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Chinese Aircraft Carriers, Dreadnought Style?

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  • Chinese Aircraft Carriers, Dreadnought Style?

    I refer not to the type of ship, but it's construction.

    China is a second rate power in terms of military might, it may have a nuclear arsenal and a massive, at least moderately well trained army (to say other wise is folly, remember the British going in to WW1?). However they are let down by their fleet, mostly Destroyers, Frigates and Missile boats as it's surface combatants, and a large number of submarines.

    To put this in perspective, even the French navy has an aircraft carrier, the American Navy eleven. Though the French navy would probably fail in a dircet confrontation with the Chinese (should they ever go to war for whatever reason, this thread is speculative) merely two or three american Carrier Battle Groups could effectively blockade the Chinese mainland with little threat of reprisal.

    Carriers are the Dreadnoughts of Today in terms of power, each modern carrier is capable of sinking entire navies without taking a blow, especially the American "Supercarriers".

    Going along this line of thought, and given China's aspirations of power, surely they would consider some form of carrier building program? to balance power between it and it's only rival? Given that even the British are constructing two Carriers of potent strength, surely Chinese policy must be leaning towards carrier construction?

    Yet the only construction we see is the that of "Reconstruction", and some rumours of one or two Hulls. There is also speculation about four "Landing Systems" acquired from Russia.


    This doesn't ring right for me, when Russia opposed America she was pumping ships out like mad, for a damaged economy she did pretty well, but China's doing nothing of the sort, she has a massive navy that would excel in escorting carriers, but no carriers!!

    So here's my hypothesis, China is in the middle of a massive, secretive "Dreadnought" construction program, pre fabricating at least half a dozen hulls and getting ready to piece them together in rapid time. If they pulled it off not only would they have another industrial coup (look, we made a carrier in two months, who cares if it was prefabbed!) but they will seriously shake America, and given the state of the American economy they won't be able to sustain an aggressive construction scheme.

    Thoughts (sorry for the jumbled post )
    Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

  • #2
    Theoretically China may have the capability to build ships at a fast rate. That does not mean they can build complex high tech ships on par with Western Naval ships. Operating aircraft carriers skillfully is a very intricate and complex task a task that takes decades to master.
    I agree with you that it is possible China has the capability to keep sections of aircraft carriers on standby ready for quick assembly however without expereince and technical knowhow how much their value will be in wartime is suspect. Yes in peacetime they would look really cool all dressed up with mock aircraft and brandishing weapons whose fantastic capabilities exst only on paper between pages of shiny brochures and propaganda leaflets or in videos like these http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...AbL6W99csLL2Cg

    A more prudent approach would be to build a few, use them, learn from them then through the knowledge and experience build another better class and so on.

    We have already gone through that learnig curve for almost a century. We have used them in battle we have learnt from failures and successes we have a fabulously well trained and expereinced crew drawing upon decades of expereince and training of their predecessors.We have used them in countless wars(which were always won) China just cannot match us in this regard.

    The most I see is them building a few copies of soviet era carriers with severe limitations( Look at how unreliable and handicapped the soviet carriers are.) a crew that will take many years to become profecient and experienced. We on the other hand displayed superb carrier handling skills as far back as WW2. If you study the carrier battles of WW2 they were so ridiculously one sided in our favor.From survivability, crew training, construction quality, tech knowhow- we were far superior in all respects.And that was 70 years ago. And we have constantly kept improving since then. Now compare that to the soviet carrier experience that the Chinese are drawing from. I think the answer is obvious. We will be unmatched masters for the forseeable future.
    Last edited by Slim; 19 Sep 12, 18:19.

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    • #3
      Maybe thats what the Ex-Soviet carriers are for, to build up proficiency and test designs. China only really needs enough carriers to keep America wary whilst she pursues regional wars, not enough to take her in a full on blue water conflict.
      Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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      • #4
        A more prudent approach would be to build a few, use them, learn from them then through the knowledge and experience build another better class and so on.
        This is already what china has been doing. They're not engaging in any mass production, nor massive arms buildup.
        "We have no white flag."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dashy View Post
          Maybe thats what the Ex-Soviet carriers are for, to build up proficiency and test designs. China only really needs enough carriers to keep America wary whilst she pursues regional wars, not enough to take her in a full on blue water conflict.
          There's no way china can match the US in any frontal conflicts, not in terms of resources nor experience. Which is why they're developing asymmetric war, which i think is one of deterrence. They only need to build up enough capability to deny their immediate areas from their potential opposition.
          "We have no white flag."

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          • #6
            Dashy,

            The battleship 100 years ago represent a strategic asset as well as a tactical weapon. That is, its actual military value was overblown due to the prestige it affords the nation that has it. Simply having it in your fleet mean that your navy has made it to the big leagues.

            Modern carriers do not carry the same level of "prestige" that the battleship had 100 years ago. Today, a "big league" navy is characterized not by what type of ship it has but on its ability to project power away from its region. In other words, a blue water navy.

            Power project is not mainly related to military power alone, where a carrier is the ultimate arbiter. It can be accomplished by sending hospital ships to regions where medical care is lacking, an amphibious assault ship with humanitarian supplies in a natural disaster, or a small flottila for anti-piracy escort.

            China is not actively seeking to overthrow the international order the United States and the west built up since WWII. In fact it is working inside this order (UN, WTO, IMF, etc) to gain more power for itself. This present the United States with a problem much harder to solve than a pure military challenge because the Chinese challenge is not limited to the military (Soviet Union) or to the auto industry and consumer electronics (Japan). The Chinese challenge encompasses all spectrum of politics, economics, diplomacy, and military.

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            • #7
              China only really needs enough carriers to keep America wary whilst she pursues regional wars, not enough to take her in a full on blue water conflict.
              Youíre making a number of assumptions as to the usefulness of carriers in modern warfare. Ask yourself this Ė what would happen if a squadron of B-2 bombers attacked a US Navy task force? One dead carrier task force, thatís what. Well, the Chinese can certainly reckon on B-2/F-22 packages going after their carriers, and if the US Navy canít survive against that kind of land based airpower, the Chinese navy certainly canít. So why would China invest in an expensive losing strategy? Carriers are useful in littoral wars against Powers that are second rate. Chinaís program reflects that.

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              • #8
                Besides, nuclear submarines, with submersed missle launches of sea skimming ordnance are more akin to the battleships of old and a combination of modern attack submarines and land based air are a cheaper counter to a CV Group than an opposing CV.
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Slim View Post
                  Operating aircraft carriers skillfully is a very intricate and complex task a task that takes decades to master.
                  I remember a Cold War claim that the USN could give the Soviets a carrier and they would need 15yrs to figure out how to use it efficiently.

                  Originally posted by Slim View Post
                  I agree with you that it is possible China has the capability to keep sections of aircraft carriers on standby ready for quick assembly however without expereince and technical knowhow how much their value will be in wartime is suspect.
                  The PRC is doing something along these lines with their commercial cruise liners. Supposedly, they are made to easily be ready to provide Ro/Ro capability in support of the PLAN in the event of hostilities.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post

                    The PRC is doing something along these lines with their commercial cruise liners. Supposedly, they are made to easily be ready to provide Ro/Ro capability in support of the PLAN in the event of hostilities.
                    I've also read in a book ("The Coming War with Japan") that Japan has been building transport ships with specifications that will allow them to be converted into carriers with minimum down time.
                    "We have no white flag."

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                    • #11
                      With the F-35B capable of VTOL flight operations, maybe they will dust off the ARAPAHO concept.
                      ScenShare Guidelines:

                      1) Enjoy creating it
                      2) Enjoy playing it
                      3) Enjoy sharing it
                      4) Enjoy helping others create them

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GMan88 View Post
                        I've also read in a book ("The Coming War with Japan") that Japan has been building transport ships with specifications that will allow them to be converted into carriers with minimum down time.
                        Well, that must be true then.

                        Edit: (Googles) - That book was published in 1991; I wonder what those merchant ships that can be converted to carriers have been doing for the last 21 years!
                        My board games blog: The Brass Castle

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Land View Post
                          Well, that must be true then.

                          Edit: (Googles) - That book was published in 1991; I wonder what those merchant ships that can be converted to carriers have been doing for the last 21 years!
                          No doubt still delivering automobiles.
                          "We have no white flag."

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