by Russia Today, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: China’s move to build a second carrier could be providing the opportunity for an opponent to send a lot of China’s defense spending to the bottom of the ocean on day one of a conflict.
Carriers typically have to travel in battle groups to protect themselves — another huge investment, and one with huge ongoing operating costs.
Also, carrier operations are extremely complex. As one Navy spokesman once said, “Having a carrier, and being able to use it in combat conditions are two entirely different things.” Despite the vast naval construction experience of the US, its newest Littoral-class destroyer had to be towed back to port for major engine repairs.
Any major war is going to be dominated by who has the best missile technology and electronic warfare technology. China has a long coastline from which to launch missile strikes from hardened positions, plus movable ones like the Russians have developed.
As the Russians demonstrated in the Caspian Sea cruise missile attack against ISIL in Syria, they blew the Pentagon’s mind by showing they had the missiles on 2000-ton boats — the minimum for the US is 10,000-ton boats. Russia’s much cheaper boats make it easier to have more of them, achieving defense in depth. It gives an attacking naval force a lot more to worry about, which is one of the reasons the US carrier battle groups have a lot of ships. They are a huge target.
Russian tactics would use barrages of high-speed cruise missiles to overwhelm a carrier group’s defenses. Again, electronic warfare could rule the day simply upon who has the best jammers, or anti-jamming technology.
The bullying comment by the Chinese spokesman is most appropriate. The US considers the whole planet a base, and anyone who is not cooperative in providing a base is deemed an instant threat.
This arm-twisting is what we constantly accused the old Soviet Union of during the Cold War, and now we have become them, in our own way.
Do Americans have any say in this policy? It appears we do not. There is not a Congressman alive that would not fight tooth and nail for the most wasteful and worthless defense project, as long as it was in his or her district. One could say that defense is an infinitely corrupting business, where even “nice people” become liars and crooks when it touches them.
What we need is a new law of the seas, where powerful military forces are not allowed to roam all over the planet, except under agreed-upon purposes where there is a clear threat. The free-for-all we have plays into the hands of those with the largest standing militaries and funding mechanisms, where they can create billions out of thin air… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … December 31, 2015 –
Little is known about China’s aircraft carrier program, however, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Yang Yujun, said the ship had been designed in China and was being built in the port of Dalian.
“China has a long coastline and a vast maritime area under our jurisdiction. To safeguard our maritime sovereignty, interests, and rights is the sacred mission of the Chinese armed forces,” Yang said, as cited by Reuters.
The Defense Ministry spokesman added that the aircraft carrier will be able to operate J-15 fighter jets and will also have a ski-jump take-off. China’s only other aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was purchased from Ukraine in 1998 before being refitted in China.
China has been looking to increase its maritime defense capabilities, as it exerts its claims in the South China Sea.
“The US has many aircraft carriers that are traveling all over the place in the South China Sea, which has caused problems for us. Having a second aircraft carrier reduces the pressure on us. It will keep us from being bullied,” a Shanghai-based naval expert, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters.
Earlier this month the Chinese Navy commissioned its third Type 052D Kunming-class destroyer, ‘Hefei’, armed with surface-to-surface missiles as its primary assault weapon. Beijing says it plans to build at least 10 warships, while they will be based at the naval complex in Sanya on the island of Hainan.
“My men have familiarized themselves with the advanced equipment and weapons [onboard the ship]. In the near future, we will focus on training, aiming to make the ship become fully operational within a short period,” Hefei’s captain, Commander Zhao Yanquan, told China Daily on December 14.
Two weeks ago, China filed a complaint with the Pentagon after a US nuclear-capable B-52 bomber flew over a man-made island in the South China Sea that China claims gives it sovereignty over the surrounding waters. Beijing said the move was a “provocation.”
It urged the United States “to immediately adopt measures to put an end to such kind of dangerous actions, in order not to impact the two countries’ military relations,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Over the past few years, China has reclaimed several islands in the South China Sea and built infrastructure on them capable of supporting combat missions of the Chinese Air Force.
Beijing insists that the effort is primarily civilian and is meant to make the South China Sea, the region with some of the heaviest maritime traffic in the world, most of it China-bound, a safer place.
The US rejects Beijing’s claim and occasionally sends its warplanes and warships through the 12 nautical mile area around the artificial islands, which China sees as its exclusive zone.
In late October, the US guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed close to Subi Reef with one such mission, provoking an angry rebuke from China. The South China Sea is believed to have massive deposits of oil and gas, while around $5 trillion of shipping trade passes through the area per year.