China has mastered the ability to design and build “larger” aircraft carriers, reports a state-run newspaper, days after the massive nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson, an American carrier, sailed across the South China Sea.
“We have complete ownership of the expertise, in terms of design, technology, technique, manufacturing and project management, that is needed to make an advanced carrier,” Liu Zheng, chairman of the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry charged with building warships for the Chinese military, told the state-run China Daily. ”We are ready to build larger ones.”
He made those comments ahead of the release of Beijing’s annual defense budget, points out Reuters.
Currently, the United States reportedly has at least ten active aircraft carriers while China is working on building its second one.
The latest Global Firepower (GFP) index, which ranks the military strengths of 133 countries annually, determined that the United States has a total of 415 naval assets versus China’s 714.
China Daily noted that Beijing has been working on building its second aircraft for years — since November 2013 — noting that the new vessel is the “first indigenously designed.”
Referring to China’s second warship, the newspaper reports:
It was launched in April and will start sea trials soon. Once completed, the gigantic ship will have a displacement of at least 50,000 metric tons and a conventional propulsion system, and will carry J-15 fighter jets and other carrier-borne aircraft.
The new Chinese warship is expected to be bigger and better than the predecessor, CNS Liaoning.
China Daily points out: “The new vessel will focus on duties for which most carriers are built: running combat-ready patrols and safeguarding the nation’s maritime sovereignty and interests.”
Although U.S. military officials have warned that China can challenge the American military, recent analysts have gauged the United States armed forces to be stronger the Chinese armed forces.
Last month, the USS Carl Vinson began to cruise deep in the South China Sea amid U.S.-China tensions over Beijing’s territorial disputes with several American allies in the region.
Now, the state-administered China Daily newspaper claims:
Liu Zheng, chairman of Dalian Shipbuilding Industry in Liaoning province, said his company and its parent, China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, the world’s largest shipbuilder, have acquired the ability to design and build aircraft carriers … Their capabilities have been gained through construction of the CNS Liaoning, China’s first carrier, which was built based on a half-finished, imported Soviet-era vessel … which is in the final outfitting stage before starting sea trials.
Around mid-February, the USS Carl Vinson docked on the shores of one of those partners, the Philippines. The U.S. warship is also expected to stop on the waters of another ally in the region, Vietnam, marking the first visit from an American aircraft carrier since the end of the Vietnam War.
China is engaged in territorial disputes in the South China Sea with both the Philippines and Vietnam.
According to the most recent annual Jane’s Defence Budgets Report authored by prominent research firm IHS Markit, the United States ($643 billion) outspent China ($193 billion) on defense last year.
Taking into account spending along with a plethora of other factors, the latest GFP index determined that the United States armed forces are more powerful than their Chinese counterpart.