Designing the next supercarrier

June 22, 2009 · Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized · Comment 

supercarrier-470-0709Popular Mechanics has a very interesting article about the new design techniques applied to the next USN aircraft carrier:

on a complex project of this scale, there is little margin to correct design mistakes. If not found and fixed, one small flaw can have ramifications that cost tens of millions of dollars, months of hot-metal work or even the life of a sailor not yet born. “These ships are like entire planned cities,” says Eric Wertheim, editor of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World. “It’s like building Disney World.” 

China gearing up for carrier construction

June 6, 2009 · Posted in Blogroll, Uncategorized · Comment 

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.