According to Geopolitical analysts China could use its lone aircraft carrier Liaoning to showcase its supremacy on South china sea and to frighten who claim the sea their territory.
But before that let’s have a brief look on this aircraft carrier. The Liaoning was born as “Riga” in Soviet Union for Soviet Navy, She is a Sister Ship of Admiral Kuznetsov (Now Russia’s only carrier) and has similar characteristics and capabilities.
It was launched in 1988, and renamed “Varyag” two years later. Its Owner ship was transferred to Ukraine when it was only 68% completed in 1992. Later on it was bought by Hongkong Company, Chong lot travel agency in US dollar 20 million and inducted in Chinese Navy in 2012, after 24 years of its launch.
It can carry a total of 36 aircraft, including 24 J-15 fighter jets and number of military helicopters. It is conventionally powered with steam turbines and can reach maximum speed of 28 knots(51.9 km/hr) but it lags behind the US’s many nuclear powered carrier.
17 year experienced Veteran Chinese pilot Surnamed XU reported that ski- jump take off from carrier is “much easier than landing.” The aircraft carrier has an extremely short takeoff space which makes flying out a lot trickier than coming home to base. Fighter Jets like much new age and much touted J-15 fighter may need to get rid off weapons and fuels in order to shoot off from aircraft carrier. It is not best suited for landing for latest Jets.
Unlike the Kuznetsov, which carries surface attack cruise missiles Liaoning is only equipped with air defence weapons and must use its aircraft for surface attack.
Although Liaoning is in service China is preparing its second aircraft – Codenamed type 001.