China’s carrier forces US Navy rethink

Asia Times, By Sukjoon Yoon

The acquisition of an aircraft carrier is the foundation and ultimate symbol of a navy’s blue-water strategy. There is no more important reality for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as it starts operating its first carrier. The full ramifications of the PLAN’s ambitious acquisition of naval air power are as yet uncertain. The ultimate outcome depends upon maintaining a balance between a variety of contradictory postures and strategies.

China’s plays the Great Power Game
Two forces have driven the acquisition of China’s first aircraft carrier: (i) the ambition of the late Admiral Liu Hwaqing (known as China’s equivalent of the US naval strategist Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan). As the first PLAN officer to visit a US aircraft carrier, Liu played a crucial role in promoting the PLAN’s China’s carrier forces US Navy rethink
By Sukjoon Yoon

The acquisition of an aircraft carrier is the foundation and ultimate symbol of a navy’s blue-water strategy. There is no more important reality for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as it starts operating its first carrier. The full ramifications of the PLAN’s ambitious acquisition of naval air power are as yet uncertain. The ultimate outcome depends upon maintaining a balance between a variety of contradictory postures and strategies.

China’s plays the Great Power Game
Two forces have driven the acquisition of China’s first aircraft carrier: (i) the ambition of the late Admiral Liu Hwaqing (known as China’s equivalent of the US naval strategist Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan). As the first PLAN officer to visit a US aircraft carrier, Liu played a crucial role in promoting the PLAN’s interests; and (ii) the concern of the Chinese leadership that their country’s status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council could be undermined by the lack of an aircraft carrier. According to this view, possession of an aircraft carrier and its associated air wing are the pre-eminent manifestation of great power status.

Until 2012, China’s naval air capabilities were limited to regional naval power functionality – notwithstanding its global interests – after the strategic prioritization of asymmetric tools in a naval modernization drive that had strictly adhered to an “antiaccess, area denial” (A2/AD) strategy. Now, by joining the expensive blue-water navy club they are showing that they regard the US an “inactive superpower”.

The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, and the most substantial and transformational naval platform built to date by the Chinese navy, signals the start of a new phase for China: an official declaration that “China is now effectively a great power, and no longer a stricken nation”.

Towards a more offensive stance
The conceptual basis of China’s military strategy has been considered defensive in nature due to the lack of high-level military technologies and resources. The PLAN has adopted an A2/AD strategy with asymmetric assets such as anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM), anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM), and stealthy diesel and nuclear-powered submarines.

More at the link

Leave a Reply

Users