Chinese Carrier Aviation Makes it to 1945

An AP story at reports that the Chinese Navy has successfully landed one of their J-15 (the carrierized version of the Su-33) aboard the Liaoning aircraft carrier.

We here at DT figure there are two ways of looking at this development:  You can say that this proves the threat in the Pacific Rim is real and the defense budget needs to be adjusted accordingly, which means a shift from a ground war focus back to the good ol’ days of wars at sea.

OR you could say that all the Chinese have done is land a jet on a carrier, something the Brits first did on December 3, 1945.  Now launch and recover 35 well-armed aircraft per cycle around the clock for three or four days.  And then add another carrier or two in the AOR and try to make the airwings play nice together.

Remember — although the economics are different — the navies of the former Soviet Union all attempted to embrace convential carrier operations in the late ’90s.  The net-net of their efforts was a fundamental understanding that flying off of the boat is harder than it looks — and it looks hard.  As a result they sold one of their carriers to another country — China.

  • duuude

    “Now launch and recover 35 well-armed aircraft per cycle around the clock for three or four days. And then add another carrier or two in the AOR and try to make the airwings play nice together.”

    DT,… what are you saying… DT… STAHP….


    Everytime you say something like it ain’t ever gonna happen, it happens.

    Anyways, there are really only two kinds of ships. Subs and targets.

    • blight_

      And in the ’50s we were sure that after bombing Japan to ruin they would never grow industrially in a way that would scare the living daylights out of American electronics manufacturers.

    • Starfleet

      A sub is a target to - from a VP Aviator

    • CAPT M A Wood

      Duuude - just one correction to your comment. There aren’t two types of ships, they are all targets.

      Madman…madman….. Weapon away

      From a Retired VP CAPT Tacco and CO

    • Anon

      Aren’t subs boats not ships? I’m not in the Navy, but the way it was explained to me, subs are boats because they used to be launched from ships…

    • Chuck

      The carriers I was on we had 70-75 planes on board and about 45-50 were flying ops around the clock. Which means about 20 - 25 were “soft” or “hard” broke and either in the hanger bay or able to be moved around on the flight deck. I heard that when the Chinese build their 2nd carrier, it will be a “Super Carrier”. Which will complicate things a lot more than with their “baby carrier”.

  • Jim in CA

    The second way of looking at this seems like famous last words.

    • ddd

      Meanwhile, on the Harry Truman, the USN prepared for the world’s first unmanned launch and recovery of a jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier. Just sayin’.

  • TomUK

    I don’t think a ‘Sea Vampire’ is in quite the league of a J-15, and I’m sure HMS “Ocean” is hardly comparable to “Liaoning”. The Japanese ‘Zero’ was regarded, pre-1941, as ‘all bamboo & ricepaper’, but proved for some while to be remarkably effective.

    • JackBlack

      Pearl Harbor, underestimation carries human toll.

      • GM-North SAR 68 South SAR 69

        Amen brother!

    • Pedro

      My father was educated in 1930s London (and then on to Cambridge and then worked for Watson-Watt developing radar).
      He was taught that the Japanese were congenitally short-sighted and so could never fly fighter planes.
      Then they turned up at Pearl Harbour and they even interrupted the cricket in Singapore.

  • Tim

    Clearly, we need to increase our defense budget until it is larger than China’s.

    Oh, wait …

    • riceball

      The thing is, we don’t know exactly how large China’s defense budget is; they’re well known for not reporting exact or truthful figures and under reporting their defense budget numbers. You also have to remember that there are several different ways of reading a country’s defense budget numbers; there’s as a straight dollar figure (which doesn’t tell the whole story), as a percentage of the budget, and as a percentage of GDP; the latter two are the more accurate way of determining the true size of a nation’s defense, or any other part, budget. Going by a straight dollar amount our defense budget looks massive but when viewed as a percentage of our overall budget or GDP it’s not all that massive and, in some cases, actually smaller than some nations.

      • cozine

        yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard that story before when the military goes to the congress asking for more money.

        Just count the number of ships/subs launched and number of new jets deployed each year, factor in cheaper labor/material/R&D cost and you have your answer.

      • JackBlack

        If you sacrifice the life of your own population such as you had it in USSR, until it collapses, you will have an enormous budget, any democracy or country that values human life cannot compete with.
        Imagine it as a fundamentalist mentality of self sacrifice to destroy the west, you got ALL the investment you need, even human.

      • tmb2

        When comparing straight dollar amounts, you have to look at what a dollar buys in America vs China. A Chinese one-star makes $1600 a month while a Shanghai citizen makes around $500 a month. This is poverty level for the US, but both salaries are upper class in China. An American one-star makes $12,000 a month.

        • ForrestCantrell

          Not to mention what Chinese generals make in graft.

          • tmb2

            The point being exchange rates and standards of living matter when you debate budgets.

        • Jeff

          Wow, $1600 a month… Not nearly enough to take on a mistress like Petraeus.

  • cozine

    Dear DT,

    You forgot to post the picture of a J-15 flying off the carrier.

    • TxBill

      DT never said they were able to actually launch aircraft, from the carrier, only land them!!!

  • DGR

    I give them credit for what this was, its was a single land and takeoff on a refurbished ship in very calm seas with the ship apperantly under its own power. That said, remember the lessons the Japenese learned about building carriers? Like the time they built the Shinano, the worlds largest carrier (of its time) only to have it sunk 10 days after launch by a single US submarine…… This carrier is a training/learning platform, no more, no less. There is no need to worry about anything until they can show they can project military power from a complete carrier strike force. You have to learn how to do that, and this is how they will learn. They will show that after they build their own carriers, put them in full operation and train for a few years. It takes time to learn carrier ops, they have made fast progress but they still have a long ways to go.

    So yes, this is a major milestone for the Chinese but something to loss sleep over, it is not.

    • JackBlack

      Yesterday maybe, day after tomorrow, they can build 5 more.

    • Bob

      Maybe nothing to lose sleep over now, Usain Bolt had to first learn to walk before he became the fastest human.

  • ServingGreenTea

    Sometimes I wonder if we’re talking to ourselves . . . . I would be surprised if the Chinese consider this carrier as something that they can use to project power against the U.S.

    My desktop jockey analysis says that the more interesting - and perhaps more relevant - question is how this affects their territorial claims in the SE Pacific.

    How would a Chinese CAG fare against JPN subs in the (shallow?) waters around Sengaku Islands? How are ASW capabilities of the Chinese? Seems that the Chinese ASW capabilities is the key determining factor as to whether we have another retreating ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in a PRC-JPN conflict a la Falklands.

    As for the Vietnamese or the Fillipinos, they probably don’t have much in the way of a undersea navy, if any, and the carrier probably could be use to have useful loiter time over the islands.

    Just food for thought.

    • DGR

      Agreed, but I dont think the Chinese think the US will remain out of the fight. If we do, then yes they could pick and win the fight. If we get involved they do not have the capability to challange us on anything but land combat, and even then they are going to loss millions of troops (something that I dont think modern day China would be willing to do). So yes they could pick a fight in the region, but that is a huge gamble to make knowing that you have no ability to counter the US Navel threat if we get involved.

    • Nadnerbus

      Pretty much where my mind is. If I am not mistaken, the South China Sea is relatively shallow, and difficult for submarines to operate in undetected, more so for our larger nuclear subs. Combined with shore based assets, diesel subs, their recently organized “Marines” for amphibious assault, their “carrier killer” missiles for keeping US Carrier Strike Groups out far at arms length, and it seems obvious to me how they intend to use this carrier if they ever use it as more than a training ship. Area denial, and regional force projection. The Philippines, Vietnam, all their other neighbors in that area have no carrier strike capability, leaving the Chinese with a clear edge to pursue their territorial claims.

    • ForrestCantrell

      The Vietnamese are buying 6 Kilos, which will provide a very useful deterrent to Chinese surface warships.

      • global strar

        The Chinese know the Kilo inside out

    • SP90

      I wonder if this will prompt the Philippines and Vietnam to invite the US back and start basing ships and planes there again. China is already starting to flex it’s new found powers with the new passports that have the maps including islands right off Vietnam as part of their territory.

      • blight_

        I suspect the United States would be a little wary of sea-bases in land conquerable distance from the PRC. However, setting up a joint forces base that could potentially be used as a logistical hub for a land attack would be beyond provocational, and might set up Vietnam for a decapitation strike to prevent its use as a staging point. And anything in such a staging point would be at risk as well…may well be in conventional ballistic missile range; though I’m not sure if Chinese conventional BM’s would have the CEP to be effective, short of saturation or powerful warheads.

        • Aaron

          The Philippines has already given green light for US Marines and Navy to take up camp in country.

  • jack

    It wouldn’t surprise me if China was getting help from ex western carrier pilots and carrier deck personnel. China does very little without either stealing it or paying someone for their expertise.

    • JackBlack

      Same with a Jet and Space flight program after WWII, and the Abomb one in the US, where FOREIGN labour was paid including war criminals to build it.

  • Joe_Sovereign

    We should offer to build them a top of the line carrier and stock it with planes for 16 Trillion dollars. Then pay off our National debt.

    • Manuel C. Diaz

      Sell the Big E to the Chinese for 16trillion instead of scrapping it.

      • blight_

        I’m surprised they don’t just buy off workers at the yard that scraps CVN’s, let alone overhauls and builds them.

        Or worse, put a guy in Newport News and get the plans for the Fords. Unless Newport News is better at counterespionage than Lockmart and Northrop?

    • ArynChris

      You’re assuming that, if handed 16 trillion, Congress would actually use it to pay off the debt.

      “Our constituents in Ohio need-!”
      Seriously, those guys spend money like I did when I was 20 and stuck on swing shift.

  • Tad

    I’d say all they’ve done is land a plane on a carrier a-la 1945. Next year we’ll be looking at the Chinese doing naval air as in 1955, then a year later 1965, and so forth. In other words, in seven years they’ll be operating on par with the US.

  • eaglemmoomin

    I thought that although the US has ‘operational’ 9 carriers since the Enterprise has been scrapped that at least two are always in long refit/refueling periods while others work up for deployment or are in rest periods after coming off deployment. So the reality is that generally there are five or six carriers available to be deployed across the the five fleets.

    Those fleets have specific areas of responsibility and taskings so are not all available to go off piling into the Pacific? Thus phrases like ‘we’ve got 11 carriers’ doesn’t seem to match the reality of what’s actually available for operations in the Pacific or have I missed something? Granted China only have one carrier (which is one more than the UK and more aircraft sat on it, we only own two carrier aircraft full stop and they are stuck in the US with no carrier to put them on) but I thought China’s doctrine is fleet protection cover/CAP type stuff securing home waters and not power projection.

    • riceball

      That’s true for now but this carrier is representative of China’s desire to change that and get into the power projection game. Granted that this carrier is almost certainly nothing more than a training vessel for them to learn from it’s a start although it will take them a pretty good while before they can begin to rival our capability much less be a serious threat but we’d be fools to ignore the future potential threat this carrier represents.

    • Ronin

      That’s is why US got Air bases in Japan, South Korea and Guam….plus Air Forces of other Asian countries China is pissing off….soo the carrier strike group is one part of a wider force projection in the Pacific…actually South China Sea.

    • Noha307

      The Enterprise has not been scrapped - it has been decommissioned. It will likely be scrapped later, but for the time being, it has not been scrapped. Please differentiate.

    • Johnny Ranger

      Then by the same logic, China’s carrier, even assuming it was fully operational, would only be available to them a few months a year…

  • J15SU33Whocares

    I personally believe that all carriers, American or Chinese, will be missile fodder in any serious war involving major powers.

    That aside, all those Flanker derivatives look great; much better looking than the F35 and the Super Hornet. So I’m rooting for them.

    • octopusmagnificens

      I think the same. Carriers are outdated.

    • Musson

      Maybe so. But, if the major powers start throwing around big missiles - we won’t be left to judge.

      • JackBlack

        Exocet for a start, worked since Falklands.

    • Belesari

      Have people just MISSED the entire last few decades of missile defense and other systems in the works?

      There is a reason we have AA cruisers, and destroyers, and fighters…..

      Jesus why do i try.

      • orly?

        Alot of people here don’t like naval assets apparently.

        • Lance

          No I agree a Chinese carrier is a BIG target. Taiwan’s new carrier killer missile will be used.

          • Belesari

            Any carrier is a big target thats why no ship acts alone except for subs. A subs 1 defense is stealth. For surface ships its fleets which complement each others strengths and weaknesses.

          • blight_

            Taiwan needs some Brahmos…

    • Jon C. Wilson

      Apparently, you have never served aboard a carrier, I have, to know that it can defend itself from missile threats. Please close your mouth when you have no accurate knowledge of a subject.

    • meanmarine

      It looks a lot like the F14 which the Navy retired 20 years ago.

      • Stratege

        Su-33 is a little to do with F-14

  • octopusmagnificens

    What is AOR?

    • navy128

      Area Of Responsibility, or, a fleet replenishment ship

      • octopusmagnificens

        Thank you.

    • Donald

      Area of Responsibility

  • FellowVet

    A aingle Chineses carrier may not seem very intimidating or worrisome to the USN and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but if it was circling off of the coast of Taiwan, Japan, or South Korea, it might make some of those folks a bit nervous.

    • Salva

      Keep dreaming, Taiwanese and South Korean pilots would be salivating at the thought of getting a few missile shot at that floating turkey.please ,,both of those countries have real air forces And competent armed navies.I have u know, with real skillfully operators.

  • Musson

    On the positive side - the entire Chinese carrier cost the equivalent of one BAE Hybrid-Electric fighting vehicle.

    • JackBlack

      Sad but TRUE!

  • Jayson

    I believe it’s more of a region seas power show than an International show of power. They are more interested in showing India, Japan, S Korea etc that they’re getting into the game and they’ll redraw their maps and include as many uninhabited islands as they want. In a few years they’ll start to include Vietnam, and a larger chunk of India without any notice.

    It’s already starting to happen but Internationally they’re not in the same ballpark and won’t be for a couple decades. But that’s my uninformed guess.

  • Belesari

    While i in some ways agree with the post all over this page. There is one thing you are ALL missing. We as Americans to often see things as we, AMERICANS. Afte all havn’t we all been told that everyone is basicly the same as us?! SO everyone thinks just like us, like how how the MB in eqypt now has its own “Temporary” King…just the same right?

    We arent the same. A quick thing to think about. The PLA is atm growing and modernizing at a frightening rate. And while there ships, planes, subs, and other weapons arent the equal of ours they have a hell of alot more of them. And if you that doesnt matter ask the germans how easy it was to deal with the far inferior Sherman M4.

    Quantity has a quality all its own. And this is still true.

    The last thing to think about….20 years ago the chinese were 40 years behind us…now they are only 10. As we have a ever increasing poor class which gets more and more entitlements they have a middle class larger…..THAN THE ENTIRE US POPULATION.

    I think china is more at risk in the next couple of decades for a collapse from within this doesn’t mean i assume it will happen. You cant assume with the fate of a entire nation on the line. So plan for the possible and even the improbable.

    Also remember this. The chinese above all things admire hard work over anything else even natural talent. They will work their asses off taking chances that would have any US military buried under legal BS and political pressure.

    So they WILL become competent in Carrier usage and the things they need, Failure is after all still seen as bad there. And if the current figures hold up they could have as many carriers if nor more than us by the middle of the next decade. They will also have the surface fleets to guard it.

    The fools always yammer their superiority to the world sitting arrogantly in their thrones until pulled down….will we follow the same fate as britain? No their is no US to counterbalance the chinese USSR.

    • tee

      I agree, 180+ F-22’s won’t do much good when 100’s of J-20’s & 100’s of J-31’s & 1000’s of J-11’s & J-10’s come out after them. Your WWII analogy was right to the Point. A few Tiger’s couldn’t stop 100’s of Sherman’s and a few ME-262’s couldn’t stop the 100’s of P-51’s. The best Tech in the world in limited numbers will be over run by Larger numbers of those Inferior opponents. Hopefully we have Learned from History, If not we are Condemned to Repeat It.

      • Belesari

        The russian tactic.

        Take M-4’s and go running a tiger shoot out its treads then bring in a russian made heavy (which tend to be slow and inaccurate) to finish it off. Took a lose of 5-1 bu it worked and the russians didnt care.

        • tee

          Do you mean T-34’s ( the 76mm version ) then the big JS1’s come in for the kill. You are correct on the 5-1 kill ratio from both fronts Western & Eastern. The British Sherman Firefly and a later version of the Comet both had the17 LB guns which was equal to the long barreled 75mm of the Panther. The US had the Hellcat that shot some of the first Heat rounds designed for Anti-Tank work, but until the Pershing with it’s 90mm gun went to Europe in the last weeks of the war the US only had the Hellcats & M-10’s that could take on the German armor from the front. The M-4’s 75mm gun just bounced off the front of the Panther’s and Tigers.

      • displacedjim

        “100’s of J-20’s & 100’s of J-31’s & 1000’s of J-11″s & J-10’s”?!?!?!__Put down the crack pipe and take a few steps back toward reality!__People who think the PLAAF and PLAN greatly outnumber us need to read a book. Of course *local* numerical superiority is certainly possible, and even probable in the most likely scenarios (particularly at the onset). However, the idea that the total size of the PLAAF and PLAN outnumber USAF/USN/USMC by many times is an outdated stereotype.

        • blight_

          They’ll definitely have local superiority. If there’s a shooting war, we have forces in the Middle East and AfPak that still have to be supported.

          It would take time for the Navy to reinforce from Pearl Harbor or the Middle East. But at least we can count on the bombers arriving in 35 hours…

          • displacedjim

            Exactly. Assuming we actually decide to join in, China has to win within a few days whatever fight they start before we show up and attrit them to hell.

          • blight_

            I don’t think we’ve ever tried using long range bombers from Whiteman to do bombing runs. We can probably do a few runs off of Guam until someone craters the runway.

            That said, it requires considerable combat power to do more than attack. The PLAN has a ways to go, but if they have to defend, they have the capability to do so.

        • tee

          China has their own version of Top Gun training and has been utilizing it for over 20 years now. Their Pilot training is getting pretty good.

          The Chinese School For Aces

    • Sam Patriaco

      Nailed it

  • Leo Gerald Johnson

    Let’s face it the J-15 is a Copied Aircraft.It is copied after the Soviet Su-33 and The Su 33 is copied after the f-14 Tom Cat without the varible swing wing.

    • blight_

      Soviets had swing wing aircraft as well, though the limiting factor for Soviet navy aviation was the ability to operate from ski-ramp aviation cruisers. That limitation alone makes it difficult to conceive that the Su 33 or the Mig 29k would be directly “copied after” by the heavy fighters of the USN.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “The Su 33 is copied after the f-14 Tom Cat without the varible swing wing” - And what alternate reality would this be?

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen

      • TomUK

        ‘Erewhon’, I suspect.

    • vrns

      the Flanker was made more after the F-15, not the Tomcat…

      • So?

        In terms of intended role, yes. In tems of aerodynamics, the Su-27 is a super sized F-16 with F-14 elements - intakes, widely-separated engines used to create substantial body lift.

        • blight_

          For obvious reasons, the designers of aircraft in the US and USSR designed their aircraft in response to each other. Designing aircraft in a vacuum is a terrible idea.

          Until powerful engines became available, swing-wing was the compromise needed for acceptable performance at a variety of ranges. The Soviets did it and so did American designers.

          The MiG-29 and the SU-27 were the premiere Cold War fighters of the Soviet Union, contemporary to the -14 and -15.

          Both the F-14 and F-15 were two-engine aircraft with wide spacing between the two engines (unlike the Foxbat, where the engines are side-by-side).

          Wikipedia suggests that it was the ATF (that led to the F-15) that led to the SU-27/MiG-29 hi/low combo. However, the F-14 is a little older than the Air Force’s ATF, so either the Soviets took cues from the -14 or the -15, or both, but missed out on -16; though the Soviets had considerable experience with combat-tested single-engine designs.

          • So?

            There is almost no space between the F-15 engines. There is nothing at all in the Su-27 from the F-15, save for the air-brake arrangement (deleted entirely on the Su-35). If anything, it looks like an early rejected conventional-wing F-14 proposal.

            The reason why the MiG-29 has two engines is because there was no confidence in turbofan technology. This was proven correct, as early Soviet (and even American, but to a much less extent) military turbofans were very troublesome. The MiG-29 is an overly complicated design for what is essentially a point-defense fighter. It should have been like an F-16.

  • LCDR Kent

    This is a start and the Chinese think long term, 100 yrs or more. It may be target practice for a space base real time ship targeting system. How can they track ships at sea and how to guide missiles to them.

    • Tom Clawson

      Finally, an intelligent comment here. You are very perceptive, Commander.
      One thing I learned, while living a few years in the orient, was never under estimate those folks

  • Ron

    This is a result of US lax on military defense , more importantly offensive military technology. Chinese military improvements will keep us in check and hopefully wake us up.

  • Ranger Rick

    “OR you could say that all the Chinese have done is land a jet on a carrier, something the Brits first did on December 3, 1945”.

    Sorry, the Brits were the first to fly an airplane off of a ship that was underway. Commander Charles Samson flew off HMS Hibernia on 4 May 1912 in a Short Improved S.27 biplane.

    • Ron

      That aside and more importantly they are exercising military gains and improvement is the point—-regarding the feedback of this article I say we took notice! Definitely made us blink, hopefully so does the US Gov.

    • randymarine

      You must READ the article…it didn’t say aircraft it said JET! If, they were talking first aircraft that would be the US in 1911. Nice try, though.
      Semper Fi

      • Ranger Rick

        Yes about the jet. And while the US did fly an airplane off a ship in 1911, it was the Brits that flew one off a ship that was at sea and underway. I guess we all miss stuff. Hooah.

    • jamFRIDGE

      “…land a JET on a carrier….”

      • Ranger Rick

        Yup. You’re right. Hooah.

  • Robert

    Media has not made it clear what China’s intention is with this carrier at all.

    Correct me if wrong but carrier groups are the big fish of the sea and when look at China’s coast line ..Koreas to the north, Taiwan to the East, Japan just behind these and the southern soup of sea disputes.

    I believe this is a test to learn from, being that they used an older carrier design. I feel China will design a better carrier before they even think about using it to assist a war.

    Online, the Chinese constantly dispute Japan openly in games and some forums.
    Their government seems to continually censor them from certain sites but with that, a large amount that use proxies to access anyways, also exploit money from the west, hackers or worse.

    Even some of their own citizens wonder if their government prepares to war us.

    3.8 million people in America are of Chinese descent and coincidently or not, China is trying to put schools in my state for Chinese only. For their countrymen from anywhere to learn. Their way.

    Otherwise I feel, in a force level, this carrier, even fully loaded is no threat to our naval dominance. Especially when combined with allies.

    I think we a safe until we admit we cannot pay the debts we owe them $$$ so shhhh… opps

    • tiger

      Uh, our Allies want no part of a fight with China. In other words, they will not let you use bases in Japan Or Korea.

      • Robert

        Let’s face it we have no plans to attack China but if China attacks us, allies will help. Maybe not all, but most will. Japan will never help China.

        • Robert W Sullivan

          I think you have the horse on the wrong end of the cart. The US of A will assist in defending its allies, not intentionally offend a country like China. There is no political, financial, or any other reason for our US of A to be an offensive or agresssive force against China.

          The countries in question will not prevent or disallow us from using their facilities, they will all but beg us to use them.

  • Rufus

    Is any one else looking forward to the Chinese version of Top Gun? All kidding aside we keep talking about the military implications of this carrier to the rest of the world but could this mean much more to the Chinese politburo propagandists? Chinese culture is very much about face value so having a shiny new (ish) Potemkin carrier to toss into ideal photogenic situations waving the Chinese flag might be of more value to them than an effective carrier air wing. Average Joe blow (and his Chinese equivalent for that matter) on the street has no clue of what that carrier is capable of despite what many articles like this one keep reiterating. Maybe a good Top Gun type propaganda play gets them everything they want. Carrier experience, notoriety from the rest of the world, and another national achievement to put on their refrigerator door.

    • blight_

      “And if you screw up just this much, you’ll be flying a Gulfstream full of drunk gamblers to Macau!”

      “…we just happened to see a F-28 do a negative 4G dive!”

      • Rufus

        “You need to have canal knowledge of committee member on the premises this time, no exceptions”

        “I think she’s lost that Party feeling…”

        • U.S.C.G. Vet

          But what would their call signs be? Lets see… It could’nt be, “Mavrick and Goose”. It would have to be more along the lines of, “Chow Mein and Peking Duck, or maybe Chop Suey and Kung Pao Chicken”.

          • blight_

            I’d lean towards callsigns Proletariat and Great Leap, but I think they’re too Maoist.

            This would be a tricky one…

    • Chimp

      They have the “Golden Helmet” award. Very interesting competition… the J-10A’s seem to have the measure of both Su-27’s (Russian build) and the J-11A (clone of the Su-27) and J-11b (improved clone).

      There is a very conscious analysis and immitation of US best practises. It can go a bit far (take a look at the shooters on CV-16). That means much more combat relevant training than in the past, and lots and lots of new gear.

      I would say a fully equipped, ready for battle carrier group is four years away. Most of the pieces are in place now… just needs integration and practise.

  • Big-Dean

    We usually don’t see this much discussion unless we discussing the merits of the LCS :-P

    But anyway, the first rule of war: is to never underestimate your enemy (disclaimer-China is not our enemy now, but we aren’t exactly allies either)

    The second rule of war is-he who learns quickest wins (The Chinese are quick learners and great at copying and/or stealing, and we are very poor at protecting our stuff)

    The third rule of war is: if someone “says” they are your enemy and they are making preparations to fight you then more than more than likely are are “Your” enemy (but you are just in denial)

    The forth rule of war is: he who has the biggest treasury chest can have more soldiers and weapons (right now China has the bigger chest and ours is shrinking)

    The fifth rule of war is: the deep thinkers win (here we currently have the advantage)

    The sixth rule of war is: he who fight for honor fights harder (The Chinese, from their point of view, are defending their “turf” i.e. South China Sea, islands, etc.)

    The seventh and final rule of war is: it is always better to attack than to defend (The Chinese offense is currently much better than their defense, we are somewhat balanced toward defense)

    • jamFRIDGE

      Strange considering Sun Tzu said fortifications are hardest to defeat

      • orly?

        And what did General Patton say?

      • TomUK

        Too right, mate.

      • blight_

        Sun Tzu would have advocated bypassing and encircling fortresses, rather than to waste combat power surrounding a fortified city and be forced into a dangerous position like Caesar at Alesia. He isn’t a frontal assault kind of guy…the frontal attack has its place, but not without the serious danger that comes with such a strategy.

      • tmb2

        Sun Tzu said that from the perspective of the attacker. He specifically said conducting a seige costs 1000 times more than attacking an army in the field. Being heavily fortified might win you a battle, but it never wins the war.

    • Chet Steddman

      To your last point, I would say the ability of the US to project power around the world makes the US much more efficient on offense than the Chinese…and since you’re talking about a hypothetical US China showdown, China’s emphasis on area denial seems to suggest that they have a more defensive strategy in mind when planning for a potential conflict with the US…

  • Lee

    Nobody has mentioned that this is the first of three carriers that the Chinese plan for. Non are rehabs, they are all brand new. Yes, they will have problems with this first one, but so did we with the Langley, and the Saratoga. Remember the first rule of war, never under estimate your enemy.

    • Woody

      The Liaoning is not a new construction Chinese Carrier, She is the retro-fitted Soviet Varyag. The ship was purchased in 1998 by the People’s Republic of China

  • Liam

    …while the Chinese have come a long way…trying to keep up with the American carrier task force…yea they have a long way to go….

  • U.S.C.G. Vet

    Haven’t you heard? No need to worry, we can still scrap our entire Naval fleet with the exception of a few carriers and subs and still maintain our naval dominance. I mean there are after all fewer horses and buggies today than we had in the past. No need for MSC, or battle groups for that matter. We can get by with a handful of subs and carriers. So what if Red China has Nukes and now it appears they are making strides in a carrier program? The sun will still come up tomorrow, the sky is still blue, and everything is still hunky dory… So what if there is a clear and present threat looming in the pacific! S0 what if North Korea has a lunatic in charge! Life is fine! The U.S. Dollar is doing fine. We do not owe China any money, and THEY LANDED A MIG ON AN AIR CRAFT CARRIER!!! Nah, we have no reason to worry…

  • Forrest Kocher

    Let me know when they have chiefs with 20 years of carrier experience.

  • Tata

    I remember when defense tech post a picture of tire skidmark on China aircraft carrier, some people in this forum say it’s fake n PS thing! Wake up Dude!

  • Tata

    I remember when defense tech post a picture of tire skidmark on China aircraft carrier, some people in this forum say it’s fake n PS thing! Wake up!

  • John

    They may have just landed their first jet aircraft on a carrier. Next they will try to get it to submerg, then we will really be in “trouble”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Earl

    I wonder how many failures and loss of life it took to achieve this monumental feat. We all know that the US and British have lost many an aviator and flight deck personnel in carrier flight operations.

  • Jack Frost

    It would make sense to sell small carriers to the Aussies, and the Japanese. Japan has the institutional memory and ability to man, equip and pay for several battle groups but the Aussies could learn quickly. Providing Japan and Australia with nuclear attack subs would also add deterrence. We could build this stuff as joint projects. Doing this would lessen the burden on the US and our stretched out resources and it would also strengthen our alliances with our allies…while scaring the shit out the Chinese. Imagine Japanese Navy forces standing shoulder to shoulder with America! Wow!

    • tiger

      Jack, that stuff costs money. The Aussies gave up flat tops decades ago. Japan, Still has a ton of tidal wave damage to repair. Nuke subs also require infrastructure to support them.

      • @Bludja

        When Australia sold their carriers for scrap, to the Chinese IIRC, there was a great hue and cry about selling them technology (I was young then, so my memory not to clear on it).

  • SeymourHawks

    Well here is how they roll… it looks like two birds
    flying off the ski jump …then trapping……

  • Tommy Thompson

    Never underestimate the power of the Chinese, they will never run out of people and many of them are smart and can think, especially if are forced to work their butts off for the government. The old Chinese proverb goes something like this. Power comes out of the barrel of a gun……There is no doubt they want or maybe already are a world power. Remember, even great nations self-destruct and how about the USA? Do you think that we can afford to maintain our military power? Well, it looks like the administration and his allies will slash our budget to a point where we are a toothless tiger. It has happened before. What do you think?

  • Amicus Curiae

    I wanted a similar headline “Back to the Future, the USN returns to 1945” for the USS America.

  • jkbrent

    China’s Navy is the biggest joke in naval history. Ward Carroll is right, and that’s assuming this carrier landing actually even happened, and wasn’t another photoshop job like that ‘stealth plane’.

  • sandy

    The big threat will be chinas ability to mass produce these things once they have it sorted out.They have enormous manufacturing capacity like the US did in ww2… but if we are lucky they will agree to make some for us too.

  • Brian W

    China is very capable of producing world class military assets. The key to remember is that both US and China are economically connected at the hip. Our best reaction to this is to work on defensive weapons such as Iron Dome and Missile Defense. I also believe China has realized that carriers can diversify their abilities in their region. It only makes sense. Our biggest threats are Countries that are economically and politically unstable like Egypt, North Korea, and Iran.

  • Russ

    Is anyone looking at history? When the Chinese see a need, they also find or invent a solution. There is absolutely no reason to think this carrier can’t be deployed with a full fighter wing on board.

  • Scooby

    All I can think of is how quickly they built the great wall of China.

    • blight_

      How quickly would that be, and which parts under which dynasties?

  • doningram

    what are you guys worried about, china is not going to drop a bomb on its own checking account that the USA fills each month! it’s all saber rattling as far as getting involved with the USA. china may do some damage to the PI, taiwan and japan but nothing serious enough to cause a deficit in their own checking account w/ the USA. like the man said “it’s a different story when you make the carrier battle ready with trained personnel and birds ready for a mission”.

    • Steve

      Gosh, those pesky mutual defense treaties and basic human goodness might bring us to the aid of those countries, not only an attack on Pearl or the US mainland, or our pocketbooks..

  • Ranger-12

    I will say don’t sell them short. Lets wait and see what they do with what they have befoe we fold out hand and say we are still the top dog. it might not work out that way. i hope we stay the top dog. i guess time will tell

  • cloudshe

    reducing our military capabilities Now (to fix the budget, permit more social spending) will only Encourage more like this from the chinese. if you were paying attention, the exact same thing (for the same reasons) happened under J Carter and the cold war Escalated. it took a Reagan to get our military to where it could surpass the USSR threat. History Repeats, this should be no surprise

    • blight_

      Soviets were always willing to outspend America. That was their problem.

      Reagan may have outspent the Soviets, but they couldn’t pay for a grinding war in Afghanistan, a military machine in Europe, subsidize the world’s communists, buy grain from the west and keep the USSR together all at once.

      We put men on the moon, pushed Great Society, paid for Vietnam, built the ARVN to the fourth largest army in the world before it imploded, built up South Korea and Japan, deployed bases all over the world, built up the Shah, sent money and military aid to Israel; all on “peacetime” economy.

  • cloudshe

    and the very sad thing about the Chinese threat is Panetta has warned the military that we will increase our involvement in the pacific, yet he has done NOTHING to stop the decrease in our capabilities. like a typical Liberal, he believes one can just ORDER the military to get it done, at the same time defunding their support and ignoring morale issues

  • BadBob B2


    I viewed this test and was struck by how professional it all looked. Yep. I’m impressed. And appropriately apprehensive.

    BTW, I’ve been worked in carrier Naval Aviation for the past 37 years flying, leading, testing and engineering.

    You tell me you’re not impressed? You think we’re that good like we were in the late 80’s early 90’s? IMO, we’re not. Our blue water capability sucks. Wrong platforms and more of same on the way. Can’t may hay without gas and an airwing of 65 can’t do what an airwing of 95 used to do….

    • blight_

      We shed a lot of different types of airframes, but many of them were just darned old. That said, not sure if the Hornet/Super-Hornet can truly replace the Tomcat/Hornet…but that’s water under the bridge.

      • tiger

        The F/A-18 will never be a A-6.

  • Rick S.

    We have nothing to worry about. Even if they could, the Chinese would never attack us. They would never risk damaging their investment.

  • top dog

    Well first of all Ward Carroll, “wars” are fought and won on the ground, not at sea, battles are fought and won at sea. Second, The us has a Military, the Navy is a component of that Military, just like the Army, Air Force and the Marines,(some would say Coast Guard). To suggest the US can win the Next War with a Navy alone is irresponsible and ludicrous.

  • ChiefBull

    Nobody seems to get it. The dumbass Japs had carriers that were in everway inferio to ours from the placement of AA, to fire proofed hangar bays, and CO2 flooded avgas lines. Can anyone say Dec7th 1941? Look at what that cost us and we had real men then. This country is going to be at war with the Chinese in the next decades of this century; they are racist imperialists and if the wizards of P/C smart in the Pentagon don’t see that instead of worrying about their consultancy fees post retirement, then we’re going to lose our asses. Ya’ fight like ya’ train and Petraeus is symptomatic of the corruption at the huighest levels, the national command authority.

    • cs4

      The Chinese are racist? Please look in the mirror.

    • cs4

      You people are so damn paranoid. All the world’s carriers in use today, you operate more half, and you’re worried about the one with the newbie crew. You call the Chinese racist imperialist, which of your toes did they stepped on anyway? The term applies more appropriately to those morons who act like one.

  • meanmarine

    Call me when they are making night carrier landings something the USA is the only country currently doing.

  • John In Jacksonville

    I object to the tone of the headline of this story. What purpose does it serve to taunt and belittle a rival - did you learn nothing from adolescence? Chinese soldiers have killed American soldiers before in war; I recommend respect even (or especially) when you’re sure you’re stronger than the other guy.

  • Heavy

    Give me all the Harriers the Brits can’t afford, and 24 refurbished A4 Skyhawks with the latest glass cockpit and AIM-9 capability, and call me when you have a conventional war problem you want to solve.

  • jrfsenior

    Americans have long been a paranoid bunch! just because people around the world are trying to copy our way doesn’t mean that they are going to attack us. There has been 155,000 request to purchase and own guns since the president won re-election. the question as to why this is happening? people say, he’s going to take the right to own guns away. Why is it that this man (president)would attempt to change or re-write the constitution when he has so many other worldly important things to attend too? Paranoia? no! Keeping the watch? Yes!

    It is good that we keep an eye on everyone around the world. we saw that the soviets tried so many things that they saw us do, such as “refueling a task force at 15 knots in choppy seas”, bring food, ammo and mail aboard with a high-line. They would shadow us and take pictures of our operations for days on end but, yet today, they still bring fuel to a location, drop a platform and walk over to the receiving vessel. So, just because you see copy cats around the world it doesn’t mean squat.
    the watch was and has been set since December the 8th 1941.

    An old sailor’s way!

  • JustTom

    I am sure that the Chinese have some very good naval aviators in their midst. How do you find out how good they are? Let them land on the boat while underway, at night, in a storm. And let them do it day after day.

    I am not an aviator. But I have had the very good fortune to launch and recover several times in not very nice conditons. I thanked God after each event for giving me a driver who wore XXL underwear to carry those massive gonads. Can’t beat Naval Aviators.

    • tiger

      This ship will train them to do just that.

  • Enrico

    ” the navies of the former Soviet Union all attempted to embrace convential carrier operations in the late ‘90s. The net-net of their efforts was a fundamental understanding that flying off of the boat is harder than it looks — and it looks hard. As a result they sold one of their carriers to another country — China.”
    Being self-condescending is one thing but afaik Ukraine never attempted to use this ship, which was basically a floating scrap of metal when China purchased it, I wonder what the **** you’re referring to.

  • jdallen

    I say… its all about operational experience. The chinese have no experience in carrier operations *or* at projecting power. These are not technological challenges, but *experiential* ones.

    Now admittedly, “hot” wars, like WW2 are the crucibles where military establishments play catch up - which the US did in a very big way in WW2. However, even considering that, the Chinese military is *still* a generation behind us, and will remain so, for the foreseable future, and most important, their military planners know it.

    If it ever comes to it (which I think profoundly unlikely) the Chinese will not project power using carriers; they will rely on some other venue, the nature of which I’m not certain of at this point.

    Chinese carriers are not their to intimidate the US. They are there to intimidate regional minor powers. Frankly, for the Chinese, I think they are a major waste of time.

    The only place I see them acting usefully is in some as yet unimaginable UN action, probably aimed at a nation not in their immediate vicinity, and not on their own. They may be able to make a useful contribution, but toe-to-toe, outside of their their own border, they’d be hard-put to deal with active resistance by even a 2nd rate military.

    • cs4

      Patience is a virtue, my friend.

  • rick

    I would never underestimate a country as large and as populated as China… especially since the most powerful country in the world owes it lots and lots of money and depends on it for manufacturing. China has been very patient and watches ( and i feel learns) from everything. If they are smart their learning and patience can pay off . They are in the race now and once that giant gets a taste of power.. who knows. How to keep them in check? I cant tell you that, but I have to been there many times.. since 91 and have seen the development.. We have our waves of good and bad economics here but China has not stopped building… ever. They are still in the mode we were in 70 years ago when you saved every penny and they will starve their kids to get more. We lost that hunger long ago. Its something to think about. Rome fell thousands of years ago for the same reason… they got fat and bored.

  • Jacob

    Meh. Nothing a few Mark 48’s can’t handle.

  • sandeman

    DO NOT! count out China.

  • Steve

    Sell them the Big E with retired or near retired a/c for the $16B then opps, it sinks. For all the Big E sailors out there I’m kidding of course.

    • Steve

      “…oops, it sinks.” ~sigh~

  • Monica Lewinsky
  • jmd

    I don’t agree with your seventh rule. If Lee had listened to Longstreet at Gettysburg and moved south to make the union army attack as they had always done, instead of attacking the union line with Pickett’s Charge, the United States would likely have lost 11-13 states. If on the other hand the fleet at Pearl Harbor had got wind of the approach of the Japanese attack on December 7th 1941 and put to sea, it is likely they would have all been sunk and not recoverable. It is dependent on the situation.

  • argospete

    The problem with you Yanks is you have always “UNDERESTIMATED” your opponents. Just checkout your past “WAR” history.

  • Jim

    Some of you are on the right track. China isn’t scaring us, they are scaring every small country in the South China Sea. They want the vast oil and natural gas reserves in the South China Seas to build their current and future economic growth. They have very little fossil fuels to drive their economy.
    All they need is something that floats and some airplanes to project their air power over these small contries. Everyone know that our current President will not come to anyones aid. China is using the current opening in our week president to grab as much area and clout as they can, when they can. We need a President who China fears.
    MAYBE the first step is to remove the money that is driving this beast by using Tariffs that are designed to protect our workers from Chinas cheap labor force. BEWARE, China will use its military to defend their future vision of being the next world power.