Chinese Carrier Shi Lang At Sea

These photos from Alert5 are the first I’ve seen of the Chinese aircraft carrier Shi Lang’s first cruise that happened last week. The pictures may be of her making her way in or out of port.┬áNotice how the ship is generating almost no wake and in one shot you can see a tow line attached to her.



  • Tim

    May be they were just testing the towing device to make sure it will work because that’s exactly what happened to its old siblings… 4 times out to sea and 3 of those times had to be towed back in.

    • kong king escort ships? rumor has escorting ladies in uniform ready to “service” the sailors.. oh wait!

  • John Moore

    Are those white things life rafts in the 2nd pix from the bottom?

  • Stratege

    Varyag’s second, “beyond the grave” life!

  • STemplar

    I’d like to know what ‘tests’ were conducted. Zilch I’m sure, big show for the cameras right when we are discussing budget issues and in the midst of the current review by the DoD.

  • blight

    It has lines attached astern, which would suggest something is being towed? However, picture three is from astern and shows no tow lines.

    What’s going on?

  • Lance

    So it floats BIG news… yeah right it floated in Russian hands too DT blog is too fixated on China why don’t your look at India’s carrier and the MiG-29Ks it has for it?

    • Hale

      Because India is not the ‘enemy’ that China is.

    • CSZ

      Lance you are a baby crying to get attention. The fact is, hard as she’d tried, India was never a worthy enemy of US or China. It’s been played by the powers like a pawn to divert the attention and resource of their opponents.

  • An excellent combination of offensive satire and irrelevancy.

    • blight

      Feels like Fred.

  • Bill

    Does it seem to be riding very low in the water considering ther are no aircraft on board?

  • Hale

    Is Shi Lang the official name yet? Didn’t think the Chinese generals would be so open about their intentions.

  • DK

    Is it me or the Americans are really Panaroid about this Floating Carrier which doesn’t even have jets to fly on its deck nither expertise to handle a carrier……….. India has two such carriers joining the Navy one is under sea trials in Russia and the other would be floated in Cochin, Kerala this December witg fighter planes already delivered and Navy Pilots sweating their ass out in Goa and US……with them plus ths decades of expertise Indian Navy has while operating them since 1960s.

  • MCQknight

    This was probably taken wile it was still in the harbor, considering the water is so calm it looks like glass.

  • Nick

    I feel like the Chinese just want to drive US defense spending in some “wrong” direction (like how we did with the Soviets), considering the timing of these pictures.

  • This is NOT the same carrier seen in the yards right being fitted out or Yes?
    Or were we seeing that casino hotel carrier Refit instead.

  • cody

    well obviously this thing in no way competes with a nimitz! and even if it did they dont have the aircraft to make it competitive. I doubt the pentagon will have much of a reaction to it. that being said. if this thing becomes operational i’d bet that it will have a little underwater puppy following it around! ha ha!

  • justsaying

    The Chinaman was right about one thing… you are a pig.

  • Andrew

    Whether or not this thing could take on a Nimitz (not likely given the doctrine, experience or manpower comparisons); when we get to a point in time where that’s even a probability I’m sure we’ll all have a hell of a lot more to worry about.

    • E_Khun

      You’re right, this thing will never have to take on a Nimitz because it was never intended to do that. In Russian doctrine these were for local fleet defense. For attacking other ships they had their own battery of anti-ship cruise missiles.

      I think I read somewhere that the Chinese removed these missiles but it’s likely this carrier is more for training purposes and for showing the flag.

    • Kurn

      That’s why they built the Dongfeng 21-D anti-carrier missile.

  • Curt

    From the wake, the ship is clearly underway but going slowly (which makes sense as it is foggy). The tugs are not towing the ship but more the otherway around since they are astern of the ship. The tug is riding behind the ship so if there is an engineering problem they can immediately work to stop the ship or turn it. You see this all the time with Tankers and other merchant ships but it is the first time I have seen it on a Carrier but it may be common practice for sea trials or after major availabilities, not certain.

  • RYW2

    This obssesion with China is becoming very disturbing, lets just worry about protecting the United States and not the rest of world.In other words our borders, and forget about the need to hold onto and maintain an empire. China does not have to be an enemy of the United States unless we want them to.

  • Chimp

    “Round eye” is a western / movie invention. He would have called *you* a tortoise. Get your insults straight.

  • joe

    Would have been rather amusing if the answer was “no”.

  • John

    There is a story how China acquired this Russian built carrier because someone defauted on the payments. The engine is the only thing that is not working. I believe it was an intended nuclear propulsion. Naturally, the builder didn’t finish because the buyer defaulted on the payments, so China picked up the tab and now they are probbably figuring out how it works.

  • George

    Shouldn’t any ship that sets sail have a name? Or do they do things that different in the Orient?

    • CSZ

      not until she is commissioned and have a null number painted on.

  • blight

    Apparently before the Russian aircraft buying spree, China acquired the old HMAS Melbourne, and since they were scrapping it had intimate access to the ship’s innards.


    This is why the US should consider offering Nimitz class aircraft carriers to our allies, let countries like Australia, Germany, Singapore, South Korea build battle groups with Nimitz class carriers armed with F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets (until F-35s are available); as this would allow these countries to defend themselves better and be a major boost to the US economy as well as save some money in not needing to defend these countries with US Naval battle groups.

    • blight

      They’d refuse on those grounds. Expensive as heck and their defense is already bought and paid for. Not every nation wants or needs aircraft carriers, they don’t envision themselves launching airstrikes on some target far away round-the-clock. What they want is deterrence.

      Missiles, anyone? If the US wants deterrent power, it would be by distributing nuclear weapons through the Pacific Rim under PAL, just as they did during the Cold War with NATO. Ideally there would be a better delivery system like an IRBM, but we no longer have Pershings. We do have the original TLAMs, and if we sell GLCMs to someone with TLAM-N you could have economical deterrence without breaking the bank.

      Besides, one carrier without a strong battlegroup and appropriate logistical support is just a target for an enemy’s Surveillance-Strike Complex, and if you lack the infrastructure to project your own or neutralize theirs…

    • tiger

      Nobody wants a clapped out 40 year old ship that needs a crew of 5000 to run.

  • JRL

    What would those nations do with Nimitz class CBG’s – burden themselves with monstrous debt like the US has?

    Do you have any idea how much it costs to own and operate a nuclear super carrier battle group? Or any idea of what kind of credible security threat would have to exist for that kind of massive expenditure to be considereda rational use of funds?

    Those nations wouldn’t accept such a monstrous floating white elephant if you offered it to them for free…

  • Guest

    usually tugs dont attach themselves to the ship using lines..they push the ship using their bow

  • jrcobbstr

    Nice target. Got subs to protect it. Doe!!!

  • jcobbstr

    The Japanese sure would look good in the retired Enterprise. (or Ranger, Kitty Hawk, America, Constellation…)

  • The Americans are bound to be worried for a few very simple reasons. Aircraft carriers (like battleships and amphibious deployment ships but on a grander scale) are what is known as a ‘capital ship’. It’s a floating airfield. Using aircraft you can invade a country, bomb a country, support a country and so on and having them forward deployed on a mobile platform is always going to be something everybody wants. Usually the deal is if the US Navy shows up with a carrier (and appropriate nuclear weapons onboard) and a few cruisers or destroyers (you know, anything large enough to knock out a city, knock out a navy and son) people are obliged to sit up and behave themselves. Carriers and their battlegroups work. We saw it with the UK, the US and Japan in World War 2, we saw it with the British/Argentina Falklands war and we still see it now. Who is going to stand up to a navy with a carrier containing enough power to remove you as quickly as you can make beans on toast.

    China has strategic ambitions. It has to compete with India and Pakistan. It’s obsessed with the belief that Taiwan “should just be returned to it’s rightful owners”. Just like Hong Kong and the Falklands. Right? It also has to compete with all the nations that lay claim to part or all of the mineral and oil rich Spratly Islands (like the Phillipines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the rest of them, about 8 I believe. Owning a carrier and such weaponry gives them an “I can punch harder than you”, it gives them a “Are you really gonna compete with us?”. More importantly it puts them on level pegging with the other carrier deploying nations of the world (Brazil, Russia, UK, US, France, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Thailand). Note that not all of those countries have a carrier per se, but rather operate an amphibious warship with a flat-deck for aircraft operations.

    China having an aircraft carrier takes superiority away from the Americans who always assume safety in numbers. Now that China has that equipment (albiet antique) it can dramatically alter the balance of power in the China sea, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific or wherever it pleases them to send it! No-one has sunk a carrier in 60+years. Even the Royal Navy in 1982 felt that sinking the old Argie Venticinco de Mayo would have been overkill. In short, China wants a carrier so it can alter the power balance and then give it momentum to launch operations of whatever pleases them.

  • edward matejcek

    It looks like there testing the waters or everyones parinoia think about the different wars back ik in history how every nation has a way to test the insinceabilty and qwerks in the last few hundred years .I would not call it parinoia like every other country there looking for vunrability in the systems .checking to see who is paying attention to the hype

  • Mariner

    I wonder if it has an Almon A Johnson towing machine aboard? lol. I have worked on and tested the machines on old asrs at yards. Amazing piece of machinery.

  • Jerry

    The A/C a real embarrassment to China..a laughing stock around the Super Powers…best scrap this ship and use the metal to make car parts…and that is a joke as well..
    Vietnam Vet..

  • Cakvin

    The Chinese have 1 Carrier or at least a 1/2 carrier,We have 12.besides the biggest weapon China has on us is already here.They have 3000 WALMARTS here they they send their cheap stuff to (Full disclosure I havd brought some of it myself) for us to buy.

  • Robert

    She doesn’t look properly ballasted; low by the bow maybe and listing a degree or two to port for sure. She looks like a relatively low deck vessel (freeboard, is that?; especially for a carrier?) Probably a trick of an eye not used to such large vessels. Wide for stability, clearly, but from astern you can see the start of the bottom curve inward towards the keel, so she may be floating _relatively_ high, at least aft.

    I go with the politically scheduled trip notion, and recall that there was a problem with engines or lack of them. Continuing lack of engines could do a lot to make a vessel light astern. That _really_ doesn’t look like much of a wake! Not much crew in evidence (yes, most of a trial crew would be below.) There are no clear bow closeups. There could be a towline off into the fog up there, and in the last frame it looks like she’s getting a push.

    ‘Course I’m not one that can claim to be a nautical authority or anything ;-) Just what it looks like, what makes sense.

  • 4locs

    China will attack and then will be in a world of hurt

  • Interested as to why she appears to have such a low aspect ratio. Recent UK carriers (now decomissioned and much smaller – 1/3 the displacement) had ski-jumps and were much higher for their length viewed side on; the Nimitz and Gerry Ford Class are much higher – more decks. Maybe it’s related to the flight wing complement (Nimitz) which is not VTOL either (though J35 carrier variant will have the capability on the G R Ford).