Chinese New Years Photos Show Off Liaoning Aircraft Carrier

Liaoning Chinese New YearLining up 1,400 Chinese sailors and aircrew members on the country’s first aircraft carrier offers a bit of perspective on the carrier’s massive scale.

The sailors and air crew lined up on the ski jump of the Liaoning for a video celebrating the Chinese New Year, the year of the goat. Photos from the video offer the latest shots of the aircraft carrier first published in the U.S. by Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer in Popular Science.

China is using the Liaoning to test its J-15 fighter fleet as it continues to improve the aircraft’s ability to operate off a carrier deck. 

Liaoning Chinese New YearChina broadcast the video of the Liaoning crew weeks after reports surfaced that China is designing its second aircraft. Asian Defense and Diplomacy released Google Earth satellite images that show China building a model aircraft carrier in the Wuhan Province.

Model China Carrier

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Andy

    Billion people in the country and all they can do is STEAL… that so you how smart the Chenese is…..

    • blight_

      They bought Varyag, just like Kiev and Minsk.

      • Andy

        no, The business man use alcahol to black mail….was on the news a month ago.

        • steve

          Really, so the hull they bought from Ukraine is due to alcohol and The Business Man? Do some research, think about, THEN type.

        • blight_


          “The ship’s purchase, which was completed in 1999, was settled by Xu and its Ukrainian owners “over several days of alcohol-soaked negotiations”, the newspaper reported.

          In case you didn’t know, that is how they do business deals in the Land of Vodka. Over Vodka. In Japan it’s over sake, and in Korea, soju.

          I’m not sure where this black mail comes in, but you’re probably right in that they used blackmail to assure that their “businessman” cutout achieved the mission.

        • Alan

          I doubt a Chinese could out drink a Ukrainian. More likely the Ukrainians got more Yuan then ore vodka that was consumed…

    • steve

      Stole what, exactly? I didn’t realize aircraft carriers were such a secret after 90 years. Before casting negativity against the I.Q of the Chinese, perhaps you should learn how to spell Chinese.

      I still think they are quite a ways from using their carrier. You need the aircraft, even if only to train up the crews and get some institutional experience in carrier operations.

      • Andy


        China ‘Never Paid Businessman’ Who Bought Aircraft Carrier:

        • blight_

          The PRC government did not pay the “businessman” who bought the carrier, but the “businessman” “gave” them the carrier after paying a pile of money to bring it home.

          It’s absolutely shady, but…

      • Andy

        All of their Militaries are copy From the US and Russia that not STEALING????

    • steve

      We get it Andy, you don’t like the Chinese. Yes, there’s no person in China capable of designing anything. Paper, gunpowder, and metallurgy were all just flukes.

    • poebrick

      If you are going to mouth off before the world you should first learn grammer and spelling.

    • Fairness

      You mean like the Allies stole the much more useful portable fuel tank design from the Germans to replace their “flimsies”?…

      Source here:

      “…The Jerrycan was such a superior product that Allied Forces eventually recognised the incredible design and then reverse engineered the canister for their own use, successfully producing countless units to aid in their wartime efforts…”

      Carrier or fuel tank people use what works, war or peace time (especially in war).

  • GI dude

    Second-hand piece of russian junk. I hope they at least got a few towboats in the deal, they are going to need them. The world wont even know for at lease 40-50 years how many hundreds, if not thousands, of chinamen died trying to learn how to fly their crummy little planes of this rusting garbage scow.

    • blight_

      China and South Korea are the world’s premier civilian shipbuilders. Plenty of tugboats of their own.

    • tiger

      Vs. US made junk? Our yards are not exactly quality is job one.

      • fred

        Lockheed can build anything, once.

        • moza

          like the glorious F35?

    • Crisp

      Third hand actually. The Indians got fucked on it then sold it off to the ChiComms.

      • FormerDirtDart

        That is not true.
        The Indians purchased the Admiral Gorshkov, a Kiev-class aircraft carrier. Which they foolishly contracted the Russians to convert to a STOBAR carrier. It now serves the Indian Navy as the INS Vikramaditya.

        The Liaoning was the uncompleted Admiral Kuznetsov class carrier “Varyag” purchased directly from the Russians, and refurbished in China.

  • Godzilla

    There are a couple of replicas of the Liaoning deck in China. They are probably used for several things other than pilot training.

    The rumor mill has it that they are building a second carrier identical to Liaoning to prove they can replicate it fully with Chinese tech and then they’ll build two more carriers of their own design and retire Liaoning. Their own design might differ a lot since the Chinese have plans for other carriers and are rumored to be working on EMALS. Their own carriers are likely to be CATOBAR.

    • blight_

      They might be better served doing explosives tests on the Liaoning, and then using those lessons on their next carrier.

      Edit: PLAAN will likely take Kiev and Minsk as SINKEX targets to learn how to build stronger ships. Such a fate may be reserved for Liaoning, but not for a while.

      • tiger

        Wishfull Tom Clancy daydreams. We have enough trouble with guys in Toyota pickups. Forget attacking the PLA Navy ever.

        • blight_

          “They” being the PLAN. I don’t know what you were thinking, since Tom Clancy isn’t Chinese.

          The PLAN isn’t going to mass produce an reverse-engineered design just for the sake of having something to produce. They want to learn how to build their own: and to do so means learning from a Russian design. In addition to learning its strengths, they must learn its weaknesses. And the best way to do that is to take the Kiev and Minsk and throw anti-ship missiles at it and determine the weaknesses of Russian designs, and adapt accordingly.

  • anthony

    hahah well put, that sure is a fat target for some LRASM’s!!

    • Cataldo

      Yes the same type of fat target of a …. Nimitz class :)

  • Lance

    So they have a carrier but no plans for it yet. More Chi Com propaganda.

    • Godzilla

      They have the naval doctrine. To control the 1st island chain and eventually the Strait of Malacca. They are also working on sea denial on the 2nd island chain (with ICBMs and long range bombers) and starting to do some sparse patrols on the Indian and the Pacific oceans. They keep visiting naval ports further and further away from China.

      They are also building an organic fleet around that carrier. But it is still going to be mostly used for training.

    • tiger

      We have plans for many things and $18 trillion in debt. So do not throw stones at the PRC’s ideas.

  • guest

    The Chinese have nothing but contempt for the American fighting man. They proved it in Korea. Our Army and Marines were many times defeated. The Chinese Army never defeated.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    The Chinese have a long term plan to raise military power to levels commensurate to levels of economic prowess. Rehabbing a decrepit carrier into a seagoing vessel is a good start. It will enable the PLAN to start to create the vast range of skill sets, personal and organizational, needed for carrier operations; it will show the flag, cow the weak, put an extra edge on arguments over waters within the nine-dashed line, and give marine architects a point of departure for ships of the future. Ranting that they copy the innovations of others is silly (to put it mildly). Limiting myself to the current day and hour, China is producing VHF and command systems that have no Western equivalent, they have demonstrated an ASAT capacity that is entirely their own, and it’s folly to think that their progress is simply an act of theft. Their culture has always stressed education and work. There is no Chinese equivalent to crackpot resistance to STEM education. No one regards Beijing-mandated attempts to improve their scientific skills as Federal tyranny, an idea that’s popular with the lunatic right here. There is no equivalent to those anti-education fundamentalists intent on limiting scientific education to protect the creation story in Genesis (if the kids learn about science, they’ll learn about evolution, and if they learn about evolution, their souls will be lost to Jesus.) We’d do better to cease to hobble ourselves as we do than to pretend that the DF-21 is something Chinese spies swiped from DARPA.

    • oblatt22

      There is nothing stopping America competing with China but the fact is Americans simply don’t want to.

      • Colin

        Pretty sure the Chinese will poison themselves the way they pollute their own water and air.

    • Auyong Ah Meng

      Please note China is doing a lot and investing a lot in Thorium Nuclear Reactors…and what the US is doing again…please don’t fall too far behind…zzz

    • RBeaman

      Agreed, there isn’t much better for our Chinese friends (not foes, as of yet) to replicate or attempt to recreate the Varyag. However, if any of us “Defense Fanatics” have obserevered is that America has mastered and demonstrated the superiority in Carrier operations. When the time China has exercised and trained this muscle it will be long ineffective and antiquated.

      • Brian B. Mulholland

        The use of carriers may not stay the same. Carriers look to be a premier tool of power projection. And since China’s first concern is the conquest of Taiwan, they don’t need a carrier fleet comparable to ours to gain plenty of leverage in such a contest. The carriers are far more likely to give China a major edge over nations on the periphery in territorial and mineral-right disputes than to engage in warfare against US carriers in a WW II sense. China is more likely, IMHO, to rely on land-based systems to preclude US intervention, and the most potent naval weapon against US carrier units will continue to be submarines.

    • JTZ

      This is the most intelligent comment here compared to the chinaman/chicomm/stealing crap i’m seeing. The Chinese are playing the long game, and are a legitimate long term threat. The US and the West’s best strategy is to improve relations and export the best parts of our culture and values (IE democracy, value for human rights), while importing theirs (focus on STEM/eductation, ability to make decisions and investments without gridlock) before their growing economic and military might allows them to ignore us completely.

      • UK Grant

        LOL. Sorry but America is NOT a democracy, and the US government has been the worst offender of human rights.

        Of course, you are not going to know the truth when you watch CNN, FOX etc all the time.

    • anthony

      you’re right the USA and its research community has been sitting on their hands, enjoying the CHIcom show…. lets be real the Chinese navy has made huge strides, but they still have a lot of work to do. This carrier is step 22 in a 300 step plan. A strong china doesn’t imply a weak US. Both can co-exist in their own hemisphere of influence

    • GJD

      You know, STEM has nothing to do with evolution theory. Only the ignorant claim that real science involves swallowing whole the idea of non-directed evolution based on “random” processes and something called “survival of the fittest.” Apparently you do not understand real science from something that essentially has no value in any way from a predictive perspective. F=MA at velocities relatively low compared to the speed of light. I use this all the time as a practicing engineer. This is a predictive mathematical formulation that allows one to determine the value of one variable given knowledge of the other two. Just what can one predict using “evolution?”

      Frankly, I get pretty tired of folks who equate evolution with science. Did you know that if someone were to find a chariot, a conastoga wagon and a dodge caravan that one can make a pretty good case that one “evolved” from another. So what?

    • jack

      Well said. We (objectively thinking people) need to respond more- to the facts rather than to the ‘feel’. How we feel and believe should not interfere with real time observation. It is what it is if becomes something. I am not negating a persons opinion, just the justification for dictating reality.

    • Joe

      A well-argued statement instead of the racist garbage I read in a lot of other posts. For those neanderthals that think all the Chinese do is copy and steal, just take a good look around just in the US. Go to the AMC math competition statistics (google AMC 12) and check how many single-syllable last names you find. Look at the numbers of Asians in the top universities. Here in California, it’s between 30-40%, or more than double their percentage of the state population. Go to Silicon Valley, and see how many of the “movers and shakers” are of Asian origin. Keep thinking that they’re just a bunch of cheats at your own peril.

  • Virgil Cuttaway

    The US is going to really have problems with the Chinese military in the future and it all will go back to US consumers buying Chinese products, transferring high-tech know how to Chinese companies, educating Chinese students in our top universities and then the students going back to China, and their massive espionage efforts. All the while our incompetent leaders in Washington sit back and watch it all happen.

    • oblatt22

      No its really just down to the fact that Americans would rather complain and lose then compete. Its cultural.

    • eric

      really, been seeing it years ago.. we are paying for it know!!

    • aaa

      went to school with several exchange students from China. They couldn’t have been more gracious as visitors at my university. one, a kid named felix, (clearly not his real name but it is the name our spanish prof gave him) loved everything NBA. he was a huge Kobe Bryant fan. The Chinese students i met we all very kind, very appreciative to be in the US, and, somewhat surprisingly, these Chinese students look up to their American counterparts and just want to absorb the college experience like everyone else. They are just kids who want to make their parents happy and find a job where they can provide for their family. can’t we all just get along

  • Canuck

    Despite what anyone has said about the apparent power of the Chinese Navy, the US has an advantage with their satellites as they can continually track where the ship is, as the bigger it is the easier it is to spot. Let the Chinese build carriers as they do not actually have much use for their navy as submarines would, and it helps them use up their money.

  • Law Leman

    This is old news, this “model” had been there for years… 5, 6 years ago??

  • guest

    The worst thing we can do is to ever underestimate any portion of the Chicom military.

  • Captain Obvious

    Given America’s strategic position and economic potential, the US will inevitably suffer a large loss in the future, either economically or through an act of war. People forget that America was a quiet power until World War 2 rained on Pearl Harbor and the nation stood up in a magnificent fashion to hold back both war fronts.

    Now of course today is a different world but America’s secret weapon lies with the Black Projects that we have heavily funded since the invention of the atom bomb. No country is stupid enough to cross that line to find out what America would produce in a time of war.

  • Shawn McFadden

    Well, It looks pretty.

    • Colin

      cept that ugly ramp.

      • TheCanuck

        That is one place I have to agree with you.

  • Muttling

    China’s navy isn’t currently on our level, but they are definitely working to develop blue water capabilities. This ship isn’t much of a concern, but it is a step in a direction that will create many concerns 10 to 20 years from now.

  • blight_

    It’s just one ship that will probably do very little to hold back the American Navy. They will likely keep it as fleet in being, and waste our efforts hunting it while they use other means to go on the attack. Keeping the Navy at arms length from land is their priority, and doing so will involve lots of SRBM’s and MRBM’s on our fixed bases. Being able to sortie undetected from Asia to strike targets across the Pacific is rather…unlikely.

    • anthony

      actually tried sneaking a Chinese carrier battle group into the south pacific on my command simulator last night and it was nearly impossible. the only route i had some success was heading along the vietnamese coast and then ducking south to the west of the Philippines. problem for the Chinese is that the US has AEW and P-3/P-8 aircraft that operate out of Kunsan, Osan, Kadena, not to mention all the US AFB on the mainland of Japan. it would be very difficult to slip passed these aircraft undetected. Not to mention the submarine and naval forces that operate out of Guam. Could a Chinese Naval TF sneak out of China..absolutely, would be dumb to assume otherwise, having said that, i find the probability of them succeeding to be lower than 10%

  • Leo Johnson

    I believe that the Russian Name for this Ship was “Kiev” .When it left the drydock in Russia it almost sank.They had to tow it back into the drydock.Then they tested it in sea trials and they had to tow it back into its homeport and repair it .While it was in the Russian Fleet they always had entineering problems with it so they put it in their reserve fleet.I think it was there for about 10 years before they gave it to China.I think the Chinese are having the same problems with it that the Russians had because they don’t put it to sea very often.

    • Brian B. Mulholland

      If you treat the Liaoning as a training platform and a baseline for study, none of that is a real problem. Engines are unreliable and cranky? That equals a chance to build up a cadre of engineers, and do lots of design studies and simulations. Hull is old and iffy? So much the better for the development of a shipyard or two that’s well familiar with repairing (first) and building (second) large naval warships.

    • Joe

      No, Kiev was sold to China in 1996 and got turned to a floating amusement park in Tianjin. This ship was the Varyag, that was left in a Ukrainian shipyard unfinished when the Soviet Union dissolved and then sold to a China in 1998. Everybody keeps talking about how decrepit was the ship, but it’s the last carrier the Soviets tried to build and a sister ship to Russia’s only operational carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov. All the stuff about unreliable and cranky engines, etc., is nonsense, because the ship as sold was just a hulk, and all the machinery, equipment, and weapon systems were added later by the Chinese.

  • Franklin

    You know the Chinese are going to steal some islands and threaten a lot of countries, and there is one simple easy way to stir the pot. The USS enterprise is being decommissioned right now. I say lets give it to the aussies as long as they pay for the refurbishment. they already fly and co build the F18b, and are a solid allie. We would make money on the refurb and put a very friendly carrier battle group right were its needed. Its a no brainer. This kind of support for our allies is what the world needs to see, and its not like we haven’t done it before.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    That would eat the entire Aussie defense budget, and then some. They’ll be better off buying new submarines and working up to speed with the Wedgetail and, ultimately, the F-35.

    • Franklin

      Respectfully I disagree. All the Aussie air assets are in fixed positions and easily targeted. A carrier battle group could hit or defend anywhere. Nobody could attack australia without first neutralizing the navel defenses, and their defensive/offensive capabilities would be a huge threat to counter in the entire region. The F-35 is a joke, and submarines are limited in their defense capabilities.

  • Big-Dean

    The bubblehead community is salivating over the possibility of putting four MK 48 ADCAPs under her hull and seeing what happens-Chinese new year!

    • TheCanuck

      Does it even require 4?

    • Cataldo

      Mk 48 is too old designed to defeat a modern antisub defence, the Navy needs something new in torpedo, something like the new Wass NSP ;) but unfortunately USA buy only “american” or “china-american” so ….

  • Cataldo

    Is there someone that can give us info about this ship engine ? There were doubts about ship capability to reach operational velocity.