Gabriel Dominguez, London and Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
23 April 2018
China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier group carried out its first ever “combat exercises” in the Western Pacific on 20-21 April, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Beijing announced on 22 April.
The exercise, which took place in an area east of the Bashi Channel, involved a total of six People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) major surface combatants along with the service’s only operating aircraft carrier, Liaoning , the latter of which deployed helicopters and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC)] J-15 fighters.
The carrier group practised strike and defence manoeuvres and honed its long-range combat capabilities, the state-owned China Daily newspaper quoted the PLAN as saying, adding that the latest combat training was aimed at “verifying the collaborative ability of the group’s vessels and aircraft, examining the group’s offensive and defensive systems and fostering the ability of commanders to make decisions when faced with complicated circumstances”.
The latest exercise took place after Liaoning participated on 12 April in a naval parade in the South China Sea alongside 47 other PLAN vessels, 76 aircraft, and 10,000 personnel as part of a fleet review.
The event, which took place after the carrier had taken part in naval exercises in the area, was the largest review ever staged by the PLAN and served to showcase the “new-look People’s Navy”, according to the MND.
The ministry also referred to the importance of a speech made at the review by Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which he stated that “building a powerful people’s navy has never been as urgent as it is today in the struggle for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.
Source: Jane’s 360 “Liaoning carrier group conducts first ‘combat exercise’ in Western Pacific”
Note: This is Jane’s 360’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Reuters Staff March 21, 2018
TAIPEI (Reuters) – China has sent its sole operational aircraft carrier the Liaoning through the narrow Taiwan Strait that separates China from the self-ruled island, Taiwan’s defense minister said on Wednesday, according to local media.
The move comes on the heels of a warning from Chinese President Xi Jinping that Taiwan would face the “punishment of history” for any attempt at separatism. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory and considers it a wayward province.
Speaking at Taiwan’s parliament, Defence Minister Yen Teh-fa said the Liaoning entered the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
The ministry is keeping a close watch on its progress, the report cited Yen as saying.
China’s Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In January, the Liaoning sailed twice through the Taiwan Strait, in what China said was part of routine drills.
Taiwan says China has ramped up military exercises around the island in the past year or so. The island is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint.
China’s hostility towards Taiwan has risen since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the island’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
China suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, though Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Monday expressed anger at comments by Taiwan Premier William Lai that Taiwan is a sovereign independent country, saying it was a “serious provocation” and that Taiwan was not and could never be a country.
China has also been infuriated by U.S. President Donald Trump’s signing into law last week legislation that encourages the United States to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts, and vice versa.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong is in Taiwan this week, where he is due to speak at a business event in Taipei later on Wednesday with Tsai.
Reporting by Fabian Hamacher and Twinnie Siu; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Himani Sarkar
Source: Reuters “China sends carrier through Taiwan Strait after Xi warning: report”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
The class Type 002 is likely to be based on US models and not Russian ones unlike the first aircraft carrier, Liaoning.
By Nandini Krishnamoorthy February 22, 2017 09:54 GMT
As China is finishing the construction of its second aircraft carrier, it is reportedly building a third one that is likely to be based on US models. China is also planning to build five or six such aircraft carriers as it seeks to reinforce its claims in the disputed territories of the South China Sea, experts have said.
According to the Global Times, the newest aircraft carrier with the class name Type 002, which is being built in Shanghai, is likely to feature catapult technology that will allow jets with heavier load and endurance to be launched from it.
“In other words, 002 is entirely different from the Liaoning  and 001A [the second aircraft carrier], and it will look like a US aircraft carrier rather than a Russian one,” Li Jie, a naval military expert, said.
The third aircraft carrier is the latest in Beijing’s ambitious warship programme that includes building at least two such ships to counter the US Navy in the Asia-Pacific region. The Chinese navy is currently operating its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, which was a refitted Soviet-era warship.
The second one that is on the verge of completion is also based on the same model but has more advanced features. The second one is said to be China’s first home-made vessel and is expected to officially join the navy in 2019.
Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Navy Equipment Research Centre, said China is building its third aircraft carrier “in order to protect China’s territories and overseas interests”.
“China needs two carrier strike groups in the West Pacific Ocean and two in the Indian Ocean. So we need at least five to six aircraft carriers,” the Communist Party mouthpiece cited him as saying.
The Chinese media have in the past reported about the possibility of a third aircraft carrier but it is the first time it has officially said it was being built.
The second aircraft carrier has already raised tensions as it is speculated to be based near the disputed South China Sea, which has been the source of friction between Beijing and the US and its regional allies. The carrier is being built at the port of Dalian but China is yet to officially announce a home for it.
The report about the Type 002 construction came two days after the US Navy deployed its aircraft carriers in the hotly contest waters in a challenge to Beijing’s claims.
The US on 19 February said an aircraft carrier strike group had begun what it calls “routine operations” in the mineral-rich international waterway. The group led by the Nimitz-class USS Carl Vinson kicked off its patrol with support from a fleet of warships, a move that raised further tensions between China and the US.
The development also comes within days of a warning from Beijing not to interfere with Chinese sovereignty in the region.
Source: International Business Times “China building third aircraft carrier to protect ‘overseas interests’”
Note: This is International Business Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Kyle Mizokami February 19, 2017
More than twenty years ago, a military confrontation in East Asia pushed the United States and China uncomfortably close to conflict. Largely unknown in America, the event made a lasting impression on China, especially Chinese military planners. The Third Taiwan Crisis, as historians call it, was China’s introduction to the power and flexibility of the aircraft carrier, something it obsesses about to this day.
The crisis began in 1995. Taiwan’s first-ever democratic elections for president were set for 1996, a major event that Beijing naturally opposed. The sitting president, Lee Teng-hui of the Kuomintang party, was invited to the United States to speak at his alma mater, Cornell University. Lee was already disliked by Beijing for his emphasis on “Taiwanization,” which favored home rule and established a separate Taiwanese identity away from mainland China. Now he was being asked to speak at Cornell on Taiwan’s democratization, and Beijing was furious.
The Clinton administration was reluctant to grant Lee a visa—he had been denied one for a similar talk at Cornell the year before—but near-unanimous support from Congress forced the White House’s hand. Lee was granted a visa and visited Cornell in June. The Xinhua state news agency warned, “The issue of Taiwan is as explosive as a barrel of gunpowder. It is extremely dangerous to warm it up, no matter whether the warming is done by the United States or by Lee Teng-hui. This wanton wound inflicted upon China will help the Chinese people more clearly realize what kind of a country the United States is.”
In August 1995, China announced a series of missiles exercises in the East China Sea. Although the exercises weren’t unusual, their announcement was, and there was speculation that this was the beginning of an intimidation campaign by China, both as retaliation against the Cornell visit and intimidation of Taiwan’s electorate ahead of the next year’s elections. The exercises involved the People’s Liberation Army’s Second Artillery Corps (now the PLA Rocket Forces) and the redeployment of Chinese F-7 fighters (China’s version of the MiG-21 Fishbed fighter) 250 miles from Taiwan. Also, in a move that would sound very familiar in 2017, up to one hundred Chinese civilian fishing boats entered territorial waters around the Taiwanese island of Matsu, just off the coast of the mainland.
According to Globalsecurity.org, redeployments of Chinese long-range missile forces continued into 1996, and the Chinese military actually prepared for military action. China drew up contingency plans for thirty days of missile strikes against Taiwan, one strike a day, shortly after the March 1996 presidential elections. These strikes were not carried out, but preparations were likely detected by U.S. intelligence.
In March 1996, China announced its fourth major military exercises since the Cornell visit. The country’s military announced a series of missile test zones off the Chinese coastline, which also put the missiles in the approximate direction of Taiwan. In reality, China fired three missiles, two of which splashed down just thirty miles from the Taiwanese capital of Taipei and one of which splashed down thirty-five miles from Kaohsiung. Together, the two cities handled most of the country’s commercial shipping traffic. For an export-driven country like Taiwan, the missile launches seemed like an ominous shot across the country’s economic bow.
American forces were already operating in the area. The USS Bunker Hill, a Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruiser, was stationed off southern Taiwan to monitor Chinese missile tests with its SPY-1 radar system. The Japan-based USS Independence, along with the destroyers Hewitt and O’Brien and frigate McClusky, took up position on the eastern side of the island.
After the missile tests, the carrier USS Nimitz left the Persian Gulf region and raced back to the western Pacific. This was an even more powerful carrier battle group, consisting of the Aegis cruiser Port Royal, guided missile destroyers Oldendorf and Callaghan (which would later be transferred to the Taiwanese Navy), guided missile frigate USS Ford, and nuclear attack submarine USS Portsmouth. Nimitz and its escorts took up station in the Philippine Sea, ready to assist Independence. Contrary to popular belief, neither carrier actually entered the Taiwan Strait.
The People’s Liberation Army, unable to do anything about the American aircraft carriers, was utterly humiliated. China, which was just beginning to show the consequences of rapid economic expansion, still did not have a military capable of posing a credible threat to American ships just a short distance from of its coastline.
While we might never know the discussions that later took place, we know what has happened since. Just two years later a Chinese businessman purchased the hulk of the unfinished Russian aircraft carrier Riga, with the stated intention of turning it into a resort and casino. We know this ship today as China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, after it was transferred to the PLA Navy and underwent a fifteen-year refurbishment. At least one other carrier is under construction, and the ultimate goal may be as many as five Chinese carriers.
At the same time, the Second Artillery Corps leveraged its expertise in long-range rockets to create the DF-21D antiship ballistic missile. The DF-21 has obvious applications against large capital ships, such as aircraft carriers, and in a future crisis could force the U.S. Navy to operate eight to nine hundred miles off Taiwan and the rest of the so-called “First Island Chain.”
The Third Taiwan Crisis was a brutal lesson for a China that had long prepared to fight wars inside of its own borders. Still, the PLA Navy deserves credit for learning from the incident and now, twenty-two years later, it is quite possible that China could seriously damage or even sink an American carrier. Also unlike the United States, China is in the unique position of both seeing the value of carriers and building its own fleet while at the same time devoting a lot of time and resources to the subject of sinking them. The United States may soon find itself in the same position.
Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009, he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.
Source: National Interest “Why China Fears (And Plans to Sink) America’s Aircraft Carriers”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Popular Science’s article “China’s new aircraft carrier hints at the future of its navy” says China’s third homegrown aircraft carrier will be a 90,000 to 100,000-ton nuclear one with electromagnetic catapult that enables it to carry 70-100 stealth fighter jets, AEW&C aircrafts and aerial tanker with maximum takeoff weight of 50 tons and helicopters.
The following is the full text of the article:
China’s new aircraft carrier hints at the future of its navy
The Liaoning carried at least three helicopters, eight fighters, three destroyers, two frigates, and a refueling ship.
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer January 13, 2017
Last month China reported that its aircraft carrier Liaoning was ready to start operational service. The country’s navy provided proof on Christmas Day, sending out its first carrier battle group (CVBG) through the Miyako Straits, around Taiwan, and into the South China Sea, launching and recovering aircraft along the way.
Looking ahead to 2030, the next Chinese carrier will likely look very similar to the Liaoning CVBG, with updated destroyers and frigates that provide a more advanced layered defense and missile strike system. It will likely be accompanied by an arsenal of drones.
And then come the nuclear-powered carriers of the Type 003 Chinese aircraft carrier. The Type 003 itself would likely have a displacement of around 90,000-100,000 tons and carry anywhere from between 70-100 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, and have multiple aircraft elevators and a single island superstructure. With a nuclear-powered reactor, the Type 003 could reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. The reactors could also provide the power for electromagnetically assisted launch system (EMALS) catapults (the preceding conventional Type 002 carrier may use steam catapults). EMALS catapults have improved efficiency and are less maintenance intensive than steam catapults.
The air group will likely still use J-15 fighters for multi-role purposes, along with an electronic warfare mission variant. For dedicated air superiority mission, the air group could also have fifth-generation stealth fighters, most likely navalized versions of either the J-31 or even the J20. The EMALS catapult could allow the Type 003 to launch aircraft with a takeoff weight of up to 50 tons, including aerial tankers, airborne early warning aircraft (especially useful to guiding long range missiles against distant aircraft), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) planes, smaller cargo planes and strike aircraft. Given Chinese interest in unmanned vehicles, the Type 003 could come with a UAV for surveillance and reconnaissance. The Type 003’s air group will also have helicopters for ASW and search and rescue missions.
The CVBG’s escort elements will likely consist of Type 055 destroyers and a future Chinese frigate (Type 057?) with an integrated mast. The improved Type 055, upgraded from the current hulls under construction, would have integrated electric propulsion system to increase onboard power generation for sensors and direct energy weapons. It will likely also be armed with over a hundred long-range anti-air and surface attack missiles, in addition to carrying helicopters. Given Chinese interest in unmanned naval vehicles, those surface combatants would likely carry UAVs, UUVs, and USVs for mine countermeasure. For underwater escort, the accompanying submarine would likely be a Type 095 nuclear attack submarine, stealthier and more heavily armed than current Chinese attack boats.
Depending on the CVBG mission profile, amphibious warfare ships like the Type 071 landing platform dock and landing helicopter docks be deployed to help disembark Chinese marines and air cavalry forces.
Years of operational experience are still needed to make the Liaoning, and the rest of the PLAN, ready for combat and other intensive carrier operations. But the PLA is now off to an important start with the Liaoning, and they have bigger plans for the future.
Source: Popular Science “China’s new aircraft carrier hints at the future of its navy”
Note: This is Popular Science’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
China has been unhappy since the pro-independence Tsai Ing-wen was elected Taiwan president and Tsai’s refusal to accept the one-China 1992 Consensus.
It has been bringing political, economic and military pressure on Taiwan.
US President-elect Trump helped China to aggravate the tension China wants with his telephone talks with Tsai. China now has better excuse to threaten Taiwan with its military force.
First, Chinese warplanes cruised around Taiwan and then China’s only aircraft carrier battle group sails around Taiwan.
Reuters says in its report “China says aircraft carrier testing weapons in South China Sea drills”, “Taiwan’s defence minister warned at the time that ‘the threat of our enemies is growing day by day’”.
Worried, Taiwan media have speculated that the carrier could sail north up the median line of the Taiwan Strait to threaten Taiwan on its way to its home port of Qingdao.
Taking Taiwan by force will give rise to aftermath difficult to deal with but economic pressure and creation of tension will cause grave difficulties to Taiwan economy and enable the pro-Beijing KMT to come to power in Taiwan in the next presidential election.
That is China’s wise strategy. Trump is helping China with his telephone talk and other moves that encourage Taiwan independence.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-carrier-taiwan-idUSKBN14O0ZX.
China’s sole aircraft carrier conducted drills in the South China Sea, the navy said, days after neighboring Taiwan said the carrier and accompanying ships had passed 90 nautical miles south of the island amid renewed tension between the two sides.
The Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier and accompanying warships sailed round the east coast of Taiwan in what China called a routine exercise complying with international law.
The carrier’s J-15 fighters conducted flight exercises in “complex sea conditions” on Monday, the People’s Liberation Army Navy said on its official microblog late the same day.
The carrier group also ran helicopter exercises, it said, but did not give details on the exact location.
China claims most of the South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
The drills also come at a time of heightened strain with self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, following U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s telephone call with the island’s president that upset Beijing.
Last month China conducted its first ever live-fire drills using an aircraft carrier close to Korea and announced on Dec. 25 that the Liaoning and its accompanying fleet would carry out what it called routine exercises in the Western Pacific.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Dec. 26 that the Liaoning and five accompanying ships had entered the top half of the South China Sea after passing south of Taiwan, and later docked at a base on China’s Hainan island.
The flotilla raised alarm in Japan when it steamed between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa.
Japan said one of its Maritime Self Defense Force ships and a P3C patrol aircraft had spotted six Chinese naval vessels including the Liaoning traveling through the passage, and they also scrambled jets after a helicopter that took off from a Chinese frigate flew near Miyako Island.
China has been angered recently by U.S. naval patrols near islands that China claims in the South China Sea. This month, a Chinese navy ship seized a U.S. underwater drone in the South China Sea. China later returned it.
China’s air force conducted long-range drills this month above the East and South China Seas that rattled Japan and Taiwan. China said those exercises were also routine.
(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Nick Macfie)
Source: Reuters “China navy confirms carrier conducted drills in South China Sea”
Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.