It looks like China’s noticed the new attention it’s getting from the American military, because photos posted to a Chinese
What’s most compelling is the divot in the deck, identified by the red square on the photo above. That’s apparently a trench for a steam-powered aeroplane catapult.
That’s a big deal because like Russia’s sole carrier, Liaoning doesn’t have a catapult, so it can launch only lightly-loaded warplanes. The Russian and Chinese Flanker carrier jets fly from their flattops with minimal fuel and weaponry, putting them at a disadvantage against American and French carrier fighters that are boosted fully loaded by their ships’ catapults.
Lately, just as think tankers and diplomats in Washington tout the military’s “Pacific pivot,” they also freak out about China’s exploding defence spending.
Though China has been in the espionage business lately, and they do seem to have a lot of cash lying around. Certainly they’ll continue growing their military.
Axe doesn’t seem particularly worried, though, concluding, “If China aims to challenge the U.S. Navy at sea, a big fleet of carriers is a good start — although submarines would be a cheaper and more dangerous option. For now, America has a huge aviation advantage, with 10 carriers in service, powerful air wings and 100 years of flattop experience.”
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