posted on Oct, 26 2006 @ 10:48 PM
My guess is that China has one of (or a combonation of) three things in mind.
The first that this is a political move simply to demonstrate that they can make an aircraft carrier, and that everybody should take them seriously.
Considering it's the PRC, this was probably in mind from the start. This also gives then a bargaining chip to use against Taiwan, the US, India, and
potentially North Korea.
Second is the possibility that they want to use an aircraft carrier for the purpose of hitting from an unexpected angle. Perhaps it'd be another
Pearl Harbor in the future, but most likely I think they'd like to try hitting Taiwan with aircraft from the east. Although I'm not very familiar
with Taiwan's defenses, I'd guess that most of their anti-ship and anti-aircraft weaponry are concentrated on the eastern coast. At the very least
this could potentially cause Taiwan to weak it's eastern defenses by having to relocate numerous SAM's and AAA units to the west coast.
The third possibility is the long term prospect that this may not really be designed for combat. It's likely that China wants this carrier and the
Flankers on board simply as a learning expirience. Figure out the do's and don'ts of operating carriers, what they'd change in future indeginous
designs, what they'd keep, how to keep aircraft flights organized, taking off and landing from them, etc. China has it's sights on becoming a
superpower and the best way to do that from a naval perspective is to build a respectable carrier fleet. But you've got to start somewhere. It's
not as if the USN just suddenly designed and launched an entire fleet of carriers at once to fight the Japanese. Instead they built one, learned from
it and then built a fleet that ultimately won the Pacific theater (along with a pair of A-boms and a bunch of heroic marines).