China Aircraft Carrier / Navy needs proper context



Wired and others have been nattering about the Chinese carrier, it’s nascent flight wing, how crappy the hardware is, how hard the job is, etc, etc. working to defuse the China threat they think is being blown up by the Pentagon and congressional hawks.

Look at the two pictures above, the time from first flight to rational threat back ‘in the day’ was a few years, the big gun guys were laughing the whole time. That Fighter struggling off the Lianoning is a threat today if need be, and you do not have to impress an admiral to be able to sink his fleet. No it’s no realistic threat today but don’t make the mistake of equating little with none, the US capability with the capability required to be a threat, or today with forever. The US CVN capability is essentially static or downtrend, China is on the edge of asymptotic rise, with a century and millions of man years of prior experience across the world to pull up on. As other articles in have discussed, what really is a CV in the 21st century? So how long could it be till a Chinese CV threat is more than a wild card? Not long is my estimate.

China’s Maturing Modern Navy


The Chinese Navy ( sometimes still called the PLAN/People’s Liberation Army Navy/) appears to have finished it’s experimentation~development with their premier surface combatant, the medium DDG 052C/D producing a rough equivalent of the western Aegis (at least in their boosters eyes.) the ship very obviously follows western design concepts but appears to be a very competent design, at least from “it’s likely right if it ‘looks’ Good metric,” though the radar and computer part of the system are probably not that good, yet. This good article in the Diplomat discusses this and its implications in some detail.

DefenseTech calls it a Bomb Truck

DefenseTech has some Chinese eye candy regarding the large and apparently powerful J-20 in development / trials. They call the aircraft a bomb truck and that seems likely, the analogy to th 70’s vintage FB-111 seems apt.

These aircraft are the conceptual descendants of WWII aircraft like the Mosquito.

The thing I find peculiar is how open the Chinese are about the testing of the J-20 it’s like a reality TV show. One part of me wants to say the Chinese know everyone will be spying anyway, to reduce the tension, just go ahead and let the pictures be taken, bask in the glow of self righteousness, and the fact you’re saving money. And at the end of the day why does one care, the real secret sauce is deeply buried in the materials and internal details and is not readily apparent on the surface anyway…The other part wonders what’s really going on in some distant corner of the country.