* It has a modest size (60,000 tons) compared to American carriers
* It has an incomplete air wing and escort force
* It will sail without the company of allied flattops
* It has unreliable engines
There will soon be 22 aircraft carriers in the Pacific.
American has several carriers in the Pacific.
* five nuclear-powered supercarriers home-ported in California, Washington and Japan, plus six assault ships in California and Japan. Between them, the American carriers displace no less than 700,000 tons and can carry 600 aircraft. “Our Navy can carry twice as many aircraft at sea as all the rest of the world combined,” outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed out last year.
(In comparison, the Chinese flattop displaces just 60,000 tons and carries no more than 40 planes and choppers.)
Japan’s got two 18,000-ton assault ships, plus another on the way. Today they carry just a few helicopters, but it’s possible the ships will eventually embark vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighters. The same applies to South Korea’s four planned 14,000-ton carriers and the two 30,000-ton Australian flattops still under construction.
Thailand’s 12,000-ton Chari Naruebet is an outlier: too small for more than a handful of aircraft, but nevertheless capable of carrying the country’s ancient, vertical-landing Harrier jets.
India and Russia both operate full-fledged carriers with jet fighters aboard. Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov is actually Shi Lang‘s older sister. Her dozen Su-33 fighters are just rustier versions of the Chinese J-15. Lately, Kuznetsov has spent most of her time in the Mediterranean. India’s 30,000-ton Viraat and her 30 Harriers and choppers tend to stick to the Indian Ocean.
2. China’s submarines have turned out to still be very noisy and this leaves them vulnerable China isn’t building a world-class, globally-deploying submarine force. It’s building a mostly defensive, regional undersea force – and a smaller one than once predicted.