China Launches Its Second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier
FUJIAN the second indigenous aircraft carrier for the PLAN or the Chinese Navy has been launched last Friday. The new carrier entered the water at a launch ceremony in Shanghai today. The ship has been named after the Fujian Province of China. So the name itself seems to be a “mischief”, like the Pakis naming their missiles as Babur and Ghaznavi etc. This is because Eastern side of Fujian is the Taiwan Strait. So the name is like threatening the future of the Republic of Taiwan.
This carrier will use catapults for launch of aircrafts from its decks instead of Ski jumps of SHANDONG and the refurbished training carrier LIAONING. This ship with full load will have displacement of 8000 tons. It has a flat, straight flight deck equipped with electromagnetic catapults and arresting devices.
It means that fighters jets can be launched with full loads and apart from them even heavier aircrafts like AWACS, Refuelers, EW aircrafts etc can also be operated.
Xu Qiliang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), presented a naming certificate to the navy unit receiving the carrier. Approved by the CMC, the Fujian was given the hull number 18, according to Chinese state media.
Now as per an Indian Naval expert, a retired officer, launching an aircraft carrier so soon after the SHANDONG and that too a much bigger and capable one speaks volumes of the Chinese Shipbuilding capacity and capability. Since the EM launch systems were under cover at launch, we will have to wait to guess its actual capabilities. However most likely they are reversed engineered versions of American Systems.
A confusing major factor is the conventional power plant used on the carrier instead of a nuclear power plant. This means that they plan to use this Carrier well within the South China Sea. In case this carrier tries to enter the Indian Ocean Region then its biggest Achilles heel will be the required refueling at frequent intervals. It means that the oil tankers or the replenishment ships will become the first targets for the IAF and the Indian Navy. Also any port within the IOR trying to refuel this carrier will be destroyed at the first instance. Of course the Carrier itself will be a hot target and an easy one when carrying out refueling.
Next comes the ability to operate two squadrons plus of aircrafts and wielding it as an effective offensive force.To learn this it will takes decades. Here India has been operating Carrier since 1961.
So instead of becoming apprehensive, we need to concentrate on the following :
Increase our domain awareness through 4x Squadrons of Long Range Maritime Recce capabilities.
Similarly build up 4x squadrons of Medium Range Maritime Recce capabilities
Have the entire IOR well covered with BRAHMOS equipped fighter squadrons of SU30 MKI Variety
Build up on Satellites and UAV recce capabilities
Starting with 6x SSGN move on to 12x SSGN over a planned period of 2040
Launch the next aircraft carrier of VIKRANT+ type at the earliest followed by one more. So that 3x Carrier Battle Groups are operating by 2035
Next plan for 2x 80000 ton Nuclear powered Carriers by 2040
Chinese will then be entering the IOR only when invited by the Indian Navy.