China Building Second Aircraft Carrier, Two More In The Pipeline

Tyler Durden's picture

For months, rumors have been floating that China is building a second aircrafit carrier. It is not a fact. Reuters cites Chinese and Hong Kong media reports that China is building its second aircraft carrier, which is expected to take six years. While it is constructing this one, China plans to build at least two more, as it aims to have four aircraft carriers in the near future.

As a reminder, the country's first aircraft carrier, 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, and recently saw its maiden voyage in the South China Sea when in a clear demonstration of naval force, it crossed through the Taiwan straits. The Liaoning successfully executed more than 100 tests, including those of its combat systems, during drills in the disputed South China Sea last month. The exercises off the coast of Hainan Island marked not only the first time China had sent a carrier into the South China Sea but the first time it had maneuvered with the kind of strike group of escort ships U.S. carriers deploy, according to regional military officers and analysts.

However, since the Lioning was a retrofit and not China's own creation, the country's navy has been scrambling to get beyond the ridicule it can only "reverse engineer" its crowning ship. Hence the push for a second one.

From Reuters:

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.


Successfully operating the 60,000-tonne Liaoning is the first step in what state media and some military experts believe will be the deployment of locally built carriers by 2020.


In comments carried on Chinese news websites, Wang Min, the Communist Party boss of the northeastern province of Liaoning, where the first carrier is based, said the second carrier was being built in the port city of Dalian.


Its construction would take about six years, and in future China would have a fleet of at least four carriers, Wang told members of the province's legislature on Saturday, the reports added.


Dalian is the port where the existing carrier was re-fitted for use by the Chinese navy.

Of course, the parallels to the cold war build up of nuclear weapons between the US and the USSR are quite obvious making one wonder if the same strategy is in play once more, especially when one considers that the US itself is also building three Ford-class supercarriers, the CVN-78, 79 and 80.

Finally, as we showed before, here are leaked photos of the second aircraft carrier in construction from China Defense.


Finally for those curious about more than just China's nascent aircraft carrier fleet, here are some additional maps from the most recent Congressional report on Chinese military developments:

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Temporalist's picture

To add to the reading list links:

Ominous warning: Admiral concedes U.S. losing dominance to China

Commander of Obama’s Asia pivot eyes military posturing by China

"Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question,” Adm. Locklear, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, said Wednesday at a naval conference in Virginia."


kaiserhoff's picture

Anything that is big, visible, and slow in a battle circa 2020,

  will have a half life of about 30 seconds.

Snoopy the Economist's picture

Exactly - isn't it just a big target?

Bearwagon's picture

No, it is not just a big target - it is, at least, quite an ample distraction. From what would be a question that could turn out to be worthwhile ...

Headbanger's picture

Then there is India about to arm itself to counter China and the weapons race is back on in a big way!

And we are the ones who gave them the technology and money to build up their military!


ronaldawg's picture

Ghost carrier to go with its Ghost cities.  China will go belly up before it is finished.

MeMadMax's picture

If they are building another carrier, it's the wrong design to be of very good value.


The carriers that you see with "ramps" to launch the planes are more defensive in nature as they can only launch one aircraft at a time, even the russians told the chinese that the carrier they were buying was for "fleet defense" purposes. Not to wage a first strike war.


Compare to the US carriers with the ability to launch 4 planes simultaneously with the catapult system and the difference is even moar apparent.


Plus the chinese carriers are non-nuke, which puts them in the "local" range.

Citxmech's picture

It's kind of funny they say China doesn't want to be seen as only "reverse engineering" its carriers.  The first one wasn't reverse engineered - It was purchased from somebody else and retrofitted.  The ones they are builing now are reverse engineered.  How much original thought could be going into these things with their Russion carrier operational for such a short period of time with no actual combat experience?

Citxmech's picture

Are you saying that the Chinese are currently building catamaran carriers now, or just threatening to?

css1971's picture

One of the cultural differences between the Chinese and Americans is Americans think about the next quarter. The Chinese think about the next decades.

China is building power. This means they are building the infrastructures and experience necessary to build and operate these systems successfully. Hasn't the last 20 years shown anything? There will be 2nd generation and a third, and they will try them out and alter strategies around them.

Son of Loki's picture

oh come they have one more boat.....if anyone in dc was really they would limit the hundreds of thousands of asians flooding in from abroad..but they aren't concered so my guess is no one in dc cares and they don't consider 'them' a threat.

Stuck on Zero's picture

The career politicians and elite of Washington consider the Chinese a real threat.  That is why they have purchased hundreds of thousands of acres in Uruguay. 


Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

The career politicians and elite of Washington consider Fukishima a real threat.  That is why they have purchased hundreds of thousands of acres in Uruguay. - Fixed that for you

29.5 hours's picture



The career politicians and elite of Washington consider the American people to be a real threat. That is why they are arming city police with military-grade weapons and printing money for Homeland Security.




RafterManFMJ's picture

For use against a first world nation it is indeed a big target.

For showing the flag, beating the snot out of third world countries, and protecting your subjugated resource colonies, they work well.

silvermail's picture

Any carrier - it's just a big target and nothing more.
The next to each such a big target, always have swim two silent submarines-killers.
With love from Russia, Ivan.

Long-John-Silver's picture

You are correct except for the year 2020. That event occurred in 1982 during the Falklands War. The British lost several ships to cruse missiles. They would have lost more if the Argentinians had more delivery Aircraft. The Chinese Aircraft Carriers don't stand a chance while we have Submarines that can launch Cruse Missiles while still submerged. When the current contracts to build American Aircraft Carriers expire that will be the end of those classes of ships. There have been epic battles in the Pentagon to cancel the Carrier currently being built and the last one listed to be built in the current contract. 

Anusocracy's picture

Aircraft carrier = future habitat for creatures living in the benthic zone.

msamour's picture

I would have to disagree with you. the missiles the Argentinians used were French Exocet missiles. The high success rate of the missiles surprised the British. After a couple of weeks the British threatened the Frech with economic sanctions if they did not gave the British with all the technical specs for the missiles. The French obliged, and then they were only able to develop defense techniques after that.


There are numerous accounts of exocets being fired at the British.



Long-John-Silver's picture

Exocet Cruse Missiles are ancient technology. Even the current Tomahawk Cruse missiles are obsolete. If they can build a huge B-2 Stealth Bomber that can't be seen by Radar and so is immune to detection by antiaircraft weapons how hard it is going to be to build a much smaller Stealth Cruse Missile? A Deck Watch 'might' spot it a couple of hundred meters out but by that time it's too late. Before the Deck Watch can even report it that missile will have already penetrated the hull or entered the main exhaust stack to explode and rip the guts out of the ship.

Money Squid's picture

The "stealth" technology as applied to aircraft is only to lower the radar profile with respect to modern radars and is easily defeated with old-school long waver radar system. A US F117 was shot down years ago with an old-school russian radar system in 1999. The old long wave russian radars easily defeat the F22 and B2. The stealth programs are simply to fund large US companies that have jobs programs in every state. No practicle military application, just money transfers.

msamour's picture

Earlier you erroneously stated the Argentinians used cruise missiles against the British. I was simply correcting your statement. Not arguing on the efficiency of Exocet missiles.

It helps to know your history a little if you are going to make arguments. Argentinians never had cruise missiles...

RafterManFMJ's picture

Very important message to China - DO NOT use this carrier to transport your growing golden hoard - boats and gold are a deadly mixture.

Frozen IcQb's picture

Something the Spaniards know something about!

dtwn's picture

Yup, especially when the current crop of anti-ship missiles are pretty effective (theoretically).  The Russian P-800 Yakhonts will only become more advanced in the next decade.  To say nothing of the Iskander.

Occident Mortal's picture

Exactly, and nobody knows that better than the Americans who have fought 41 wars since 1950 and won just 16 of them.

It's actually an appalling track record for a country that makes up 45% of all the military spending in the world.

Losing outright to countries such as French Indochina, Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, Cambodia and Somalia.

China doesn't need aircraft carriers. A few AK47's is usually enough to best the efforts of the Fifth Fleet (or it has been in the past).

The single biggest advantage anyone can have in a war is not technology, or manpower, or hardware. It's fighting in your homeland.

No amount of blood and treasure and hi-tech wizardry can best an ingenious population who don't want you there. It's practically impossible.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is delusional.

spinone's picture

Depends on how you define winning.  Did corporations protect their interests and make profits?  Did the owners of those corporations enrich their own sons while sending other's to their deaths?

The who are we really fighting against, who is fighting against us, and who is really winning?

mumcard's picture

Yeah, that may have been the case until IR sweeping drones that can strike from 20000 feet came along.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

So what, depopulate the entire country?

Occident Mortal's picture


Drones have not been on the winning side of any war, ever.


Look at Al Qaeda (guys with AK47's), the US killed their incompetent leadership with drones in 2011 and they were replaced with Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaddi (making Al Qaeda stronger) and now Al Qaeda is holding more territory than ever before. Even before 2001.


Aircraft Carriers? Drones? Satellites? Cruise missiles? Spy Planes? Warplanes? All worthless.

History will tell you that you cannot win a war unless you are prepared to occupy the land you conquer.


If you don't occupy the land afterwards you surrender it. Thus rendering all of your efforts utterly futile.


The US has spent trillions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of men and women, warping it's own society in the process and even resorting to spying on their own people. And what has it all achieved? The enemy has actually grown in strength.

Jack Burton's picture

A nuclear attack submarine or even a good silent conventional boat eats big carriers for lunch. In wartime they are must haves if you are fighting weak powers, against any modern force, they are big slow targets. The faster they steam, the louder they are and the easier to find and sink. A sub does not enen need to close to topredo range. Stand off anti ship missiles can pop up out of the water giving only a short lead time till target. IN the USN, our Submarines made attack after attack against USN Carriers in all forms of naval exercises. Every submarine sailor looked at the Carrier's ASW defenses as weak and vulnerable. China may be pssing money away, but for minor wars, the Carrier would be a real asset to power projection, and that is why they are being built, and why the USN keeps so many. In a real Naval war, against modern enemies with real submaine fleets, the Carriers would be used with great caution. If at all!

Freddie's picture

The USA and USN is a joke now.  Keep carrying the water for Obama's Pentagon and MIC who put him in power - see Lester Crown aka General Dynamics. A big Obama, McCain and AIPAC supporter.

thunderchief's picture

China will need something else to go along with those things.

A Chinese IRS.

Bunga Bunga's picture

And a Chinese Greenspan please.

AngelEyes00's picture

While the US pisses it's massive defense funds away on being in a billion places at once just in case someone stubs their toe (in a location of monetary value to the US), China is building a massive war machine and quickly driving towards the number one economic power in the world.  Give them another 10 years and we'll be the weaker ants.

q99x2's picture

Obama will protect us.

Vet4RonPaul's picture

China is smart to build a blue-water navy because anyone that doesn't have one (and only the USA has had one since WWII) is at the mercy of those that do.  The ones with a blue-water navy can shut down the sea lanes and with it about 80% of international commerce.  Now, it will take Chine many decades and a few small wars to change a collection of ships into a blue-water navy.  Don't be surprised if the USA doesn't allow this to happen without a significant price.  Finally, the USD should continue to be the world reserve currency as long as it contols the sea lanes (and thus commerce).  True story.

Oldwood's picture

Very bullish for the financial markets. As this is something that is to occur in the future then I assume the big banks have figured a way to securitize them and will be selling CCBS's (Chinese Carrier backed Securities) soon. The derivatives that these produce should be simply awesome! And the fact that these war machines will only increase the chance that we blow ourselves to hell should only enhance their desirability, as that is ultimately the financial industry's goal.

RiverRoad's picture

China's apparent answer to global overpopulation.

ebworthen's picture

That is the old way.

It will come down to who is willing to sink who's ship.

After that the nukes come out.  Think the Chinese won't nuke Hawaii?

ronaldawg's picture

Do we have any proof that the Chinese nukes actually work?  Or that they can put a ballistic mi.ssle on target (with or without GPS?)

oddjob's picture

Common shipping containers would seem an easier form of delivery.

giggler321's picture

Great floating deck for sun beds but since it has no air craft capable of using it; it's just a large target.  When they actually get around to designing a tow line system to stop planes rolling off the end during landing - then you can call it an aircraft carrier - ofcourse by then it's probably to late.

a growing concern's picture

It'll make a great reef when it sinks upon its launch. Think of all the aquatic species it will help!

thunderchief's picture

Given how China pollutes their cities, I can only imagine the amount of trash those floating rigs will pump into the South China Sea and Pacific.

Don't worry China, knowing your record, the pollution those things produce in their wake will make anyone surrender, tuna fish included.