Everyone I know sent me a link related to this event. First things first, congratulations to the PLAN and to the people of China on turning a half-finished hulk into a major, if limited, warship. Some thoughts from around the internets:
- Andrew Erickson has been on the Liaoning beat for a while. This is an excellent summation of the issues at stake, including the risks that Liaoning presents to the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Here’s a useful link-filled post to a host of analytical pieces. See here for a short history of the project and of its antecedents.
- Stephen Walt sounds the alarm about alarm sounding. I dunno that we need the quotes around “aircraft carrier;” while it’s true enough that Liaoning currently lacks any fixed wing fighter aircraft, she surely does represent a major leap ahead in Chinese naval ambitions.
- Feng has some extended thoughts about the reconstruction of Liaoning, noting that the Chinese managed a remarkable refurbishment in a time frame that should make the Russians (who are still futzing about with INS Vikramaditya). Especially given that Kuznetsov is going in for a major refit soon, I doubt we’ll see Russia operating more carriers at any one time than China again in our lifetime. See also this post on how economic slowdown in the PRC may affect Chinese defense spending.
- Brian Killough provides a useful corrective to the “it’s a useless, floating parking lot” meme by pointing out Liaoning’s obvious prestige value, as well as her value as a training and experimental ship.
- David Axe discusses a stealth fighter that may eventually fly off Liaoning.