Why China's new Aircraft Carrier Could not Compete Against its American Counterparts

By Prei Dy, | May 02, 2017

China's aircraft carrier is not as competitive as its American counterparts. (YouTube)

China's aircraft carrier is not as competitive as its American counterparts. (YouTube)

China's first homegrown aircraft carrier, Type 001A, could not compete with powerful American carriers, according to the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.

Although the launch is a "great leap forward," the Type 001A, likely to be called Shangdong, lags behind others in its class on an international level, Global Times reported citing the analysis.

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The institute pointed that the Type 001A carrier's power and capability is nothing new, saying these are typical from aircraft carriers built during the 1950s. The China-made aircraft carrier is not nuclear powered and lacks a catapult, which is used for plane takeoffs and for attacking enemy ships at sea.

In terms of navigation, the Type 001A also faces limitation compared with its American counterparts as the former needs frequent refueling. The carrier was also developed out of necessity, the institute noted.

On the other hand, a senior analyst revealed that China has installed 8,000 technological breakthrough and industrial standards on China's first indigenous aircraft carrier.

"The homegrown aircraft carrier involves around 8,000 technological breakthroughs and some industrial standards in advanced manufacturing sectors such as electronic equipment, power plants, and steel products that have been developed in the wake of the project," Liu Xuezhi, a senior analyst from the Bank of Communications, said.

China's first aircraft carrier aims to boost the country's economic development and industrial upgrade as well as provide military and technological benefits to the society.

The 50,000-ton aircraft carrier was launched on Wednesday at the Dalian shipyard of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation. It will join the Liaoning, China's existing aircraft carrier that has been acquired from Ukraine in 1998.

Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at Australia's Lowy Institute, said that China's two aircraft carrier will "remain essentially training vessels," although "the existence of a second carrier will give China much greater time at sea, and hence significantly boost the learning curve."

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