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PLA Navy aims to build a maritime power


04-26-2017 13:51 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

Experts say aircraft carriers play a special role in strategic approaches to the Asia-Pacific region. China’s new carrier is another milestone in its naval modernization. And it may bring about an ever-expanding number of frigates, destroyers, and submarines, to form carrier strike groups. This in turn will enable Chinese navy to better protect its interests at seas. CGTN correspondent Han Bin takes a close look at the carrier's function, as well as the significance of the craft in the navy's transformation.

Practice makes perfect and for China’s first aircraft carrier—the Liaoning, the refurbishment of the former Soviet Union's Varag, and years of extensive training in combat capability, were the rehearsal for building the country's first indigenous one.

The new carrier is in the same dry dock that was used for the Liaoning’s transformation.

Defense researcher Yin Xiaoyang says the design is a strategic choice.

"The second one we call it 001A, has a smaller island, it provides more space on flight deck and hangar storage, meaning it is capable to take more fighters and improve combating capabilities. From the outside we can see the position of portholes have been removed, internal construction has been converted, meaning this aircraft can provide more space for the crew. There’re Chinese-made sensors and electronic equipment on the island, the electromagnetism capability is better," Yin said.

Yin Xiaoyang notes the new carrier is smaller than any currently operated by the United States. And th engine is conventional, rather than nuclear-powered. China's 2nd carrier still use a ski-jump system, a short take-off and arrested recovery method of launching. This limitation could promote China to continue to pursue the development of catapults for launching in future carriers.

Building a carrier is like building a navy.

The latest decade has seen a major shift for China’s navy, from coastal defense to taking on greater responsibilities in the deep sea.

"China’s development is more and more dependent on the sea. China is increasingly concerned about the safety of its sea lanes. The navy needs not only offshore defense capabilities, but also defense operational capabilities in the ocean," Cao Weidong with PLA Navy's Naval Research Institute said.

Blue-water training has become routine, and joint operational missions have stepped up. Chinese experts believe more carriers are a symbol of a stronger navy. And the hopes of becoming a major maritime power are setting sail.

China’s carrier construction has not been a secret. Beijing released its naval advancement strategy to become a maritime power. The newly launched carrier reveals the big strides in China’s military transformation. But it takes time to form real capability to achieve the set goals.

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