posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 03:58 PM
China will have 3 carriers by 2015, and I do not think they will stop at 4. Their one problem is training. I do not know if they have a facility like
Russia does in Ukraine that simulates carrier landings on a runway, but it would be helpful since even their flight instructors have NEVER landed on a
carrier. That is one of the more difficult tasks in aviation as anyone worth their salt well knows. So, with the former Russian Varyag and two more
being built and scheduled to go into service in 3 years, there are a lot of pilots to train! This is one advantage the USN has over the Peoples
Liberation Army Navy(Gotta love that confusing name). China has the luxury of being able to hide their plans and budgets much easier than the US, and
it is foolish to believe they will stop at 4 carriers when they have the money for more.
In my previous post in this thread, I referenced the cliche of people fighting the last war. But in the last 10 years, we have sacrificed more than a
few projects in order to rush projects needed for Afghanistan and Iraq, such as the MRAP and others. One of the cuts was the Seawolf class of subs, of
which only 3 were built which is sad because it is incredible! The Ohio and Los Angeles class are getting a little old, though they are still the
best. Also, because of the endless delays in the F-35 program, the Air Force and Navy will be facing a fighter gap in the middle of this decade as
f-15s, 16s, and F/A-18 A/B/C/D models reach the end of their life spans. Both services will face a gap of at least 150 planes each unless something is
done. Coincidentally, this is just at the time when China will have 3 carriers ready to sail, while we are losing what amounts to 3 of our own due to
the lack of planes. Suddenly that 9/1 margin has become 6/3, or even 6/4. If you look at likely conflict zones, such as the disputed islands in the
South China Sea, China would be able to use their land based planes as well, and the overwhelming superiority of the USN is suddenly gone, and perhaps
we are even placed at a disadvantage.
Relations between our Allies South Korea, Japan and Vietnam and China are tense now, can you imagine how tense it would get with a Chinese flagged
carrier or two thrown in the mix?
The one advantage we do have is that China has a green water navy, and lacks the overseas bases, supply networks and support ships that allow the USN
to operate so smoothly. But it is only a matter of time before they get everything in place. 10-15 years from now this conversation will likely be a
lot different. I am not saying we need two dozen carriers, I am happy with the numbers we have now... But I wish people would realize that this is a
long chess game, and cuts now might bleed worse than anticipated 5-10 years down the road.