China towers over Asian navies with new carrier launch

China launched its second aircraft carrier Wednesday morning in a Dalian shipyard in Liaoning Province in northeast China.

Not much is known about China's aircraft carrier program and while reports say the new carrier's construction began in 2013, it wasn't until 2015 that China confirmed its existence. In addition to carriers, China has also been constructing new destroyers, cruisers, and supply ships.

The main body of the carrier has been completed, with equipment of major systems including propulsion and electricity installed.

The new carrier looks similar to the Liaoning, but military experts said its layout, equipment and overall operational concept are advanced, including a bigger hangar to carry more J-15 fighter jets and more space on deck for helicopters and other aircraft.

"The launch of the new aircraft carrier is primarily a symbolic event because it will take about two years for the vessel to be equipped and to make its first real tests overboard", according to Juliette Genevaz, a China researcher at the France-based Military School Strategic Research Institute.

Mr Fan Changlong, a vice-chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission, presided over the ceremony, Xinhua said, during which a bottle of champagne was broken on the bow.

It also sends a strong signal to China's neighbors around the South China Sea. "But after the 18th Party Congress [a top-level political meeting in November 2012], the new goal is to aim for a global strategy where China can take action in worldwide affairs".

The new carrier's name and hull code have yet to be released.

The new vessel is widely seen as part of China's push to expand its naval capacity.




The aging Liaoning will likely become a training vessel, while China expedites the construction of at least one more domestically-produced carrier so it can keep a carrier at sea constantly.

China launched its second aircraft carrier Wednesday.

China has launched its second aircraft carrier bringing its navy to the same level as that of India, which has two aircraft carriers.

Taiwan's defence minister warned on December 27 that enemy threats were growing daily after China's aircraft carrier and a flotilla of other warships passed south of the island in an exercise as tensions rise.

India now has only one active aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which was purchased second hand from Russian Federation and refurbished.

"To some extent, we should recognise that the technological gap in key aircraft carrier technologies between China and the U.S. is widening, and there is no sign of it narrowing".

The new carrier will deploy Shenyang J-15 fighter jets, but is considered by many military observers to be technologically inferior to the 10 carriers used by the U.S. navy.

Some Chinese experts propose that China would require five to six aircraft carriers to project power simultaneously in the West Pacific, as well as the Indian Ocean - India's core area of concern.

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