well as many other of my fellow naval historians, and that is, the Imperial Japanese Navy was NOT really prepared for war; despite their early victories because there were some critical targets that should have been considered besides bombing the fuel tank farms and the submarine base at Pearl Harbor. The Panama Canal should have been a HOT target, which would delay American naval reinforcements transferring from the Atlantic Fleet into the Pacific.
            As for Midway, Admiral Yamamoto’s strategy plan was profoundly flawed from the outset, for one his four most important aircraft carriers should had more battleship coverage for air defense, which I agreed with your comment. However, the Japanese could have captured Midway instead of invading Wake Island. It is on record that two destroyers from Vice Admiral Nagumo’s Pearl Harbor strike force shelled Midway on 7 December 1941.. The Japanese should have invaded Midway during the Pearl Harbor attack, but choose not to invade…..

    • Bayareamade

      A British Officer help the Japanese with plans and other info, regarding carriers and planes .. google it ..

      • John B. Morgen

        Both Britain and Japan had an alliance together until the Washington Naval treaty was signed in 1922.

    • John B. Morgen

      I have heard that story before, and it would not surprised me if the Chinese gave the HMAS Melbourne a very good look over. We could blame the Australians for handing carrier technology over to our enemies, just like when Great Britain sold jet engines to the Soviet Union which ending up inside Mig-15 fighters— Migs that we fought over in Korea.

      • Secundius

        @ John B. Morgan.

        As I recall the Rolls Royce Nene (Klimov VK-1) Turbojet, for the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15. Was part of the “Percentages Agreement” (the Naughty Agreement), cooked up between Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the Fourth Moscow Conference in October 1944. When the Two of them “Cooked-Up” a Scheme to “Carve-Up” Europe after the Second World War (50% “Allies”/50% Soviet). FDR, was kept out of the “Agreement Loop”. When Truman found out several years later, it put a Rift between Truman and Churchill, and nearly Destroyed the NATO Alliance before it began…

        • John B. Morgen

          No! The British Prime Minister Churchill was a very pragmatic individual, he just wanted to know, from Stalin, his views about the Post-WWII Europe. The percentages were given by both men, but it was an unofficial understanding and that’s is all.

          As for the British sale of Rolls Royce Nene engines to the Soviet Union, the whole event was pushed by the Prime Minister Clement Attlee and his Labor government. The Conservatives, including Churchill played no part, and both the RAF and the Minister of Defense had objected the sale of jet engines. It was a bad but profound decision that Labor government made which costed many American lives during the Korean War.

    • Martin Andrew

      The catapult was obsolete and was only kept operable with parts from the old HMCS Bonaventure, the angled flight deck changed the shape very little, and was a 1942 design on a merchant ship hull. The Chinese would be better off posing as tourists and looking at the USS Intrepid.

    • Gary Sellars

      How can anyone seriously believe that the Chinese cannot design and engineer a catapult equivalent to something that was built for a UK warship over 60 YEARS AGO????

      FFS people, get a grip…

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  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    wonder what the Chinese will do when there pilots smash up the aircraft in landings. It is going to happen. Poor idiots

    • Darkside

      Oh, the Great (idiotic) Seer speaks!

  • John B. Morgen

    I suspect the Chinese will be building either four or six aircraft carriers, plus additional screening warships; maybe, some guided missile cruisers (frigates). I say this because India is building their own aircraft carriers in the response to China’s carrier programs. However, the United States Navy is providing India with technical support, while China is more of less acting alone although Russia is supplying the PLAN with some aircraft.

    • Martin Andrew

      The Indian aircraft carrier program was well advanced before the Chinese bought the Liaoning.

      • John B. Morgen

        I agree but the Indian Navy has a lot more operating experience with the aircraft carriers in both peacetime and wartime than the Chinese, simply because of the Indian Navy’s connections with the British Royal Navy, whereas the Chinese are just starting from scratch like we did with the Langley (CV-1) and both the Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3). The Indian Navy was modernized by receiving a British light carrier in 1957 and renamed it Vikrant. Later the Indian Navy received another British aircraft carrier the HMS Hermes in 1986, and renamed it Viraat. The Indian Navy is several steps ahead of the Chinese, but someday I suspect the Chinese will catch up. All nation-states do at some point of time.

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  • Joey__Blow

    biased against you mean right? what was the formula? 10-10-7 England, USA, Japan? Of course similar “disarmament” treaties were responsible for the “pocket battleships” Graf Spee and .. and Scharnhorst.

    • John B. Morgen

      The Washington Naval Treaty (1922) was based on ratios or total tonnage for capital warships; for example, the Royal Navy was given a ratio of 5 (580,450); the United States Navy was given a ratio of 5 (500,360 tons); and the Imperial Japanese Navy was given a ratio of 3 (301,320 tons). Every time the Japanese delegation wanted an equality the new ratio was set at higher level, but NOT with an equal ratio for Japan. The Washington Naval Treaty was slanted against Japan in every way, which the Japanese delegation should have left the Washington Conference, which would cause the conference to collapse like a “House of Cards.”

      As for the Admiral Graf Spree and her sisters, Germany was restricted by the Versailles Treaty (1919). These warships were classified as Panzerschiffs, and eight of them were planned to be built by 1940.
      As for the Scharnhorst and Bismarck classes, they were restricted by the Anglo-German Naval Treaty (1935), which was linked to the Washington Naval Treaty’s restrictions and limitations. The Kriegsmarine was limited to have a Fleet at 35% of the Royal Navy.

  • Martin Andrew

    Excuse me but it was my translation from Wuqi Jianzai that was published in my GI Zhou Newsletter that revealed the plans, details and a picture of the PLAN’s new aircraft carriers. Jane’s commented on from it after I published it thank you very much.

  • Hugh

    The ship was laid down in 1943 along contemporary RN carrier designs, but without armour, with destroyer-sized steam turbines, and to merchant ship standards – all in order to reduce time and cost for this Class deemed to be disposable after the war.

    After WW2 the first ships commissioned with steam catapults were HMS ARK ROYAL, USS FORRESTAL and HMAS MELBOURNE, all in 1955. USS ENTERPRISE was commissioned in 1961 with similar equipment.

    HMAS MELBOURNE was upgraded in 1967-69 to fly Trackers and A4s, but the catapult could not be extended (mainly due to costs) over the bow due to displacement and strength limits, and could not be extended aft as the forward lift was in the way. With the higher launch stresses it was found necessary to replace the track covers with heavier duty ones ex USS MIDWAY and CORAL SEA. While the technology was there, the catapult just was not long enough to launch fully fuelled and armed A4s, (necessitating in-flight top-up refuelling).

    By 1980 a replacement within 10 years was being sought. Then (Political strike 1) HMS INVINCIBLE came on the market and was being purchased by the RAN when the Falkland War broke out, so the RN retained her. In the meantime, HMAS MELBOURNE was laid up awaiting refit to be followed by further service until another replacement could be found. Three of the 4 arresters plus the catapult all needed extensive overhauls. Also additional fresh water generation was required. However in 1982 Labor got into government and (Political strike 2) abolished the Fleet Air Arm.

    From Wikipedia: Ex HMAS MELBOURNE was sold in February 1985 to the China United Shipbuilding Company for A$1.4 million, with the intention that she be towed to China and broken up for scrap. Prior to the ship’s departure for China, the RAN stripped Melbourne of all electronic equipment and weapons, and welded her rudder into a fixed position. However, her steam catapult, arresting equipment and mirror landing system were not removed. At this time, few western experts expected that the Chinese Government would attempt to develop aircraft carriers in the future.

    The ship was not scrapped immediately; instead she was studied by Chinese naval architects and engineers as part of the nation’s top-secret carrier development program. However, it is unclear whether the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) orchestrated the acquisition of Melbourne or simply took advantage of the situation; Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong, who is both the son of PLAN founder Zhang Aiping and a staff member at the National Defence College, has stated that the Navy was unaware of the purchase until Melbourne first arrived at Guangzhou. Melbourne was the largest warship any of the Chinese experts had seen, and they were surprised by the amount of equipment which was still in place. The PLAN subsequently arranged for the ship’s flight deck and all the equipment associated with flying operations to be removed so that they could be studied in depth. Reports have circulated that either a replica of the flight deck, or the deck itself, was used for clandestine training of People’s Liberation Army Navy pilots in carrier flight operations. It has also been claimed that the Royal Australian Navy received and “politely rejected” a request from the PLAN for blueprints of the ship’s steam catapult. The carrier was not dismantled for many years; according to some rumours she was not completely broken up until 2002. A 2012 article in Jane’s Navy International stated that the large quantity of equipment recovered from Melbourne “undoubtedly helped” Admiral Liu Hua-qing secure the Chinese Government’s support for his proposal to initiate a program to develop aircraft carriers for the Navy.

  • Gary Sellars

    Ski jump carriers may limit the aircraft payload, but given that the Liaonings primary mission would be to extend the range of Chinese air superiority, her J-15s will be armed with AAMs rather than heavy bomb-loads for strike missions, so the load limitation will not be much of an issue (ie as it with the Kuznetsov).

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  • wenni2000

    instagram @decfbs

  • tekteam26

    That photo is not of the Liaoning. It is of the Kuznetzov instead. You can tell by the difference defensive armament on the port rear corner.