China says carrier tests in South China Sea going well

BEIJING Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:09am EST

Chinese naval soldiers monitor meteorological indicators on the aircraft carrier ''Liaoning'', as they carry out training in South China Sea, December 22, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

Chinese naval soldiers monitor meteorological indicators on the aircraft carrier ''Liaoning'', as they carry out training in South China Sea, December 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's first and only aircraft carrier has successfully carried out a series of tests during a training mission in the disputed South China Sea, state media reported on Monday.

This month's drills off the coast of Hainan Island mark not only the first time China has sent a carrier into the South China Sea but the first time it has maneuvered with the kind of strike group of escort ships U.S. carriers deploy, according to regional military officers and analysts.

The Liaoning has carried out more than 100 tests, including of its combat systems, and training tasks since early December, the official English-language China Daily said.

"The Liaoning successfully performed several tests of the combat system today and organized for the first time comprehensive combat training," the newspaper cited the navy saying in a statement.

"Through this operation, we tested the carrier's combat capability and tried the performance of its propulsion and seaworthiness."

The mission has been characterized by "a large number of tests, rigorous standards, complicated circumstances as well as collaboration with multiple military units", it added.

The carrier is being escorted by two destroyers and two frigates.

"The South China Sea has deep waters, strong wind and big waves, making it a suitable place for the aircraft carrier to conduct tests and training," the China Daily quoted the Liaoning's captain, Zhang Zheng, as saying.

Zhang said drills included practicing defending against hostile aircraft, ships and submarines in simulations.

The Liaoning - a Soviet-era ship bought from Ukraine in 1998 and re-fitted in a Chinese shipyard - has long been a symbol of China's naval build-up.

After two decades of double-digit increases in the military budget, China's admirals plan to develop a full blue-water navy capable of defending growing economic interests as well as disputed territory in the South and East China Seas.

Carrier strike groups sit at the core of those ambitions - and successfully operating the 60,000-tonne Liaoning is the first step in what state media and some military experts believe will be China's deployment of several locally built carriers by 2020.

The USS Cowpens narrowly avoided colliding with a Chinese warship escorting the Liaoning while operating in international waters on December 5, the U.S. Navy has said. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday called the Chinese ship's actions "irresponsible".

China's official Xinhua news agency said the Cowpens was "warned" by the carrier task force, adding the U.S. vessel was "intentionally" putting the Liaoning under surveillance.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing y Robert Birsel)

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Comments (7)
shiba-ken wrote:
Canadian officials quoted the deputy commander of the Chinese navy as having “asserted that pilots have ‘mastered’ take-off and landing skills, even under unfavourable conditions such as poor visibility and unstable airflow.”

“The photographs and videos of the drill, however, show a sunny day with a calm sea state.”

Canadian military officials also cited Chinese media reports that five pilots had taken off and landed on the carrier, “though photographs and video of the event show only two planes landing and one plane taking off.”

And they noted that the Liaoning is much smaller and less capable than its American counterparts, while the J-15 fighter jets “used in the drills are themselves test aircraft, with full production many years away.”

The officials quoted Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow of the Military Transformations Programme at Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies, as questioning the number of aircraft the Liaoning could carry as well as its operational capabilities.

“Deck space and layout will be at a premium, since the J-15 will need to run about half the length of the warship at full afterburner for a ramp-assisted launch,” the report cites Bitzinger as saying. “This would make it challenging, if not impossible, to conduct the simultaneous launch and recovery of aircraft.”

Former Royal Canadian Navy commander Paul Maddison said in an interview that while it’s true the Liaoning may not be an immediate game-changer for the Chinese military, its presence in the Asia-Pacific region is significant.

“The introduction of a carrier capability is a significant step by any major navy and it sends a strong signal to the rest of the world to stand up and take notice,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is dismissing this out of hand as kind of an overstated bit of theatre by the (Chinese navy), not at all. And I have no doubt they will field a competent carrier capability sometime in the first half of the century.”

ttp://www.canada.com/news/Chinese+aircraft+carrier+fails+make+splash+with+Canadian+military+officials/9161349/story.html

Dec 23, 2013 8:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
shiba-ken wrote:
Canadian officials quoted the deputy commander of the Chinese navy as having “asserted that pilots have ‘mastered’ take-off and landing skills, even under unfavourable conditions such as poor visibility and unstable airflow.”

“The photographs and videos of the drill, however, show a sunny day with a calm sea state.”

Canadian military officials also cited Chinese media reports that five pilots had taken off and landed on the carrier, “though photographs and video of the event show only two planes landing and one plane taking off.”

And they noted that the Liaoning is much smaller and less capable than its American counterparts, while the J-15 fighter jets “used in the drills are themselves test aircraft, with full production many years away.”

The officials quoted Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow of the Military Transformations Programme at Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies, as questioning the number of aircraft the Liaoning could carry as well as its operational capabilities.

“Deck space and layout will be at a premium, since the J-15 will need to run about half the length of the warship at full afterburner for a ramp-assisted launch,” the report cites Bitzinger as saying. “This would make it challenging, if not impossible, to conduct the simultaneous launch and recovery of aircraft.”

Former Royal Canadian Navy commander Paul Maddison said in an interview that while it’s true the Liaoning may not be an immediate game-changer for the Chinese military, its presence in the Asia-Pacific region is significant.

“The introduction of a carrier capability is a significant step by any major navy and it sends a strong signal to the rest of the world to stand up and take notice,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is dismissing this out of hand as kind of an overstated bit of theatre by the (Chinese navy), not at all. And I have no doubt they will field a competent carrier capability sometime in the first half of the century.”

ttp://www.canada.com/news/Chinese+aircraft+carrier+fails+make+splash+with+Canadian+military+officials/9161349/story.html

Dec 23, 2013 8:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
MikeBarnett wrote:
The Liaoning has been undergoing its 1st open sea trials with two destroyers and two frigates serving as escort ships for China’s 1st aircraft carrier. The vessel and crew have performed as expected. The real quality of the Liaoning and its crew will appear in a year or two after more tests and experiences have made them veteran aircraft carrier sailors and pilots. China has laid the keel of an indigenous attack carrier, but it and its sister ships will not be complete for four or five years, and they and their crews will need two or more years of training and exercises.

While the Liaoning has been training, the Jinggangshan, an assault carrier with helicopters, amphibious landing craft, and a battalion of Chinese marines, has been performing escort duties as part of the 15th Naval Flotilla working in the International Naval Force that combats Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean. The flotilla contains a supply ship that allows global voyages, usually through the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The flotilla will continue through the Caribbean Sea and Panama Canal or around the southern tip of South America into the Pacific. The assault carriers have had numerous amphibious assault exercises for capturing beaches that may include linking up with paratroops.

China is not fighting any wars at present, and its capabilities will reach serious dimensions about 2020. Part of China’s power will rest with the decline of most rivals. US wars without taxes to pay for them places the US National Debt at over 100% of US GDP and it continues to climb. Japan’s National Debt is 200% of GDP; it devalued its currency 25% (80Y=$1 to 100Y=$1) in early 2013 and now plans a 2.6% rise in defense spending that will yield a 22.4% fall in actual defense spending. China raises defense spending by double digits each year, and no other major power can match that rate of defense growth. By 2020 to 2025, the world will see considerable changes in the global power capabilities of nations.

Dec 23, 2013 6:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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