China gearing up for carrier construction

June 6, 2009 · Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized 

UPI Asia reports on an increasing amount of evidence that the first Chinese aircraft carrier will begin construction within this year.

Dock No. 3 is 580 meters long, 120 meters wide, and completely encircled by a wall at least 2.5 meters high. A giant gantry crane has been built, with a capacity to lift at least 600 tons. The dock is large enough to build a medium-sized conventional aircraft carrier similar to the Russian Admiral Kuznetsov class with a light load displacement of about 50,000 tons.

This is a development expected for a few years now, as maritime trade has assumed an ever-growing percentage of Chinese GDP. Contrary to what many assume, Chinese aircraft carriers are probably not a “conquer Taiwan” weapon; they are far more likely to be used to exercise sea control over China’s vulnerable trade routes. A carrier design fashioned after the Kusnetsov (a strongly defensive asset , with minimal power-projection capability) is a more suitable candidate than traditional Western flat-tops for such a mission, and possibly a more cost-effective one.


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